Back in 2006 I visited Oludeniz for the first time, this picturesque beach town on the south coast of Turkey was somewhere Shorty (Paul) had visited many times growing up and we were keen to check it out! Of course, being over 10 years ago and a family holiday it was VERY different to our backpacking escapades of the last few years. So when we saw the steady stream of paragliders floating and spinning off the mountainside we said, “One day” we’ll do it! (Read: When I return without my Mum in tow!!) Fast forward to 2016 and we’re backpacking through Eastern Europe and make a stop off back in Turkey, to the friends, family and memories we have here as well as the incredible landscapes and culture that keep us coming back! Now it was our turn to finally “Jump of the mountain!” Was it worth the wait and the anticipation all those year, hell yeah it was! Paragliding in Oludeniz became one of our best travel experiences, the hight, the views, the adrenaline, it’s just incredible! We loved it so much we even went and did it for a second time in 2018! So after doing it twice here’s our ultimate guide Paragliding in Turkey and a run through of our experiences doing the best paragliding in the world in one of our all time favourite countries!
Dreams of taking the leap: Paragliding in Oludeniz
Unlike when we visited Switzerland and decided on a whim a day before to go paragliding this was something that we had been thinking about for years. In fact it had been 10 years since my first visit and 20 years at least since Shorty watched his Dad do it! It was one of those things we always said we would do “One day” but having visited on at least 3 or 4 occasions since 2006 it never seemed to happen!
Growing up as skateboarders we knew we would do the Paragliding in Turkey but it was also still something that was pretty different to the adrenaline rush of skating. We were brave and stupid on our boards, throwing ourselves of anything and everything and getting pretty beaten up in the process. But strapping yourself to a stranger and running off the side of a 7000ft mountain! That was a whole new prospect back then!
In the years since our last visit though a lot of things had changed, we had taken up climbing and through that we’d done a lot of adventure sports and it became something pretty normal for us. Climbing made us comfortable at heights and we would regularly travel around the UK climbing and highlining (like tightrope walking but on slack webbing and at height). We had also just been on an incredible trip to Switzerland where we did some extreme canyoning (jumping, sliding and abseiling off huge cliffs in a canyon), a 2000ft high Via Ferrata unguided as well as white water rafting and finally paragliding in view of the Eiger! So it just seemed like a no brainer than on this visit we would finally be Paragliding in Oludeniz!
So here we were, back in the little Turkish town we knew so well, surrounded by friends we’d made over the years and now family with Shorty’s Dad and Step Mum now living here. The time to tick this long standing bucket list item was now! We’d already had an incredible time returning to Turkey, finally making it to Istanbul as well as exploring the unworldly landscape of Cappadocia on foot as well as in a hot air balloon, so paragliding in Turkey would be the icing on the cake of our return!
Extreme sports enthusiasts on the trip of a lifetime backpacking around the world stood at the bottom of the mountain with enough money, time and contacts to make it happen whenever we wanted!! This was it, we were going paragliding in Oludeniz!
Paragliding in Turkey: Jumping of Babadag mountain
This time though we had no real nerves or second thoughts. After paragliding in Switzerland we felt in a much better position to take on this much higher and longer jump. Where as we were going from 4000 ft in Switzerland and on a 15 minute flight, this time it was 7000 ft+ and a 45 minute flight time! This time we knew all about taking off and landing, about how it feels to be in the air and also how amazing paragliding is! It really made it much more enjoyable being filled with excitement more than nerves and we just couldn’t wait to do the paragliding in Oludeniz finally!
Having friends and family in the town meant we did things a little differently than most people do when they go Paragliding in Turkey. Rather than booking through one of the many companies down on the beach we went up with a friends partner and his colleague. He had been doing this for well over 30 years, so we were in good hands!
Most people wait at the bottom and take one of the company mini buses up in a large group waiting for the allotted slots to jump. Us on the other hand got on the Dolmus, a public bus system in Turkey that also uses adapted minibuses as one of the main forms of public transport! It was pretty surreal to be on the bus with others just on a day out, many stopping at places way before the mountain, with all our paragliding gear piled up around us! Apparently back in the day the road up here was almost as scary as the paragliding itself. But thankfully today with the rise of the popularity of paragliding here they finally got around the building a proper road!
After a short wait we were strapped in and ready to go and with no other riders up there with us there wasn’t much time to really fully contemplate just what we were doing! We knew from Switzerland that the process was pretty straight forward, lifting the canopy into the air we began to run as fast as we could off the steep paved slope until the ground dropped dramatically below us! In no time we were Paragliding in Turkey after all those years!
Paragliding in Oludeniz: Flying over the mountains, beaches and sea!
Before we knew it we were thousands of feet in the air, the wind whistling in our canopy and the craggy mountainside moving swiftly below us. The first sensation I remember upon leaving the ground is being pushed higher into the clouds above the mountain, but from the frantic feeling of take off a sudden calm comes over you. Up here everything seems still and peaceful, maybe not what people expect of paragliding in Oludeniz!
