Ever wondered what it’s like to fly? To feel nothing but the air beneath you and the wind taking you on a journey? It’s everyone’s fantasy as a kid, but with paragliding, it’s as close as you can get to the real thing! However, there’s no point in flying in the sky without an incredible view, so where else would be better to try paragliding than in SWITZERLAND?
In this review, I’ll take an in-depth look at what paragliding at 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!
Paragliding at Interlaken: Getting Ready
As part of my Grand Tour of Switzerland, I visited interlaken in early April and did my para-gliding flight.
A quick check on the weather forecast that day showed clear skies and a beautiful sunny weather, how lucky!
There are multiple time-slots that you can choose, starting from 7.15am at the earliest to 6pm. We were assigned the second morning slot, with an early meeting time of 8.15 am.
From our hotel at Carlton Hotel Europe, the meeting point is just a short 5 minute walk away.
Once everyone has assembled, we gathered inside the transport van and set off towards Beatenberg mountain, the take-off point. During the 20 minute ride, we were given a safety briefing on take-off and landing process. This is also when you will be required to sign an indemnity form.
We were given a weird but important tip: Do not scream during the flight. Why? I asked out of curiosity. Well, it’s out of consideration for the residents living down below in Interlaken! Imagine all the dreadful noise they would have to deal with if every single persons in mid-airscreams at 120 db every 15 minutes? That’s why it’s common etiquette to keep your voice levels down. If you’re terrified, maybe try doing a silent scream… :O
Once the van reaches Beatenberg, we each received a small card with the name of our assigned paragliding pilot.
A 3 minute walk through the woods and we reach the take-off site, a gentle slope. We started putting on our gear including harnesses and helmets, while the pilots busied themselves with setting up the parachutes.
Paragliding at Interlaken: Up in the air!
A nervous selfie before my turn. I was the last to set off, and watched Vince and the rest flew up into the sky. Albeit it not being first time doing para-gliding, I couldn’t help feeling butterflies fluttering in my stomach!
The flight does appear scary from afar, but in terms of fright-level, I would rate it a 2/10. The only part when I felt was when my pilot yelled “RUN” and we had to run as fast as we can. This is the most physically strenuous activity of the entire flight, but yet the most critical: Because it’s the fast running momentum that catches the wind and gets the canopy up in the air!
Once my feet lost touch with the ground…I felt the wind lift us up and release the weight from beneath us. With the initial anxiety and excitement fading…I could finally enjoy the scenery and take in the fact that I’m actually FLYINGGG!
It’s such a lovely sensation to be floating, bobbing and being buffeted by the air. For the very first time, I got to marvel at the incredulous, contrasting sights of white, green and blue: The majestic mountains of Jungfrau, Eiger and Monch and the water bodies of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
The amount of beauty surrounding us from all sides was just…indescribable!
When you are looking down at the vast expense from above, everything below just looks so tiny…From time to time, I think we all need moments like this: To be completely engulfed by the magnitude and beauty of nature. It’s a good reminder of our place in this world: how small and insignificant we and our problems are in this big, big world.
Nearing the end of the flight, my pilot asked if I would be keen to try out some “stunts” in the air. Of course I was game for it! We did some somersaults and fast spins, and while it was super thrilling, it was giddy at the same time. If you’re abit more faint-hearted you can choose to give this a miss.
Safely landed! All smiles and Two BIG thumbs up for this ride of a lifetime!
Upon landing, you will arrive Hohematte Park. It’s a big field right smack in the center of Interlaken, and just eight-minutes away to the Interlaken West station.
What should I wear for paragliding at Interlaken?
It’s best to wear a zipped jacket for the flight, since the weather will be chilly up high. Make sure that you are fitted in sturdy boots or sports shoes, NOT flimsy sandals nor slippers. As mentioned, you will need to run down a slope during take-off when the wind catches in the right direction.
How much does it cost to paraglide at interlaken?
The company we did paragliding with is called Para-gliding Interlaken. It has different offerings of varied prices:
Big Blue Summer: This is the basic flight with an altitude of 4450ft – 6570ft and 10 – 20 minutes airtime. It costs 170CHF.
Double Airtime: This flight goes up to 4450ft – 8250ft and provides double the airtime, up to 30 – 40 minutes airtime. It costs 270CHF.
Sunset Flight: For sunset lovers, this is the choice for you! You can enjoy the views of Interlaken from above, covered in the warm colours of the setting sun. This is 250CHF.
Funky Chocolate Flight: This is essentially the Big Blue Summer flight, topped up with an additional sweet treat at the end, a chocolate making workshop at the Funky Chocolate Club! It costs 219 CHF. This is the package we went for. (Read more about it down below)
All packages includes free pick-up from the Interlaken East/West stations or your Interlaken-based hotel, as well as shuttle service to the take-off site at Beatenberg.
Is paragliding at Interlaken/Switzerland safe?
