Weather From The Lift: Paragliding In Sopot

Jul 18, 2011 3 Comments by
The House Restaurant: Recommended For Food And Room

The House Restaurant, Sopot: Recommended

It was hot weather last week. So it was time for a short paragliding trip to Sopot. Sopot for me is known for its paragliding. It is located 136km east of Sofia and 63km north of Plovdiv.

Not so long ago it was best known for making weapons. At one time, the factory employed some 20,000 people. This relative prosperity wealth lead to a chair lift being built, enabling the townsfolk to enjoy the fine views. And is the location of today’s weather report. To this day, hiking on the Stara Planina mountain range is popular and makes an easy 2 hour journey from Sofia. By hire car, such as ski packages transport provider urca, or bus, allow 2 hours from Sofia airport. 45 minutes from Plovdiv airport.

The chair lift was bought by a Russian investor who loved paragliding in 2002. He knew that this is one of the best areas to fly in Eastern Europe. This investment in maintaining, and operating the lift, has brought mountain biking, paragliding and hiking tourism to the region. Top level international paragliding and MTB competitions have subsequently been held here.

Take Off Time

I was lucky and was the last person to get up the lift (6 lev one way) at around 11am on Friday. The heat in the valley below was already close to 30 degrees — so the cooler air at launch was a relief. Recognising the top British commercial tandem paraglider pilot and guide, Mark Leavesley, I said hello. In return, his offer for me to follow him and his fellow guide pilot, and top UK cross country record holder, Kai Coleman was a a good one.

With strong climbs in the thermals, we made it close to the end of the ridge past Karlovo and, after about an hour and a half in the air, my concentration waned. It cost me a lost thermal — so I decided to fly out into the valley to land. Should have had a radio with to have heard the advice from Mark.

Sunday turned out to be less than ideal for lying and therefore a chair lift down became the location for the video weather report. The edit has some of my flying moments :).

Christo And Getting Back

A kind offer to help came from Christo, a retired army officer and owner of the self built house which overlooked the land I landed in. He was keen to demonstrate his German Translations for his rakia recipe, as well as a kind invitation to sample his homemade rakia. After this, and a cool beer along with some fresh peaches from his trees, I received a tour of his allotment. Vines, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuces, potaties, flowers, cherries, you name it  — a veritable garden of Eden. Not last seen since I laste travelled to the Seven Rila Lakes, few years ago have I seen such a place. From chubritza being dried along with other herbs, I could tell that this truly young looking fit 60 year old enjoyed his own fine fresh home grown food.

With the temperature around 34 degrees, I enthusiastically accepted his offer for a ride back to Sopot. But first it was to be lunch in the nicely air conditioned home of his daughter, Tania. A pleasant hour passed there and I was returned back to my car at the Shambala lift. From my aerial adventure, to an equally special kind of Bulgarian hospitality — it was a perfect day.

Kashtata (“The House”)

The House, Sopot

Kushtata -- "The House", Sopot Quality

The HOUSE restaurant, with its exceptionally pleasant large gardens, made an ideal place to catch up with some new paragliding friends, as well as the owner Lubo.

I stayed here in the one guest room — a comfortable air conditioned ensuite room. TV, video, CD’s in a decent sized room was just what was required after a tiring day. The House was busy, clearly popular with Bulgarians celebrating special occasions. Justifiably so, as both the shopska salads and the meats tasted superb — all fresh.  The service from Lina, Ana, Nadiya and all the team was efficient — and came with a smile. I’ll be back.

Weather Report

There is the possiblity of some thunder storms in Bansko over the next few days, but the very warm and sunny weather will continue all over Bulgaria until at least Monday. Perfect weather for hiking up in the mountains.

For luxury accommodation in Bansko, be sure to read my latest review on The Bell Tower.


About the author

I enjoy tech, apps, entrepreneurship, podcasting and collaboration with others. I love travelling as well as skiing, hiking, MTB, paragliding, cooking and good food.

3 Responses to “Weather From The Lift: Paragliding In Sopot”

  1. Sebastian says:

    thanks a lot for the weather information. I will fly into Sopot on the 23rd with 3 other german pilots for the third time. Did you feel a strong inversion over the last days? I think cloudbase was below 2000 m.

    • LanceNelson says:

      Hi Sebastian, thanks for stopping by.

      Friday was totally blue and excellent. Saturday was inverted and rough, you can see that from the video. Sunday was very inverted and blue– real wind and off to the east. Most chose not to fly. Monday I hear was good. Let me know how your trip goes, sounds like you like it a lot as you are coming back?

  2. Charlie says:

    I live not far from Sopot and it is a great place. Love my summers watching paragliders fly over our house. Great day out at the chairlift too with the Adventure park and kids area too. Great reading your Blog 🙂

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