The official name of Switzerland is the Swiss Confederation. If you are considering visiting Switzerland, you should know something about the country.
An Overview of Switzerland
Switzerland is uniquely positioned in Europe because it sits on the crossroads of many routes. Although not as important in modern times, the geographic position explains the odd situation where the official languages of the country are German, Italian and Romansch. French is widely spoken in the west and English is prevalent throughout the country. There is no language unique to Switzerland…Switzerish perhaps.
Switzerland is a very modern country rating at or near the top of all living standards in the world. Literacy rates are near 100 percent, 25 percent of adults hold diplomas from higher education and religious freedom is guaranteed. Switzerland has one of the highest usage rates of computers and the Internet, not to mention a high per capita income level. Health care services are outstanding and nearly all Swiss are insured.
Historically, Switzerland was first inhabited by Helvetic Celts. It eventually came under the rule of the Roman Empire. During this period, it flourished as cities such as Geneva, Basel and Zurich served as major commerce centers in the Roman Empire.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Switzerland was invaded and ruled by various groups. It later passed into control of the popes of the Roman Catholic Church. Eventually, the three dominant families in Switzerland agreed to a joint rule pact in which they pledged joint defense, peace and autonomous rule. They signed the agreement on August 1, 1291, a day now considered Nations Day in Switzerland. Following this period, Switzerland pursued land capture through military ventures, defeating the Habsburgs on three separate occasions. They were subsequently defeated by the French and Venetians and renounced expansionist policies, the foundation of Swiss Neutrality.
After a brief civil war between Protestants and liberals, Switzerland settled into the country it is today in 1848. Free of Catholic rule, the country passed a constitution establishing strong civil liberties. Unlike most countries, the Swiss federal government is very weak. The states, known as cantons, have significant autonomy and the effective law makers in the country.
The citizens of Switzerland go by the name “Swiss.” The population totals about 7.3 million and grows less than one percent a year in size. Religiously, Swiss categorize themselves as Roman Catholic 42 percent, Protestant 33 percent, Muslim 4.3 percent, others 5.4 percent and no religion 11percent. The literacy rate is claimed to be 100 percent and the average life expectancy is 76.5 years for men and 82.5 for women.
Switzerland’s policy of neutrality has served it will through two world wars. Much of the country has escaped the damage inflicted on its neighbors. With soaring peaks and beautiful cities, it is a traveler’s delight. Now that you know something about it, give it a visit.
TRAVEL TO SWITZERLAND
Switzerland, formally known as The Confederation Helvetica, is a landlocked mountainous haven in the heart of Europe. Partially due to the isolating geography, the Swiss people have maintained a strong commitment to tradition, independence and the preservation of their long-established way of life. Hence, it is very important for the traveler to note that Switzerland is not a member of the European Union and uses the Swiss Franc as their form of currency.
An incredible benefit of Switzerland’s independence is a clean, speedy and reliable train system and public transportation network, including the new Rail 2000 program that offers regular half-hourly service between all major cities.
The thought of Switzerland strikes up images of enchanting castles, milk chocolate, fine cheese speckled with holes, sturdy watches and the Matterhorn. Don’t be fooled by this simplicity or the precision and just-so design of Swiss towns and get ready to discover a society far more rich, worldly and dynamic than you had ever imagined when you travel Switzerland! As homogenous as the nation might appear, Switzerland is divided into very diverse regions with four national languages: German, French, Italian and Romansch (a Latin derivative). English is also spoken widely. The fusion of these cultures adds a zest of flavor that complements the serenely picturesque landscape.
Four Seasons to Travel to Switzerland
Unlike many other European destinations, it is wonderful to travel to Switzerland any time of year! Switzerland is centrally located on the European continent and consequently enjoys moderate and consistent weather for each season. Skiing is by far the best excuse to travel Switzerland in the winter, but make sure not to miss the splendor of cities like Geneva covered in a blanket of snow. Geneva, the second-largest city, is close to the Swiss Alps and the French border and also boasts an international history of its own. The municipality has been central to European affairs for centuries, most notably including the Geneva Convention. Interlaken should be a part of a summer and winter itinerary as well. The pristine setting among some of the tallest and fiercest alpine peaks makes Interlaken a sanctuary for skiers and hikers alike. The town is small and limited on lodging so make reservations early.
In addition to the most popular destinations, such as Zurich and the Alps, the Swiss traveler is encouraged to leave the beaten path behind to discover the true beauty of the country and meet the resilient and warm people who define a nation that is over 700 years old. Remember that traditional does not translate into old-fashioned or archaic in Switzerland. The Swiss society stands out among European nations as an extraordinarily progressive and cutting-edge standard of modernity.
Cheese. Chocolates. Luxury watches
Cheese. Chocolates. Luxury watches. And Swiss army knives. These are among the popular exports of little Switzerland, the Land of the Alps. For a country so small, Switzerland is a big name when it comes to enviable quality of life that ticks along like clockwork and its long tradition of political neutrality.
Its central location in Europe works to its advantage. Out of all countries in Europe, Switzerland enjoys the distinction of being one of the favorite meeting places for conventions and international conferences. The United Nations has its headquarters in Geneva. Moreover, Zurich remains one of Europe’s major financial hubs.
