Switzerland has a lot to be proud of. The country boasts some of the world`s most famous inventions - they created Velcro, cellophane, the Swiss Army Knife, absinthe, the potato peeler, Helvetica font, LSD, muesli, edible chocolate gold, and milk chocolate to name a few. Switzerland is also famous for it`s beautiful nature and landscape, watchmaking, chocolate, cheese, banks, lakes, and more.
One of the best things about Switzerland is all the beautiful nature. Many tourists flock to Switzerland each year just to enjoy the Alps. It`s hard to miss them as they make up about 65% of Switzerland. They are one of the world`s most beautiful mountain ranges.
Watches - The watchmaking industry in this country produces watches that are not only technologically advanced but aesthetically appealing as well. Some of the more recognized brands from Switzerland include Rolex, Omega, Tag Heuer and Rado.
Almost everyone loves Swiss chocolate and cheese, it`s delicious and two of the most obvious products when you think of Switzerland. They offer so many different varieties of each. If you love chocolate and cheese, you`re in luck here!
From a business point of view, Switzerland has a great reputation for its banks. It`s not uncommon for foreign individuals to put a lot of their money into Swiss banks simply because the economy is so stable and Switzerland is considered to be one of the world`s best countries to do your banking with. They are also popular for their neutrality. If you have ever hear the phrase, `I`m Switzerland` when getting into a debate, it`s because of Switzerland`s reputation for their no-interference policy. Basically they commonly take neutral stance when other countries have issues with one another.
Switzerland also has become known for is their trains, they have several of them that allow tourists and locals alike to easily get from one destination to another. The country makes traveling by train seamless and quick, but even better, is the incredible scenery you see when traveling by this means of transportation.
Another famous attribute in Switzerland is the amazing lakes. There are so many different lakes from large to small and they are all absolutely striking with the mountains scattered behind them as a backdrop. Just the scenery in general, no matter where you travel in this country is incredible.
This brings us to the small towns and villages tucked away in all corners of Switzerland. Traditional Swiss Houses, beautiful wooden chalets with pointy tops and flowers in their windowsills are scattered all throughout the winding side streets and back roads. And they look just like you see them in the pictures.
Switzerland just may be the most beautiful country in Europe. There`s something about the way the jagged mountains glistens making a picture-perfect backdrop almost everywhere you go. The natural scenery is incredible and the efficient transportation makes it so easy to get around discovering it all. Every town and city in Switzerland offers it`s own unique character.
Central Switzerland is jammed packed with history and culture and the pristine landscapes, gleaming lakes and towering mountaintops are just begging to be explore. This is where you`ll find Central Lucerne, a town straight out of a fairy tale with a magical ambiance that radiates through this town. Brunnen, also located in central Switzerland, is a popular vacation resort situated on the shores of Lake Lucerne boasting breathtaking views. This is an ideal starting point for excursions in the central region of Switzerland. Also worth mentioning in this area of the country is the dramatically positioned Burgenstock, considered to be the most luxurious resort town of the region, along with Vitznau and Weggis.
The Lake Geneva Region is situated in the Southwest corner of Switzerland encompassing the cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Valais. Formed by the Rhone, Lac Leman is the largest lake in central Europe. It consists of the Grand Lac to the east and the Petit Lac to the west and covers 225 sq miles; more than half belongs to Switzerland, the rest to France. Here you will discover the beautiful towns of Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux, and Vevey.
Northern Switzerland is a region that stretches along the Rhine River and mainly consists of the greater Zurich Area and the great Basel area. If culture and history are your interest, this is a fabulous region for you. You`ll want to be sure to explore the hippest destination, Zurich that is regularly recognized as one of the world`s most livable cities. Also located in this region is the medieval city of Basel the ancient town of St. Gallen, and the well-preserved town of Schaffhausen.
The Bernese Oberland Region is an admired and beautiful region south of the Swiss capital of Bern. This Swiss winter wonderland is also a summer playground. In a small area, you`ll find a very diversified landscape where the beautiful towns of Interlaken , Grindelwald, and Wengen are located.
With its natural beauty and diverse landscape, the Valais, located in a remote corner of southern Switzerland, is a land of contrasts. Here, you`ll find beautiful glaciers in the valley along the Rhone, majestic four-thousand-meter-high peaks in the mountains, sprawling vineyards, and unspoiled side valleys. Both Zermatt, and Saas Fee are located in this region of the country.
The alpine canton of Graubundun is the largest and most easterly canton of Switzerland offering a lot of excitement for every taste. High mountain peaks, remote valleys, small mountain villages - this region is full of adventures and excitement. Chur, the capital of Graubunden, is the gateway to the alpine and loaded with history. Davos and St. Moritz are two other towns you won`t want to miss while visiting this part of the country.
