Anyone who has followed me a bit in recent years knows that I am always up for a little adrenaline. Whether it's about bungee jumping, to dive in caves, racing on the track, ziplining or mountain biking. I want to try anything that makes your heart beat faster. Even though I already gave quite a lot bucket list activities checked off in my life, my bucket list seems to have only grown in recent years! For example, I have never made a parachute jump, I want to visit Antarctica again and recently I also want to cross the ocean with a sailboat. And that's just a tip of the iceberg! Another bucket list activity that had been on my list for years was taking a helicopter flight. Now I'm in Switzerland was on a trip and the helicopters flew around my ears, I had to work hard to do it here too. I was determined to make a helicopter flight in Switzerland, only I didn't know how at the time.
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Many helicopters in Lauterbrunnen
During my stay in Lauterbrunnen I noticed one helicopter after another taking off and landing in the valley. They often transported wood or other heavy equipment but after a quick Google search I found out that some of these flights are also recreational. The only question was whether it was affordable, and whether there was still a place for me to get in. Was this the place where I could realize a dream?
I really wanted to take a helicopter flight. That has been a dream of mine for years. And preferably in a unique place of course. So I wanted to experience the epic views, glaciers and mountain peaks of Switzerland from above and decided to contact the various providers of helicopter flights in Lauterbrunnen.
Last minute helicopter flight
After calling and e-mailing back and forth (in which I explain, among other things, that I Wereldreizigers.nl am), I got 'no' everywhere at first. Everything was full this week and they didn't even want to talk about any form of discount or cooperation. There was one provider who was open to it and asked me if I wanted to leave my contact details. The message was: there is a very small chance that there is a last-minute spot for you, but then you have to be close to Lauterbrunnen. That could be tomorrow, but also later this week. I wrote down my phone number and didn't really have high hopes for it.
The following days I decided to stay in the area around Lauterbrunnen because well, you never know… I left my details on Wednesday afternoon and on Saturday morning the phone suddenly rang at half past nine in the morning.
There was in fact one spot left in the helicopter and I was allowed to board for a small contribution, let's say the petrol. Yes! I packed up my things, and drove back to Lauterbrunnen with my camper. I left the camper in the parking lot and took a quick photo (because it looked so beautiful there in front of the Staubbach waterfall…), and ran to the office. Just in time!
Take off from Lauterbrunnen
After a short introduction to the other passengers of the day and a briefing of our flight, we walked up Lauterbrunnen from the mountain together. It was a steep climb of about 20 minutes and suddenly a helicopter appeared behind the trees.
We had to wait a while until the helicopter was full. After about 10 minutes we took place in the helicopter and we went up in the air. Let's go!
The first thing we saw is the deep valley that includes Lauterbrunnen (behind us in the photo below). We then ascended at a brisk pace to fly over the first ridges as quickly as possible. The pilot was determined to give us a nice day and flew anything but calm. During the ascent we skimmed along the various mountain sides and were already treated to bizarrely beautiful views. My heart was racing, not only because it was quite exciting but also because I just felt an enormous joy of making this dream come true.
The trees then make way for the snow in the high mountains. We were now really high (3 to 4 kilometers) and suddenly we saw the highest mountain peaks in Switzerland. The Eiger, The Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, even the Mont Blanc which is partly in Switzerland, France and Italy lies could be seen in the distance. Impressive snow-capped mountain peaks could be admired all around you. The weather was crystal clear and the pilot told us we were lucky today. The weather was clear and also almost windless. The days before it was completely different.
Also read: The most beautiful walks at the Matterhorn from StripeAway.nl
Landing on the Eiger Glacier
And because there was no wind, we could really enjoy the Glacier. The pilot told us that you normally have to get back in the helicopter in a few minutes, since the temperature in April here is usually between -10 and -25 degrees and the wind is often strong so you can't last long.
To celebrate our luck of the good weather, the pilot suddenly pulled out a bottle of champagne. We drank the bottle together in peace while enjoying the beautiful views around us. We took some nice pictures and after about 25 minutes on the Glacier it was time to get in again.
Enjoy the return flight
On the way up I sat in the back of the helicopter, on the way back I was allowed to sit in the front next to the pilot. Now I got the chance to take beautiful pictures and videos. I snapped a few shots of the cockpit and decided to just turn on my GoPro video camera for the rest of the flight and ignore it. I also just wanted to enjoy the view without being too busy with my camera. Whether the images would be useful, I would only see afterwards.
I really cannot describe with a pen or keyboard how intensely beautiful and unique this experience is and what a feeling such a flight gives you. Even the most beautiful photos can't convey that, you really have to experience it for yourself! To give you an idea of the flight, how it sounds and what you see both inside and outside the helicopter, I have put together the video below. In the 2nd part of the video (starts after 1 minute 15 sec) I just show you the raw, unedited footage of the descent back to Lauterbrunnen. Set the quality of the video as high as possible and sit back and enjoy it.
How much does a helicopter flight in Switzerland cost?
Now that you've seen all this beauty, you're probably also curious what something like this costs. I checked this out for you and yes, it is quite pricey. With most providers, it is mainly in the fact that you have to fill a helicopter. A short 15 minute flight usually costs between 800 and 1200 euros per helicopter† So you can share this price with others. If you want a flight of approximately 30 minutes + a landing on a glacier, you usually pay between 1500 and 2500 euros per helicopter† You can also share this with others, provided you arrange this yourself. What is striking is that the prices are so very far apart between the different providers.
Cheaper Helicopter Flight Providers
So hefty prices! But don't worry, it really can be cheaper. The helicopter flight providers are not sitting still either. They do understand that it is not possible for everyone to fill an entire helicopter. There are also options for couples or people traveling alone. You are then only dependent on online booking systems and less flexible. An ad hoc decision to get into a helicopter is not an option.
For those who want to book online: a flight of 15 minutes (without Glacier Landing) can be done via this provider al from 238 euros per person† This is the cheapest I could find. Like me, do you also want a flight of at least 30 minutes and a glacier landing? You can do that via this provider al from 352 euros per person† Also the cheapest I could find.
I also asked my helicopter pilot why the prices differ so greatly between the different providers. He explained that the difference is mainly caused by two things:
- The type of helicopter
We flew in a so-called category A helicopter, ie a helicopter worth almost 2 million euros, not older than 5 years and with a turbine engine. Cheaper providers often fly with less capable and/or older helicopters. Modern helicopters are very expensive and maintenance is absolutely not cheap. This is reflected in the prices.
- The way of booking
The other difference is the way of booking. The more expensive providers, you can usually just walk in and choose a time and date in consultation, and depending on the season even agree on a total price. So flexibility. The cheap providers work with online booking systems and strict conditions. For example, you should book the booking as far in advance as possible and pay immediately. There is also no right to a refund if you want to cancel the flight. You do get your money back, for example, if the weather does not allow you to fly.
In themselves, these are not necessarily major disadvantages when you book online. If you are planning your vacation and are already planning to take a helicopter flight, you can book it in advance with peace of mind and save a lot of money. You also have less chance that it is full on the days that you are in the region, and therefore miss the flight.
Whichever option you choose, do it! It is an experience never to be forgotten. Skip eating out a few times and use that money to cross something off your bucket list ✔️.
You really won't regret it!