Although the onset of autumn may mean the end of outdoor activities for some, for adventure sports enthusiasts, the season is only just starting. Thanks to beautiful and lethal scenery that encompasses mountain peaks, deep lakes, rivers and canyons, New Zealand and Switzerland have become the established capitals for sports as diverse as ice-climbing, river rafting, bungee jumping and paragliding. This season, Switzerland will be inundated with international thrill-seekers, with the majority heading to the Jungfrau Region and the town of Interlaken.
It only takes a few hours to travel to Switzerland from most European countries, making it a more convenient choice than the isolated islands of New Zealand. On arriving in Interlaken, visitors will be greeted by a truly dazzling sight. Lakes Thun and Brienz sparkle in the sunlight on either side of the quaint town, while the majestic peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfau preside above. The architecture of Interlaken is unmistakably Alpine, with wooden gable roofs and ornately carved balconies. The town itself can be traced back to the 12th century, with historic buildings that have hosted celebrated figures including Lord Byron, Mark Twain and Tolstoy. The picturesque surroundings at Interlaken have cemented its status as a sought-after travel destination ever since the mid-19th century, when Swiss landscape artists drew attention to the area with their detailed depictions of the breathtaking scenery. As more Europeans began to visit Interlaken, the town became one the most celebrated hotspots for early tourism.
Today, eclectic wine bars and restaurants have appeared alongside the traditional bier halls and fondue dens. Although the town remains as charming as ever, it's the lakes and mountains just beyond it that now draw the majority of visitors. October is the perfect time of year to visit Interlaken, as the climate is mild enough to spend the whole day outside. As you would expect, there are a number of organisations specialising in outdoor adventure sports, which can help you to try your hand at paragliding, skydiving, bungee jumping, and hang gliding. Staying closer to the ground, the mountains and rivers also lend themselves to canyoning, white water rafting, and rock climbing.
Numerous forested trails surround Interlaken, ideal for hiking and mountain biking, while the crystal clear – if somewhat cold – waters will prove irresistible for any proponents of wild swimming. Visitors who extend their stay into the winter months will also be able to head to the Jungfrau ski region, with the popular resorts Kleine Scheidegg-Männlichen, Grindelwald First and Mürren-Schilthorn all in easy proximity.
Interlaken's appeal as a year-round destination has helped to keep the demand for properties in the area far greater than the supply, resulting in reliably high values. The shores of the two lakes are popular among expats retiring to the area, while those in search of second homes or rental properties will generally choose a neighbouring ski resort. As foreign nationals require permits to purchase Swiss property, it's essential for your real estate agent to have extensive experience of the global luxury market. Engel & Völkers have shops in almost 40 countries worldwide, ensuring that our agents can provide expert advice on every aspect of the process.