In the mood for quaint country settings against a backdrop of dramatic landscapes? How about a fascinating cornucopia of unique cultures – French, German, and Italian? Or perhaps, you just want to hike along trails with breathtaking vistas? Or pamper yourself in the lap of luxury?
When you are in Switzerland, you can take your pick from among any of these wonderful offerings.
Bordered to the north by Germany, to the west by France, to the south by Italy, and to the east by Austria and Liechtenstein, Switzerland is a country with a strong tradition of political and military neutrality. However, don’t let Switzerland’s neutrality fool you. The country is by no means flavorless.
As a landlocked country, Switzerland is particularly known for its mountains. In the south are the spectacular snow-capped Alps and in the northwest is the magnificent Jura. But besides mountains, Switzerland also has a central plateau, composed of plains, large lakes, and rolling hills.
Switzerland has four official languages – German, French, Italian, and the little known “Romansh,” which is a close relative of Latin. So no, there is no such thing as a “Swiss language.” You can do better with English as most Swiss people speak it. However, it always best to learn at least one of the languages that the locals speak. In this case, German is your best bet. There are many schools and institutions that offer courses in the German language as well as other languages of the world.
There are three major airports that service international flights. These are found in Geneva, Zurich and Basel. You can also get in the country through any of the smaller airports in Bern and Lugano. Switzerland’s Flagcarrier is called SWISS, a member of Star Alliance and successor of the famous Swissair.
Another mode of entry to Switzerland is by railway. Trains are extremely common and they arrive from everywhere in Europe. As one of the two most central-lying countries in Europe (Germany being the other one), Switzerland proves to be a hub of railways and highways to the rest of Europe.
Switzerland has one of the best transportations in the world. Their trains are swift and always prompt. Their buses are clean. And they have nearly half a dozen different kinds of transport systems that go through the mountains.
Note that while many of the bus routes go through the scenic Alps, there is actually no intercity bus network. Moreover, you are also given a multitude of discount options, such as half fare cards, multi-use tickets, and multi-day cards.
Generally, there is at least one train or bus on every route every hour. In fact, there are routes where buses and trains are running every 30 minutes. So you will truly have no problem getting around Switzerland.