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Paragliding is both a leisure activity and a sport, which involves taking off from a mountain or cliff and practising free flight using a wing or sail. While all paragliding enthusiasts will tell you that paragliding gives you an extraordinary feeling of freedom, it is not a risk-free activity and you need to be accompanied at the start. The first jump is called a baptism. It is done in tandem and is always a very important experience. If you want to keep good memories of it, it's essential to choose the right spot.

What are the criteria for selecting destinations for a first paragliding experience?

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a destination for a first paragliding experience. 

There are a wide variety of sites where you can go paragliding. All you need is a mountain or a cliff. We'll see later that there are some wonderful spots all over the world. But that's not the only criterion to look out for when you're a beginner. 

The first paragliding flight is a unique moment. It's the first contact with the thrill of flying, but it's also a way of realising all the technical knowledge and experience you need to practise this sport regularly on your own. When planning a first flight, it's advisable to take the weather conditions into account and choose spots in areas with currents that are suitable for beginners. A first flight that's too difficult could turn into a nightmare, even if you're in tandem with a seasoned expert.

For a more relaxing first flight, the ideal conditions are as follows:

  • Wind speeds below 20 km/h (with gusts below 20 km/h)
  • Rainfall forecast below 0.8
  • No fog or thunderstorms
  • A clear and practicable take-off area.

Temperature affects comfort and time in the air. The hotter it is, the longer flights can be. In France, for example, we recommend that you take your first paragliding flight in autumn, to take advantage of calm, gentle currents and sufficient flying time to enjoy the moment. September and October are magical months for paragliding. The time of day can also influence the intensity of the winds. For a sensational first flight, the professionals will reserve an early afternoon slot. To make you feel more confident, instructors will suggest late afternoon times. 

You should also check that the service provider meets all the safety conditions and that the take-off site is accessible.

The best paragliding spots in Europe

In Europe, conditions for paragliding are ideal from late spring to early autumn, depending on the spot.


France offers a wide variety of landscapes. Among the most beautiful places to paraglide in France, Mont Blanc in the Alps and Annecy are the "must" places for a first paragliding experience. But you can also find magnificent scenery in the Pyrenees, in the Vosges or on the cliffs of Étretat in Normandy.


This is probably the country where you'll find the most beautiful spots in Europe, with mountains, forests and lakes as far as the eye can see. The best spots are in the canton of Valais, on Lake Geneva or in Interlaken, in the Bernese Oberland mountain region.


The Italian Alps also offer some great spots for an unforgettable first paragliding experience. Take the Dolomites, for example, or Lake Garda and its view of Sirmione.

The best paragliding spots in America


In the United States, there are countless paragliding spots, each more impressive than the last, like Jackson Hole in the western valley of Wyoming or Hawaii. 


If you have the chance to visit Brazil, you won't want to miss Rio de Janeiro, an ideal spot for a first paragliding experience. Governador Valadares is also well known for its paragliding flights, but be sure to avoid the wet season.


Although the Andes are generally recommended for experienced paragliders, there are clubs offering first flights in Lima and the Cusco valley.

The best paragliding spots in Asia


It's impossible to talk about paragliding in America without mentioning Nepal. The Himalayas, like the Andes, are not a good place for beginners, at least not at high altitudes. Nevertheless, in Pokhara you'll find a very pleasant spot with a breathtaking view of the Himalayan peaks and Lake Phewa.


Finally, part of Turkey lies in Asia Minor. Just off the Mediterranean Sea lies Oludeniz, one of Turkey's finest paragliding spots. You'll also find some very interesting sites on the Black Sea coast. In this part of the Mediterranean, conditions are favourable all year round.

The best paragliding spots in Africa

South Africa

The most famous spots in South Africa are, of course, in Cape Town. You can enjoy the scenery and the view over the city. Conditions are ideal all year round for a first flight.


Launch yourself from the top of the dunes, facing the sea, and discover a breathtaking landscape between sea and desert as far as the eye can see. You'll see shipwrecks washed up on the beach (ideal conditions from October to March).


Africa's most adorable destination in terms of price, Morocco is renowned for its paragliding on the famous Atlas mountain (with 300 days of sunshine a year, conditions are ideal all year round).

The best paragliding spots in Oceania

New Zealand

Weather conditions are ideal from December to February. There are plenty of great spots, such as Queenstown and Coronet Peak above Lake Wakatipu, or the South Islands. 


If paragliders and hang-gliders had to choose a favourite spot in Australia, it would be Ben Nevis in Victoria for its incredible views and eagle watching. As you can see, there's no shortage of spots, so all you have to do is take off.

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