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Extreme Sports in Interlaken, Switzerland
The fresh mountain air, the sounds of cowbells clanking in the distance, the rolling green hills...it's enough to make anyone want to put a dress on and twirl around in the flowers singing "doe, a deer, a female deer..." Yes it's Switzerland, an insanely gorgeous country. A place that is not only beautiful, but full of things to do for the adventurous type. For anyone who seeks outdoor adventure or extreme sports, Interlaken, Switzerland is the place.
Interlaken is a small town in the Bernese Oberland area of Switzerland. The surrounding landscape makes for no surprise why this place is a hotspot for tourists, and 2cnd in the world under New Zealand for extreme outdoor sports. Interlaken is the postcard Swiss town, resting at the basin of some of the largest mountain peaks in the country (Eiger, Moncach, and Jungfrau). The views from town slap you back to reality and make you realize just how small you really are. On either side of town are two lakes (Inter-lacus meaning between lakes in latin) where lives some of the happiest fresh water fish. With all this, it's no wonder Interlaken, Switzerland has transformed into a giant outdoor playground for extreme sports like skydiving, canyoning, ice climbing and more.
"Make sure you hold on tight. When you're ready, start running, and don't stop running until you're flying." Simple enough? These were the extent of my instructions as I stood gripping the bars of my hang glider, just one of the many exciting adventure sports available in Interlaken. Once in the air, I compared the size of my fingernail to the cows grazing in the valley below. As we gained altitude, my fingernail got larger in comparison. I relaxed into flying and the beauty of the surrounding mountain peaks began to take hold and overwhelm my senses.
As mentioned, aside from gripping the bar of a hang glider, Interlaken offers countless extreme activities that are sure to make your mother's palms sweat. For those interested, here are some of the adventure sports available:
Swiss travel guides
Interlaken offers a jump unlike any other bungee in the world. Here, you have the opportunity to bungee jump out of a gondola, suspended 450 ft above a lake. Once it's over, you can breathe in the crisp air and enjoy the view of Stockhorn mountain as you are lowered into a waiting boat below.
The master of all that is adventurous, extreme and wicked: sky diving. What a better way to take a break from guided museum tours than strap yourself to a certified stranger with a parachute on his back and jump out of a helicopter...yes that's what I said, a helicopter. Very few places in the world offer an experience like this. Almost one minute of free fall gives you time to enjoy the best view of the Swiss Alps anyone has ever seen.
Sky Dive Interlaken
Tandem paragliding is another adventurous way to take in the beauty of Interlaken and it's surrounding mountain peaks from up in the air. It's a great activity for folks of all ages. Take off above town and land smooth in the town center, just in time for lunch.
This is the ultimate bang for your buck. For under 100 Swiss Francs, you can spend the day journeying down a canyon. First, you and your group will suit up with a wetsuit, helmet, safety clamps and life vest. Then, under the instruction of your guide, you will rappel through waterfalls, cliff jump, climb and fly down natural rock slides as you work your way down the canyon. This takes up the better part of a day. Canyoning in Interlaken is one of the most popular adventure sports, and in my opinion, the most fun you can have for the money. Skill levels on canyoning trips range from easy to challenging (see video for challenging).
This is a magically quiet and calming experience. Hang gliding in Interlaken offers you spectacular views of the mountain peaks from eye level, and lets you fly like an eagle. You will gain altitude and soar upwards into the clouds. As you drop out of the clouds and wipe your face clear of rainwater, your instructor will fly you through fast and looping turns, if you choose to do so. Total flight time ranges from 30 to 40 minutes.
Do you enjoy the feeling of being scared shit-less? Then attach yourself to a rope 85m long, stand at the edge of a giant glacial canyon, and jump. This could be you if you choose to canyon swing in Interlaken. Unlike bungee jumping, once the free fall is over you continue to Tarzan swing through the canyon's gaping crevasse. Jagged cliffs racing by on either sides is enough to cure even the most adventurous itch.
Canyon Swing Interlaken
Surprisingly, no experience is necessary to climb a glacier in the Swiss Alps. Mountain guides will make you feel comfortable by teaching you the basics of rappelling and climbing. Then, with the use of ice axes, special shoes, ropes and crampons, you can begin to climb the face of a glacier while enjoying the view.
"What is that?" I said the same thing when I first heard that word. A Zorb is an air couched, transparent, plastic bubble that's about 3 meters in diameter. Put a person inside of this giant translucent bubble and you have zorbing. Think: extreme bubble boy. A gentle push from the top of a hill sends passengers rolling, flipping and bouncing all the way down.
The list of extreme sports in Interlaken goes on with white water rafting, night sledding, skiing and snowboarding. The moral of the story is, whether you are a young thrill seeking backpacker, or a housewife and mother of 4 looking for an adrenaline rush, Interlaken can accommodate you. It's the perfect place to take the next step in your relationship with Mother Nature and everything that is extreme. Make sure to bring a coat, it gets cold in the clouds.