Some amazing places to paraglide are described here. Why not browse through them and daydream a bit!
With some paraglider canopy/harness combinations as light as 8kg (17lbs), it's not hard to take it with you on a plane flight to any destination you can afford to visit.
People love to fly in many parts of the world, most notably Europe, Japan, the USA, South Africa and Australia.
So it is not surprising that there is a wide range of experiences to be had. People hop on planes and roll up at popular and busy sites to share the air with the locals.
Let's have a look at some spectacular sites in the French Alps now, firstly in the North - Parapente Alpes. Just as spectacular with a sunnier climate are the sites when you go paragliding in the South Alpes, also in France.
Frenchmen and Germans are very keen about paragliding, it is so popular in this region of the world, where it all started. It's known as parapente, and the wings themselves are also referred to as parapente.
Going just a little further south, you could try paragliding in Barcelona, which gives opportunities to fly in the foothills of the mighty Pyrenees mountain range.
Across the Channel, you can experience a variety of slope soaring opportunities, or go cross country in moderate thermal conditions. Why not try paragliding in the West Midlands of green, grassy England!
Some of the US states in the West have great combinations of mountain and flat-land flying in dry conditions, for example if you go paragliding in Utah. And for a bit more emphasis on mountain flying, you could try paragliding in Colorado. Many states in the US offer their own flavor of flexible-wing action. If you live in this country, you probably aren't far away from a decent launch site. The photo below shows a paraglider near Mussel Rock in California.
Photo courtesy of Ingrid Taylar.
A very flat country, Australia. So it's not uncommon to see wings towed into the sky like giant kites. Getting towed has its advantages - all that's needed is sufficient flat space with no obstacles. It also provides good practice for finding thermals on the way down. No travelling half the morning to a slope site that might disappoint half an hour after arriving. No 'para-waiting'!
Want to see some glider towing and maybe take a tandem ride as well? Just go paragliding in Queensland, near the sunny Gold Coast.
Paragliding in Australia is very active, with a number of notable mountain sites in the Eastern states offering alpine flying. Other lofty launch sites allow good ridge soaring and/or long thermal flights in hotter, dryer conditions. We'll get to them at a later date, but for right now, let's go way down, right to the the bottom of Australia.
Butting into the Southern Ocean is picturesque Tasmania, an island state of Australia. When paragliding in Tasmania you can enjoy light/moderate thermal conditions and ridge soaring in a clean, pollution-free part of the world.
In this region, there are 2 countries that are almost next-door
neighbors, just separated by a strip of water. Check out what it's like
paragliding in South Korea.
And just across the sea of Japan, people sometimes fly from Mt. Fuji the
famous volcano, and a few other volcanic sites as well. So let's check
paragliding in Japan.
Paragliding is also a popular sport in India, with some lovely sites not far from Mumbai offering ridge soaring as well as thermic flying. These are very popular amongst fliers from all over the world. Here's a site that gives a good introduction to paragliding in the hills of western India.
Well, South Africa in particular has a paragliding community that has been active for a long time. Some of the sites in this country, both coastal and inland, are truly spectacular. Check out this table of flying sites for more detailed information, scrolling down a bit if necessary.
Here's an interesting place to fly. With an unusual climate, rather public flying near the city, and a whopping great sand dune just out of town, try paragliding in Lima, Peru! The photo down there, by the way, is of another big sand dune just out of Iquique, Chile.
To see some of the variety available in this sport, have a look at a few interesting paragliding websites that I have come across on the Web.
There is a real feeling of adventure when you read trip reports
or flying stories that can be found on the Web. There is a great link in
the Paragliding Tales page. While some of these authors head for
well-known and spectacular paragliding sites, others seek out flyable
sites not too far from where they happen to be. For example, a couple of
free days on a business trip might offer a chance to fly. Here's a few
People participate in the sport on many levels, from the gift-certificate rides into a valley under a tandem paraglider, hitched to an instructor, to very serious competition pilots who fly long distances in strong and bumpy thermal conditions. In between are hordes of learners, weekend flyers and the occasional crazy aerobatics enthusiast. You don't want to know what that last type do to their wings while in the air...