There are few better feelings than soaring over the South Downs or the Lake District in the UK. But with our weather being rather unpredictable, the chances to paraglide in the UK can be limited. Which is why choosing to paraglide in Portugal, where the weather is more reliable, is proving to be a popular choice.
Whether you’re heading over for some winter sun, or soaring high over the Algarve while on your summer holiday, there are plenty of options if you want to paraglide in Portugal. Here’s a run down of some of the top spots for some of Europe’s best paragliding.
Setúbal is found just south of Lisbon across the mouth of the Tagus. From there extends a beautiful Atlantic coastline down towards the Algarve. There are about twenty or so top launch sites along this stretch, all providing some stunning views of the rugged coast and cliffs. Take off from the hills and sore over golden beaches and beautiful blue waters. If you want to paraglide in Portugal then you have to give this spot a try.
Site of the 2000 and 2012 Paragliding World Cup, you’d expect this to be a pretty special flying site and it doesn’t disappoint. Situated north of Porto near the border with Spain. There is some great flying to be experienced here and with take offs to all directions, the sky really is the limit.
Ok, technically cheating because the Azores are a small volcanic island group about a thousand miles west of Lisbon. However, it is still technically Portugal so we’re going to count it. This mid-Atlantic historic stopping off point consists of an archipelago of nine volcanic islands. As you might expect, this creates some pretty spectacular flying conditions with unbeatable views. The pleasant climate means that you can paraglide here all year long.
You might associate the Algarve with hardcore tourism but get away from the resorts and you’ll find a stunningly beautiful region with some excellent thermic lift in the hills. Or if you’d rather look down on your fellow tourists (both literally and metaphorically) you can fly over some of the Algarve’s most beautiful beaches, including Falésia, Albufeira and Porto de Mós.
Positioned on top of a smooth mountain ridge about an hour’s drive inland from Porto, Linhares offers incredibly reliable flying conditions. Even the evening thermals during the summer can take you up to 1,000m above takeoff. With multiple launch and landing sites to choose from and a record of six hours flying time, this is a top spot to visit.
There are plenty of other sites to paraglide in Portugal too. With numerous take off sites in both the Leiria and Coimbra districts in the more mountainous areas of Central Portugal, it’s well worth checking them out. All in all, Portugal is definitely recommended as one of the world’s best paragliding destinations.