Night Sledding and Paragliding in Interlaken, Switzerland
If you are looking to travel somewhere that is slightly more obscure than say London, Paris, Rome, etc. but still worthy of a true European experience, go to Switzerland. It is beautiful, serene, and picturesque. Those words all basically mean the same thing…but I’m really trying to get my point across here! You might actually go broke buying Toblerone’s in Switzerland because the country itself is quite expensive, but it is worth it. Before the last meal of the trip, my friend and I had to look at the menus outside of multiple restaurants to see if we could afford to eat there because we only had 12 Swiss francs a piece. After checking out at least 17 restaurants and thinking we might just be (I hate to use the word stuck) with one last Toblerone, we finally found a place where we could get a pasta dish for exactly that amount. I’m not quite sure how we got back to the airport now that I think about it. Speaking of airports, we also had to sleep over in the Geneva airport because the flight from Barcelona to Geneva and the train from Geneva to Interlaken, Switzerland did not match up. Again, so absolutely worth it.
And just in case that stuff deterred you even the slightest bit, I will tell you again why Interlaken, Switzerland is so incredible. There is an abundance of extreme sports, a chocolate factory with unlimited chocolate during your tour, cheese fondue, and the most gorgeous mountains and lakes you have ever seen.
There are two main seasons for extreme sports in Interlaken: winter and summer. Since I went in December, here is a breakdown of the extreme winter sports I chose to do while in Interlaken. As a sidenote, if I had gone in summer, I probably would have chosen to partake in the river rafting and canyoning activities. I used the company Outdoor Interlaken for all of my activities and highly recommend them. Also, I stayed at Balmer’s Herberge hostel which has a very close relationship with Outdoor Interlaken and the front desk helps you book your activities. Outdoor Interlaken also picks you up from and takes you back to Balmers, so all of the logistics are very simple.
If you use Outdoor Interlaken, you will be picked up at your hotel and given all necessary gear to begin your adventure. After a gondola ride up the mountain and brief information session/tutorial, you will begin a one hour ride down the mountain. I’ll be honest, I was skeptical at first about how thrilling this “extreme sport” would be, but it did not disappoint! Imagine pitch black darkness except for one night light and the white-colored snow to lead the way. There are instructors at the front and the back to make sure everyone gets down safely; but, this activity is definitely an adrenaline thrill ride. It’s basically like the Matterhorn at Disneyland, but so much cooler because its actually the real thing. We booked the night sledding with a cheese fondue dinner afterwards which I also highly recommend. The contrast between the cold night air and the warm bread and cheese fondue at a quaint Swiss restaurant is the perfect ending to an exhilarating ride. Plus, a drink of beer and lemonade definitely warms the body up after a night out on the mountains.
Don’t be scared! It’s so awesome. I’ll break it down for you right now. The only slightly frightening part is the running start where you have to run down the hill a bit until your feet no longer hit the mountain. That can be a little intimidating, but once you’re flying through the air, I promise it will be worth your while. Sorry if you wish you hadn’t known that in advance! I probably shouldn’t have spilled the beans. Once again, Outdoor Interlaken picked my friend and me up at our hostel and took us up the mountain after putting on our gear. You will receive instructions and safety procedures in the van and will have an instructor paraglide with you. Get ready for a too brief but fantastic experience gliding through the air over the city of Interlaken. It is so much better than climbing up some famous cathedral for a view or peering out from some overlook. Outdoor Interlaken will offer you photo and video packages as well. I did this before the days of the GoPro – not that I have one now – but I do recommend buying their photo package as the pictures really did come out splendidly and are a great memory of this experience. I did not opt for the video package as I really didn’t ever plan on re-watching. Enjoy the ride and get excited that you are undoubtedly going to have a new, awesome Facebook profile picture out of this, a great story, and shared experience with other thrill seekers.
Have you done any other extreme sports in Interlaken? Please share your experiences in the comments below!
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