Hardly any other country offers so many possibilities for sporting activities in such a small area as Switzerland. Many cantons offer the perfect terrain for spectacular paragliding flights
Paragliding is probably the closest thing to the movement of a bird. However, it also requires some skill. Flying like a bird has become a learnable reality for us humans thanks to the paraglider. Today, the sport of flying inspires not only experienced pilots, but also beginners intoxicated by the zeal of flight
Beginners and novices usually start in tandem. For almost 90% of the participants the first flight is a tandem flight. During a tandem flight, you sit back, relax and enjoy the view while an experienced pilot controls the paraglider. After only a few seconds of flight, you will find a comfortable sitting position with the help of the pilot. A few quick steps before, the paraglider opens and you rise gently into the air. You can do (almost) nothing wrong
Paragliding flights are offered all year round. With a fast-paced ski launch, you'll also get your money's worth if you want to fly in winter
In winter, the air is usually very calm and is therefore ideal for tandem flying. On the other hand, turbulence can occur in the summer, especially in the afternoon. If you don't tolerate the jerking so well, the pilot will immediately head for the landing site or recommend you to fly rather in the early and calmer morning hours.
Paragliding in general
Paragliding has been around in its infancy for more than 70 years. NASA engineer Francis Melvin Rogallo received the first patent of a predecessor paraglider in 1948
In Switzerland, the German Strasilla brothers, together with Andrea Kuhn of Switzerland, developed the world's first paraglider from towed parachutes in 1973. They registered their own paraglider patent as the Skywing. Even then, their glider had an ingenious system of arresting and control lines
Dieter and Udo Strasilla were the first people to fly together from the Jungfraujoch at 3463 meters above sea level to Lauterbrunnen, covering 2676 meters of altitude. This was the birth of paragliding in Switzerland. Even today, the world's first paraglider, an 11-cell glider made of spinnaker fabric, can still be seen at the Schleissheim airfield near Munich
How does paragliding work?
The pilot sits safely in a harness under the paraglider, which is connected to the harness by lines. He steers the flight by means of control lines. In a tandem flight, the passenger sits in a second, tightly connected harness directly in front of the pilot. All the equipment fits into a backpack and weighs between 15 and 20 kg.
How do you take off when paragliding?
In the mountains, the flight is usually done with a forward takeoff. The paraglider is behind you and you start walking slowly until the paraglider has filled with air and is above you. After a few steps downhill, the paraglider lifts you into the air at 20 km/h already.
The start to the flight takes place over four phases:
The launch preparation: Exploring the launch site, mental preparation.
Launch phase: This phase starts from the feeling. Here you determine by pressing the line whether the glider needs to be counter-steered.
Control phase: Probably the most important phase decides whether to launch or abort the launch
Acceleration and take-off: You accelerate continuously until the take-off speed is reached. You decelerate in a controlled manner and continue to run until your last steps in the air
For whom is paragliding suitable?
As a passenger of a tandem flight you do not need any previous experience. You will be briefed by the pilot before the paragliding flight in the launch preparation. Thereby you will learn what you have to pay attention to during take-off, landing and during the flight
The provider of a tandem flight often specifies a minimum and maximum weight, which is usually between 30 kg and 120 kg. A special fitness is not required. In case of serious illnesses, however, you should consult your doctor beforehand. It is better to specify this when booking
If you suffer from motion sickness or have a strong fear of heights, a paragliding flight is not suitable for you. Paragliding is also not suitable for pregnant women.
Tandem paragliding flight
During a tandem flight, the professional flight instructor or pilot will take care of everything important. You can do one thing above all: enjoy the magnificent scenery. For example, if you like to plunge from the Jakobshorn or the Gotschnagrat, you can book a tandem flight with a renowned provider for about 190 CHF. The approximate cost of a general paragliding flight in Switzerland ranges from about 150 to 250 CHF, depending on the duration. Usually it's an unforgettable 20 to 40 minutes that you float over a beautiful alpine landscape.
