Paragliding Jungfrau out of Grindelwald

23 June, 2020 | Reccy Guide

Surrounded by a patchwork of lush green meadows, azure lakes, and charming Swiss villages, the Jungfrau peak is famed world-over for its beauty. Rising to a dizzying 4,158 m above sea level, this imposing peak is one of the main attractions of the Bernese Alps, and is the crowning jewel in the trio of mountains that divide the Bernese Oberland and the Swiss Plateau.

The majority of tourists that visit each year do so to climb or ski, enticed by the huge variety of routes and difficulties levels on offer. Although their presence does not spoil the area’s raw natural beauty, it might leave you wishing there was a way to experience the splendors in total tranquility. 

Luckily, there is. 

Paragliding in the Jungfrau region is one of the most exceptional experiences in Europe. Thrill-seekers and those in search of peaceful contemplation are equally suited to this activity, and it is sure to be the defining moment of your Alpine adventure. 

As you might expect from Switzerland’s adventure capital, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy paragliding in the Jungfrau region. One of the best places to begin your aerial adventure is in the mountain side village of Grindelwald. 

Characterized by its gingerbread house chalets, lively nightlife, and enviable proximity to the area’s key attractions, the village makes a fantastic home base for those visiting the region. 

As well as providing easy access to Jungfrau, Eiger, and Monch climbing routes, Grindelwald station serves both the Bernese Oberland Railway, and the Wengernalp Railway. 

It also hosts a variety of tour companies, offering everything from kayak hire and guided climbs, to skiing lessons and paragliding. 

Your paragliding experience will be facilitated by an experienced pilot, who you will be strapped to throughout. Most flights take off from the summit of Grindelwald First, a minor peak renowned for its adventure sports and activities. 

The First mountain can be reached from Grindelwald village via the First cable car, which launches from the valley station. From here, ride three stops until you reach the First mountain station. 

As you might expect, the views from the gondola are spectacular – although nothing compared to what you will see from your glider!

If you are a keen hiker, you also have the option to hop off at the intermediate stations of Bort and Schreckfeld, and take the rest of the journey on foot. This is an easy hike, and you won’t need any technical expertise or equipment. 

When you arrive at the meeting point, your pilot will talk you through the experience, and demonstrate how to take off, glide, and land safely. 

After your lesson, you will be strapped into your glider, and kitted out with a safety helmet and harness. Your pilot will perform a series of final safety checks before take off. 

Most people are surprised by the ease with which the glider soars into the air. You will likely only need to run a couple of steps down a gently sloping hill before the wind will catch under the broad wings of the glider, and pull you and your pilot off the ground. 

Unlike many other adventure sports and activities, a tandem paragliding flight requires no effort from the passenger. Your pilot will steer you both according to the gust and wind flow, while you relax into your airborne viewing platform. 

It is hard to imagine a better way to experience the majesty of the Jungfrau than from above. Soaring eye level with Bernese golden eagles, you can see the spectacular Alpine landscape unfolding for hundreds of miles. 

Your pilot will be experienced at finding and riding thermals, and as you get underway, you will climb to dizzying altitudes. It is not uncommon to see golden eagles as you reach the peak of your ride. 

During the flight you will circle the area surrounding the Jungfrau, gaining unique views of its staggering rock faces, and glacial passes. On clear days you will be able to see as far as the French Alps, the grand Mont Blanc peeking above the horizon. 

Standard flights last between 12 – 20 minutes, and will return you to your takeoff spot on Grindelwald First. However if you are craving more time in the air, then most operators offer longer flights, often up to 50 minutes long. You should expect to pay around $180 for a standard session, or $300 for an extended flight. 

Paragliding-Jungfrau is the leading paraglide operator in the area, and makes the process super simple for first-time gliders. Airtime Paragliding, based in Interlaken, is another good option if you want to see the Lauterbrunnen valley.

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