Still catching up from an awesome summer, this is just a little post on Gerlitzen, Austria, where I spent a week at the end of July.
This area is really well used by Paragliders as there is a ski lift and a season ticket isn’t too expensive. But the main appeal is the altitude that can be achieved over water, so you’ll see lots of acrobatics!
If you fancy seeing what it’s like you can get a tandem ride by chatting to someone at the top of the chair lift, but you normally need to book a few days in advance. All the pilots have a pretty good level of English.
There’s quite a few activities in the area too, at the castle (short cycle away) there is a falconry show and monkey safari. You can also hire bicycles and go for a hike on the mountains. There are lots of well marked hiking, biking and Nordic Walking trails. I walked down the mountain one day and saw a black squirrel! On the lake you can hire boats and even have a BBQ out on the water.
If you are paragliding out there, stay at the Lindenhof Campsite. The one closer to the lake is not a fan and will report you to the authorities if you land on their land (even in an emergency). The other thing to note is that you will need an Austrian Pilot license (other international qualifications are not accepted- but if you talk to a local they can let you know who to speak to to get one) and log-book with you at all times, so if you are trying out new tricks make sure you keep these in a dry bag in your harness.
In nearby Villach there is also a lovely Thermal Nakt Spa, so don’t be shy!
All in all this little village is great if you’re outdoorsy and love a bit of variety like I do. The weather is really warm and gets pretty humid before some epic thunderstorms. You’ll definitely need suncream and insect repellant!
The cheapest nearby airport is Ljubljana in Slovenia, which also has amazing scenery and is worth spending a few days in. From there car hire is simplest but public transport is also possible.