Learn to paraglide
Paragliding can become a lifelong passion. is an experiential process that always needs training. Training as well as learning should not be effort, but fun. In any case, paragliding is an uncomplicated, easy to learn and above all safe sport
The good training, professionally supervised flight areas, attractive paragliding trips and interesting advanced training courses promote the popularity of this sport in Switzerland
Swiss Activities tips for paragliding
- In less overflown areas, animals are not yet familiar with the silhouette of the paraglider. Therefore you should keep enough distance to the ground.
- Fiesch in the Valais offers a wonderful and special flying experience: The flight "Barrierefrei" is a 20-minute paragliding flight in a wheelchair. It is carried out by a professional tandem partner.
- A steep mountain slope provides further altitude gain for cross-country pilots due to the sunshine that has been rising for some time. Here you can use the thermals to your advantage.
- Long-term and regular weather observation is indispensable for alpine pilots
- For destinations up to 1000 meters altitude a good general condition is sufficient.
Paragliding Switzerland - 7 popular areas
Switzerland declares itself the Dorado for paragliders. The trump cards are the diversity and beauty of the landscape, the countless paragliding schools and the transport network. Wherever there is a breeze and there is a mountain, paragliding takes place in Switzerland.
Interlaken is considered a good terrain. Flying in the area of the Aletsch Glacier, a World Heritage Site in the cantons of Bern and Valais, is no less enthusiastic. On the Fiescheralp there are particularly good upwinds. Grindelwald First is the top spot for great panoramic views over the Jungfrau region
If you prefer flying over lakes, then you should take off in the area of Lake Lucerne or Lake Lugano. Get inspired and get to know 7 wonderful locations for paragliding in Switzerland.
Paragliding Interlaken Bernese Oberland
Interlaken stands for a fantastic location and ideal flying conditions. There are numerous passenger flights offered from various launch sites. You will enjoy a breathtaking view of the blue shimmering mountain lakes and the Jungfrau massif. A flight in this dreamlike area is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience in a class of its own
Since the region around Interlaken is so popular for paragliding flights, we have compiled a separate article with the best paragliding flights from Interlaken.
Paragliding Central Switzerland
Thanks to the excellent flying conditions, you can paraglide all year round in Central Switzerland Paragliding. You float above the beautiful landscape of the Alps of Central Switzerland.- The route for Paragliding Niederbauen / Emmetten is considered one of the most beautiful for paragliding. The view over Lake Lucerne is breathtakingly beautiful. After a fabulous flight experience of over 15 to 30 minutes, you land gently back in the valley
Since the area in central Switzerland is so wonderfully suited for this sport, we have also created a separate guide for paragliding.
The mountains in Ticino offer ideal jumping ramps for "Icaruses". From Sasso Ferro or even from Monte Nudo, you glide gently down and land on the field of Icaro. But that's not all: all paragliding flights are absolutely suitable for families. Even the youngest ones will enjoy the unique flight experience and the unforgettable view of Ticino
Strong emotions are offered on a flight from the 1704 m high summit of Monte Generoso. The stone flower of the architect Mario Botta is enthroned at the top. During the flight, the landscape of this region presents itself in all its beauty: the Mendriosotto with its vineyards, Lake Lugano and the enchanting Alpine chain. You will share the sky with falcons, eagles and many other birds
Monte Tamaro also offers a great opportunity for a flight with a magnificent view. On your way down to the valley you will climb about 1000 meters in altitude. Depending on the thermals, you will enjoy a magnificent view of Lake Lugano, Bellinzona and Lake Maggiore.
Meanwhile, passionate paragliders appreciate Monte Lema as an extremely suitable place to pursue their passion. At an altitude of 1620 m.a.s.l. paragliders from all over the world meet. Some flights extend over 200 km and go as far as Engadin or Valtellina. However, these are then not suitable for tandem flights.
