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Perhaps best known for its mountains, Switzerland is your perfect holiday spot at any time of the year. It’s a favorite for summertime hiking, wintertime skiing, and has some of the best Christmas markets in Europe.

As a landlocked country, one of its most outstanding characteristics is its neutrality, which has been honored by the major European powers. Switzerland remains active in many UN and international organizations, but it has not been involved in any military conflict since 1815.

Switzerland showcases three of Europe’s most distinct cultures, all banded together by the Swiss mentality. You’ll find the punctual Swiss-German-speaking Switzerland to the northeast, the laid back, wine-drinking French style in the southwest and the Italian-style piazzas to the southeast.

Start your tour of Switzerland by visiting Zurich and take a day trip to Lucerne and Mount Pilatus. Then take one of the famous Swiss trains to  Basel, which is the traveler’s gateway to the German Rhineland and French Alsace.

The breathtaking capital, Bern, has an amazingly well preserved old-town with arcades, restaurants, bars and clubs along almost every street. Geneva is for lovers of arts and culture, an international city that is home to over 200 organizations, as well as the founding place of Calvinism and The Red Cross (ICRC).

Switzerland is known for its cheese and chocolate, so be sure to try the most popular cheese dishes, fondue and raclette. Also try rösti, a popular potato disht. For breakfast and dinner, many Swiss enjoy sliced bread with butter and jam or muesli. There is a wide variety of bread rolls available in Switzerland. Bread and cheese is a popular dish for dinner.

As to souvenirs, Switzerland is famous for a few key goods: watches, chocolate, cheese, and Swiss Army knives. In fact, Switzerland is the watch-making capital of the world with renowned brands like Rolex, Omega, and Patek Philippe. “Swiss Made” on a watch face has long been a mark of quality.

Latest Switzerland Articles

Tourism website: My Switzerland

Time zone: UTC/GMT: +02:00

Currency: CHF – Swiss franc

Official language: French, German, Italian

UNESCO World Heritage sites: 13

See more of the country in our Switzerland photo galleries.

As We Saw It