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Paragliding Algarve: all you need to know+our honest review

Did you ever want to fly like a bird? To glide silently through the sky and admire the beautiful nature of the Algarve from above? If that is something you want to check off your bucket list then you must definitely read on to learn more about paragliding in the Algarve.

It truly is an amazing experience and the beautiful Algarve coast is one of the best places for paragliding. The rugged coastline is even more beautiful when seen from above, certainly during sunset.

Here we share everything you need to know about paragliding in the Algarve.

When you’re finished reading this article you will know exactly what to expect, as well as the best time for paragliding in the Algarve, the best place, and a list of recommended tours.

There is a really good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission (for which we are deeply grateful) at no extra cost to you.

In a hurry? Here you will find the most important information about tandem paragliding in the Algarve and Portugal

A paraglider is a lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure. Since there is no engine involved, you need to have mountains. A paratrike is a powered paraglider. Flying with a paratrike is called paramotoring.

Tours are offered year-round.

Almost everyone can go paragliding, even those with disabilities and those who suffer from vertigo. It’s a very safe activity. You will make a tandem flight with a professional instructor. If you book this activity as a group or couple, you will take turns.

We choose to fly with Fly Algarve over Praia da Falésia in Albufeira but other providers also get good reviews.

Check prices and availability:
Paraglide or paratrike tour by Fly Algarve

Curious about how it is to make a flight? You can read our full review here.

The Marina of Vilamoura

What is paragliding?

Paragliding is done with a paraglider.

A lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure.

Together with the pilot you sit in a harness suspended below a fabric wing whose shape is formed by the airflow from the open parachute above.

As a passenger, you sit in the front so you have mind-blowing views in all directions. The pilot sits in the back from where he steers the paraglider.

Paragliding is flying in its purest form. There’s no engine involved. You take off from a mountain and fly like a bird to land back lower.

What’s the difference between paragliding and parasailing?

You should not confuse paragliding with parasailing.

When parasailing you’re towed behind a vehicle. Most often this is a boat but it can also be done overland and then a jeep is used.

With a coastline of over 155 km, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that parasailing is also very popular in the Algarve.

What’s a paratrike or paramamotoring?

Lastly, there’s also a powered paraglider called a paratrike.

Flying with a paratrike is called paramotoring.

The difference between paramotoring/paratrike and paragliding is described below.

The paratrike ready for departure
The paratrike ready for departure

What’s the difference between paragliding and paramotoring/paratrike?

To be able to use a paraglider you need to have mountains.

This led to the demand for a solution to be able to perform this recreational sport in areas without mountains.

As such the paratrike was born.

The harness was reinforced with a steel frame and equipped with a rotor on the back.

The harness is called a trike.

Thanks to the wheels underneath the trike taking off and landing is easier than before, there’s absolutely no physical effort involved.

This makes a paratrike flight accessible to more people and reduces the risk of injuries.

When is the best time to go paragliding?

The tours are offered year-round and the experience can be just as good in January as in August. That said there are some things that you should keep in mind.

The activity is weather dependent and the weather in the Algarve is more unpredictable in winter than in summer.

Winter

It often rains in December and January and both paragliding and paramotoring (paratrike) cannot be done in rain.

If you plan this activity in winter it will be hit-and-miss.

The chances of your tour being canceled or rescheduled will certainly be higher in winter than during the other months.

Keep this in mind when you book and plan your tour at the start of your vacation. This gives you the flexibility to move it to another date if it is needed.

Spring and autumn

Paragliding

For paragliding, you need a little bit of wind but also not too much.

This makes spring and autumn when there is more wind than during summer and less rain compared to the winter months the best seasons for this activity.

Paramotoring

Paramotoring is less wind-depending.

Too much wind can cause your activity to be canceled, but thanks to the forward motion caused by the engine it can be done during windless days.

Therefore it can be done in spring and autumn and it is a popular alternative for paragliding in summer.

Summer

Summer is the season with the least wind. It is not wind still, there’s always some wind coming from the sea, but the conditions are not always ideal for paragliding.

