The Best Places in the World for Gliding

Hang gliding and paragliding are both thrilling, exhilarating, and a ton of fun! Both are badass adventure sports that let you soar in the sky without breaking a sweat.

If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure, then you should try gliding sports. You need a bit of courage and the proper equipment, but once your flight takes on, you will realize there’s nothing to fear.

Here are some of the most beautiful places around the world where you can glide:

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

An aerial view of Rio de Janeiro
Aerial panorama of Botafogo Bay and Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

In Rio de Janeiro, you can find beaches, lovely hills, iconic landmarks, and colorful streets. Plus, there’s a constant breeze that doesn’t leave you with any excuse not to hang glide or paraglide in the area. Most gliding flights start from Pedra Bonita, a mountain in the Tijuca rainforest, and are about 30 minutes from Copacabana. The ride offers an awesome way to see famous sights like the Rocinha Favela, Pedra da Gavea, the São Conrado neighborhood, and Christ the Redeemer in a whole new way. Gliding flights often end on Pepino Beach, which is a nice spot to celebrate the success of your flight with a beachside cocktail.

Interlaken, Switzerland

Rural Swiss scenery in Interlaken
Rural Swiss Scenery from Train Ride Window View, Picturesque Picture as a Painting of Lungern Village and Lake in a beautiful summer day, Lungern, Switzerland, Europe.

Switzerland is one of the most scenic countries in the world, and there are many great places to hang glide or paraglide there. One of the best spots to do it is in the mountainous resort town of Interlaken. The lakes, the greenery, and ice-capped mountains are awesome to see, and when you get to view all these from the top, there’s simply nothing like it. Many of the flights here average from 15 to 26 minutes, depending on the wind conditions. You’ll jump off the summit of Cerro Arco and fly over the Andean landscape. You’ll surely delight looking at the city and its alpine valleys. 

Hawaii, USA

Spectacular view from the road to Haleakala National Park in Maui, Hawaii
Spectacular view from the road to Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawai, USA

There’s no question that Hawaii is a dreamlike landscape. The lush green mountaintops, the azure waters of the specific, the rugged cliffs and luscious plains – your eyes will feast on nature’s goodness as you rise above the earth and experience this popular tourist spot from above. The mountains in Hawaii provide the perfect launch spot for gliding. Still, if you’re planning to fly tandem, there are many operators in Honolulu, Oahu, and Maui with experienced personnel that can even offer lessons. The Waipoli Flight Park on the slopes of Mt. Haleakala is a superb launch spot that offers awesome views over Maui.

Oludeniz, Turkey

An aerial view of paraglider and Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz, Turkey
Paragliding in the sky. Paraglider tandem flying over the sea with blue water and mountains in bright sunny day. Aerial view of paraglider and Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz, Turkey. Extreme sport. Landscape

Oludeniz is one of the top destinations for paragliding. The beautiful blue hues of the sea, the white sands, and the huge mountain setting will give you a postcard-like view of Turkey. Oludeniz is also one of the most photographed beaches on the Mediterranean shore, so giving a flight there a try will be one of the most memorable adventures of your life. You’ll reach a launch spot after a terrifying drive up Mt. Badabag, and after that, it’s all about the breathtaking scenery below you.  

Chamonix, France

Paragliding over Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps above Chamonix, France
Paragliding over Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps above Chamonix.

The Alps is an attraction among skiers, but it holds true for hang gliding and paragliding enthusiasts as well. Located near Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe, Chamonix is a gorgeous village near the Switzerland-French border. Paragliding in Chamonix, France, is unlike anything you’ve ever dreamed of. You will be able to witness unbelievable views overlooking the area tucked away in this valley squeezed closely together by the surrounding mountain peaks. However, since the mountains are steep, you need to be an experienced glider.

Cape Town, South Africa

An aerial view of a paraglider above Cape Town, South Africa
Paragliding – Cape Town – South Africa

If you want to really enjoy the spectacular views of the Table Mountain from Bloubergstrand Beach, then gliding over it is the adventure to beat. If you paraglide or hang glide in Cape Town, you’ll get amazing views from up above. Experienced gliders can visit the Table Mountain National Park and launch from the Table Mountain itself. Tandem flights usually take off from Lion’s Head and Signal Hill, and when wind directions permit, you may even fly up to the Table Mountain.

California, USA

A hang glider soaring at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California
Hang glider soaring at Torrey Pines hang glider port along the coast at La Jolla California USA

With California’s unique topography, hang gliding and paragliding spots aren’t hard to find. In fact, there are more than 160 launch sites all over the beautiful state. But if you can only pick one, choose San Diego’s scenic La Jolla neighborhood. It’s a stunning coastal destination that offers views of the cliffs of Black’s Beach. Fort Funston in San Francisco is another fantastic place in California to go gliding because of its coastline, ideal weather, and regular updrafts. The destination is known for world-class adventure sports.

Pokhara Valley, Nepal

Paragliding with instructor using colorful paraglider over Pokhara, Nepal
Paragliding with instructor using colorful paraglider over Pokhara town, Nepal. Active vacation concept image.

In the land of the Himalayas – the home to some of the tallest mountains in the world – you can find staggering views while you’re gliding air. If that’s the adventure you’re looking for, then you must visit Pokhara Valley in Nepal. Since the altitude is low, you won’t feel very cold. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of the Himalayan and Annapurna mountain ranges, as well as the Phewa Lake. The launch spot is the hilly village in the area called Sarangkot.

Washington, USA

Paragliding with Mount Rainier in the background
Paragliding with Mount Rainier in the background

The state of Washington has expansive hilly regions perfect for hang gliding and paragliding. Tiger Mountain in Issaquah, which is a 30-minute drive from Seattle, is an excellent spot for launching. With the extended daylight hours in the summer, many people come here to enjoy paragliding during the sunset hours. In here, you can get a spectacular view of Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Si, Lake Sammamish, plus Seattle’s skyline to the west.

Valle de Bravo, Mexico

The top view of Valle de Bravo lake
Top view Valle de Bravo lake

Valle de Bravo is a beautiful town on the shores of Lake Avandaro that makes a great spot for hang gliding and paragliding. Flying off your glider will be an iconic experience here, and that is why many companies that organize these activities are present in the area. You will find the best hang gliding spot on the eastern side of the lake, and the weather here is mildly humid. The tranquility of the winds has made it a popular spot for gliding activities.