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Destinations » Switzerland Holidays
Switzerland is undeniably beautiful with stunning alpine scenery, crystal clear lakes, ancient cities, scenic countryside and picturesque meadows. Vast forests with nature trails and hiking paths characterise the country. The Swiss Alps are an icon of Switzerland, where snow capped peaks, icy glaciers and awesome spires define this beautiful region. Thick forests and woods extend to the edge of calm lakes. Cable cars and quaint cogwheel trains carry tourists along spectacular mountain scenery.
In the Southern areas the climate is pleasanter and similar to the warm Mediterranean weather. You'll see green meadows, large farms with picturesque flower gardens and can visit busy cities such as Bern and Zurich, where medieval architecture and modern lifestyles combine. Switzerland is famous for its opulent shopping arcades, fashionable stores and friendly cities. The countryside with its stone churches, lovely landscape and forest-clad hills will make your tour of Switzerland quite unforgettable.
Zurich is a stylish city with a beautifully preserved old town, a world famous opera and elegant shops and restaurants. Nestling amidst hills and lakes, with more than 50 museums. Its exquisite cultural events calendar offers a huge variety of productions all year round. The city is a shopper's paradise; from international fashion labels, jewellery and watches to bookshops and farmer's markets - there is something for everyone! Geneva has a more French feel and is framed by the Alps and situated at Europe's largest lake, the Lake Geneva. The city is not only the world capital of watch making, but also a city of wonderful lakeside parks, world class cultural events and exhibitions as well as gastronomic delights. Bern, Switzerland's capital offers spectacular views of the surrounding Alps, the old town has some of Europe's finest medieval architecture. The Rosengarten provides some of the best views of the Old Town. Basel has a fine market square with a richly decorated red sandstone Town Hall - art lovers should not miss the Fondation Beyeler, a private collection of modern paintings.
Lakes and Mountains
Breathtaking scenery, idyllic lakeside resorts and countless excursion possibilities make the Lake Lucerne region one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Switzerland. Lucerne is a beautiful city and a gateway to central Switzerland. The Kapellbrücke (the Chapel Bridge) is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe and is the most potent symbol of the city. St Moritz is surrounded by beautiful meadows and offers endless walking opportunities. Montreux is a beautiful town nestling in the bay of Lake Geneva and has been home to many famous people. Zermatt lies at the foot of the Matterhorn Mountain and only allows electric cars in the town which guarantees clean, fresh air. Interlaken sits between two lakes and also in the heart of the Jungfrau region. Great shopping can be found on the Höheweg, a 700m long boulevard. The public transport in Switzerland is exemplary and one ticket can cover all forms of transport. There are a series of Swiss passes available that cover over 20,000 km of rail, bus and boat routes. Please ask for details.
All Images © Switzerland Tourism
The architecture and culture of Switzerland has been influenced by the heritage of France, Italy and Germany, and can be seen in the unique architecture of its cities and towns.
Throughout the country the tradition of folk art flourishes, through dance, music, wood carving and embroidery. However, melodies, patterns and styles of all these arts vary greatly from region to region, making Switzerland a fascinating place to discover.
Food and drink
Switzerland's cuisine is diverse, and while you'll find dishes like fondue, raclette or rösti throughout the country, each region has a distinct food culture, tempered by differences in climate and language.
Traditional Swiss cuisine uses ingredients shared by other European countries, but also creates distinctive cheeses such as Gruyère or Emmental.
Western Switzerland features many fine dining establishments, and wine is very popular. Switzerland is noted for its grapes variety, mainly because of the large variations in terroirs, with unique mixes of soil, air, altitude and light. Wine is mainly produced in Valais, Lavaux, Geneva and Ticino.
High-quality chocolate is a key Swiss product. Made in Switzerland since the 18th century, it increased in status alongside innovative techniques that allowed production of chocolate to a very fine quality.
The perfection of milk chocolate by the Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter in 1875 was a further breakthrough that made the product even more popular worldwide.
Since 1848, the Swiss Confederation has been an independent federal state of autonomous cantons, some of which have a history of confederacy that goes back more than 700 years, arguably putting them among the world's oldest surviving republics.
Did you know?
Year upon year, the Swiss are the world's largest consumers of chocolate.
The famous triangular Toblerone bar is a Swiss creation, produced by Jean Tobler from 1867.
The International Red Cross symbol of protection is based on a reversal of the Swiss flag, in honour of Red Cross founder and Swiss native Henry Dunant.
Facts and figures
|Official languages||German, French, Italian and Romansh|
|Time zone||Central European Time|
|Independent federal state||12 September 1848|
|Area||41,284 sq km / 15,940 sq miles|