Fly trip, the organizer we flew with, always uses his paratrike during the summer months. Paramotoring can be done on windless days.

During the summer months it is best to book with Fly Trip because he has both a paratrike as well as a paraglider. The chance that your tour will be canceled due to the wind is therefore smaller.

Who can go paragliding?

Great news! Both a paraglide and a paratrike flight in the Algarve can be enjoyed by almost everybody.

You don’t require any special physical fitness as for the most part all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the views. Our pilot told us that he had already taken disabled persons on a tour.

When doing a paragliding flight you will need to run a short distance of 5 to 15 meters during take-off and possibly the same distance again when landing. For a paratrike flight, this is not required. Both you and the pilot sit in the trike during both take-off and landing.

Aren’t there any restrictions then? No, there are a few, depending on the operator. First, there’s a weight restriction. Depending on the operator the minimum weight will be anywhere between 20 or 40 kg, the maximum varies around 100-120 kg usually.

There’s also a minimum age and a minimum height that participants need to have.

How many people can fly at a time

Your Algarve paraglide or paratrike flight will be a tandem flight, namely the pilot and one passenger.

If you book this activity as a group or a couple you will take turns.

Praia da Falésia seen from above
Praia da Falésia seen from above

Can I do a tandem paragliding flight if I suffer from vertigo?

Yes, absolutely! You will not suffer from vertigo when flying because it can only be experienced when standing on a physical object/in physical contact with the ground.

You don’t need to take my word for it, you will find many reviews of people suffering vertigo that assure they have enjoyed their flight for a full 100%.

The first few seconds of the flight may feel a bit strange but that quickly turns into a calming feeling.

This isn’t an adrenaline rush like you get with skydiving, it’s more of a feeling of absolute freedom you get from soaring through the air.

Is it dangerous to go paragliding?

All tours are operated by professional pilots who include various safety elements.

The weather conditions will determine where your flight will take place and if your pilot thinks that it is not safe to take off your flights will be postponed or canceled (in that case, you will of course get a refund).

The equipment is always checked before the flight and our pilot said that he replaced his parachute every two years and the wiring even every year.

We give a full review of our tour that we absolutely recommend here.

Between paragliding and paramotoring, the latter is seen as the safest of the two because the engine gives the pilot more options to navigate and the constant forward motions also help to keep the parachute inflated.

Lastly a fun fact about paragliding safety that will likely amaze you: every year more accidents happen with horseback riding than paragliding.

Tandem Paragliding in Algarve: where can you go flying?

We can fully recommend the tour we did but other providers do also get good reviews.

Here’s an overview of the tours in the Algarve and the rest of Portugal.

Paragliding in and around Albufeira: Fly Algarve

This is the tour we did. You find a complete review of our experience here.

You will either fly a paraglide or a paratrike.

Whenever possible the flight will take you over Praia da Falésia but this can be changed for other locations depending on the weather.

The meeting point will be communicated the day before.

For an extra fee the pilot can take pictures and a video of your flight. It’s also possible to book a sunset flight.

We recommend this pilot and tour for a full 100%.

Check prices and availability:
Paraglide or paratrike tour Fly Algarve

Paragliding in and around Lagos, Albufeira, Loulé, Sagres: Flytrip

Flytrip always flies with a paraglider.

Your meeting point will be either somewhere near Loulé, Albufeira, Lagos, or Sagres.

It will be communicated the day before.

You will either fly over parts of the Costa Vincentina or over some of the beautiful beaches of the Algarve.

This tour gets excellent reviews. Customers found it a once in a lifetime experiece.

Check prices and availability:
Paragliding tour Flytrip

Here we share more areas where you can go paragliding in Portugal. This is a great alternative for those that aren’t able to go paragliding in the Algarve.

Paragliding in Lisbon area

Paragliding in Sesimbra, Almada, Sétubal or Sintra

Extreme Lisbon will take you for a 20-minute flight over either Sesimbra, Almada, Setúbal, or Sintra.

If you have a car you can go to the meeting point yourself but for an extra fee they can pick you up from your hotel.

