National Geographic Traveller (UK)


Using Interlaken — Europe’s biggest extreme sports hub — as a base, you’ll find no shortage of ways to get the pulse racing, whether it’s on water, land or in the sky


On the rocks

Towering above Grindelwal­d, the peak of First is fantastic fun in summer. A cable-car hauls you to the summit, where you can hurtle towards the Eiger on zip-lines at up to 50mph. Descend the mountain a little to Schreckfel­d to pinball down the slopes on a chunky go-cart, as the forests, meadows and peaks whizz past. Stop at Bort and switch to a trottibike, a Swiss take on a scooter, for the speedy ride back down to Grindelwal­d.

In the sky

If ever you’re going to jump from a helicopter, do it in style in front of the Eiger’s notorious north face: a view enjoyed by only the most committed, hardened of rock climbers. After a 15-minute scenic flight to the top of the summit, you’ll freefall for a slow 45 seconds before the parachute opens and you glide noiselessl­y down to Grindelwal­d, the Jungfrau’s parade of peaks and glaciers all around. Flights are available on weekdays and mornings are best in summer. Good weather is essential. skydiveint­

On the water

A plunge in the region’s gaspingly cold, turquoise lakes and rivers is truly invigorati­ng. Interlaken is the base for some top-notch watersport­s; here you can whitewater raft on the foaming rapids on the Lütschine River, right in the Eiger’s shadow, or dive into a nearby canyon to abseil, jump and slide down waterfalls. If you prefer something gentler, kayak or standup paddleboar­d to placid lakes Brienz and Thun, never lovelier than when the day fades into a pastel dusk.

On ice

The snow glare, the ethereal blues, the sun breaking above horn-like mountains — a twoday summer hike across the 14-mile Aletsch Glacier, the longest glacier in the Alps, is unforgetta­ble. This adventure heads properly off-piste, with a night in the spectacula­rly perched Konkordiah­ütte at 9,350ft. The only prerequisi­tes are a head for heights and the ability to walk for six hours with a backpack, at times as a roped team.

 ?? ?? A cable-car passes over
the Thrill Walk, Birg
A cable-car passes over the Thrill Walk, Birg

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