Seilpark Interlaken is an adventure park with a self-guided ropes course. // © 2016 Outdoor Interlaken
Feature image (above): Clients can view Interlaken from above with a tandem paragliding or hang-gliding flight. // © 2016 Interlaken Tourism
Paradise can take many forms — sparkling blue waters, mountain vistas, crashing waterfalls or extraordinary recreation, to name a few. Interlaken, Switzerland, supplies all of the above, offering visitors a veritable heaven on earth where they’ll find adrenaline-rush-inducing activities in (or above) a stunning landscape.
The popular tourist destination, located in the Swiss canton of Bern between the turquoise waters of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, lies in the heart of the mountainous Jungfrau region. It provides a bounty of adventures for any skill level that are certain to rev up a Swiss vacation.
Those searching for optimal scenic views can take to the skies for a tandem paragliding or hang-gliding flight over town. Multiple operators offer these trips year-round, weather permitting, and children even as young as 4 years old can join. Looking to up the ante? See the formidable and breathtaking Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountains from a truly unique perspective: some 13,000 feet above Interlaken during a skydiving excursion.
For those like me who feel safer far closer to the ground, operator Outdoor Interlaken offers a host of alfresco activities, including whitewater rafting, kayaking and canyoning in summer, and skiing, sledding and snowshoeing in winter. During my visit last fall, I explored the company’s Seilpark Interlaken adventure park, a wooded wonderland with a self-guided ropes course featuring lines from ground level up to 65 feet. I chose the park’s Vertical Rush “extreme” option, which includes the Giant Swing freefall, Highline tightrope, Base Jump Simulator and the nearly 500-foot-long Speed Line zipline.
As I was hoisted up into the treetops, I began what would become my main exercise that day: taking deep breaths. I shifted my weight unsteadily on the small wooden platform, not at all ready to take any leaps of faith — but, moments later, I did. I closed my eyes tightly during my 65-foot descent on the Base Jump Simulator, and then again on the Giant Swing, as I dropped into a nearly 100-foot free fall at 47 mph.
Oscillating gently between the trees, I contemplated the guttural noise that had escaped my mouth on the downward stretch and wondered if my legs — now entirely turned to jelly — would support my walk back to the car.
If it’s a feet-more-firmly-planted activity clients are after, I suggest a jet-boat ride on Lake Brienz. I journeyed the length of the lake, passing the charming fishing village of Isletwald and the elegant Giessbach waterfalls before looping around to take in views of the pyramid-like Niesen mountain. Along the way, the driver took plenty of sharp turns and high-speed spins. When it was all over, I departed the boat with wet hair, a dewy face and a huge smile.
From bungee jumping and waterskiing to alpine trekking, there’s no shortage of heart-racing entertainment in Interlaken. But no matter what escapade clients choose, Interlaken’s dreamy natural beauty is sure to leave them starry-eyed and breathless.