Have you ever thought “wouldn’t it be awesome to fly”?
As a kid, flying always seemed like a magical thing… and even now as an adult, I still have an enduring fascination with flight. Well, flying humans is still only a sci-fi reality… so what’s the next best alternative?
Paragliding, of course!
In this review, I’ll take an in-depth look at what paragliding in Interlaken, Switzerland is like. I’ll share my own personal experience doing it, as well as information and tips you should know when booking the activity.
Is it worth it to go paragliding in Switzerland? By the end of this review, you’ll find out!
Why Go Paragliding in Interlaken
Interlaken is the gateway to Switzerland’s famed Jungfrau region, which is home to stunning mountain ranges, quaint villages, and beautiful valleys. Standing 3,466 meters above sea level, Jungfraujoch is known at the “Top of Europe,” and it’s a big reason why so many travelers flock to this area.
With so much spectacular nature, you might also guess that Interlaken is a mecca for adventure lovers. Aside from winter sports and hiking, other adrenaline-filled activities like skydiving, jet boating, and paragliding are some of the top adventure activities in the area.
And while seeing the Swiss Alps in person is wonderful enough, taking to the skies brings a whole new dimension to it. Paragliding in Interlaken really gives you unparalleled views of this beautiful area!
If you’ve always wanted to try paragliding, there’s no better place to do it than in Switzerland. And even if you have done it before, it’s still worth it to do it here so that you can truly take in how amazing the Jungfrau region is.
My Experience: Soaring through the Swiss Skies on a Paraglider
The Start of the Interlaken Paragliding Activity
I woke up the morning of the activity feeling super excited! I also did a quick check of my weather app and was relieved to see that sunshine was in the forecast. With the preceding days being cloudy and/or rainy, I was a bit worried that bad weather would derail my plans.
Indeed, in terms of weather, it turned out to be one of the best days of my Interlaken stay — how lucky!
I had picked an early morning slot, with a meeting time of 8.00 am. I actually ended up at the wrong meeting point, but the team at Twin Paragliding was kind enough to come pick me up.
Aside from me, there were three other ladies who were signed up. And once I was safely picked up, we drove up to the take-off spot. During the 20-minute ride, we got a short briefing on what to expect and how the day would proceed.
The most interesting tidbit from the briefing is the warning not to scream during the flight. Sound travels really well in the air, and any screaming by paragliding customers can be heard in the town below. And with so many paragliding flights happening throughout the day, it’s basic etiquette to keep the noise level down.
We also got a small card with the name of the paragliding pilot we were assigned to.
The drive up to the take-off point in Beatenberg is really scenic! As the van climbs up the mountain roads, you get gorgeous views of the mountains and surrounding countryside.
Once we arrived at the van drop-off point, it was time for a short hike to the actual take-off spot. The first snowfall had arrived the day before, and so the entire area was beautifully snowy white! It felt really magical, and I felt even more excited about what was to come.
The pilots grabbed their gear, and off we went!
I met my assigned pilot, Arjan, and had a chat with him as we walked. Arjan took his first tandem paragliding flight when he was only ten, and he’s been a professional paraglider for years. Gotta say, that made me feel a bit more safe about the whole thing!
As mentioned, the walk to the take-off point is an easy one and within ten minutes, we had arrived.
What It Feels Like to Soar through the Swiss Skies
The paragliding take-off site is a gentle slope-y area. Due to the snowfall the day before, it was covered in snow.
The pilots started laying out the paragliders and kitting us out with the safety gear as well. On top of a helmet, I also got a harness that was shaped like a backpack. Arjan helped ensure that the helmet was on tight enough and that the straps of the harness were secured. He also showed me the carabiners that would attach me to the paraglider.
Arjan told me that we’d be the last to depart, so I stood by while waiting for the other three to take off. The girl who was first to go got a bit nervous about being the first, which kind of broke the tension. There was a bit of a nerve-wrecking silence as the first pilot waited for the right wind direction, and then he called out “run!” — and they were off!
When Arjan had earlier asked me if I was scared, I unequivocally said no. But I have to admit that as I watched the others take off, I felt a flutter of nerves in my stomach.
So here’s the thing: the take-off is essentially the most challenging moment of the entire experience. It is, as the pilots put it, the only time when they need our help.
Once we’re all hooked up to the paraglider and the wind is right and we’re ready to roll, it’s time to run. Run as fast as you can, for as long as there is ground under your feet. This momentum is what gets the paraglider up in the air to catch the winds.
I know, I know: running off a mountain sounds like a crazy, crazy idea.
The good news: you’ll be running off a very very gentle slope.
I’ll admit that it did look a bit hair-raising watching the others in my group do it, but when it came to my turn, it really wasn’t that bad at all.
Arjan clipped me in, made sure everything was ready, and then he gave the cue to run.
So, I rannnnnnn.
And as my feet lost touch with the ground, I felt the paraglider catch the wind— and we were in the air! I may or may not have let out a little squeal of joy.
I’m a writer, but even I struggle to find the words to truly describe how stupendous that view is. I couldn’t stop grinning because it just looked and felt so beautiful.
The scenery changes the moment you fly.
I was suddenly surrounded by beauty on all sides. I could see the two bodies of water, Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. There was the town of Interlaken below, built around the Aare River. On the mountains beside me, there was an interesting mix of snow on the higher slopes and autumn foliage lower down. Just ahead of me were the Swiss Alps, capped off by Jungfrau’s peak.
