I mean…how could you NOT do this if it were an option?! I had been dreaming of exploring Turkey for a few years, ever since I fell in love with Istanbul on my first visit—and I knew that the stunning Turquoise coast had to be a part of that trip.
I’d known for years (thanks, Pinterest!) that Olüdeniz paragliding ranks among the top paragliding experiences in the world. And since I went skydiving in New Zealand in honor of my 30th birthday, this seemed like a nice throwback and possible new “technicolor birthday” tradition in the making!
There are many companies to choose from when paragliding in Turkey, and typically I would have booked ahead but hadn’t 100% decided to do it. I wanted to keep my options open depending on how lazy I was feeling. But particularly since my Cappadocia hot air balloon ride didn’t pan out due to weather, I decided that this was a must-do. The amazing hotel I stayed at in Fethiye arranged everything for me with Deep Blue Travel.
The Deep Blue staff picked me up at my hotel and took me to their office on the waterfront in Olüdeniz. I waited here for quite a long time, until they were finally ready to take a van-load up the mountain. Bring a book or something to occupy your time, because the exact timing of your flight won’t be certain.
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Then we loaded up into the van and took off up Babadag Mountain (primary peak 6,460 feet). And it was…unexpected! The drive up to the launch point takes about half an hour, and is quite nervewracking. Super steep winding roads, fairly narrow, no shoulder or guardrail and a sheer drop-off. Not for the faint of heart! But absolutely gorgeous views.
My theory is that the van ride is so scary that jumping off a cliff seems totally simple by comparison 🙂
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We unloaded and then I was paired up with Ekol as my pilot. He geared both of us up and then we tried to take off a few times. We couldn’t quite get the chute to fully catch the wind (he literally couldn’t get it up…ha!), but we just were patient and finally caught the wind and ran off the cliff!
One note: There aren’t toilet facilities up there, so plan accordingly…
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It’s insane how easy and non-scary it was to literally run off a cliff! And then what shocked me was how peaceful it was once we were in the air…like floating! There was a bit of wind, but not loud, no adrenaline rush…just gliding through the air.
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We hugged the rocks and cliffs for just a bit, with Ekol playing around with the GoPro. Then we turned to go out over the water—the view that makes paragliding in Turkey so famous!
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I mean Y’ALL. You truly can’t imagine the views here and just how it feels! Ekol did a bit more photography, some video, and then some 360 photos. I enjoyed the peace and quiet up there.
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Here’s a sense of what it’s like up in the air…Ekol did some fun “extreme” swings and almost loops!
The stunning views of the Turquoise Coast were below us, and all the other paragliders were dotted through the air, like a bunch of (quiet) seagulls.
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We could see a few nearby towns on the coast, plus the amazing Olüdeniz Beach and Blue Lagoon from above and a lot of little islands…I’d be sailing through some of those islands the next day, so was cool to see!
I truly didn’t edit this photo, this is the actual color that the camera took. IT’S INSANE.
Ekol swung us super close to the hills and cliffs, then we finally prepared to come in for landing.
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A lot of the Olündeniz paragliders land right along the beach, so you can sit in one of the restaurants or bars and watch them come in constantly through the day. Our landing was super smooth and then we got all disconnected from the gear. Time for a glass of wine and some lunch!
If you’re planning a trip to the Turquoise Coast, then I think I’ve shown you why paragliding in Turkey absolutely has to be on your itinerary! It’s not scary at all unless you have a debilitating fear of heights…and even then, you feel so securely tied into both your guide and a chair-like apparatus that it’s not like you’re falling.
Instead, you get a tiny glimpse of what it’s like to be a bird, floating on the currents over the gorgeous water below!
Tips for paragliding in Turkey
- There are several companies that provide paragliding over Oludeniz. I was happy with Deep Blue Travel, but read reviews and look for safety ratings and certifications.
- What to wear for your paragliding adventure
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that will for sure stay on (tennis shoes are highly recommended). Consider the temperature. I went on a sunny day in September and was fine in short sleeves and pants (a tiny chilly up in the air), but I’m sure it gets cold up there sometimes!
- Bring sunglasses…if they are prone to falling off then a string would be good, but I didn’t have any issues.
- Wear sunscreen! Here are some of my faves for my face, and then for my lips.
- Think about what you bring. You’ll need to leave any bags, purses, etc. down at the travel agency.
- They just had us leave them next to the counter (they’re not locked up or anything) so make sure you’re not leaving valuables or much else there. I did leave my wallet in my purse, but it didn’t have much money in it and was hidden at the bottom of the bag.
Other more extreme adventures you’ll love:
- Skydiving Over New Zealand’s Abel Tasman National Park
- Snorkeling Between Continents: Iceland’s Silfra Fissure
- Quiet, Cold, Love: Dog Sledding in the Arctic Circle
- An Afternoon of Ziplining in Costa Rica
- Hiking Iceland’s Stunning Sólheimajökull Glacier
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