Europe, July/August, May/June, September/October, Travel Guide

Guide to Koessen, Austria

Friday 7 February, 2014
Koessen has wide, grassy take-offs accessed by cable car. All very civilised! Photo: Marcus King

Koessen has wide, grassy take-offs accessed by cable car. All very civilised! Photo: Marcus King

If you sat back and designed the perfect free flying venue it would probably look like Kössen.


Perched on the northern edge of the Alps, Kössen has hosted FAI world championships in both hang gliding and paragliding, and is now the home of the Super Paragliding Testival, an annual outdoor event where pilots can test fly almost any paraglider they fancy.

Kössen is a quiet little town on the Austrian-German border. From the plains just south of the town the landscape rears up into the first ridges of the Alps, where the Unterberg stands.

Accessed by a 15-minute cable car ride, the Unterberg has big, wide, grassy take-offs towards the east, north and west. Kössen lies in its own microclimate and is protected from strong winds by the high mountains around it. Locals say that statistically you can fly here more days of the year than anywhere else in the Northern Alps.

There are XC possibilities for all levels of pilots from the Unterberg – you can go 20 km or 200 from here. The valleys are open, wide and friendly to land in.

The main landing is in the Fliegerbar Arena, where the Super Paragliding Testival is held each year. It’s a huge and well-maintained area with golf lawns. The Fliegerbar has a beer garden atmosphere and sells budget food and drinks for pilots.

There’s even a glider repair centre in town and, being in the heart of the European free flying scene, most brands have either their businesses or representatives in the region.

Flatland and mountain thermals to choose from. Regular alpine breezes set up in the afternoons but, as the area is quite green, the heating isn’t too intense so the winds rarely get unmanageable.

May until the end of September

Cloudbase: 3,000m
Launch: 1,500 – 1,700m
Landing: 650m

The cable car has special transport units for hang gliders and will take them at no extra cost. Hang gliders have to carry up 50 m to their take-off.

Wrap up a monster FAI triangle. 200km plus is possible from here.

Kössen is as safe a place to fly as you can find in the Alps. The only place to watch out for is the locally known ‘Bermuda Triangle’, a landingless valley to the west of launch.

The locals have established a set of rules for landing procedures. These should be adhered to, and can be found at the Fliegerbar.


Kössen has a range of hotels and many guesthouses offering rooms to tourists – look for the word “zimmer”. The Euro Camping is 400m from the main landing field, and within walking distance of the lift.

The Kössen Flying School and its partner schools offer paragliding tuition all summer. Tandem flights are also offered and can be booked at the Fliegerbar. On request, the Flying School is happy to help all visiting schools, clubs and groups, and can even arrange group discounts for food, accommodation and lift tickets.

“I love Kössen, not just because it’s flyable almost all of the time and logistically it’s so easy to fly, but more because the atmosphere amongst the pilots is so good. It’s a no-stress flying site.” – Richard Gallon, Kössen resident and ex-PWC champion

Definitely. There’s tons to do around Kössen in summer. Swimming, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, rafting, kayaking etc. The Fliegerbar will even provide special care for kids while parents fly.

Walk the rocky tracks in the “Wilder Kaiser”. Sightseeing in Kitzbühel, Salzburg or Innsbruck or visit the famous Swarovski Crystal Worlds in Wattens. Or make a date to visit one of the many paragliding manufacturers in the region –Skywalk, Wings of Change, Nova and Pro-Design all have their bases close by.

Contact the tourist office or get advice at the Fliegerbar.

Official aviation weather forecast updated daily at the Fliegerbar.

Fly to Munich, Salzberg or Innsbruck, then hire a car or take a bus or train. If driving take the autobahn to Kufstein, then it’s half an hour to Kössen.


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