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A trip to Switzerland is almost synonymous with the great outdoors. Picture-perfect sceneries complete with Alpine peaks, crystal clear lakes, and charming chalets, it’s nearly impossible to spend any time cooped up indoors while spending a weekend in Switzerland.
Switzerland’s diverse landscape offers a wide range of adventures for all ages. Whether you’re traveling with energetic kids, going on an adventurous honeymoon, or taking a thrilling solo tour, Switzerland is nothing short of perfect for an active holiday.
To kick you off with your exciting weekend in Switzerland, here are some adventures you can check out for a memorable trip.
This post was written by Anna of Expert World Travel. Anna was born to travel the world having studied languages all her life. Although she has traveled the world, she now calls Switzerland home and spends her time writing about her experiences on Expert World Travel. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
6 Adventurous Things to do during a Weekend in Switzerland
Go Paragliding in Interlaken
There are many ways to take in the magnificent view of the Swiss Alps, but this bird’s eye view is one for the books. Flying over lush forests and vast meadows while almost eye level with snow-capped peaks is going to be a thrilling adventure.
The most obvious place to go paragliding is Interlaken. As the capital of all things outdoorsy, paragliding over Interlaken is a very popular activity. The trip usually starts in Beatenberg to meet with your co-pilot and go through a much-needed safety orientation. The ride lasts around 20 minutes, soaring as high up as 800 meters.
If Interlaken isn’t part of your itinerary (though it should be), you can also go on paragliding adventures in Lauterbrunnen, Lucerne, Geneva, and Davos.
Bungee Jumping over the Contra Dam
If flying over cities isn’t your cup of tea, how about jumping off a cliff?
There are many bungee jumping spots in Switzerland, but the most popular one is jumping off Ticino’s Contra Dam over the Verzasca Valley. On top of the breathtaking views surrounding the dam, it’s most famous as the opening scene to the 1995 James Bond film, “GoldenEye.”
Thrill-seekers can give Pierce Brosnan a run for his money with this jump, watching views of the Locarno region’s rock formations and lush forests zoom past. The jump is a 220-meter drop, the highest bungee spot in Switzerland,
The bungee jump is open from April to October. There are also special night jumps during the summer when the Contra Dam is lit up for a more dramatic scene.
If you’re looking for something more uniquely Switzerland, you can also bungee jump into the depths of Grindelwald’s glacier gorge. With the Jungfrau as the backdrop, this 85-meter freefall is the perfect Swiss adventure snapshot.
Take a hike in the alps
Since you’re surrounded by the incredible Alps, you might as well immerse yourself in them. Hiking in and around the mountains of Switzerland can be for any age and skill level. It makes the perfect addition to your Switzerland weekend itinerary.
There are easy walks for those traveling with family, and there are multi-day treks for the more experienced lot. Of course, it is always worthwhile having decent walking shoes, a day or larger backpack, and don’t forget to protect yourself against the sun!
You can choose from different endpoints – castles, mountain peaks, lakes, meadows. There are over 65,000 kilometers of hiking trails all over the country, so you can customize your hiking experience.
All these trails are well-marked, so most of them can be done without needing a guide. Most of these trails are also open during different times of the year, so the views will be unique even if you go on the same ones.
You can combine skiing and hiking trips in one weekend since most ski resorts up the mountains will naturally have hiking trails.
Go Skiing anytime of year
You can’t go to Switzerland and not talk about skiing. Thousands of tourists descend on the slopes of Switzerland throughout the year. There are so many places to ski in Switzerland that it will require an entire article for itself.
One of the most popular ski destinations is St. Moritz, which Conde Nast calls the “birthplace of alpine winter tourism.” It has hosted the Winter Olympics twice and is known for its A-list guest list.
Connected by the breathtaking Glacier Express, Zermatt is another must-visit town for a skiing holiday. The iconic Matterhorn serves as a backdrop to 147 different runs and 224 miles of snowy powder. Both ski resorts are open during the summer thanks to its snowy peaks no matter the time of the year.
Water sports on the lakeside
With about 7,000 lakes in the country, 103 of which spanning over 30 hectares, lake adventures are hard to miss. It’s also one of the more cost-efficient experiences you can have as most of the lake activities can do here can be done for free. Wherever you decide to call your temporary home while visiting Switzerland for a weekend, there is bound to be a lake nearby.
In the summer, swimming in the lakes is free. You can go straight into the water or visit one of the many lake baths setup in the city. Zurich is particularly famous for these, also called “badi”, with around 40 dotting along Limmat River and Lake Zurich. Some of these open-air baths also transform into outdoor bars for a cool summer night drink.
If swimming isn’t your cup of tea, you can also go on ferry tours to different castles and vineyards around the lake. Lake Geneva and Lake Lucerne are popular for steamboat rides that bring you to different shores for different kinds of tours. If you prefer not to go on the water altogether, there are many biking and hiking paths around the perimeter of these lakes.
In the winter, some lakes freeze over and become amazing spots for ice skating. Again, Zurich is popular for natural ice-skating rinks. The biggest one, however, is Lac de Joux, the largest lake in the Jura, at an altitude of over 1,000 meters.
Summer Toboggan Run
Perfectly safe for the kids but just as fun for adults, a toboggan run is a perfect activity during the summer. There are over 150 toboggan runs in Switzerland, but the longest one can be found on Faulhorn mountain. It’s called “the Big Pintenfritz” and runs 15 kilometers with a vertical drop of 1,600 meters that ends in Grindelwald.
Another picturesque run is at Oeschinen Lake. It’s 750 meters long and rises above the lake, with stunning views of the surrounding Doldenhorn mountains. The run is open to children from May to October, weather permitting. If you’re going for a toboggan run, check the weather as most runs close if it’s raining.
Best Time of Year to Visit Switzerland
Whatever time of year you decide to visit Switzerland there will be many options for adventure. However, planning is key for many reasons. Some activities are only available during certain times of the year, like snowboarding and skiing, but some cities and towns enjoy snow all-year-round. If you want to experience swimming in the pristine lakes, then summer is the best time to visit.
Peak times also require advanced bookings, especially if you are only visiting for a weekend. Watch out for height and weight requirements for activities like paragliding as well. There are some considerations, but if you plan ahead and leave room for some spontaneity, then you’re bound to have a fantastic time visiting Switzerland.
There are so many adventurous things to do in Switzerland, but with the right planning, you can make the most out of the whole weekend. With beautiful sceneries all year round, there’s really no wrong way to go about your trip. You can even bring the whole family along and still have a thrilling time! Whether you go for one or combine any of these activities, you’re bound to have an exciting experience.
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