Toss yourself into the Swiss Alps scene by jumping in, on and over Interlaken's lakes and mountains by way of Europe’s most adrenaline-inducing adventure sports. It’s a thrill-seeker’s playground out there and Interlaken serves it all up to backpackers for a fair price. Muster up some fearless Spartan swag when you sign that death waiver, hold your junk on “3” and get balls deep in thrills with OTP’s Guide to Adventure Sports in Interlaken.
One small step is a giant leap of faith when you’re 15,000 feet high. Skydiving is the mac daddy of all things adventurous and as such, its price tag is up there with the altitude. You’ll drop around $400 to fall into the Swiss Alps. After brief instructions on how not to die, you’ll enjoy a 15-minute battle with your nerves as your plane soars above the Alps and Interlaken’s surrounding lakes. Freefall for a seemingly endless 45 seconds–more than enough time for you to sing that you’re freeee, free-fallin’! Pull your ‘chute and enjoy seven minutes of sky-high sailing down to safety.
Get a bird’s eye view of swanky Switzerland below as you take your adventures to new heights by paragliding or hang gliding. Both are similar in price and experience. After you strap up, your attached instructor will tell you to run and to not stop. This is like injecting the needle for all you adrenaline junkies. You’ll run right off the edge of a cliff until you take flight. Hold on to your bowels, the 15 minutes of ecstasy that follow are going to rock you.
OTP Tip: Though more expensive (at around $250) hang gliding wins over paragliding (around $180) if you plan on purchasing the available in-flight pictures and video. You’re gonna look like a big bitch getting straddled from behind by your instructor while paragliding–just something to think about before shellin’ out the big bucks for a new Facebook default.
Remember when you fantasized about living in a bubble? Also known internationally as orbing or sphering, zorbing lets you pretend you're a hamster for a few minutes. Bowl yourself down a hill in your air-filled, clear bubble ball as you bounce, spin and flip countless times before capping the roll at the bottom of the hill. The $100 price tag (two rolls, at a minute each) is why many people pass this up, but–like with drugs– time goes super slow when you’re rolling. Your stomach won’t get sick and the intriguing mixture of excitement and weightlessness (with a hint of pant-shitting fear) will make that time you got caught stealing in the Macy’s fitting room seem like a cakewalk.
Rappelling down the crack of a glacier then climbing through it guided by rays of sunlight will put some hair on your man lady boobs. Ice climbing is offered year-round and isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. All you need is around $200 (mountain gear included), a free day and the will to climb. Your first steps on ice will be weird but you’ll soon get a grip and in case you lose your footing, you'll be harnessed to a group of climbers to reduce your chances of falling into that icy abyss. Glacier treks and climbs are less scary options that will still keep you way cool.
Try out your Tarzan swing or get a Batman-like handle on zip-lining at Seilpark. For only $40, you can rope park yourself blind. It has eight different trails that intertwine over 50 platforms connected by various obstacles like rope bridges, ladders and swings. You’ll be tightrope walking, swinging and zipping around after a short tutorial and some basic safety rules (like not unclasping both carabiners when you’re dangling in the air). Plug in your iPod to soundtrack the experience, bring some snacks and revert to the better days of eating in trees.
Only easy if your bones are made of Jello, canyoning is the most extreme sport on our list, and at just over $200, it’s the best way to spend an entire day. The four available canyons vary in difficulty. We went for Chli Schliere (the one that hurts most) and lived to tell the tale. The first dive in the freezing mountain water effectively evaporates whatever balls you had left from the provided nut-hugging wetsuit. The next three hours consists of jumping, diving, rappelling, sliding, swimming and shivering down the canyon with a small group of as-crazy-as you comrades. Once you get in this bitch, there’s no pulling out. Tuck your elbows in; it’s gonna get bumpy. Keep your knees bent; the pools can be shallow. Bring a towel; you’re gonna get soaked. And definitely buy the individually-edited HD video; nobody’s ever gonna believe you did this.
Where To Book
Interlaken knows your time and budget are limited so shit’s made simple thanks to three organizations–Interlaken Adventure, Outdoor Interlaken and Alpin Center. All three offer similar rates (keep an eye out for specials and hostel-inclusive packages), transportation and awesome experiences. For added ease, stay at Balmer’s Herberge and you’ll be within puking distance to booking with Outdoor Interlaken.
Interlaken is easily accessible resort destination designated for crazy ass adventure sports, with tons of backpackers looking to supercharge their heartbeats. Even though some of it seems expensive, cross off as much as you can while you're still in the Swiss Alps. When you’ve reached the peak of your adventurous desires, use that old bucket list to wipe your mouth clean.