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Paragliding Interlaken

Listed under Flying, Gliding & Ballooning in Switzerland.

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Europe's Top Tandem paragliding experiences:

Interlaken is not famous by chance. It is blessed with a natural landscape that locals have capitalised on to develop into one of Switzerland's premier tourism destinations. It sits between 2 classic alpine lakes, surrounded by lush green meadows, abounds with typically cute Swiss villages and has a backdrop of the famous snow covered trio – Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. It is also the outdoor sports capital of Switzerland and rightly so. A tandem flight here conducted by one of the many reputable operators will leave no one disappointed.

After a short drive and then stroll to the launch sites a few hundred metres above the Thunersee, one generally wonders what the fuss is about. The briefing explains what you need to do, what to expect, and then after a few brisk steps your pilot has you in the air swooping through the pine forest and out above the valley. The tree lined launch meadow which had kept things slightly hidden now reveals the full majesty of the view as you clear it.

In order to stay up, small bubbles of warm air (thermals) are used by turning circles. Often on humid days with good climb rates you are able to touch the clouds which form above the hill.

The tandem pilots here operate to Swiss watch timing… every hour all day long while the weather is OK. With so many up at once, chances are you will be in a group called a “gaggle” as you fly around just like a flock of birds. A short glide to the “Harter”, a rocky outcrop above town, provides an aerial close up that gives the impression you are a giant looking into Lilliputland as tiny people, cars and trains go about their business beneath.

The landing is commenced by a few obligatory wing overs and maybe a spiral dive. Its done to wash off height and, of course, because its fun – paragliding is the worlds only 3 dimensional fully open roller coaster ride and can pull up to 4G’s at times ! To finish off, a nice easy final approach brings you to land in the middle of town, but don’t sit down on touch down…you need to run a few steps to ensure maximum style points and a “well done - high 5” from your pilot.

Right across the road are a few bars to finish off the experience and watch a few more maybe not so elegant landings.

There are a number of operators in Interlaken who offer flights from a variety of locations in the area including Grindlwald at the foot of the Eiger north face. The most notable in terms of long term local experience are :

http://www.paragliding-interlaken.ch

http://www.skywings.ch

Written by  Godfrey Wenness.

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