Check prices and availability:
Paragliding tour Lisbon area

Paragliding over the Lisbon beaches

Espiral takes you on a 20 to 30-minute flight over one of the beaches in the greater Lisbon area.

The guides speak English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. If you want they can make a souvenir video of your flight.

As with the other tours, the take-off point will be determined depending on the weather conditions.

Customers loved this tour and found it one of the coolest things they ever did.

Check prices and availability:
Paragliding over Lisbon’s beaches

Sylvia during her paratrike flight

Paragliding in Costa de Caparica

This tandem paragliding flight will usually take place in the Costa de Caparica region south of Lisbon but you can share your preferred location as long as it is in an area of 30 to 60 kilometers around Lisbon.

They will take your preferences into account as much as possible, but in the end the pilot will decide which area is best taking into account safety and weather. Pick-up from your hotel is included from 2 people.

Check prices and availability:
Costa de Caparica paragliding tour

Paragliding or paratriking in Serra de Arrábida

The Serra da Arrábida is a beautiful mountainous area on the coast south of Lisbon.

Flytime is happy to take you on a flight of approximately 25 minutes over this stunning landscape.

Tours are organized year-round except for the summer months.

It is also possible to choose a paratrike flight, these also go during the summer.

Group paragliding in Sintra

This tour is ideal for larger groups who want their own private tour.

You will meet in Cascais from where you will head to the flight area in either Cascais or Sintra.

The organizer will take photos so you have everlasting memories of your experience.

Check prices and availability:
Group paragliding Sintra

In-depth review of our Algarve Paraglide flight

We booked our tandem paragliding tour in the Algarve on GetYourGuide.

It was one of the most astonishing experiences we had during our latest Algarve trip so we are happy to share the details so you have a better understanding of what to expect when you book your trip.

This is a one-man business so you can rest assured that you will have the same pilot that we had.

Paratrike or paraglide?

When you book this tour it can be either of the two. It will depend on the weather.

Whenever it’s possible the pilot will opt for the paratrike as these are the most beautiful tours over the beaches.

If you book this tour in summer you can be sure that it will be with a paratrike. In the other seasons, depending on the weather, he chooses the paratrike or the paraglider.

When paragliding you will leave from a mountain near Albufeira or from the cliffs near Falésia beach.

Booking your paragliding trip

The booking process on GetYourGuide is very straightforward.

You pick the date and the number of participants and if there is availability on that date you will be able to add the activity to your shopping cart.

It’s not possible to choose a specific time so you will need to refrain from planning any other activities that day but fear not, this experience is completely worth it.

And after all, you’re on vacation so there’s no reason to jam-pack each and every day full of activities.

There’re plenty of beaches in the Algarve where you can spend a relaxing day.

Payment is done at the time of booking but you can cancel for a full refund up to 24 hours in advance if your plans would change.

You can also book a sunset flight.  This flight is a little longer than the usual flights and it has the advantage that you know at what time it will go.

That is of course great but not in itself a reason to book a sunset flight. The prime reason is the unique sunset colors you will see during this flight.  While a paraglide flight will be a unique experience during any time of the day it is even better during sunset when the setting sun turns the rocky coastline completely red and it almost looks like they’re on fire.

Pre-flight

As our activity approached we were contacted by the tour operator with more details about our flight.

In our case, this was the evening before the actual activity. The reason this is so late is because one has to take into account the latest weather forecasts.

First, we arranged the time of our flight and a rough estimate of where our flight would take place, then later, somewhere between one to two hours in advance, we got the exact coordinates of the meeting point with Google Maps.

We took off from an empty plot of land close to Praia da Falésia.

Thanks to google maps’ navigation feature it was easy to find.

You don’t need to wait that long if you have questions about your activity. You will get the contact details of the tour operator along with your booking confirmation.

Getting ready for take-off

Getting ready for your flight

When we arrived at the meeting point the paratrike was already completely set up and ready to go. As it was our first flight we didn’t jump straight in but we had some questions first. 🙂

Our pilot took the time to put us at ease.

