With an enviable backdrop of sawtooth peaks, sheer canyon drops and hairline ridges, it’s no surprise the Swiss have a love affair with white-knuckle adventures. Weekends see the cities empty out as locals embrace the elements, and there’s ample opportunity to join them, too.
t A paraglider taking off in the breathtaking Bernese Highlands
The glacially carved Swiss peaks are not only a playground for rock climbers, mountain bikers, skiers and snowboarders. Verbier contains some of the most well-reputed paragliding schools in Europe, while Appenzell’s Ebenalp cable car affords access to consistent thermals for experienced flyers. For those who don’t want to soar too high, airborne freedom can also be found on Grindelwald’s First Flyer, a zipline with a one-two punch of Jungfraujoch’s and Eiger’s summit views.
With two runners, three wooden slats and a rope handle, the Davos sledge is the world’s favourite toboggan. The first toboggan race in 1883 in Davos saw daredevil riders career through the city’s snow-covered streets all the way into neighbouring Klosters. You can try it too, on the world’s longest purpose-built sledge run, which sends riders spiraling down from the Faulhorn summit at 2,681 m (8,796 ft) back into Grindelwald village above Interlaken.
Adrenaline junkies can take to the air à la James Bond at sites all across the country. The most famous is the jump off the side of the 220-m- (720-ft-) high Contra Dam, where Pierce Brosnan’s 007 bungee jumps in the famous opening scene of GoldenEye (1995). Night jumps and foot-first “ultimo” jumps can be arranged.
Paragliders use rising air created by solar radiation to get into the air, in a technque called thermalling.
Switzerland for Thrill-Seekers
Olympia Bob Run, St Moritz
The oldest bobsleigh track in the world.
Via Ferrata, Aletsch
Climb above the largest glacier in the Alps.
Whitewater Rafting, Lower Engadine
Thrills and spills on the river En.
Raging rivers and soul-stirring gorges in the Maggia Valley.
Mountain Biking, Lenzerheide
Home to a 6-km (3-mile) downhill run.