Soaring high above the cliffs and valleys we were on the other side of the mountain to the sea, rounding the peak and breaking through the thin layer of lingering clouds we got our first glimpse of the classic view of the beach that had enticed us in the first place. Now way in the distance we began to feel the height we were travelling at as the whole scene opening up in front of us. Twisting and turning over the mountainside before swinging out over the deep turquoise and azure sea, the unique blue lagoon bay and the golden sands of the beach came into sharp focus. A view we had dreamt of for years was finally right below our feet and is what makes Paragliding in Turkey so special!
From the air we could see the tiny village below, people like ants, boats speeding around the harbour and even the curvature of the earth. My pilot, Ibo, lives over in Kaya village on the over side of the beach, he extended my paragliding in Oludeniz experience to float gently over the famous ghost village on the cliff side over here.
We spent what felt like an eternity floating and flying free above the beach. Every turn gave us a new view of somewhere we knew so well. After spending years seeing photos of this view it felt surreal to be up here and seeing it with our very own eyes! This was it, we were finally paragliding in Oludeniz and it was incredible!
Then it came time to disrupt the peace and have a last kick of adrenaline. Ibo asked me if he could do some tricks in the air above the sea, of course, I said yes! Being pulled left and right by the high G forces I almost felt like we went upside down. Spinning around and around it was hard not to feel out of control, but we trusted our pilots to give us the ultimate thrill ride. Paragliding in Turkey isn’t just about seeing the views, but it’s about adrenaline too!
Heading down towards the beach we got ready to land, coming down in wide circles over the village, the hotels and swimming pools getting bigger and bigger. Coming in fast we made a smooth landing right on the beach with family and friends waiting for our safe arrival back down to earth! What an experience it was to finally go paragliding in Turkey!
The best paragliding in the world: Landing on the UNESCO listed Blue Lagoon
Paragliding here off the Babadag is world class and is often regarded as some of the best paragliding in the world with an international meet and competition even being held here every year in Autumn! What makes it so special is the unique geography of this area and it’s that that makes paragliding in Turkey world class.
The towering 7000 ft Babadag mountain rises directly from the warm Mediterranean sea. Not only does this create on of the most beautiful views coming off the peak and flying directly over the UNESCO listen Blue Lagoon beach, often listed among the top in the world. But the turquoise waters also create some of the best thermals too, they actually lift you higher than the mountain itself upon take off insuring at least 45 mins in the air and for the extreme athletes who compete every year perfect conditions to try some insane manoeuvres!
If ever there was an ultimate location to try paragliding it has to be here in Oludeniz! It’s one of the reasons we love Turkey so much, besides our connections here with friends and family, the incredible landscapes, culture and diversity across the country make it an incredible destination.
Paragliding in Turkey: Doing it a second time!
So, we survived running off the side of the mountain once… so why not do it again! Second time around we found ourselves back in Turkey unexpected whilst we were living in New Zealand. After a 36 hr flight home we jetted back off to Turkey again to meet up with Shorty’s mum to celebrate her 60th birthday in her favourite place! It was a wonderful trip and so great to see family and friends after now being away backpacking for 3 years!
Returning to Oludeniz we were easy really about doing the paragliding again and eventually were persuaded to do it again by Shorty’s sister and her boyfriend who wanted the moral support! Did we provide that, probably not! I think our now blase attitude to the whole thing probably made them more nervous rather than putting them at ease! In the end Melanie took the jump and Aaron didn’t having probably been pushed into something that really wasn’t him! It’s far enough really, paragliding in Oludeniz isn’t for the faint hearted!
Doing it a second time I was actually a touch more nervous than the first, maybe because I knew just how high you go and that you feel every single metre of the exposure! Or Maybe it was Mel screaming just from the bus ride up sat right behind me! I was also pretty excited though to see that view again though!
Each paragliding experience, even on the same mountain, is totally different. This time it was much more windy setting off but there were no clouds at least. It was a lot more turbulent up top and we took a different route entirely over the mountains and the town below! Once up I was even more relaxed than the first time, able to just sit back and take it all in again and reflect on how lucky I am to find myself with this spectacular view below me once again! Would I do the paragliding in Oludeniz again when we inevitably return! Hell yeah!
Questions and tips for paragliding in Oludeniz yourself:
Who should I book with?
There are a lot of different operators who sell from both down in Oludeniz and Hisaronu. The two most trusted are Gravity and Sky Sports. We would recommend Sky Sports out of the two as they give a more personal experience, whereas you feel a bit like cattle with Gravity and they are also much less pushy with buying photos after and allow you to take your own camera too.
You could also book online with a trusted tour operator
How much does it cost for paragliding in Oludeniz and how much are the photos
The average cost of paragliding in Oludeniz is around £50 / TL 385 / $65
Expect to get quotes in both Lira and Sterling in this area due to the amount of holidaying Brits. Sometimes its best to pay in £ if you have them and they can be withdrawn from the cash machines in town as well as Turkish Lira.
You can book directly with the companies at their offices or through other agents in the town. Either way it doesn’t make too much of a difference and there is no real benefit from booking direct other than being able to talk through the experience with them directly. If booking other trips here such as the boat trips or even bus tickets then you will likely be able to get a discount for booking together. But do check with the shop which company they have booked you with. Generally speaking the tour shops in Hisaronu and Oludeniz are trustworthy and won’t rip you off!