He was very professional and explained everything we needed to know. He said that safety was his utmost priority and here are some things we remembered from his explanation:

  • He has over 10 years of experience with paragliding and paramotoring.
  • When he’s not doing tours with tourists he’s also an instructor.
  • He replaces the parachute every two years and the wiring of the parachute every year.
  • When he’s not absolutely sure about the weather conditions he prefers to reschedule or cancel the tours even if that means that he sometimes forfeits some income and needs to disappoint customers who absolutely want to go. Safety first!

But most important of all, if you’re flying with a paratrike it comes down to just sitting down and doing nothing except enjoying the view.

You will get a hairnet and a helmet as well as a headset with a mic that allows you to communicate with the pilot. The trike has a chair with a seat belt and you can put your foot on a footrest.

It’s best to wear closed shoes.

This is not a requirement, but slippers can of course be lost on the way faster than a closed shoe. Sylvia wore flip-flops and wasn’t that comfortable in the trike during the flight because she was afraid of losing them. (which she didn’t because it is really a very smooth ride)

A sturdy walking or running shoe is a must when you will be paragliding because you will be running a short distance on an uneven terrain during take-off.

We have more clothing tips here.

The flight

There’s really not that much to say about the flight except that it is a fantastic experience.

It is something I had on my bucket list for a while and I’m happy I finally had the opportunity to check it off. I’m sure I will do it again in the future.

It’s hard to describe how much fun it is so I hope this video gives you an idea.

When you’re paragliding the flight time will depend on the weather conditions but with the paratrike you can be sure that you will do a tour of about 20 minutes.

Our pilot told us that whenever he can he likes to fly his guests over Praia da Falésia, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve. That’s also what we did.

We flew over this beautiful beach with its deep-red colors during the sunset. The tour also takes you over the Villamoura marina with the millionaire yachts and you can see some exclusive resorts from above. The 20 minutes fly by in no time. (pun intended)

The flight itself is very smooth and thanks to the headset you only have limited noise from the rotor. It’s a peaceful experience to soar through the sky.

The landing

During the landing the pilot will do most, or should I say, all of the work.

We flew with the paratrike where you just can stay in your seat the whole time.

When paragliding it depends on the instructor. He will tell you in advance whether you will need to lift your legs during the landing and have the instructor do all the work or whether you will both get up and do another small run.

If you have booked for more than one person, the pilot will rearrange the parachute and do a quick check of the wiring, this will only take a few minutes and the next person will be ready to take off.

Check prices and availability:
Paraglide or paratrike tour Fly Algarve

Useful tips for you paragliding Algarve tour

Here are some helpful tips to make the most of your flight.

Sunglasses: To fully enjoy the view it is best to wear sunglasses. This can be your regular pair unless these are a little loose. In that case, it is best to provide a pair that is a bit tighter and not as easy to lose.

Clothes: You will be sitting still during the entire flight and there will be a little breeze. It will probably feel a little colder than on the ground. It’s best to dress in layers and check what to wear with the pilot before you depart. You can always get in touch earlier if you have specific questions.

Shoes: Closed-toe shoes are advised, even if you will fly the paratrike. If you will be paragliding you should wear proper footwear that allows you to run a short distance during take-off and landing. This may be on uneven terrain so a sturdy shoe is recommended.

Getting there in time: It can be a little tricky to arrive at the meeting point in time because it is only communicated close to your actual activity. We recommend spending the day close to the area where you will be flying. This is a great opportunity for a relaxing day at Praia da Falésia which is often mentioned as one of the best beaches in the Algarve. If you want to combine it with some hiking and bird watching you can head to one of the beaches near Salgados where you can do lovely hikes in the Lagoa das Salgados. Getting from Salgados to Praia da Falésia takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

Booking: Advance booking is recommended. Our pilot told us that he usually does 5 to 6 flights during the peak season in summer. If you want to be sure of your spot, it is best to book a little longer in advance during this period.

Conclusion

As you can read, a paraglide flight in the Algarve is truly an extraordinary experience.

You can do it without any prior paragliding experience and it doesn’t require any physical fitness.

The beautiful beaches of the Algarve provide a breathtaking backdrop.

If you want to take home some lifetime memories of your trip this paragliding tour might be what you’re looking for.