Paragliding Eastern Switzerland
Thanks to its exceptional panorama, eastern Switzerland is a highly frequented region for paragliding
Paragliding Walensee: Above Lake Walen, a pearl between Zurich and Chur, you can enjoy the light-heartedness of the skies. There are ideal thermal conditions for a panoramic flight. Whether in winter or summer: Based on the optimal conditions of this area, panoramic flights as well as thermal flights are offered
Paragliding Alpstein: Touch the clouds and fly free like a bird through the air Here you take the gondola up to Ebenalp and fly past the world famous mountain restaurant Äscher and enjoy the view of the Seealpsee. The flight ends in Wasserauen next to the valley station of the mountain railroad
Paragliding Toggenburg: From the mountain station Chäserrugg it is only a 15 min walk to the starting point on the Hinterrugg. Here you can start a magnificent paragliding flight with a view of the Churfirsten, a mountain range in Toggenburg. Passenger flights are also offered for disabled people who are bound to a wheelchair
Paragliding Davos Klosters
Besides snow sports, this area is a very popular hotspot for paragliding in Davos. And this is true at any time of the year.
During a paragliding flight in Parsenn you will look at the snow mountains lying in the sun as well as at the dark Davos forests
In the winter sports area Parsenn you also have the possibility to start from the Gotschnagrat. From an altitude of 1000 m you can enjoy the breathtaking alpine landscape of this region in Graubünden over a flight time of 15 to 35 minutes
And finally, you take to the air at Jakobshorn for joy. Probably this launch site is so popular among paraglider pilots because the upwind blows here a bit stronger and more constant than elsewhere. In addition to the good thermal conditions, the flight over magnificent peaks and forests is thrilling
In the beautiful surroundings of Zurich, paragliding over the Uetliberg is a first-class experience. If you like, and weather conditions permit, you can fly into the sunset on a summer evening. Also, at your request, particularly rapid maneuvers are conceivable - of course under the care of an experienced paraglider pilot.
The Aletsch Arena promises boundless freedom in the middle of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In this area, Kühboden is a mecca for paragliders and delta pilots. Fiescheralp, Bettmeralp and Riederalp are famous for paragliding. They are located on the southern saddle of the Aletsch Glacier and are ideal for a scenic flight.
Finally, Zermatt attracts with a breathtaking view of the Matterhorn and the surrounding four-thousand-meter peaks. Numerous passenger flights are offered, which let you experience Zermatt and the region with 38 fantastic peaks with over 4000 m height from the bird's eye perspective
Paragliding for children
In the Aletsch Arena, children as young as four can take part in the flight spectacle. These are exclusively tandem flights with an experienced pilot. The little passengers love to have a bird's eye view of the houses, streets and hiking trails. With quick steps the tandem pilot rushes down the slope. The wind reaches under the sails and the paraglider silently takes off: children's hearts beat faster
Many providers specify a minimum age. As a rule, however, the little sky stormers can be taken along. For children from about seven years, a tandem flight is possible in most cases, but there must be a permission of the custodian. In addition, it should be really clear that the child also wants to carry out the flight, since there is no turning back in the air
Depending on the organizer, children between the ages of 3 and 15 are allowed to participate in a tandem children's paragliding flight. The minimum weight varies between 15 to 25 kg. A normal mental and physical condition is required.
Professionalism and safety are guaranteed in paragliding. Without exception, all pilots are certified by the Swiss Hang Gliding Association SHV. They possess the hang gliding certificate, which confirms their skills. Pilots who are allowed to perform tandem flights go through an additional, strict examination
There are also very strict regulations for paragliders. All parts of the paraglider must be able to withstand at least an eightfold load. In addition, every paraglider is equipped with a rescue parachute that is pulled in case of emergency.
Equipment for paragliding
Good mountain equipment is in principle also suitable for paragliding. Personal equipment is chosen to serve both functions. First and foremost, it must be safe, packable in small pieces and suitably light.
Sturdy shoes, long trousers and a windbreaker are a must In summer, good, ankle-high shoes, a light windbreaker or a sweater are recommended. In winter, good, ankle-high shoes and a warm jacket and pants are also important. Not to be forgotten are the gloves. For a ski start, skis and a ski suit are needed, of course. Light equipment fits well in a large alpine backpack and weighs less than 10 kg
Paragliding equipment should meet safety standards. Helmet, reserve parachute and protector are always included
Paragliding is now proven to be the safest flight sport ever.