Via Ferratas: Via Ferratas or “iron roads” are routes through the mountains that are protected by a steel cable and often use the aid of fixed ladders and other equipment added to the route to provide foot or hand holds. Adventurers secure themselves by attaching their harness to the steel cables using a via ferrata set, which consists of two specially designed dynamic lanyards with locking carabiners at the end of each. Via ferratas vary in difficulty from requiring little technical skill to overhangs with technical climbing moves. All Via ferratas require a head for heights. These iron playgrounds are located all over the alps and many villages fund their construction in order to boost tourism. Via ferratas should only be experienced with the proper gear (helmet, harness, via ferrata set and gloves) and knowledge of how to use the equipment and the various risks associated with a via ferrata. Even experienced climbers should do some research on via ferratas and the gear before attempting them on their own. For those who do not have any climbing experience, hiring a guide is highly recommended.
Bicycle Touring: Bicycle touring is not unique to the alps, but the Western Europeans have invested so much into cycling infrastructure, that it really is something special. Even those without a lot of cycling experience should consider a bicycle tour in order to reach a perfect balance between culture and nature; with the added bonus of a good calorie burn. Bicycle tourists in the alps are treated to experiencing the culture of the small villages, with an occasional larger city along the way. Many of the tours are on paved and gravel bike paths or little traveled farm roads, avoiding large roads as much as possible. Tour are usually well signed out (except in one or two key locations).
Rodeln or Schlitten: Both words here translate to “sledding,” but this word does not do the European version justice. In winter, many curvy and somewhat steep forest roads in the mountains turn into official, or unofficial sledding, runs. These runs are often multi-kilometer and fast, requiring steering to stay on the run. Most ski resorts have one or two of these sledding runs that are served by lifts, while most of the runs are accessed simply by walking up with the sled. This is fun and adrenaline filled, and is a great way to descend following a winter summit, or for non-skiers to enjoy the snow.