Switzerland Key Facts
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International Calling Codes
Basel, Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich
German, French, Italian, Romansh
38.2% Roman Catholic
26.9% Swiss Reformed
5.7% Other Christians
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In Switzerland they drive on the right side of the road
Tourism website: www.myswitzerland.com
When is the best time to visit?
The best time to go to Switzerland depends on what you want to do and see. You can visit throughout the year. However, for winter sports obviously winter is best (November until February), and the countryside is also a beautiful white color that time of year. Spring and autumn are probably the most pleasant time to come, seeing good weather without too many other travellers. Summer (June until early September) is hot and very very busy, and should best be avoided.
Airports (61 domestic, 3 international ), trains, highways, buses, ferries, tram
World Heritage Sites
- Abbey of St Gall, a beautiful example of a Carolingian monastery which has been active for 12 centuries
- Benedictine Convent of St John at Müstair, a good example of a Christian monastery founded around 800 AD that was later renovated during the Carolingian period around
- La Chaux-de-Fonds / le Locle, Watchmaking Town Planning, which is an impressive site consisting of two towns devoted entirely to watchmaking
- Lavaux, Vineyard Terraces, a series of stunning vineyards dating back to the 11th century and overlooking Lake Geneva
- Old City of Berne, which was founded in the 12th century and shows remarkably cohesive development in terms of urban planning
- Prehistoric Pile dwellings around the Alps, which consist of 111 small sites that contain the remains of prehistoric pil-dwellings built around 5000 to 500 BC
- Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes, are two historic railways lines that cross the Swiss Alps through two passes
- Three Castles, Defensive Wall and Ramparts of the Market-Town of Bellinzona, which is an outstanding example of a medieval defensive structure guarding a strategic pass
- Monte San Giorgio, widely seen as the best fossil record of marine life from the Triassic Period which was from 245 to 230 million years ago
- Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch, widely regarded as one of the most spectacular mountain regions to visit and home to a wide diversity of ecosystem
- Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona, which is an impressive example of mountain building through continental collision with seven peaks rising above 3,000m
Average Annual Temperature
Average Annual Rainfall
Switzerland generally enjoy a temperate climate. Due to the mountain ranges though, the weather can vary between cantons (regions) depending on their topography. Winter tends to be cold, with snowfall in most of Switzerland and temperatures below 0 degrees. Summer tends to be warm in most of Switzerland, in the Ticino the summers can also bring quite a bit of rainfall. Autumn is usually the driest season for the country, and it rains more in summer than in winter.
January 1 - New Year's Day
May 14 - Ascension Day
May 24 - Pentecost
August 1 - Swiss National Day
December 25 - Christmas Day
The 20 cantons and 6 half-cartons set their own national holidays. Make sure to check the specific canton where you are travelling to for their national holidays.
Why Visit Switzerland?
Switzerland is a clean, efficient, and very beautiful country that attracts the rich and famous. There are many world famous and exclusive skiing destinations in winter, and festivals in summer. Switzerland is less attractive to backpackers as budget options are limited.
Things To Do In Switzerland
- Walk down the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich
- Stroll along Lake Geneva
- Try the local cheeses
- See the world famous Eiger Nordwand
- Visit Lindt & Sprüngli
- Ski in Verbier
Travel Tips For Switzerland
- While Swiss wines are maybe not everyone's taste, they form an important part of the cheesy diet. When having cheese fondue or raclette, make sure to pick a Chasselas (or Fendant) with it, which will aid in digestion.
- Trains are excellent in Switzerland and a great way to travel. If you are planning on travelling around, inquire about weekly or seasonal passes to make it more cost effective
Each region in Switzerland offers its own unique cuisine, and with 20 cantons (regions) there is lots to try. Iconic Swiss dishes you will find everywhere though include cheese fondue, which is made from mixture of different cheeses and eaten with potatoes and bread, raclette, which is melted chees eaten with potatoes, and rösti, which are grated and fried potato cakes. For most visitors, the selection of cheese will be astonishing, and there truly is a huge variety. While chocolate may come from South America, the way we have it today is only possible thanks to the Swiss and you will find some of the best chocolate in the world here. Every town will have a few small chocolatiers, while in Zurich make sure to pass by Lindt and Sprüngli though - they are world famous for a reason!
Switzerland Travel Safety and Warnings
Switzerland is one of the safest countries in the world, and travellers generally have nothing to worry about. As a precaution, ensure you have travel insurance for Switzerland.
If you think that Switzerland is all about chocolate, cheese and money, you’re not entirely wrong. However, there’s much more to this small nation, and it truly offers a wide range of attractions to travellers.
Get your passport ready, organise travel insurance for Switzerland, and enjoy this jewel of the Alps.
Arriving in Zürich is a true joy - from the airport you can take a train directly into the very center of town. The city hugs the edges of Lake Zürich on both sides, and the city center is conveniently located at the meeting point of those two sides.
The world famous Bahnhofstrasse is perhaps one of the most famous shopping streets in the world, and you will find toyshops next to jewelers selling diamond studded mobile phones. While walking along the cobbled roads, be sure to explore the many interesting side streets, which are also home to many good restaurants.
Strolling through the center will bring many surprises - who knows who you may see walk by - Tina Turner has a house here, as do many other international stars.
The Dolder Grand hotel is also here in Zürich, and is easily one of the most beautiful hotels in the world, oddly reminiscent of a Disney castle. When it reopened after renovations, people waited for 3.5 hours just to have a look at the rooms!
There are many beautiful places to stop if you head south from Zürich towards Geneva. Berne, the nation's capital, is on the way and well worth spending a day or two in.
The whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and between the narrow paths, cobbled stones, and endless watchmakers, it is simply stunning.
Close to Bern is also the village of Grindelwald. While the town itself is cute but unexciting, it does give you a chance to see the most famous mountain in Switzerland: The Eiger, famous for its deadly north face.
Lausanne, located about 1 hour from Geneva, is a famous student town, with many world famous universities located here. Every year, it’s also the center of the winemaker’s fare, and there are wine tastings and festivities in every little village along the lake.
Lausanne was built into a mountainside, making the views spectacular from pretty much anywhere in the city. It is also home to the Olympic Committee and they have a dedicated Museum next to the lake in Ouchy
Close to Lausanne is also where you will find Montreux, the site of probably the most famous and celebrated Jazz Festival in the World. For 3 weeks every summer this tiny town fills up with the stars of Rock, Pop, and Jazz and it is an absolute blast. If you want to go, make sure to get your tickets beforehand.
Geneva itself is world famous and has a very international feel to it, due to the presence of so many international companies and organizations. You will also find great shopping and very good restaurants. In fact, Geneva is home to two places claiming to have invented the iconic Cafe de Paris steak sauce, and both are worth visiting! Geneva is home to the famous Auto Expo, which happens every year in July and attracts people from all over the world.
If you’re in Switzerland in winter, the single best place to be is the iconic town of Zermatt. Home to the rich and famous for 2 months of the year, at the height of skiing season this little village turns into the party capital of Switzerland.
From everywhere in town you have great views of the iconic Matterhorn, making this a truly spectacular place.
Switzerland is very safe for travellers, and there is little to worry about. But as with all holidays, arrange travel insurance for Switzerland before starting your trip!
For more information on Switzerland, visit the Switzerland Tourism Website.