Mountain landscapes, river valleys and mirror-bright souls are ready to impress the nature lover. And everyone else joins in for that matter (because not even the most avid city fan can escape losing their breath at the sight of the Swiss Alps). If you still prefer city life, you can look forward to the cultural city of Basel, the shopping mecca of Zurich and Bern, where UNESCO-protected medieval architecture meets modern city life.
Population: 8.1 million
Language: German, French, Italian and Romansh
We have the strict reformer Jean Calvin to thank for the beautiful Swiss bells? Calvinism’s strict moral rules forbade all forms of jewelry. However, they had to use watches and the 16th-century Swiss goldsmiths instead entered the watchmaking industry.
Switzerland was the last of the western countries to give women the right to vote? It was not until 1990 that the last canton reluctantly agreed to allow women to vote in local elections.
Geography of Switzerland
More than half of Switzerland’s territory is dominated by the world-famous Alps. Almost 100 alpine peaks reach up to over 4 kilometers in height with the Dufourspitze at 4,634 meters at the top. Up here, the snow remains all year round and most glaciers let their icy rivers flow down through the landscape. Further down, when snow and ice have been transformed into water, the Rhine and Rhône cut their way through the mountain slopes as they compete to create the most magnificent river valley. North of the Alps lies the Swiss plateau where beech forests and wheat fields wave over the soft hills. Most of Switzerland’s inhabitants live here and the country’s major cities are located here.
In the first centuries after the birth of Christ, Celts, Romans, Germans and Burgundians were all interested in Switzerland. Although the country around the year 1030 became part of the German-Roman Empire, it did not directly mean peace and quiet. The following centuries were marked by battles between peasants and feudal lords. The peasants created the so-called Oath Association, which quickly grew larger and stronger. Over the years, the Confederacy managed to stand victorious in several wars, including the Swabian War in 1499 when Emperor Maximilian I had to see his defeat in the white eye. It was not until 1848 that the Confederation was replaced by a federal state and the country of Switzerland was born.
For the next 100 years after the Confederation’s victory in the Swabian War, the country was marked by civil wars between Reformation – friendly and more conservative groups. The country’s cantons had their own approach to Reformation and Counter – Reformation and a common foreign policy was almost impossible to achieve, thus laying the foundation for Switzerland’s neutrality. The country managed to remain neutral and free from invasion during both world wars and the country continues to stand outside most international federations. In 2002, the country became a member of the UN, but in a referendum in 2001, the majority of the population voted to remain outside the EU.
Population and politics in Switzerland
Switzerland is in many ways a heterogeneous country. The Swiss speak four different languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh, which originate directly from Latin and are related to Italian. German is found in two different editions in Switzerland, namely High German (or Standard German) which is used as a written language and Swiss German which the majority of the German-speaking population uses as a spoken language. Switzerland consists of 26 cantons that also do not completely agree with each other. The country is a federal republic and of course has both parliaments and constitutions, but the cantons are also highly self-governing and solve many political tasks without state intervention. Common to all the cantons is that all important laws are established via a referendum and in several cantons the laws are discussed at meetings where everyone who wants to can speak,
Traveling in Switzerland
During a trip in Switzerland you just have to experience the color changes in the mosaic windows of Zurich’s Fraumünster Cathedral. You should also see Picasso’s, Rothko’s and Max Ernst’s art in Basel’s super museum Fondation Beyeler, or why not take a walk along the covered, 800 – year – old Chapel Bridge over the Reuss River that divides the medieval city of Lucerne into two parts. Do not forget to take a boat trip on Lake Geneva, which is Europe ‘s largest mountain lake, or snap on your hiking or ski boots and hike along the alpine slopes south of Bern.
According to top-medical-schools, many of the small mountain resorts are completely car-free and can only be explored on foot or by taxi consisting of horse and carriage. Among these are: Saas-Fee which is beautifully surrounded by glaciers, Zermatt which is located at the foot of the mountain Matterhorn and Murren whose passage out to the outside world is trains. If you love the idyllic country life with cheese fondue at a local mountain restaurant or mountains in general (summer or winter) this is the destination for you. There are plenty of activities here both summer and winter. If all nature experiences whet your appetite, you can always revel in gruyère, emmentaler and velvety chocolate found in every street corner.
Facts about Switzerland
Below you will find practical information in connection with your trip to Switzerland. Read about tips, internet and tempo and tone, among other things.
- Language: German, French, Italian, Romanesque
- Capital: Berne
- Population: 8, 1 mill.
- Religion: Roman Catholic, Protestantism
- Currency: Swiss franc
- Surface: 41 277 km2
There is no time difference between Sweden and Switzerland.
Transport in Switzerland
At Albatro’s round trips in Switzerland, we travel by high standard buses. All buses are of course equipped with air conditioning.
Price level in Switzerland
Prices in Switzerland are higher than in the rest of Europe. You can eat a delicious meal at a restaurant for between 300 and 500 kronor.
The majority of all hotels, restaurants, cafés and the like add a 15% service charge to the bill. You can choose to round the bill upwards if you are satisfied with the service. The Swiss usually do that themselves.
For cruises, other rules apply. Read more in the program for your trip.
Currency and credit cards
The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss franc (CHF). It goes 100 centimes on 1 franc. You can switch to francs both from home and in Switzerland.
Visa, MasterCard, Diners and American Express can be used as debit cards almost anywhere in Switzerland. In the larger cities you will find ATMs where you can withdraw cash.
In Switzerland, 220/230 volts applies, just like in Sweden. Switzerland has the same sockets as in Sweden, and you do not need to bring an adapter.
Telephone and internet
Switzerland’s international country code is +41. It can be expensive to call home from Switzerland, receive calls and use your mobile phone’s internet connection. If necessary, find out about prices and coverage from your operator.
Many hotels, restaurants and cafés offer internet connection for possible. payment. In many places there are also internet cafes that charge per hour. The speed is about the same as at home.
Customs and traditions
There are four national languages, which provides a wonderful mix of customs and usages. The diversity in each region thus shapes a country that is characterized by, among other things, Italian, German and French roots. In Switzerland, people address each other with “you” if you do not know each other so well (ie Sie if you speak German, for example) and not “you” as is common in Sweden.
During air travel and transport, there is an absolute ban on smoking. You may not smoke indoors in public places unless you have set up a special smoking room.
Climate and weather Switzerland
Read more about the climate in Switzerland and see the weather in Zurich and Geneva.