Sail high above Interlaken and Lake Thun

23 June, 2020 | Reccy Guide

Imagine floating above the grandeur of Central Switzerland when your boots begin to graze the morning rays of sunshine that stretch across Lake Thun and toward the town of Interlaken. Tandem flight paragliding provides this one-of-a-kind opportunity to adventurers who wish to experience a beautiful piece of Swiss scenery from high above the treetops.

The centerpiece of your airborne journey is the charming town of Interlaken. This international hub for outdoor enthusiasts is situated roughly 400 meters above sea level, flanked on either side by Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Interlaken is cradled in the Jungfrau region and surrounded by the towering peaks of the Bernese Alps, allowing visitors to enjoy a range of landscapes and activities year-round. The native language of most residents is German, and rich cultural experiences are abundant. 

Tandem paragliding is an immensely popular option that’s available to explorers big and small; children aged 4 and above are welcome to join the fun. This activity is an excellent option if some of the more challenging outdoor sports, such as waterfall rappelling or hiking at high altitudes, are inaccessible for members of your group.

Sailing high in the Jungfrau region

Thankfully, you only need to carve out an hour and a half to take in the full experience of paragliding – exciting news for those who want to sample the numerous activities available in Interlaken. Depending on which piloting service you hire, you can expect to be picked up at your hostel or an easily located meeting spot near the center of town. A bus will collect everyone going on your trip, including the pilots, and you’ll begin a brief 20-minute ride to Beatenberg. 

During the bus ride, your pilot provides an overview of the sky-bound journey awaiting you, in addition to discussing important matters of safety. Don’t be anxious though; tandem paragliding is a very low-risk activity, and all pilots are licensed to fly by the Swiss Paragliding Association. You’ll soon arrive in tiny Beatenberg, located northwest of Interlaken and bordered by Lake Thun. After departing from the bus, you’ll enjoy a short walk through this 1,100-resident village before arriving at the Amisbühl meadow. 

This meadow provides an excellent take-off point. Fliers departing from Amisbühl are able to maximize their time soaring on the winds that filter through the Swiss Alps. Your pilot will unfold the paraglider, connect your safety gear, and perform several final checks to ensure everything is working properly. Once you are secure and connected to your pilot, it’s time for takeoff.

Tandem Paragliding in Interlaken

Together, you’ll jog a couple meters across the meadow before the air catches the canopy of your glider and lifts you to an altitude of 1,350 meters. Once airborne, your pilot will guide you above the treetops and roofs of Interlaken in a flight lasting between 10 and 20 minutes. 

You’ll have the entire flight time to appreciate the scenery stretching in every direction. Depending on the season of your visit, you may enjoy blue skies above and boats skittering across Lake Thun below. Or perhaps, if you visit during winter, you’ll be treated with a snow-capped city and a valley glittering under a layer of frost. Regardless of your timing, every paragliding flight offers a unique opportunity to absorb some of the magic that has settled around this extraordinary part of Switzerland.

At the end of the flight, you’ll touchdown gently in Höhematte Park, located centrally within Interlaken. From there, you can head back to your lodging and rest for a while before setting out for your next adventure. 

Tandem Paragliding from Interlaken: enjoying the panorama

Perhaps you’d like to head back to Beatenberg, which has a rich history despite its small size. This village comprising farming hamlets is named after their local patron saint, Saint Beatus. Alleged to be of Irish descent, legend states that he arrived outside of Beatenberg in the 12th century and defeated a dragon living in a limestone cave above Lake Thun. To this day, tourists frequently explore the cave, its subterranean lake, and the grave of the legendary hero himself. 

If you’d rather see more of Interlaken’s history, be sure to head out of town toward the Weissenau Castle ruins. Though all that remains are pieces of the castle and its curtain wall, Weissenau’s historical vestiges are the perfect place to discover the rich religious history of the building, which was originally a monastery. 

Perhaps you’ll feel inspired to simply walk along a few of the unexplored paths through town that you spotted while gliding over the rooftops. Pop into any of the local cafes for a delicious bite or head back into nature. Whatever stirs you to explore the beautiful town of Interlaken and its charming surroundings, you’re sure to discover unforgettable sights – above and below.

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