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Switzerland Travel Guide
Switzerland is one of Europe's most visited countries, but one of its least understood. Pass through for a day or two, as most people do, and you'll get the quaint stereotype of Switzerland that the locals deem suitable for public consumption - the Alpine idyll of cheese and chocolate, Heidi and the Matterhorn. Stay longer though and another Switzerland will emerge, the one which the Swiss inhabit, and one which can be an infinitely more rewarding place to explore. Sights are breathtaking, transport links are excellent, costs are no higher than in Britain or Germany, and the locals are unfailingly courteous. Almost everyone speaks some English along with at least one of the official Swiss languages (German, French, Italian, or, in the southeast, Romansh).
Notoriously placid these days, Switzerland nonetheless spent the first five hundred years of its existence rent by conflict, and fought a civil war as recently as 1847. The Swiss Confederation (abbreviated in Latin to " CH ") dates back to 1291, when Alpine peasants formed an alliance to defend themselves against the Hapsburgs. By the early 1500s, the Confederation had grown into a military superpower feared throughout Europe. It was only with the Reformation that the Swiss began to earn their reputation for neutrality, a reputation which served them well right through into the boom years after World War II. In the 1990s, the country's image was tainted, as expos?s uncovered Swiss banks' dubious wartime collusion with the Nazis. Public soul-searching in the aftermath of the scandal is heralding Switzerland's first tentative steps towards ending its dogged isolation and joining the EU and the UN.
Switzerland Attraction
Eastern Switzerland / Liechtenstein

Mountains, lakes and culture - Eastern Switzerland in summer

Eastern Switzerland stretches from the shimmering waters of Lake Constance across the hilly Appenzellerland to the Alpine landscapes of Toggenburg, the Heidiland holiday region and the Glarnerland. Far off in the Rhine Valley is Vaduz with its princes' castle.

Cyclists will find an excellently signposted network of cycle paths. Whether you prefer riding from one fishing village to the next along the shores of Lake Constance or scaling high peaks on a mountain bike. There are no limits to the fun you can get from exercise. Families with children are particularly welcome in Eastern Switzerland. On the eerily beautiful Toggenburg mystic route, for example, or on the Heidi path above Bad Ragaz or the Dwarf Baartli fun stations in Braunwald. Art and culture lovers will enjoy a stay in St Gallen, enticed by the monastery district - officially part of the World's Cultural Heritage - and the magnificent Baroque basilica. Or they might prefer the historic little town of Schaffhausen below the round Munot fortress. Walkers who appreciate good food and drink by the wayside should head for the Alpstein region. There are 28 mountain guesthouses to spoil guests and hikers with local Appenzeller specialities. Health and beauty are also on the menu in the Alps. In the Glarnerland, where you can climb up to the Berglialp, enjoy a hearty meal and then luxuriate in a bath of whey before retiring to bed.

Fun on the slopes above a sea of mist - Eastern Switzerland in winter

The skiing areas of Eastern Switzerland are perfect for all skiing, snowboarding and carving fans - with fabulous descents and wonderful views over the lakes and the mountains.

For example, Flumserberg, the largest winter sports resort between Zurich and Chur, or the Pizol skiing area in the Heidiland holiday region. From here, you can look straight down onto the deep blue, almost fjord-like waters of the Walensee. It goes past seven mountains to the Toggenburg, a high, mist-free valley between S?ntis and Churfirsten which is the main attraction for families and crack snowboarders heading for the Gamserrugg and Ch?serugg ski mountains. Winter sports fans will also enjoy the family-friendly car-free Braunwald and Elm in the Glarnerland and Malbun in the Principality of Liechtenstein. Winter walkers and cross-country skiers will find excellently prepared routes and courses with wonderful views throughout the region.
Bernese Oberland

Summer

Where nature and holidays come together. Waterfalls crash down sheer cliff sides. Glacier-fed creeks force their way through th narrow Rosenlaui and Aare canyons.

Sail boats roll and excursion steamers leave their wakes on the turquoise waters of Lakes Thun and Brienz. And on the shores, in tributary valleys and on sunny ledges, you'll discover picturesque villages of richly decorated chalets and guest houses in what surely is the embodiment of Swiss-style comfort and serenity. Delight in the best local art, in castles that are silent witnesses to wealth gone by, and in lovingly restored hotel palaces from the early days of tourism. Deep, dark forests end at the foot of rocky peaks, while cows graze under the ancient Alpine maple trees. Mountain lakes like jewels reflect towering white peaks, and above it all reigns the majestic chain of Eiger, M?nch and Jungfrau. Welcome to the Bernese Oberland.

Winter

Eiger, M?nch, Jungfrau - famous and resounding names all. Kleine Scheidegg, Schilthorn, Lauberhorn and M?nnlichen have skiing on top-flight downhill runs in the higher reaches of the Alps. More gentle skiing can be found in the Simmental, Saanenland and Frutigland regions and on the sun terraces of Hasliberg, Axalp and Beatenberg. High peaks briefly disappear behind a feathering of snow. Mountain railways afford spectacular panoramic views that, in his day, impressed even James Bond. Ice climbing in glacier crevices gets you in touch with your inner self. Ski sailing lets you leave the ground now and then, without danger. Ski tours take you to the untouched world of mountain peaks. Dreamy villages show their homely, friendly faces along the way. Famous holiday resorts and traditional destinations such as Interlaken or Gstaad entice you with their top-level entertainment, and children are always king in Europe's playground. The Bernese Oberland makes every one of your winter fairytales come true.
Lake Geneva Region (Vaud)

Geneva Switzerland:Summer
One region, four worlds. They came, saw... and stayed. Courbet, Kokoschka, Charlie Chaplin and David Bowie are among those who settled at Lake Geneva, attracted, no doubt, by the Alpine panorama and almost Mediterranean vegetation.

