The sky's the limit: how to work paragliding into your next trip

Take off and take in the world from beneath the canopy of a gliderMonday, 8 April 2019

Fear of heights? Even the UK's number one acrobatic paraglider, Jack Pimblett, finished seventh in the World Tour finals last year despite being scared of heights. Having flown since the age of three, he's spent over 1,000 hours in the sky. To get a taste for the sport, head to a local UK BHPA school for a trial flight. “On home soil, Fly Sussex is great for beginners,” says Jack, “but further afield is Free Flight Academy in Spain where reliable weather conditions enable quick progress.”

Where to do it

Dolomites

Hike up the mountain in Sesto/Sexten in northern Italy, then paraglide back down. And in Kronplatz you  can tackle black runs before flying over the snowy peaks. Tandem flights from €120 (£103). 

Slovenia

At this paragliding hotspot, combine a tandem flight with mountain biking, canyoning and kayaking around the Soča River in Lijak and the Trnovska plateau. Tandem flights from €122 (£105). 

Lake Garda

Try hang gliding above the beautiful Italian lake — the fixed wing experience is perfect for adrenalin junkies. Prices from €120 (£103), paragliding and hang gliding combos cost €200 (£172). 

Take flight

Kit up: Most operators usually insist on wearing a helmet and knee pads before you’re harnessed to your instructor.

Lift off: The canopy is laid out on a gentle slope — take a few running steps and simply let the wind raise you off the ground.

Up and away: After take off, the two brake handles are used to control the wing and catch updrafts that can lift you to as high as 5,000ft.

 

Published in the May 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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