Switzerland is a well-beloved destination for travelers, especially within Europe. This small, but extremely wealthy, country has a population of just 7,5 millions and is situated in west central Europe. It is bordered by France, Italy, Austria and Germany. Also, it has four official languages: French, German, Italian and Romansch.
When an American thinks of Switzerland, the first things that will come into mind are Swiss chocolates, banks, Swiss army knives and yodeling. But the country has so much more to offer!
Not only does Switzerland offer some of the most breathtaking scenes of mountains and lakes, but it still has some authentic villages, where the traveler is brought back to ages past. Streets with cobblestones, old farmhouses…
If you are rather an active traveler, then Switzerland is the ideal spot to go hiking. All over the country, there are well-mapped hiking trails – more than 31,070 miles or 50,000 km – which offer glamorous sights along the way. Time frames are given on signposts, and trails are color-coded according to difficulty. Interested? Visit www.swisshiking.ch
Of course, hiking is not the only mountain sport you can do. There is also rock-climbing and glacier climbing in summer, and deep-snow skiing and snow-polo in winter.
Fond of cycling? Then don’t be scared off by the terrain. There are many cycling tracks in the country, and most of them offer easy cycling. Bikes can be rented at most train stations, and then you just return the bike to any other station at the end of the tour. More info on www.cycling-in-switzerland.ch
Of course, not everyone is that sporty. For those who like to take it less strenuous, there are also plenty of things to do. You could for instance travel by train. Switzerland has this stunning scenery and you won’t get bored for a second! A recommended train trip: from St. Moritz to Zermatt with the Glacier Express. Website: www.glacierexpress.ch
Another thing you can do is take a lake cruise. Switzerland has some gorgeous lakes, like Lake Geneva, Lake Constance, Lake Zurich, and Vierwaltstattersee (Lake of the Four Towns) at Lucerne.
Switzerland has towns that each offer a variety of activities. Zurich has one of the most prestigious German-speaking playhouses in the country, the Zurcher Schauspielhaus. Basel has the Basler Fasnacht, a sort of carnival that has three days of grand masked parties and street parades with fancy costumes. Zermatt has the highest aerial cablecar of Europe up the Little Matterhorn. Montreux has one of the world’s greatest jazz festivals, each year in July.
Lucerne has a genuine old town and the oldest road bridge in Europe. Geneva is home to the United Nations.
Shall I share my tip for visiting Switzerland? A place I love to visit there is Scuol. A little town in Engadin (not far from St. Moritz). Getting there will include a rail trip along some of the most beautiful scenery. Once you arrive in Scuol, you’ll find yourself in an authentic village with farmhouses that are hundreds of years old and people there talk Romansch. There are lots of hiking and cycling paths, and also a spa that offers Irish-Roman baths.