Switzerland Travel Guide
Switzerland Travel: General Information
Switzerland, the land-locked western European country, appears no less than a natural paradise with its snow-peaked mountains, crystal-clear lakes and rivers and verdant valleys. But then, the scenic beauty of Switzerland is not the only reason that sees people flocking to this tourist haven; instead, it is the lures of winter sports, cheese, chocolates, cosmetics and watches that entice vacationing crowds from the world-over. Switzerland also has many enchanting towns and cities, rich in their architectural wealth ranging from simple timber-houses to majestic buildings, bridges, cathedrals, etc. for you to explore.
Switzerland Travel: Key Facts
- Capital city: Bern
- Total Area: 41,285 sq Km
- Population: 7.5 million (As per 2007 official estimate)
- Languages spoken: Switzerland has four official languages, namely, French, German, Italian and Romansh; about 74% people speak in German/Swiss-German, 20% in French, 4% in Italian, 1% in Romansh and the remaining 1% speaks other languages.
- International Dialing code: 41
- Monetary unit: Swiss Franc (CHF); actually official name of Switzerland is Confoederatio Helvetica, hence CHF
- Religion: Christian-faith is followed by the majority – about 48% people are Roman Catholics and 44% are Protestants; the remaining 8% people follow other religions.
Switzerland Travel: Popular Destinations
- Bern: Bern is the capital city and the seat of the federal government. The old city center with its arcades, cathedrals, fountains and the Zytgloggeturm clock tower is an UNESCO world heritage site. Then, there are Bern’s (infamous) bear pits (which fortunately are being converted into spacious bear parks). Bern is also famous for its open-air rock festival on Gurten hill.
- Geneva: Geneva is a global city with a perfectly cosmopolitan populace. Geneva has its share of art galleries, cultural festivities and industrial fairs, etc. however, the city is more famous for being the headquarters of prestigious international organizations such as The Red Cross and UNESCO (European HQ). The CERN facility is also located in Geneva.
- Zurich: Zurich is the largest Swiss city. The city’s proximity to the Alps gives it the most picturesque setting with scenic hamlets standing amid rolling hills, serene forests, pristine lakes and winding river courses. There is more to explore in the city – historical sights like the Grossmünster (Romanesque cathedral) and museums like the Landesmuseum or the National Historical Museum.
- Other Popular Destinations: A vacationer’s dreamland, Switzerland is full of cities like Basel, Lucerne, Lausanne, Montreux, St. Gallen and Yverdon-les-Bains that give you glimpses of the city’s cultural and historical wealth. Besides, Switzerland also has many Alpine resorts like Davos, Gstaad Saanen, Interlaken, St Moritz, Zermatt and others.
Switzerland Travel: Economy and Infrastructure
Switzerland is among the richest economies in the world; in fact, the Swiss city duo of Zürich and Geneva are ranked second and third respectively in the high-quality of life they offer. Of course, it is not just these two cities, rather the advanced facilities and infrastructure of the nation assures a good standard of living for all the Swiss-citizens.
Switzerland is not a part of the European Union; however, the Swiss-nation enjoys easy trade-relations with other European countries owing to the European Free Trade Agreement. Switzerland’s strength, of course, is the service sector and the country is well-known for its banks, financial institutions and insurance companies. Tourism is also a major economic-contributor.
Switzerland Travel: Culture
Switzerland is a culturally diverse country. Swiss-people belonging to different regions follow different cultures and traditions and speak different languages. This has largely to do with the fact that the people practice what their forefathers brought with them from their original homeland in the neighboring regions.
Switzerland has always championed humanitarian causes as a nation; this is not only reflected in the impartial stand it has adopted for the last two centuries (not showing any special allegiance to any superpower), but also in the fact that the Red Cross Movement began here and that many international organizations like United Nations have their offices in Switzerland.
Swiss folk-art, manifested through various media like dance, music, poetry, etc. will give you the very essence of the nation’s mixed culture.
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