Türkiye’s Babadağ Takes Off as Paragliding Hub

A favorite destination for paragliders, Babadağ in the southwestern Turkish province of Muğla’s Fethiye district has attracted more visitors in recent years. The cable car company operator overseeing flights says the number of flights increased by 15% to 109,347 in the first eight months of 2022, compared to the same period of 2021.

Located in the rural district of Ölüdeniz, which is also home to one of the most pristine corners of the Mediterranean Sea, Babadağ, located approximately 1,965 meters (6,447 feet) above sea level, is easily accessible with cable cars while some people choose to drive to the place.

Paragliders flying in Babadağ, Muğla, southwestern Turkey, September 7, 2022. (AA PHOTO)

Taking off from the highest point, paragliders indulge in the stunning scenery of Ölüdeniz (literally the Dead Sea named for its calm yet crystal-clear turquoise waters) below. In the company of skilled pilots, tourists get a bird’s eye view of the region surrounded by lush forests.

Last year, Babadağ hosted 167,000 flights. Later this month it will host a four-day Acro World Cup and the Ölüdeniz International Aerial Games Festival, while authorities hope two events featuring skilled paragliders will attract more Babadağ. Cengiz Koçak, director of the cable car company, told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Wednesday that the number of flights exceeded their expectations. “The flights benefit the tourism sector in the region and we hope to break a new record this year, with 200,000 flights by the end of the year,” he said. Koçak said foreign tourists were among the visitors and Babadağ was most popular among British tourists. “After the British, Russian, Chinese and Ukrainian tourists take part in most flights,” he added.

“Babadağ will be Turkey’s first host of an international aerobatic event this year. We will also have a Turkey Championship at the event. We expect the participation of some 4,000 paragliders from 75 countries,” he said.

Babadağ offers its visitors a chance to observe the unique landscape with its four tracks, which are 1,200, 1,700, 1,800 and 1,900 meters high. While those who practice paragliding feel the adrenaline in the air, those who sunbathe on the beach watch the visual feast created by paragliders.

With steep hills overlooking the sea, sprawling forests and windy weather, Turkey offers a lot to paragliders. Babadağ is the main destination, while similar spots are available in the provinces of Denizli, Kaş in Antalya, Mount Nemrut in southeastern Turkey, Alidağ in the central Anatolian province of Kayseri, Munzur in Erzincan near the Black Sea region, the central province of Eskişehir, Izmir in the west and Tekirdağ in the northwest.

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