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One Country, Four Ways: Switzerland

Image courtesy: Lukas Bischoff

Whether you’re an adventurer, travelling as part of a gang of girls or a band of boys, or even you’re going with the full khandaan, we’ve got wonderful suggestions across Switzerland for you. The best part: you’re going to be tempted to check out the experiences in all the other categories as well!

INTERLAKEN FOR ADVENTURERS

Set in the Bernese Oberland, charming Interlaken is set between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, in the shadow of three of the highest mountains in the Alps – the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. Surrounded as it is by lakes and snow-capped mountains, Interlaken is made for adventure; from sky-diving to skiing, there’s something for everyone. It’s not known as Europe’s number one adventure sport destination for nothing!

  1. GREAT FOR JUMPING INTO ADVENTURE Located close to Interlaken West station, Adventure Park uses swings, bridges and zip lines to propel adventurers through treetop courses of varying difficulties. The Ropes Park (Seilpark) offers more than 120 different challenges – you could be at ground level or 20m up in the air. Choose the level of difficulty you’re comfortable with and then push yourself a little. You could also opt for a tandem hang-gliding flight with Bumblebee, where your pilot swoops and swerves over the Interlaken valley and Lakes Brienz and Thun. It will seem like an easy ride over breathtaking scenery, until you’re offered steering control.

THE EASIER OPTION: If you’re visiting with kids, the Butterfly Walk at Adventure Park is a fun way to get a feel of the tree challenges without a harness.
GREAT FOR RIDING THE WIND Grindelwald, just a short distance from Interlaken, offers you a chance to be a child again. The Trottibikes at this remote cable-car station in the Alps are bigger and sleeker versions of your classic toy scooter. Just master the kickoff; gravity does most of the work as you coast down a smooth road into the pastures in the valley. Another great way to take to the air is with the Grindelwald First Flyer. You’re strapped into a glacier-facing airborne chair for the 2,480ft-long zip-line ride, 675 feet above the ground. It takes just 40 high-velocity seconds to get that adrenaline jolt as you fly down a mountain ringed by glaciers.

THE EASIER OPTION: Take a walk around Grindelwald, and come face-to-face with inquisitive cows in peaceful meadow.

3 GREAT FOR LETTING GO ON A LAKE Interlaken (“between lakes”) is flanked by Lake Brienz and Lake Thun, each so clean that fish, finding almost no food in them, struggle to survive. It’s safe to drink and certainly safe to be soaked in, which you will be as you jet-boat at high speeds and into 360° spins on the crystal-clear waters of Lake Brienz. The jet boats also go through the Giessbach Falls.

THE EASIER OPTION: Laidback cruise boats halt at Giessbach and you can indulge in a leisurely lunch at the Grandhotel Giessbach, a 19th-century mansion saved from demolition by a Swiss ecologist and re-opened as a hotel, right next to the falls. Incidentally, Brienz is also home to Brunngasse, once voted “the most beautiful street in Europe.”

MORE ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES TO TRY: SKYDIVING: Jump from the helicopter or aircraft and plummet towards Earth at a velocity of 200 km/ hour.

BUNGEE JUMPING: Leap from the Stockhornbahn gondola over the Hinterstockensee lake.

RIVER RAFTING & CANYONING: Ride or scramble into fast-moving water.

GREAT FOR INCHING ALONG It wobbles and sways as you walk it; the Sigriswil Panoramic Bridge on the Lake Thun Hiking Trail is a largely unknown small adventure in its own right. The pedestrian suspension bridge over the cutely-named Gummi Gorge is 340m long and it’s just one element on a pleasant trail that winds past laid-back villages and gentle slopes.

Just 25 minutes away are the St Beatus Caves. If you like exploring spooky places, this underground cavern where a legendary saint slayed a dragon will be an adventure for you.

THE EASIER OPTION: Thun village nearby is rich in medieval legends and architecture. Its castle is 800 years old, its museum full of art and artefacts from the region. You’ll find charming old buildings dotting. the town and covered shopping arcades lining the main street, Obere Hauptgasse.

5. GREAT FOR GETTING TO THE TOP OF EUROPE There’s no way you can go to Interlaken and not notice The 4,158m-tall mountain and its perennially-white summit host Europe’s highest railway station at 3,454m, easily reached by a cog-wheel train. Called the ‘Top of Europe’, Jungfrau offers fabulous views of the Aletsch Glacier – Europe’s largest, made more breathtaking by the high altitude. Jungfrau also boasts slopes for winter skiing, scenic hiking trails and, at the very least, the chance to romp around and make snow angels in the snow.

THE EASIER OPTION: Look out at the white world from the glass-walled Sphinx Observation Terrace, 117m above the station. There’s also an Ice Palace with animal and bird sculptures, and, to warm all desi khaana-loving hearts, a Bollywood-themed restaurant.

 

 

Check out Lonely Planet Magazine India’s February 2020 issue for all you need to be the first to explore Zell am See-Kaprun. Pick up a copy from your newsstand or click to subscribe via Zinio or Magzter.