And then there was me (and Arjan), just little specks in the vast skies.
When you’re paragliding, you really get a sense of how small you are in the grand scheme of the things, and how the world is this infinitely beautiful, ever-enduring place.
Once I was in the sky, it was a gentle, relaxing ride. That sounds a bit nuts, given that I was miles up high and tethered only to a paraglider, but paragliding really feels effortless! It was so smooth, and I really got the opportunity to take in the surroundings and the experience itself.
Meanwhile, Arjan was hard at work. He pointed out all the landmarks and also made sure to get some good photos and videos during the flight.
At one point, he gave me the reins to the paraglider and allowed me to steer! That was super cool, and it’s amazing how light a touch is needed to gently turn the paraglider.
And as we neared the landing site, Arjan asked me if I was up for some “rollercoaster” fun. Of course I was! He handed me the GoPro stick, and proceeded to loop us around and up and down. It really did feel like being on a rollercoaster; it was so fun!
After that last thrill, minutes later, our feet touched the ground again at the landing site, Hohematte Park.
All in all, we spent about 15 minutes up in the air.
Arjan took a few minutes to wrap up the paraglider and gear, and then we headed back to the company’s office which was just a few minutes walk away. There, I got the chance to review the photos and videos that Arjan had taken during the flight.
And after some hearty thanks to Arjan for a superb time, I headed back.
In total, the entire excursion took about 90 minutes from start to finish.
Paragliding in Interlaken Review
You’d have to be dead inside not to enjoy paragliding in Interlaken. In all seriousness, the WOW factor is through the roof. The Interlaken area is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world, and to see it from high up above is a once-in-a-lifetime event.
In terms of cost, it’s fair to note that Switzerland is, in general, quite an expensive country. (CHF3.50 for a bottle of Coke, anyone?) Depending on which flight you choose, this activity will set you back at least CHF140.
However, I’d say that it’s absolutely worth it! While paragliding activities in other countries come with a lower price tag, they can’t beat the Swiss countryside. Paragliding in Interlaken is unforgettable and I think it’s an experience worth paying for.
As for how challenging this is, paragliding isn’t as scary as it sounds. As mentioned above, the only possibly difficult moment is the take-off… but otherwise, this is an easy-breezy activity. It’s suitable for adventure lovers of all ages.
“What if I’m scared of heights?” you ask.
Well, I would say that you’ll definitely be out of your comfort zone. However, it’s not as extreme as skydiving while still being quite spectacular. As I’ve said, take-off occurs on a slight slope and the flight itself is very smooth. If you’re willing to face your fear, this is a gentle way to do it as you can just sit back and enjoy the stunning Swiss views!
Booking Paragliding in Interlaken: What You Need to Know
I booked this paragliding activity through Adrenaline Hunter. They’re a great platform to use when you’re searching for adventure activities around the world. Booking through Adrenaline Hunter is a super easy process, and I highly recommend using them.
The company that I went with is Twin Paragliding, who has been in the business since 1998. All their pilots are trained and licensed by the Swiss Paragliding Association. And ladies, if you prefer, you can choose to fly with a female pilot!
I found their team friendly and helpful, and I had an excellent time with my pilot, Arjan.
Twin Paragliding offers two flights:
- The Sensational takes off from 4,500 ft/1,370m and gives you 12 to 30 minutes of airtime. It costs CHF160.
- The Classic takes off from 3,480ft/1,060m with 5 to 10 minutes airtime. It costs CHF140.
The flight I chose was The Sensational. For only CHF20 more, it offers much more value for money. Believe me, when you’re up there floating in the Swiss skies, you’d be glad that you chose the longer airtime!
Regardless of which one you end up choosing, the package includes a free pick-up from the Interlaken train stations or your Interlaken-based hotel, as well as transport to the take-off site. The landing site, Hohematte Park, is in the center of Interlaken, with easy access to public transportation. The park is about an eight to ten-minute walk to the Interlaken West station.
Twin Paragliding also offers a photo and video package of your paragliding experience. This is a separate charge of CHF40. All the in-flight photos in this review are from this package, so you can see for yourself the quality of the photos.
I would say that it’s definitely worthwhile to buy it.
Firstly, it frees you up from having to take your own photos and videos so that you can truly just be in the moment and take in the awesomeness of what you’re doing. Secondly, as you can see, the photos and videos are excellent quality, and my pilot Arjan did a superb job with the photo angles and shots.
Once you’ve landed back in Interlaken, you’ll get the chance to review the photos and videos before deciding if you’d like to buy it. They’re able to immediately transfer the photos and videos to your phone — perfect for sharing on your social media accounts!
That said, if you do want to bring your own camera, small compact cameras are allowed. It’s a good idea to have a strap for your camera or wear a jacket with a zippered pocket where you can easily access it. For safety reasons, no mobile phones or cameras with interchangeable lenses are allowed during the flight.
Twin Paragliding offers flights 365 days a year, with various trip times available throughout the day. It’s highly recommended that you book your slot in advance, especially if you’re doing this in the summer which is their peak season.
You can check out available dates and times here, or by clicking the button below.
All in all, paragliding in Interlaken is something that I will never forget!
Even if I do go paragliding elsewhere in the world, the sheer beauty of the Swiss mountains and countryside will stay with me. Even today, days after the activity, I remember that “wow” feeling I got as the paraglide caught the wind and we took off and how blown away I was by the scenery.
I would 100% recommend doing this, if you’re headed to Switzerland.