The canton of Valais is the southernmost canton in Switzerland, bordering Italy. It is Italian-speaking (the only canton with Italian as the sole official language!) with a Mediterranean vibe. This region offers palm trees, beautiful beaches and blue waters. Similar to Italy, You`ll also find charming alleyways, piazzas, churches and a mixture of city and country with something for everyone!
The Swiss Mittelland or the Swiss Plateau is one of the three major landscapes in Switzerland alongside the Jura Mountains and the Swiss Alps. At the heart of this central region lies Bern, the laid-back city that few realize is Switzerland`s capital. You`ll find this entire region offers beautiful countryside with charming villages and plenty of history and cultural attractions to be explored.
The best time to visit Switzerland is during the shoulder seasons, as in April to June and September to October. You can enjoy fewer crowds, mild weather, and lower prices.
In fact, the mountain resort towns are almost completely dead. In the spring and fall, you might also get the chance to witness cattle processions that wind through alpine villages.
Tourists descend into Switzerland in the summer months to soak up the sunshine and wildflowers that are blooming in the countryside. The snow also typically thaws so you`ll have the chance to hike trails that are often covered. Most mountain resorts open up again but at much higher prices.
Winter brings tourist with the love of snow sports. Prices at the slopes don`t typically drop this time of year, but if you are visiting anywhere else in the country you will typically save on hotels and get to enjoy a winter wonderland.
For more information on when to go, check out Best Time to Visit Switzerland.
We recommend 7-10 days based on what you want to see and do. We offer flexible vacation packages so you can select your number of nights in each city, desired hotel and activities. We suggest a minimum of 3 nights in larger cities.
Public transport in Switzerland is fantastic, but a car has its advantages: You can save time reaching smaller villages and experience the thrill of winding up and down an Alpine pass, stopping for photos or picnics whenever you like.
Switzerland`s roads are generally excellent and marked by clear. Drivers are well trained. You may only need a rubber bone when driving sharply curving, narrow, steep mountain roads, with impatient locals at your rear; or in cities, where trams and bicycles seem to whoosh into streets out of nowhere. One more note of caution: You`ll never want to drive into the mountains if there`s any chance of snow unless you have proper winter tires or chains. In some areas, chains are required, which will be indicated by a blue road sign with a picture of a tire in chains; the same sign with a red slash tells you when you exit that zone. Attempting to drive down an icy mountain with summer tires can be incredibly dangerous (and you may not be covered by insurance).
Most North American rental agencies have offices in the major communities of Switzerland. You`ll save a fair amount of money if you make these arrangements before departing for Europe. You`ll also save a lot of money if you can drive a stick shift rather than an automatic. To rent a car in Switzerland, you generally must be at least 20 years old; if you are not yet 25 years old, plan to pay a higher rate. Your North American driver`s license is all that is needed, but you’ll need an international driver`s license if you drive into neighboring countries. Those are fairly inexpensive and can be obtained at your AAA office before departing.
For more information, check out Driving in Switzerland.
By Train: Train travel is by far the best way to travel in Switzerland; it’s economical and popular with both locals and tourists. The stations are clean and equipped with a variety of services, while the trains themselves are punctual, equally clean and comfortable. Although smoking is allowed in many public places in Switzerland, the trains are smoke-free.
Unless you have extremely unusual circumstances that require private vehicles, get on the train and experience life as the locals do. You`ll be exposed to spectacular scenery and a way of life for most Europeans. Two of the world`s most scenic train routes are the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express, which cross through the rugged mountain landscapes, offering up a vision of Switzerland that just can`t be found elsewhere. This is where you might want to splurge and buy seats in the observation cars for unobstructed view of the Alps.
First-class cars are slightly more spacious and provide a better view on the upper level, but second-class tickets will save you quite a bit of money. If you’re traveling with family, children under 16 travel for free in the company of an adult, but be sure to purchase the family tickets.
The best investment any independent traveler to Switzerland can make is the Swiss Pass. In addition to train travel all over the country, this valuable pass includes intercity bus routes, ferry boats on many lakes, tour boats on many rivers and admission to multiple museums around the country. Discounts are offered on select cog railways and funiculars, as well as some special events and festivals.
The currency of Switzerland is the Swiss franc, usually indicated as CHF or SFr. While Switzerland is not part of the European Union and thus is not obliged to convert to the Euro, many prices are nonetheless indicated in euros so that visitors may compare prices. Euros are accepted in many places, but you will most likely receive francs in return. US dollars are not accepted.
Switzerland is the world’s only country where there are four national languages. These include French, Rumantsch, German and Italian. English may be spoken at your hotel and in the tourist areas, but not everywhere. We suggest you get a good English-German guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.