Most bookings also include a pick up from your hotel too especially if booked at a tour shop and of course the ride up the mountain too!
One thing to bare in mind is that photos and videos are extra and the charges vary. We got photos, videos and some 360 photos burnt on to a disk and it set us back and extra £35 / TL 270 / $45 each. Some companies do offer packages beforehand but its usual not to as the pilots sell these themselves after the flight. You can often get just photos for cheaper and can also get them sent to your phone, put on a disk or sometimes a memory stick.
Is there a weight limit/ height restrictions/ age limits for paragliding in Oludeniz?
Being Turkey things are pretty flexible but generally speaking the limit is around the 100kg / 16 Stone. However some companies operate on a total weight of you and the pilot so if they might put you with a lighter pilot if you are just over. It’s worth speaking directly to the companies and booking with them direct if you are around that weight just to be sure. Some companies might push safety and allow you to do it but that is up to you if you think it is worth it!
There are no height restrictions and most companies also don’t have age limits either and have taken children up too!
Are you covered on your insurance and is it safe?
The bigger companies such as Gravity and Sky Sports offer an “insurance” that they say covers you for over 1.5 million Lira in costs. This may be true but it wouldn’t cover costs to bring you back home and might have some clauses in that you should be a little wary of. Most travel insurance won’t cover activities such as paragliding as it’s an extreme sport so you should take our specialist insurance and be sure to check specifically for paragliding. The good news is that most insurers allow add ons and many also can be taken for a single day. We recommend World Nomads for travel insurance.
Paragliding in Turkey has a mixed reputation and there have been accidents and deaths here over the years, but it is an extreme sport after all in a challenging place. Most of the accidents actually occur to single riders tackling this incredible spot without enough experience or knowledge and not to the tandem riders. Like anything there is a risk involved but that is part of the thrill. Thousands of people go paragliding in Oludeniz each year and accidents are rare given the numbers. Sticking with one of the main companies is a good idea however as they have the best safety standards and experience.
Paragliding in Turkey: What is the ride up the mountain like?
A lot of people will tell you the ride up the mountain is more scary than the jump itself. Personally being not that bad with these things it didn’t bother us at all, however there were people on our bus who were a bit panicky. It’s certainly steep and narrow with some long drops and a steady driver required. But these guys go up and down several times a day and I’ve never heard of one crashing! At least now they have a proper tarmacked road up rather than the dirt track a few years back!
Can I take my own camera or phone paragliding in Oludeniz?
This all depends on the company and the pilot as well as your camera. I’ve found it to be pretty hit and miss with some companies and others have only said no because the pilots want to sell you their photos. I found Gravity to be pretty strict but when I sneaked by camera up with a secure lanyard and told my pilot I still wanted his photos he just shrugged, but at this point we were almost ready for taking off. Phone usually have to be left in the offices. However Sky Sports seems to be a lot more relaxed when it comes to taking cameras and phones up and quite often your pilot will carry them and hand it to you whilst you are up there, which can be a bit risky! I would be sure to speak to them before hand and also take a camera that can be secured using a lanyard.
I used a long lanyard and tied it securely to the loops on my waist band as well as a GoPro attached to my wrist!
Can I back out of paragliding in Oludeniz if I don’t want to do it!?
Yes, you can back out at any point and even right at the top you can get back in the bus to come down. However the companies are very unlikely to refund you. It’s best to be pretty sure you will do it or if you do back out do it with a few days to spare for a better chance of a refund!
Is it the best place to paraglide in the world?
Of course, look at those views, the prices and the time spent in the air. Plus, you land right on the beach so you can relax after or go straight into one of the many bars and restaurants right on the strip too!
How to get to Oludeniz
Oludeniz is a popular beach resort on the south coast of Turkey.
The closest city is Fethiye just 40 mins away by Dolmus. The dolmus runs regularly every 15 mins and costs 6 TL / £0.80 / $1.00
Fethiye is a small harbour city which in itself is a beautiful place to visit. it’s well connected to the rest of the country with buses running from the “Otogar” to Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya, Marmaris, Cappadocia and further regularly.
The closest airport is Dalaman which is around 1.5hrs away. Most people on holiday here take a transfer but they are quite expensive for the budget traveller.
The best way is to make your way to Fethiye and take one of the coaches from the Otogar. Kamil Koc, Pamukkle and Metro Turizm run them and the cost is between 10 TL / £1.30 / $1.65 – 20 TL / £2.60 / $3.30 and it takes between 40 mins and 1.15 hrs.
There is also the Havas bus service that is run in partnership with Turkish Airlines though anyone can use them as well as Muttas bus. These cost around 10 TL / £1.30 / $1.65 each way. Be sure to ask at the information desk in the airport to be pointed in the right direction.
Have you ever done something so amazing as paragliding in Oludeniz!?
Check out the last time we went paragliding: Swiss Alps Paragliding
Check out our video of paragliding in Turkey here:
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