The Guide To Switzerland
Switzerland is a place you have to visit during your lifetime. The incredible scenery, the mountains, the food and the people are just some of the many reasons to visit the picturesque country. Though it is smaller compared to other European countries, it is a country packed with character. Switzerland is an incredibly clean, green and pristine country – so even eco-conscious tourists will feel at home here.
Although they are known for their chocolate and watches, Switzerland has so much to offer. Depending on the area you will travel to, the Swiss will speak one of four different languages – German, French, Italian or Romansh. Although in the major cities, you will find a lot of English-speakers if you struggle with the language barrier. Want more reasons to visit Switzerland? Read on to discover our guide…
The scenery in Switzerland is so diverse. There are of course the mountains, lakes and quaint and charming villages that will all take your breath away. The mountains represent up to 62% of the country’s territory, always providing a scenic route throughout your stay. The Swiss Alps are some of the most dramatic mountains in the world. It’s also where you can find the highest train station in Europe, at an altitude of 3454 meters. Though tourists flock to Switzerland for its winter sports, don’t rule it out as a summer destination! Each canton has its own micro-climate, so you can get some sunshine on your trip!
Each city in Switzerland has its own identity. City life differs between each destination. Popular cities to visit are Zurich, Geneva, Bern and Lausanne. With the multicultural and multilingual aspects of Switzerland, each city is strikingly different. These different cities are very accessible thanks to Switzerland’s expertise in public transports. Every train or tram arrives on time – unlike most places in the world, you won’t face any delays! So make sure you turn up on time to ensure you get on board!
Switzerland is also the home to some of the world’s most graceful lakes. Lake Geneva is quite the beauty spot, bringing serenity and calm to your trip. Seebergsee will also make your itinerary thanks to its tranquil atmosphere. The lakes also bring water sports opportunities – if you love water skiing and rowing, this will be your dream destination! The country also boasts amazing castles throughout the different regions, and they’re all breath-taking.
Last but not least, Switzerland also has some jaw-dropping waterfalls. Could it be any more picturesque? The Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen will remind you of something off the back of a postcard! It is the largest plain waterfall in all of Europe, the waterfalls are magnificent and powerful – you won’t get over the size of them!
The luxury ski resorts and epic ski slopes are another reason to visit Switzerland. It is the home to some of the most renowned ski resorts on the planet, and the mountains attract winter sports fanatics from all over the world. Whether you’re an avid skier or snowboarder, Switzerland will be your dream travel destination.
Skiers love St Moritz, which has also held the Winter Olympics twice. There are slopes that are pretty much Olympic-level but also family-friendly so your kids can perfect their winter sports skills in the best environment possible!
As well as skiing, you can sign up to various snow-based activities. You can take part in snow-shoe trekking, tobogganing or bobsleighing. You can also go hiking through the snowy mountains – feel on top of the world when you reach the top! If you’re not an experienced skier or snowboarding terrifies you, then you can still have fun in the snow without taking risks!
After a long day of being on the go, then you can admire the mountain tops and take in the views from your chalet. We recommend visiting Matterhorn, which is the most well-known of the French Alps. It towers over the Swiss and Italian border, and it truly is a sight to behold!
Swiss cuisine is delicious, and another reason to visit the country. Of course, Switzerland is known for its amazing chocolate, but it is so much more than that! They generally enjoy healthy food, and they pride themselves on using fresh produce.
At your chalet, you can tuck into a delicious cheese fondue after a long day on the slopes. It’s a dish that can be eaten from fall to spring, and consists of melting different kinds of cheeses before dipping bread and meats into the tasty mix.
Another dish favored by the Swiss people is Rosti. This dish is made from thinly grated potatoes which are then pan-fried until crisp and golden. This is one of the Swiss’ favorite dishes, and is part of their winter staples. Then of course, there is raclette, which consists in melting Raclette cheese on a grill before adding it to potatoes and meat for a robust post-skiing meal.
As we mentioned earlier, the Swiss are renowned for their chocolate. Many well-loved brands are in fact Swiss, such as Toblerone and Lindt. It is home to some of the most luxurious chocolate brands in the world. As well as very commercialized brands, you have to try out the local chocolatiers! You can even take part in chocolate-tasting sessions, and you will be able to take home goodies as souvenirs.
As well as traditional food, Switzerland is also the place to find the best Michelin-starred restaurants. Though eating out in Switzerland is expensive, it is well worth the adventure! Auberge de Prévoux is a highly recommended Michelin-starred restaurant in Le Locle. It boasts classic French cuisine and focuses on fresh, local produce such as lake fish and different types of game. You can eat out here at lunch time for simpler dishes, or opt for a fine dining experience in the evening.
Montreux Comedy Festival
Discover Montreux Comedy Festival, a yearly event that showcases the best of Swiss and international comedy talent. Grégoire Furrer created the festival over 30 years ago and over 3 million people worldwide watch annually. The French-speaking comedy festival is on the shores of Lake Geneva and takes place over 10 days. Each gala takes place at the Stravinski Auditorium, and there is even now an English-speaking show for international guests.
If you want to get a feel for the festival, we thoroughly recommend checking out the YouTube and TikTok accounts! You can discover French and Belgian comedians, less known outside of the Francophone sphere. It is one of the biggest comedy festivals in Europe, and they aim to bring attention to younger comedians, and help them launch their careers. They also aim to bring laughter to a difficult and troubled world through humor. As Grégoire Furrer, once said, “In a fragmented, destabilized world, I am convinced that humor is a real safe haven”.
Thanks to the different languages spoken and therefore the different cultures within Switzerland, there is great cultural diversity within the country. Each canton has its own customs, traditions and languages. Due to the mix of languages, most people here speak English, so you won’t feel isolated upon your travels. The western part of Switzerland is considered the French part, and includes French-speaking cities such as Geneva and Lausanne. The southern part is considered more Italian, with Lugano being the most-known city in this region.
You will be intrigued to know that though 69% of the population is Swiss, the locals are also of different nationalities such as German (4,2%), Italian (3,2%) and Portuguese (2,5%). The Swiss are generally accepting of cultural and religious differences, and coexist in harmony. In Geneva, there are over 190 nationalities that live and work in this city, making it a cultural melting pot.
The Swiss are very tolerant of tourists, and you won’t help but feel welcomed by the communities here! Unlike in other countries, people are very relaxed here. Even in the bigger cities, the atmosphere is very much stress-free.