However, Switzerland is a haven not just for professionals. Tourists will find that stylish Switzerland travel has a lot to offer from top ski resorts like the celebrity-studded St. Moritz and Zermatt to hiking up the white peaks of mountains set against a backdrop of azure skies.
Places like Berne, the ancient capital, provides fascinating sights and elegant shopping on your Switzerland travel. Plus, the country is not without its nightlife that proves fun if you know where to look for the most hip bars and discotheques that play world music, including Swiss folk.
Below are some more fun activities you can participate in while on a Switzerland travel vacation:
A certified favorite Swiss pastime, hiking is one of the most sought-after activities in a Switzerland travel. Of course, what else would you expect from a country where “alpinism” originated from?
With approximately 50,000 km worth of trails, you can rest assured that your Switzerland travel hiking adventure will lead you through all kinds of terrain with dramatic views of this stunningly beautiful country.
For the adventurer at heart or those who want to try something with a little more edge, Switzerland travel also offers plenty of opportunities. Mountain sports such as climbing, ski touring, ice climbing, deep-snow skiing, heli-skiing, glacier walking, and snow boarding are but only a few.
Accommodations come in the form of alpine huts and chalets. However, if you have decided to spend your Switzerland travel vacation in Geneva, there are a variety of ski resorts where you can check in. Portes de Soleil, for instance, is excellent for traveling families with its cluster of small resorts that form a large skiing circuit straddling the French-Swiss border.
Another excellent activity you can enjoy while on a Switzerland travel vacation is cycling. Do not let the mountainous terrain fool you into thinking that the whole thing might turn out to be more strenuous than fun. The view from the mountains more than makes up for any achy and tired muscles at the end of the day.
Okay, that is not a word, but what better way to describe the plethora of lake-based sports available in a Switzerland travel vacation? Go canoeing, sailing or water skiing in Lakes Geneva, Lugano and Neuchatel. Another option is to rowing on Lake Zurich.
The best of Switzerland
Since time memorial, Switzerland has proved itself as three of the most cherished tourist destinations. Every part of this country seems to be caressed and lying in the lap of nature. The land of magical Alps Mountains, Lake Maggiore and the home of cities like Zurich and Bern need no introduction.
Switzerland greets you with three of the most gorgeous cities on earth-Zurich. This metropoplis is a significant financial center in the world. Apart from its blessed location at the tip of Limmat River, the city has a quantity of breathtakingly wonderful attractions that include Gothic Fraumunster, the Church of Our Lady, the Fluntern Cemetery where the soul of famous Irish writer James Joyce rests in peace. You can take a quantity of the most expensive items home from the Bahnhofstrasse Street meant for the rich. Accommodation is not a problem in this city for there’s plenty of a great hotels like The Widder Hotel, The Baur au Lac Hotel, Arabella Atlantis Sheraton Hotel and the like that provide the best of all amenities.
Cuddled up on the shores of river Geneva is the historical city of Switzerland-Geneva. Amongst a multitude of pulls, the city is known for possessing the world’s tallest fountain, a gorgeous flower clock (Hologe Fleurie), the archaic Cathedrale de St.Pierreand the renowned Musee de L’ Horlogere that enhances your knowledge about the worldwide recognized Swiss watches.
If you are stunned with the popularity and status of ‘bears’, you have stepped in the metropolis Bern. Bern is a delightful city that’s the capital of Switzerland and is nestled in a curve in the River Aare. The ancient exotic fountains, the majestic arcades that seem to be eternal and caring, the Kunstmuseum or art Museum with the original magnum opus of the genius Swiss painter Paul Klee, are a quantity of the outstanding features of the Bern city. Some more museums like Bern Historical Museum that presents exclusive archaeological artifacts; 15th century tapestries etc., The Natural History Museum, the Communication Museum and the Kunsthalle Bern Museum always receive the vacationers’ attention.
The great Luzren’s Lowendenkmal, also known as Lion Monument can be gazed in the city of Luzren. The city is endowed with gorgeous surroundings that include villages and mountains. The Luzren city happens to be at the spot where the River Reuss flows out of Lake Luzren. The bees are related to honey and water to bridges. So there’s some grand worthwhile bridges here. For instance The Chaff Bridge, the Kapellbrucke or The Chapel Bridge that
To rock your body on the pulsating music, celebrate with the Swiss their highly acclaimed Montreaux Jazz Festival in the Montreaux city. What can also be relished is the brilliant work of art of the mentally ill and criminals at the distinguished Collection de l’Art Brut museum that’s to be found in the city of Lausanne. The town of Klosters is swarming with visitors for its fantastic ski resort that is known as Klosters. Skiing can also be enjoyed at the popular skiing resorts in the town of St. Moritz. Since the town rests on the southern side of Alps Mountains at an altitude of 6000 feet, it is all the more appealing to the visitors.
The Bernese Oberland region of Bern is an evergreen tourist location. The area has a quantity of the captivating spots like Interlaken town that’s bedecked by three mountains namely Jungfrau, Monch and the Eiger. The spectacular Grindelwald Glacier near the recognized Grindelwald resort never lets three take off his eyes from it. To elate your spirits the Trummelbach Falls that can be distinctively viewed via an elevator built in the rock and the Staubbach Waterfalls await your visit.