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
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.
Eastern Switzerland / Liechtenstein
and culture - Eastern Switzerland in summer
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
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
Fun on the slopes above a sea of mist - Eastern Switzerland in
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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
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
Swimming - in the
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.
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
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.
Christmas in Basel - a Heavenly
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
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
Welcome to Zurich Downtown
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.
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.
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 &
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.
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.