I do get that with freaky news of para-gliding accidents…some people may find the activity unsafe. But just like every other outdoor, high-altitude sports, it does comes with its own risk. While you don’t get to choose your pilot…rest assured that they are well-trained with a great deal of experience. My pilot is called Miki and till date, he has flown at least a thousand times!
Is paragliding scary?
For those of you who are afraid of heights, this might perhaps be something a little outside your comfort zone. However as compared to sky-diving, paragliding is definitely a lot less scarier. In fact, I actually find the whole experience pretty relaxing! Apart from the take-off which running, the rest of the flight was basically just me sitting back comfortably in my seat and swinging my legs with glee.
When is the best season for paragliding in Switzerland?
Summer time from July to August are an exceptionally popular months for paragliding in Switzerland, so if you are planning to do so during this peak season, then be prepared to book ahead in advance.
Some people really enjoy paragliding in winter for the snow-capped sceneries, but I find that a little too cold for my liking.
I was in Interlaken back during November and saw a couple of tourists who had their flight done in grey, rainy weather, which was a hugeee bummer and sadly a waste of money…But I guessed they couldn’t have the flight cancelled at the last minute! If you want to avoid disappointment, then stay clear of peak rainy seasons (early March and early-mid November).
How long should I plan for my paragliding flight at Interlaken?
In my opinion, the classic Big Blue Summer flight worth 10-20 minutes would already more than sufficient. While the sceneries from high-up are incredible, by the 15 minute mark, the wow-factor would have reached its peak and you would be slightly bored already…so the 30-40 minutes Double Time Airtime package is quite a bit of an overkill.
Can I bring my own camera to take photos during the paragliding flight?
For safety reasons, you are NOT allowed to bring your mobile phones or cameras during the flight. While you can still choose to (secretly) bring your own phone along, bear in mind that it’s all at your own risk, and the pilot (depending on how strict he is) may also forbid you to use it during flight.
Honestly speaking, it is safer and worth it to take up the photo and video package for an extra 40CHF. Why give yourself the added stress of trying to capture shots in mid-air (what if you drop your phone!?) when you should just truly take in the moment? Besides, the pilots themselves have paraglided a gazillion times and they are the ones who know where to film, with the best photo angles and shots. So I would say, leave it to the experts.
Also to point out: once you land, your pilot will IMMEDIATELY transfer all photos and videos taken during the flight, directly onto your phone! I was mightily pleased with that because for my previous para-gliding experience at Aletsch, the photo and video files were saved in a thumbdrive and I had to do the transfer onto my phone for social media separately. So this method definitely saved me a lot of hassle!
Where else can I do paragliding in Switzerland?
My previous para-gliding experience was at Fiescheralp, in the Aletsch Arena. Having tried out at both destinations, I would say that the views at Interlaken certainly beats the one at Fiescheralp, because for the former, there were only views of the Alps, which was more a mountainous, rugged scenery. being in a landlocked area, there were no views of any lakes.
Other popular spots for paragliding includes Lauterbrunnen and Montreux, so you may consider that if you are around the area. I’ve heard that Lauterbrunnen is particularly beautiful for paragliding, because from there you get post-card sceneries of the meadows and valleys in the Alps!
What other activities can I do after paragliding in Interlaken?
Consider the chocolate-making workshop at Funky Chocolate Club! This is just 10 minutes from the Hohmatte park and a relative chill and yet enjoyable, fun choice after all the adrenaline rush. You can book this under the Funky Chocolate Flight package.
In 1.5 hours, you get to learn about the art of chocolate-making, sample the various varieties of chocolates and create THREE of your own chocolate bars!
While there isn’t any informative chocolate exhibition on site , I felt that the whole experience and quality of the chocolate-making workshop was definitely on par with those offered by the two chocolate giants, Cailler at Gruyeres or Lindt Home of Chocolate in Zurich.
Our chocolate connoisseur really went into details: from explaining the anatomy of the cocoa bean, to guiding us step-by-step through the whole hands-on chocolate making process.
I would highly recommend this as a family activity, or even just for couples/ friends. This is especially if you do not have enough time to visit the chocolate musuems in Switzerland but still would like to have a unique Swiss chocolate experience.
All in all, paragliding at Interlaken is something that I will never forget, and I’m glad to be striking off yet another bucket list activity in Switzerland!
Even if I do go paragliding elsewhere in the world, the sheer beauty of the Swiss Alps will stay with me. It’s been 2 months after my trip already but till today, I still recall the sense of awe I felt as the paraglide caught the wind and we took off and how blown away I was by the scenery.
If you are coming to Switzerland, this is one experience I whole-heartedly recommend!
You might also want to check out my other Swiss itineraries below!
This post is made in collaboration with MySwitzerland and Paragliding Interlaken. Special thanks for sponsoring this experience so that I can share this with my readers. All opinions are my own.