It’s hard to imagine the skies above Fethiye’s most famous mountain, Babadağ, in Ölüdeniz, in the days before it was filled with brightly coloured paragliding canopies floating through air.

Now one of the most popular holiday resorts on the Turkish Mediterranean, Ölüdeniz has also become one of the most sought after places to fly in the world with numbers increasing year on year.

Paragliding from Ölüdeniz
Paragliding from Ölüdeniz

 A new record set

Over the past few years there have been many improvements made to the access roads and take-off area, allowing the 1,965-metre take-off on Babadag and this is reflected in the number of flights being made.

Last year there were 71,803 but for the same period this year there have been 90,136, an increase of 22%; an additional 18,333 flights.

Tandem flights are becoming increasingly popular but solo flights are down on last year: 8,236 this year compared with 8,453 for the same period last year. In contrast, tandem flights have seen a record increase.

Paraglidng record for Babadağ
Paraglidng record for Babadağ

 All year round flying from Babadağ

Fethiye’s Chamber of Commerce’s company Fethiye Guç Birliği [Fethiye Joint Forces] have been working hard to improve the access road, safety and refreshment facilities as well as opening alternative lower altitude take-off areas on the mountain. This will enable paragliding to carry on during the winter at lower altitudes when the take-off areas on the summits are covered in snow.

 Number one in the world

Ahmet Sadıç, general co-ordinator for Babadağ Air Sports and Recreation, said that facilities were being improved all the time, and safety regulations were paramount.

We have medical teams and ambulances on site, in the unfortunate event of an accident, we have strict controls on safety and every winter we are working to make the access roads paved, and therefore more accessible.”

Sadıç confirmed that the continued investment in the infrastructure on the mountain has benefits for all concerned:

Our hard work is paying off, bringing the number of jumps made to record levels this year. Every day there are between 600 – 650 paragliding flights from Babadağ, making it the number one paragliding location in the world.”