|Interlaken : activities|
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At the heart of Switzerland’s adventure activity scene, Interlaken is crammed with companies offering all kinds of extreme sports, including river-rafting, canyoning, paragliding, abseiling, skydiving, bungee jumping and more. Safety is obviously of paramount importance: the Brienzersee was the scene of a canyoning accident in 1999 when 18 tourists were killed by a flash flood, and although an inquiry is currently underway, safety standards – already scrupulously high – may well be tightened even more.
The following list of operators doesn’t attempt to be exhaustive, and is intended only to give a sample of what’s on offer. If you have any doubts, check with the tourist office for up-to-date information and guidance. Most travel insurance policies specifically exclude “dangerous” sports – check your policy carefully in advance, and make sure you’re covered before you book anything. Alternatively, ask at the tourist office for details of local companies offering insurance cover.
Adventure World (033/826 77 11, fax 826 77 15, www.adventureworld.ch). Probably the best and most accomplished operator in Interlaken, with a vast range of activities on offer: river rafting (Fr.90), paragliding (Fr.150), canyoning (Fr.90–150), bungee jumping (100m Fr.100; 180m Fr.220), skydiving from 4000m (Fr.380), flying fox (Fr.75) and more.
Alpin Center (033/823 55 23, fax 823 07 19, www.alpincenter.ch). Branch of the Swiss Ski and Snowboard School, with a full range of ski equipment for rent, all levels of classes, and carving and snowblading on offer.
Alpin Raft (033/823 41 00, fax 823 41 01, www.alpinraft.ch). Half-day programmes rafting on rivers around Interlaken for under Fr.100 and plenty of canyoning options. As with Adventure World, skydiving, paragliding and hang-gliding can be done alone or in tandem with an instructor, leaving you free to relax and enjoy the experience. They also offer horse trekking (Fr.75/2hr) and “house-running”, where you hook a rope round yourself and run full-tilt down the side of a tall building (Fr.68).
Skydive Interlaken (033/222 58 48, fax 222 58 80, www.skydiveinterlaken.ch). As it says, skydive specialists, with flights to 3500m (Fr.380) and the chance to photograph and video your jump (Fr.200).
Swiss Alpine Guides (033/822 60 00, fax 822 61 51, www.swissalpineguides.ch). Professional guide team offering a full day of climbing on walls of rock (Fr.95) or ice (Fr.125), with all equipment provided, as well as glacier walks (Fr.110 and up), heliskiing from 3900m (from Fr.250), snowshoeing and more.
Xtreme World (033/654 97 37, www.xtremeworld.ch). Among a wealth of canyoning, rafting and bungeeing choices, you can indulge in zorbing (Fr.50), where you’re strapped immobile inside a giant plastic sphere and rolled down a mountainside.
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