In Switzerland, you probably think of Swiss chocolate, Swiss cheese and watches. Here are some things you already know about Switzerland. But this inland landscape hides them much more. Switzerland is known for its historic cities, rivers, snowy Alps and picturesque lakes. Although Switzerland may be small, it does have something for everyone. A beautiful country that you must explore in person. We will introduce you (unfortunately only) to a few places that you are learning to see.
Switzerland – What to see
The Matterhorn, Switzerland’s iconic pointed peak, is one of the highest mountains in the Alps. This legendary peak rises to 4,478 meters. At the foot of the summit lies the village of Zermatt, an international resort with horseback riding, cottages, restaurants and world-class hotels. To protect nature and the air, it is forbidden to drive motor vehicles here. Most celebrities from all over the world come here by helicopter. In winter, skiers can go down more than 300 kilometres of slopes. In summer, popular activities include hiking, cycling and climbing.
The beautiful scenery of the Jungfrau region is sure to enchant you. It consists of four cities: Grindelwald, Murren, Lauterbrunnen and Wengen and three mountains: Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. Grosse Scheidegg, this pass is a popular tourist destination, which has gushing waterfalls.
You can travel all the way to Grimsel Pass or Furka Pass, mountain passes that are ideal for bikers. They can boast quality asphalt, curves and views, which will be appreciated not only by a rider on a motorcycle.
Swiss National Park
Although Switzerland has only one national park in the canton of Graubünden, it is a very special and necessary place. It is part of the UNESCO reservation and home to wildlife such as chamois, marmots, rabbits, birds. Cycling and camping are prohibited here.
Lake Geneva, which stretches from Geneva to Lausanne, is one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland. Visitors can try windsurfing, water skiing or kayaking. Geneva, the French-speaking “city of peace“, is the European headquarters of the United Nations. The old town is a beautiful place for walks between historic buildings.
In Lausanne you can walk, sit in the cute cafés, go to the boutiques and enjoy the stunning Gothic cathedral. Nearby is the town of Montreux, where the world-famous jazz festival “Montreux Jazz Festival” takes place every year. On the shores of Lake Geneva near Montreux is the picturesque Chateau de Chillon, which has inspired many artists and writers such as Lord Byron, Jean Jacques Rousseau and Victor Hugo.
Switzerland – trips with children – map and information
Switzerland – Bern
The capital of Switzerland, Bern, and its old town is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Shopping lovers will appreciate the shopping arcades, which are four kilometers long. It is one of the longest covered shopping areas in Europe. As you walk through the streets, you can explore Switzerland’s tallest cathedral, Münster, with its panoramic views, 16th-century fountains, and the medieval Zytglogge clock tower with movable puppets. The rose garden (Rosengarten) offers not only a charming silence but also a beautiful view of the whole city.
Art lovers will appreciate the impressive galleries, including the Paul Klee Center, the largest collection of works by this famous artist in the world, the Bern Art Museum (Kunstmuseum), and the Einstein House. Don’t miss the farm markets, which take place on the Bundesplatz (Parliament Square) next to Parliament Building (Bundeshaus). Families will also enjoy a visit to Bear Park, where 2 bears are kept as a symbol of Bern. If you visit the capital in the summer, you should not miss the rafting on the river Aare.
Switzerland – Zürich, Luzern and Rhine falls
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland, a major transport center, and the best starting point for travelers. The Bahnhofstrasse (Main Street), one of Europe’s best shopping areas offers designer fashion, watch, and jewelry shops. If you don’t just want to shop, you can visit more than 50 museums and 100 art galleries and the Zurich Zoo in the city.
One of the best things about Zurich is cycling around a beautiful lake. In Zurich you can rent bikes for the whole day, you just have to pay a small amount and enjoy the ride.
Lucerne is best known for its 14th-century Chapel Bridge and water tower, which is said to be the most photographed monument in Switzerland. Lugano, on the other hand, was nicknamed “Swiss Monte Carlo” due to its growing popularity with celebrities. The city is located in the Italian-speaking part of this alpine country.
The Rhine Falls (Rheinfall) in Schaffhausen are 150 meters long, breathtaking, and the largest plain waterfall in Europe.
And we cannot forget one of the few railway lines in the world that are again included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, The Bernina Railway on the Rhine Railways. A ride you can’t miss. The route covers 122 kilometers and leads through almost 200 bridges, the Graubünden mountain range, and many tunnels.
Switzerland – Transportation
Switzerland offers the most comprehensive public transport system in the world. It includes trains, buses, boats, ships and cable cars throughout Switzerland. Roads and highways are well maintained and marked. Public transport is efficient, reliable, clean, and, most importantly, safe. However, quality comes with a price, and travel tickets are pretty expensive.
The fastest and most convenient way to travel around Switzerland is by train. SBB Mobile is the official application of the Swiss Railways. The application allows you to search for itineraries, book and purchase travel tickets. Trams and buses are used for transport, especially around and in the city. Ticket prices vary and depend on the company providing the transport. Some companies offer discounts for certain groups of travelers, such as students, seniors, children or dogs. Taxis in Switzerland are quite expensive and you will pay the highest tax in Zurich.
Switzerland – Food and drinks
The Swiss love fondue so much that they consider it a national dish. Fondue is a processed cheese dish that is served in a pot on a portable stove heated by a candle or spirits and is consumed by dipping bread into cheese using long forks. Today there exist also other variations of fondue such as. Burgundy fondue, Fondue Chinoise or chocolate fondue. Another cheesy dish is Raclette, a semi-hard cheese made from alpine cow’s milk. The slices of cheese are melted and eaten with potatoes, onions, bacon and various kinds of meat. Very popular are also Älplermagronen or Rösti, reminiscent of Slovak potato pancakes. During the winter months, you can enjoy Marroni (sweet chestnuts) all over Switzerland.
Switzerland has 26 cantons, so it’s no surprise that you will find different specialties in each of them.
Specialties from German-speaking Switzerland
Spätzli are small dumplings prepared from flour, eggs, and water. The city of Basel is proud of its Läckerli biscuits made from honey and candied bark like our gingerbreads. A well-known specialty in Zurich is Zürcher Geschnetzeltes, finely chopped beef fillets in a creamy mushroom sauce. Other specialties are associated with the Advent season, such as Grittibänzli, Lebkuchen, or pastry stuffed with almonds, Biberli.
Specialties from French-speaking Switzerland
Cuchaule is a type of brioche bread with saffron, which is traditionally baked in the canton of Friborg. Jura has damask, spirits distilled from plums, the canton of Neuchâtel absinthe and the best wines come from Valais.
Specialties from Italian speaking Switzerland
Polenta, ticinese risotto and minestrone soup – are strongly influenced by Italian cuisine. Ticino is also an important wine region, especially for Merlot.
Specialties from Graubünden
Graubünden’s most famous specialties are Bündnerfleisch (dried beef). The real delicacy is Bündner Nusstorte (cake with walnut filling).
Each area of the country, each region has its own types of cheese. The charm of the variety of products comes from good Swiss milk. Drowning Vacherin, aromatic Appenzeller, Sbrinz, Emmental or the world-famous Gruyère. Cheese factories are definitely worth a visit.
The best chocolate
Swiss chocolate is known all over the world. The most popular chocolates are Toblerone, Lindt, Frey, Cailler and Ovomaltine, among others. If you are a chocolate lover and do not want to miss a gourmet experience, visit one of the chocolate factories.