Paragliding, the best adventure in Interlaken

Eli from Berlin dared to try paragliding in Interlaken. She will tell you about it here.

I’m sitting excitedly at the breakfast table in my backpacker hostel in Interlaken. I just did something absolutely crazy: I booked a tandem paragliding flight in Interlaken! I am spending a few days on holiday here with my parents. Of course I saw pictures of the Swiss mountains at home in Berlin, but am I about to take off from one? No, never would I ever have dreamed that!

At 10.30 sharp I meet my pilot David in the center of Interlaken. The local pilot has been paragliding for 10 years and has been working at Skywings as a tandem pilot since 2014. He seems nice and, like all his teammates, is a very good and experienced pilot. Reassuring.

Off to the adventure!

« Everyone aboard please! » Corinna, the friendly driver, instructs us. She, too, has been working for Skywings for many years and has already driven quite a few nervous passengers up the mountain. The minibus takes you in the direction of Beatenberg, where there are various starting points. During the journey, the pilots inform us about the general procedure and tell us some exciting details about Interlaken and the Jungfrau Region. Up the winding road we drive past grazing cows and goats, while beneath us the blue Lake Thun glitters in the sunlight. It is so idyllic here – I almost feel like the Swiss Heidi!

Highly certified tandem pilots

According to the pilots, we have perfect conditions to take off from the highest take-off point, Hohwald at 1500m above sea level. David unfolds his paraglider and helps me put on the passenger harness. It is also necessary to put on a helmet. After all, paragliding is still an extreme sport and appropriate equipment is essential. For this reason, all pilots go through the strict training of the SHV (Swiss Hang Gliding Association) and have to pass several tests in order to receive a license for tandem flights.

One, two, three - run!

My nerves are on edge. It will start soon! David stands behind me and starts counting: « One, two, three….run! » Everything happens so fast, I hardly realize we’re already in the air. Crazy, I’m flying! But I don’t have time to take a deep breath, because the tops of the trees ahead are getting suspiciously close, aren’t they? But before I can say anything to David, we suddenly gain altitude and begin to circle like an eagle. We’ve caught a thermal: warm, rising air that has us turning upwards. What a view – in the background I see the imposing white peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, to my left the turquoise-blue Lake Brienz, below me Lake Thun and behind it the Bernese Alps – Wow!

A bit of adrenaline is allowed

After a little over 20 minutes in the air, we fly over Interlaken. The houses still seem very small below me. David asks me if I like riding a roller coaster. I say yes and find myself in a steep spiral that makes my heart race. Acrobatic manovers are for those with strong nerves and definitely a good stomach. We take it easy again and slowly reduce altitude over the city.

Now we are above the Höhenmatte, a green field in the middle of Interlaken with a fantastic view of the famous Jungfraujoch . One or two more turns, then David starts to land. We land gently and I have solid ground under my feet again. I still can’t believe it. David pulls a tablet out of his backpack and shows me the beautiful pictures he took of this flight. “Would I like to buy them?” Of course, I want to remember this unique adventure for a long time! I can only recommend this experience to anyone who wants to fly like a bird once in their life – it’s a bit crazy, but it’s also incredibly beautiful!