Top 5 Paragliding Destinations in Switzerland

If you have ever dreamt of paragliding, Switzerland is the ideal location to turn your dreams into a reality! Considered one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, paragliding in Switzerland is nothing short of breathtaking.

What is paragliding, exactly? Seasoned paragliders describe the experience as the closest feeling of what it’s like to be a bird. Can you imagine soaring above snowy Alpine peaks with sparkling glacier lakes below? 

Besides the beauty of the surroundings, paragliding is an incredibly eco-friendly activity. Excluding any car or bus rides to the takeoff sites and paragliding centres, paragliding is an entirely carbon-neutral activity. The only equipment needed is a canopy, lines/risers, speed bar, reserve parachute, and helmet! And of course, if you book a paragliding activity with a professional instructor, you only need to bring yourself!

paragliding

How does tandem paragliding work?

Paraglides function similarly to aeroplanes. When inflated, the canopy acts as a wing and creates lift. In Switzerland, paragliding is popular because the mountainsides are great for take-off. Yet some flights make use of thermals (pockets of ascending hot air) or wind (dynamic flights also called soaring) to gain height and fly longer. These flights are obviously very weather-dependent, and exact flight time is hard to predict in the mountains.

Paragliding is accessible to almost everyone. The only thing you will need to do is run a short distance during taking off. If you are shorter than your instructor, or a child is participating, you will likely not do much running – the canopy will lift your legs up first.

Flight times will often depend on passenger weight. Children and lighter passengers will often fly in the morning or late afternoon when the air is calmer with less turbulence. Adults or heavier passengers will usually fly midday.

Everything you need to know will be explained by your instructor. Once you are fitted and strapped into your harness, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy! If you want to know more about tandem paragliding check our complete guide to tandem paragliding, or browse all of our paragliding articles.

Now that you know more about what to expect, check out the first stunning spot in Switzerland to try paragliding in – Verbier!


Photo credit: Gabrielle Merk

Verbier, Switzerland

Verbier is located in Southwest Switzerland, in the Valais. This holiday resort town is known for world-class skiing and high-end hotels. The steep slopes, varied conditions, and a wide range of activity options make it a great holiday destination.

The Ski lifts in Verbier stay open in the summer months to allow hikers and bikers to access trails on four separate valets. One of the lifts, Mont Fort station, reaches up to 3300 meters high. This is a wonderful spot to see panoramic views over the mountain peaks of Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, and Grand Combin.

Verbier is also an amazing place to paraglide. You can fly through the air and see stunning views of Mont Blanc, and Verbier Valley below. Local paragliding schools also offer acrobatic flight options for high-adrenaline seekers. Paragliding in Verbier is a must-do if you are visiting the area.

Photo Credit: Mjaraas

Gstaad, Switzerland

Located in the town of Saanen, Bern, this Swiss village is known as an upper-class, posh ski-resort town. Sitting on the border of old-county Gruyere, Gstaad is packed full of gorgeous nature and 5-star resorts. Gstaad was even named “The Place” to vacation by Time magazine back in the 1960s. Not much has changed since then. Today, Gstaad still draws posh travellers from all over Europe. Quite a few celebrities, such as Prince Charles and Madonna, regularly come to holiday in Gstaad!

Paragliding in Gstaad is an amazing experience, even if you are not a celebrity. The resort town offers a multitude of take-off points, including Wispile, Rellerli, Hornberg and Videmanette. Wispile is ideal for catching good thermals, while the best winds for soaring are on the west side of the valley near Rellerli.

All of these locations, like Gstaad, have amazing views over the nearby Alpine peaks and the Gruyère National Park. You can also get a glimpse of the snowy Wildhorn and Diablerets peaks.

Most tandem paragliding instructors offer hotel pickup in Gstaad- so there’s really no excuse to miss out on this iconic paragliding destination in Switzerland. 

snowy Interlaken paraglider

Interlaken, Switzerland

Unlike Gstaad, Interlaken isn’t packed full of Louis Vuitton boutiques and celebrities. But this well-known resort town, nestled deep in central Switzerland, is considered the central hub of outdoor sports of Switzerland.

Sandwiched between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, Interlaken is exactly what most picture when thinking of Switzerland; sprawling grassy-green meadows in picturesque valleys, surrounded by rocky mountain peaks covered in snow. You can also see red trains run through the hillsides next to glacial turquoise waters, and tiny mountain flowers grow on the roadside. 

But today, Interlaken is known not only for being beautiful but having impressive cable cars and funiculars as well! Visiting Mount Schilthorn, for example, involves riding a series of three different cable cars up over 2970 meters. At the top, you can find spectacular views of the Alps!

Taking a Tandem paragliding flight in Interlaken is truly an amazing experience. Most flights will take off from Beatenberg, just north of the city. You will fly above two sparkling lakes, right beside mighty mountains to the South. Expect stunning views over the Eiger, Jungfrau, Schilthorn and more!

If you’re still craving more outdoor fun, this Swiss capital has plenty more to offer. You can experience some of the best skydiving in the world, go kayaking on the lakes, or go bungee jumping off of the Stockhorn bridge. Interlaken also has some of the best canyoning in Switzerland. To learn more, check out our guide to the best outdoor activities in Interlaken.

zermatt peak switzerland

Zermatt, Switzerland

The popular resort town of Zermatt in Switzerland is just across the Italian border, in the Northern end of Mattertal Valley.

Zermatt village is located at the foot of Switzerland’s highest peaks, including Weisshorn, Liskamm, Dent Blanche, Mount Rose, and of course, the famous Matterhorn peak, all towering above 4000 metres.

Zermatt also has the best and highest ski resort in all of Europe. This Swiss paradise is not only beautiful but also innovative. The town does not allow any vehicles which use combustion engines to drive through. This helps prevent air pollution and preserves the wonderful views of the Matterhorn. 

This beautiful town is a great starting point for hikers. The Haute Route, for instance, leads into Chamonix, France. It also takes you to where the Patrouille des Glaciers ski touring race takes place. There are cable cars and chair lifts available to carry skiers in the winter and hikers in the summer-  with the highest lifts ascending up to Klein Matterhorn at 3,883 metres.

Paragliding is super popular here because most flights take off from an altitude of 3000 metres, accessible by cable car, of course. From there, you will take off and fly above Zermat with fantastic views to the Matterhorn.

Lake Lucerne switzerland

Lake Lucerne, Switzerland

Just 45 minutes south of the hustle and bustle of Zurich, is a large, beautiful lake surrounded by Swiss-Alpine peaks. Towering above the village where you can see Mount Pilatus, Mount Rigi, and Mount Titlis. All of these peaks have cable cars, funiculars, or cogwheel trains to take visitors up to the top for stunning views.

Lake Lucerne also has an old town village which is very nice to visit. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes, art museums and Swiss-style architecture to enjoy.

There are many great outdoor activities you can do at Lake Lucerne. Some of the best activities include helicopter tours over Lucerne’s peaks, skydiving, canyoning, and of course, paragliding over Lake Lucerne. The most popular flight take-off is from Emetten in Nidwald, just to the south of the Lake. This flight offers fantastic views over the city, Mount Pilatus, and Lucerne lake below.

Another fantastic take-off point is in Engelberg to the South of Lake Lucerne. This area offers spectacular views over the Uri Alps and Mount Titlis glacier. Paragliding at Lake Lucerne is simply a must-do activity when visiting Switzerland!