Switzerland Travel Guide
🗝️ Key Facts
💶Currency: Swiss Franc (CGF)
🕙Time Zone: +1 GMT
📞Phone Code: +41
🌐Language: German, French, Italian
✈️Best time to visit: Year round
🍴Eat: Swiss chocolate / Fondue
🍷Drink: "Kirsch" Liquor
🗺️Don't miss: Hike on Uetliberg mountain (Zurich) or Saleve Mountain (Geneva).
🗺 Menu of Contents:
Located within central Europe, boasting snow-capped mountain ranges, glamorous ski villages and shimmering lakes dotted with lavish spa resorts, Switzerland's fame as a top European holiday destination is long-established and well deserved.
The majority of visitors head to Switzerland over the ski season. The country's southern Alpine region offers some of the best skiing in the Europe with reliable snow, staggeringly beautiful scenery and world-class resorts like Davos, Gstaad, St Moritz, Zermatt and Verbier.
Those that travel to Switzerland over the summer will be overwhelmed by the beauty of the Bernese Oberland region. A popular hiking destination, this a land of distant mountains and lush edelweiss-strewn meadows dotted with quaint wooden chalets.
The sophisticated cities of Zurich, Geneva and Bern are also a draw for visitors, with their rich histories, upmarket dining, and exclusive boutiques.
The location of Switzerland makes it an ideal country to visit from every corner of the world. Not only it has a very developed transport system, it is an attraction to visit in so many ways due to its advanced and flexible financial services, prosperous economy, high tourism all year round and incredibly beautiful landscape.
Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Germany, Austria, France Italy and Liechtenstein. It is an ideal destination to travel by road, train and bus from neighbouring countries. There are frequent train services from Frankfurt, Vienna, Milan or Munich and even direct services to Budapest.
Flying into the country from abroad is also very easy, thanks to well developed airports and a mix of full service airlines and low cost airlines offering direct links into the country. The major airports in Switzerland are Zurich, Basel and Geneva.The national airline is Swiss International Airlines, which offers the best connections not only from Europe but from Asia and America with many popular destinations being served non-stop to Zurich, the hub airport. Alternatively all other major European airlines serve Zurich, plus many overseas carries. If you are travelling from Europe, low cost airlines serve Zurich, Geneva and Basel in Switzerland for very reasonable prices. Airlines popular to fly into the country are Easyjet, Eurowings, Vueling or Helvetic Airlines.
Once there, travelling around the country is very easy by ground transportation. Major cities have well developed public transport systems like Geneva or Zurich. Moving around is best by train, thanks to efficient speed rail and frequent services. Smaller towns and those located close or on the mountains are only accessible by road, so if you are considering in visiting many places it's advised to rent a car as the best way to move around easily.
Switzerland is also a very green country in terms of energy, therefore it's easy to find cycle roads, foot paths and trails in both cities and the countryside where to enjoy the scenery as well as doing sport .
Most images of snow capped mountains, hills and ski slopes comes to mind when thinking of Switzerland. Often it's related to a cold country by its geographical location and high altitude which makes it an ideal winter sport destination and for those who love snow and countryside. However it's an attractive country to visit year round.
The best time to visit is during the late Spring up to mid Autumn. (April to October). Temperatures are pleasant to walk around and scenery is at its most beautiful, specially in the Summer, with abundant green tones in contrast with blue lakes and mountains. It's often hot in the Summer, specially in the south with temperatures easily reaching over 25 °C.
However, the highlight for many people coming to Switzerland is to visit during the Winter to admire the Alps, nature tourism and Winter sports. The landscape is really beautiful during this time of year, specially when it snows and gives the feeling of being in a white heaven full of tranquillity and serenity Temperatures in winter, (December to February) can often go below freezing, even in the cities.
✔️Tip: If you visit the countryside and the mountains during Winter it's advised to bring proper warm gear with you. Mountain shoes, thermal clothes, gloves and hats should not be forgotten! As well sun glasses and sun lotion is also advised when up high, specially with the higher altitude as the rays of the sun are stronger. (snow reflection can also cause tanning in Winter).
Swiss cuisine is influenced from their neighbours in Germany, France and Italy. Wheat and cereal farming is less suited to higher altitudes, so Swiss farmers have instead focused on dairy, hence the large number of Swiss cheeses. Those with a sweet tooth will be in heaven; Switzerland is, of course, at the forefront of chocolate manufacturing, producing some of the best sweet stuff on the planet.
Specialities to be found are: Fondue, a delicious concoction of Gruyère and Vacherin cheese, melted and mixed with white wine, flour, Kirsch and a little garlic. Raclette, cheese melted over a fire or grill and served with onions, pickles and bread or jacket potatoes. Berner platte, a selection of meats and sausages cooked with sauerkraut, beans and boiled potatoes. Viande sèchée, dried beef or pork from Valais and the Grisons (where it is called bündnerfleisch), served with pickled onions. Pieds de porc, pigs’ trotters. Rösti, a flat, round hot cake made with shredded fried potatoes. Fondue bourguignonne, cubes of seasoned meat cooked in oil or butter and served with various sauces. Leckerli, spiced honey cakes topped with icing sugar, decorated in Bern with a white sugar bear.
As for drinks, Swiss have good wines and beer. The little-exported Swiss wine, in particular whites, are excellent, and domestic beer, both lager and dark ales, are also widely available. Traditional to be found are: Kirsch, a clear hard spirit made from sour cherries. Chasselas, a grape widely used to produce dry and delicate Swiss white wines.
Switzerland is one those countries which have left me with so much more desire to continue exploring all it has to offer. Truly it's an outstanding country in so many ways, with an advanced quality of life, tolerant society, highly cultured and friendly locals living in a beautiful setting with the Alps not far from many major cities like Geneva or Zurich.
The Alps, the gem of the country, are the highlight to any trip. During my trip to Zurich and Geneva, you can see them in the background as tall guards protecting the cities. Their height, tall pointed peaks makes it an impressive scene to photograph and generated my interest to further discover the country for its natural beauty.
Zurich is a very organised city, it impressed me by its well structured streets and being very clean. It's also very elegant, taken care of in every detail and tidy. It's a developed city which also has plenty to see and do. Its historic old town is very interesting to walk around, pedestrianised streets, quaint little local shops and many places to relax and enjoy some great views across lakes and rivers. Only a short trip away by train you can leave the city and get into the nature and forests. It seems like a complete different place all together, yet again you're in the same city still. No wonder Switzerland is ranked at the top for quality of life.
Geneva is a multicultural city, very tolerant with the head of the United Nations in Europe based here. People from all over the world visit Geneva for its landmarks, like the Jet d'Eau, the world highest fountain at 140 meters! However the highlight of my trip to Geneva, was to go up the Saleve cable car, which gives unlimited views of Geneva on one side and the French Alps on the other. Geneva is again like Zurich, very clean, organised, practical city and easy to move around. Free water fountains are available throughout the city, so no matter its hot or need some refreshing water, it's a great way to stay healthy and hydrated. Also don't miss to discover some of the lovely little towns around Geneva, people are friendly, exchange a "Bon Jour" and you get to relax in some great scenery backdrop with either mountains or the Geneva lake next to you!