Gently sloping vineyards border the shores of the lake, with the capital city of Lausanne across from the highest Alpine peaks. Lively towns and small wine-growing villages appear scattered at random. The region seems half dream and half reality, but the people in the farm villages who work the wheat fields on the plain above the lake, the inhabitants of the medieval towns and the original inhabitants of the castles have always had both feet planted firmly on the ground. In the quiet Vall? de Joux, nature remains unspoiled. The Jura mountains lie to the north and the Vaud Alps to the east, with lush pastures, chalet villages, mountain peaks and glaciers - as well as sunny ledges ready-made for a relaxed vacation and sporting adventures.
Geneva Switzerland:Winter
Downhill skiing on the Alpine glaciers of the canton of Vaud, cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing across the Jura range, city life and sophisticated dining - all three worlds come together in the Lake Geneva region to make for a perfect holiday. Extensive woods and plateaux entice you to explore the Vall?e de Joux, St-Cergue or Ste-Croix/Les Rasses.
An active cultural life and outstanding shopping characterise the cities of Lausanne, Vevey-Montreux, Nyon, Rolle, Morges and Yverdon-les-Bains. Hospitable mountain villages present a wide range of winter sports: 500 km of downhill runs, more than 200 different modes of transport and special highlights such as igloo adventures and hot-air balloon rides. Few regions offer as wide a variety of holiday pursuits as does the area surrounding Lake Geneva.
Basel Region:

Summer

Swimming - in the Rhine!
The Rhine is both a vital waterway and a local place for recreation. The Rhine is not only a major trade artery. As a large body of water, the Rhine makes an important environmental and personal impact, contributing greatly to the high quality of life that Basel can offer its guests and residents. Consider the exceptionally mild climate, especially glorious on sunny days, with which the city is blessed. The Rhine offers valuable space to relax, to indulge in sports or just simply to enjoy life.

Mediterranean Basel
Discovering Basel is a feast for all the senses. Living where they do at the meeting point of three countries, its people have a great deal of savoir-vivre. Good food and drink are as important to them as art and culture. When the museums and shops close their doors, Basel shows its more exuberant side. Young and old plunge headlong into the lively nightlife of the city. There is something for everybody to enjoy.

Hikes and rambles
The undulating green hills of the Jura, the broad plateaux with their magnificent views, and also the Laufental valley to the south of Basel, are delightful walking areas far away from any hustle and bustle. Here you can enjoy the rural idyll on well-signposted paths. On your way you can take a rest in one of the small farming villages that come into view on the horizon.

Winter
Christmas in Basel - a Heavenly Gift
With its many glittering shop windows, facades and pine trees, Basel glows in the light of Christmas. Not only the lively Old Town is lit up by the magnificent illuminations, the decorations of shops and the facades of many buildings are also radiant with light. In the heart of the city is the attractive Basel Christmas market with a special atmosphere of its city with more than 100 gaily illuminated stands and wooden booths.

Basel Fasnacht - or when a city goes wild
The famous Basel Fasnacht carnival, which lasts for only three days but for which the city prepares for 362 days with a great deal of passion and creativity, is a truly unforgettable experience.

Basel - The Heart of Europe
Make Basel the starting point for your tour of Europe and Switzerland. In less than an hour you can reach not only Zurich, Lucerne and Berne but also Strasbourg, Colmar and Freiburg im Breisgau. The Black Forest and Alsace are only a short hop from Basel. In little more than an hour you can also reach the main skiing areas. For Basel is at the heart of Europe
Zurich Region

Welcome to Zurich Downtown Switzerland

Zurich is top for leisure and pleasure. Gentle hills, peaceful woods, the unpolluted lakes and rivers, picturesque villages - and all just a stone's throw from the Alps. Zurich is the ideal starting point for all kinds of varied excursions.
Zurich
Enjoy the pretty old town, the trendy new Zurich West district and the glorious lake. With opera, ballet, theater premieres, shows, musicals, art exhibitions in over 50 museums and 100 galleries, time never drags in Zurich. The famous Bahnhofstrasse and the Limmatquai are a shopper's paradise. Over 1,700 restaurants and bars serve both traditional Z?rich and Swiss dishes as well as exotic specialties. The evenings will leave you spoilt for choice: indoors or outdoors, anything is possible as far as the nightlife in Z?rich goes.
Switzerland Zurich:Winterthur
Winterthur has blossomed from a former industrial town to a lively venue for all ethnic groups and types of culture. Winterthur is an important museum town - it has 17 in all - and also offers a wide range of culture, sports and entertainment. Amongst the numerous night clubs and bars you will also find the only bar in Switzerland that opens 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The Rhine Falls, the biggest waterfall in Europe, is just a 20 minute drive from Winterthur.
Switzerland Zurich:Rapperswil & Lake Zurich
Rapperswil, the riviera at the upper end of Lake Z?rich, will charm you with its many attractions: the castle, the medieval old town, the historical wooden bridge and Knies Children's Zoo. Equally, however, the Alpamare water park and Atzm?nnig slide & trampoline paradise are just as much part of this family-friendly destination. Summer or winter, the Lake Z?rich region offers many opportunities for sport.
Switzerland Zurich:Baden
Baden, a historical city with a very lively present, is worth a visit, not just because of the Grand Casino Baden.
The Zurich region is unique, within everyone's means and definitely worth a visit.
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