Algodonales in Spain is a mecca for paragliding and hang gliding, offering almost year-round thermalling and soaring conditions. These four sites are all good alternatives for pilots based in Algo and looking to explore further afield.
This is the main alternative to Algodonales. It takes a westerly, like Poniente on Lijar, but it’s more sheltered so will be flyable when the wind on Lijar is too strong. It’s a beautiful wooded site, from which you can escape and fly eastwards, back to Algo. At the far end, rock faces are home to large vultures, which will show you where to turn when it’s on. Even on days when Algo is working it’s worth considering starting from El Bosque and flying to Algo, to add 10-15km to your XC total.
Direction: W / NW
Take-off / landing: 658m / 254m
It’s a bit of a schlep from Algodonales, requiring a two-hour drive, but when the wind is right it’s definitely worth it. The coastal site has a low dune ridge that you can surf for over 20km. The flight takes you along the edge of a nature reserve, and the easy soaring means you can relax and enjoy the views. The only legal take-off is near town, next to the Banana Bar, so if you bomb out 10km down the ridge you face a long hike back. Note that paramotoring is not allowed – surfing the seafront buildings at the end, is.
Take-off / landing: 20m / 0m
Forty minutes from Algo, Teba sits at the top of a long rounded mountain, with a picturesque castle on top. After an easy take-off, going over the back here will put you in airspace, as will getting 100m above take-off. This is active airspace so don’t ignore it and don’t be surprised to see an Easyjet airbus cruising past on its way to Malaga. Pushing out in front, to the north, will give you some technical but satisfying flying and you can crab your way west back to Algo. The site is popular with hangies too as it can blow hard here.
Direction: N / NW / E
Take-off / landing: 594m, landing 429m, toplandable
RONDA LA VIEJA
A beautiful rounded take-off gets you into the air above a kilometre-long spineback ridge. It’s a private site so to fly here you must clear it with FlySpain or Zero Gravity, who are both generous towards independent pilots. The valley venturi runs through here and can get you 500m above take-off. Just be careful not to get blown over the back where there is no forgiveness. An easy XC towards Ronda will take you up over a well-preserved Roman amphitheatre. The altitudes are similar to Lijar, so don’t expect to be protected if it’s blowing a gale there.
Direction: N / NW / S
Read the main site guide to Algodonales here