Paragliding at Loule, the Algarve in Portugal

For paraglider pilots who would like to know more about paragliding in Portugal
I hope this page will help you to discover some new places to fly.

This page is about a paragliding flying site called
Cerro de Cabeca de Camera near Loule in the Algarve.

Directions to the car park, meeting and landing area.

First landmark is Loule railway station. (Estacao Louie)

Loule railway station is a few kilometres south of Loule and is sign posted
on the N125 road at a roundabout.

At the railway station are two cafes and one more just down the road a little bit.
The one opposite the station has Wi-Fi and serves good food.
The cafes are meeting places and somewhere to enjoy some company, a drink
and something to eat after some soaring and flying adventures
around and above the hill.

Standing with your back to the railway station, the hill and the take off area
can be seen in front of you, behind some houses and slightly left.

Keep the railway on the left and follow the road for a couple of kilometres.
The road is a little narrow and often local people travel along this road with horses
and carts so please drive carefully. The car parking area is on the right,
and directly below the take off. Look for the windsock above a tree
and hope it is pointing at the hill. There is plenty of parking space.

The take off is small and has green carpet laid out permanently.
This is easy to see from below. To see what the windsock is doing at the top
of the hill requires fairly good eyesight or binoculars.

For pilots new to this place it is a good chance to take a look at the landing area.
The large open space with patches of bare earth and short grass in front of the three or four olive trees is the landing area. It is large enough and fairly clean, however the bushes and trees on either side have claimed a few victims.
Landing in the prickly stuff is not a lot of fun as the lines of the paraglider
get tangled up very easily.

There is a small packing area on the right, with a bit of shade
and a little bit of carpet to put your wing on when folding it up.

Packing up  paragliders Loule
Packing up paragliders Loule

To get to the take off you can walk up the hill with your wing and equipment in a rucksack and try to pick your route through the bushes, following a rough stony track to the top. I have never walked to the top but I guess it would take about twenty minutes to half an hour.

Another option is to ask if someone is going up and can you have a lift.

Or you can drive to the top but a four wheel drive vehicle is necessary.
Small two wheel drive cars can get to the top but it is bumpy, full of ruts, steep and not easy. The drivers usually giving up after wheel spinning forwards but sliding backwards.

After leaving the car park, drive with the hill on your right to the first slight bend to the left. Here you leave the tarmac and take the track to the right. Then follow the track keeping to the right and ignoring any tracks that lead off to the left. Now the track zig zags its way to the top on the north side of the hill. The town of Loule comes into view and then you are near the top. Here is one of those triangulation point things and a fantastic view of Loule, the coastal towns of Albufiera, Quarteira, the sea and the surrounding area.
The track can be seen very clearly in the video below "Getting away from the hill"
You might also see aeroplanes flying to and from Faro airport.

Loule is a nice place to fly and although it is south facing,
if the see breeze is stronger than any wind from the north it can be flyable.
The terrain is very rocky, quite steep and full of prickly bushes, olive trees
and carob trees but it does have a couple of small flat clean areas near the road
which are suitable for landing if you cant make it back to the proper landing area.

A video of myself taking off, getting low, then catching a couple of nice thermals.

A video of myself gaining altitude and drifting over the back of the hill in a nice thermal, I was with local pilots from the Algarve Paragliding club, Ivo and Helder. Both of them experienced cross country pilots. My flight was very short, but they both flew on much further.

Thanks to the nice Portuguese man who gave me a lift into Loule where I drank a coffee and was later picked up by Flavio, a Brazilian friend of Ivo. Thanks Flavio. From take off to landing measured in a straight line was 4.7km and lasted about 15 minutes.

Other well known and most often used paragliding sites are listed below.

Coastal paragliding sites in the Algarve

Praia Do Cordoama on the west coast near Vila do Bispo
A video of myself and Jose paragliding above the beach

Porto do Mos near Lagos on the South Coast

Praia do Faleisia between Quarteira and Albufiera on the South Coast

Inland paragliding sites in the Algarve and lower Alentejo

Alcaria Ruiva near Mertola in the Alentejo.
A video of myself paragliding at Alcaria Ruiva

Benafatima between Monchique and Sao Marcos do Serra on the ICI 1

Picota Near Monchique.

Foia Near Monchique

Local flying clubs

FlyAlgarve.pt
Treat yourself or a friend to a paragliding experience.
Take a tandem flight (bilugar) and fly as a passenger with experienced pilots
who can give you a thrill to remember and tell your friends about.

Tandem paragliders flying passengers in the Algarve Jose and Valdemar take passengers for a flight at Loule in the Algarve Portugal

The tandem pilots here are friendly, helpful and speak pretty good English.
Please look at the website for photos, videos and contact and booking information.
Treat yourself or someone else to an amazing experience.
http://www.flyalgarve.pt/

Weather forecast for Loule

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