Switzerland is a federal state that lies at the heart of Europe and is bordered by Germany (to the north), Austria and the Principality of Liechtenstein (to the east), Italy (to the south) and France (to the west).
Switzerland is famed for amongst other things its banks, watch manufactury, delectable chocolate, its characteristic cheese, its cuckoo clocks and of course the Swiss army knife. Switzerland is a country which certainly belies its size in terms of variety, charms and class.
Currency: Swiss Franc (CHF) = 100 rappen or centimes
Time Zone: GMT +1
Official languages: German, French, Italian, Rumantsch
Telephone Services: Country code +41, International access code 00
The substantial altitude variations in the Alps cause the climate to vary quite dramatically in Switzerland. The higher Alpine regions are quite cold whilst the lower lying area to the North has higher temperatures and can have reasonably warm summers.
Things to see and do
Bern, Switzerland’s capital city is a small but beautifully preserved medieval city earning it the honour of being a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can find here such attractions as Einstein’s house where he developed his theory of relativity, the Kunstmuseam which is a museum of fine art and the Swiss Alpine museum. Bern is also an excellent place to shop with over 6km of covered arcades literally full of shops.
Zurich is one of the world’s financial centres and is Switzerland’s biggest city.
Geneva is Switzerland’s most cosmopolitan city and is the home to many international organisations such as the UN, the World Health Organisation and the Red Cross. By far the biggest draw here is the Red Cross museum which carries exhibits ranging from its founding right up to the modern day. Another unique site is the CERN particle accelerator. This 27km long accelerator is home to the largest particle physics lab in the world. There is a science exhibition open to visitors although this may only appeal to the more technologically minded.
Basle is a major commercial centre and is situated right on the border with France and Germany. This is Switzerland’s second largest town and has one of the most picturesque cobbled old town in Switzerland. The Baslermünster is a sizeable medieval cathedrale with a tower which offers the best views of Basel and the surrounding Black Forest.