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Beyond its banks and the famous Swiss neutrality, Switzerland evokes the sweetness of life, a certain lethargy even. It evokes a lot of little pleasures: a skiing session in the mountains, a hike around a lake, the tasting of a chocolate or a Gruyère, a visit to an exhibition, a friendly moment around a "real" fondue. Yes, the country refers to all this, as any tourist guide to Switzerland will say. From Geneva to Lake Constance, via Lausanne, Zurich, Basel or Bern, the capital, Switzerland offers a wealth of possibilities, despite its steep terrain. The Alps, which are present throughout the country, offer skiing and sliding sports in winter, hiking and mountain biking in summer. Its lakes and rivers are ideal for water sports and short cruises. As a natural destination, Swiss cities, which are avant-garde in terms of ecology, are not to be outdone. Rich in museums and monuments, each one has a unique charm. Depending on whether you are in German-speaking, French-speaking or Italian-speaking Switzerland, you will speak French, German or Italian, which may seem confusing. But don't stop at the language barrier, the Swiss are courteous, rigorous and have their own philosophy of life. And above all, don't forget the typical memories: cuckoo clocks, knives and lace, watches and small cows carved in wood, local wines and Grisons meat.
What to see, what to do Switzerland?
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When to go Switzerland ?
Switzerland has two peak tourist seasons: in July-August, and from December to March for winter sports. The best time to travel to Switzerland will vary according to your wishes. From June to September, during the summer season, pleasant temperatures encourage a wide variety of outdoor activities. If you visit Switzerland in spring or autumn, you will of course avoid crowds of tourists and can benefit from cheaper hotel rates. On the other hand, think about taking an umbrella! If you want to enjoy winter sports, the season generally begins at the end of November and ends with the melting of the snow in early spring.Read more
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Covid-19 : current situation SwitzerlandDue to the Covid-19 pandemic, entry and travel restrictions may apply Switzerland. Remember to visit the site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before you leave for the latest information
Like its population and its multilingualism, Switzerland has a wide variety of landscapes that allow for a wide range of sporting activities. In addition, there is a rich heritage and numerous cultural options. It is therefore best to plan a stay of at least one week. A three-day weekend getaway is best in cities such as Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich or Lugano. These cities allow you to combine frenetic shopping, cultural visits in the magnificent museums and lazing around on the lakeside. If you are more of an extended holiday, don't hesitate to play jumping jacks and go down the Alpine peaks while tasting typical cheese dishes and staying in chalet-style boutique hotels. The Swiss countryside remains very authentic and the welcome is always very charming. The thematic range of stays is very wide!
3 days in Basel
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A week in and around Basel
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How to go Switzerland
How to go alone
Switzerland is a country where you can go alone without any problems. It is a very safe destination. On site, the organization is perfect. The tourist offices provide you with information and assistance. Internet bookings for accommodation are a well established practice. And they speak French, German and/or Italian depending on the canton. In addition, English is understood by almost all Swiss people. It's up to you to juggle to organize your stay without ruining yourself...
How to go on a tour
There is a wide variety of tour packages available in Switzerland. Some agencies will offer you winter sports holidays (accommodation, travel, ski passes...). Others will specialize in city breaks (three days in Bern, Geneva, Basel or Lausanne for example). Other possibility, thematic stays: cruise, ecotourism stay, thermal cure....
How to get around
Switzerland has a very dense public transport network: plane, train or coach. All lakes in Switzerland are navigable and can be visited by single trip or excursions. Very pleasant to discover the country. If you plan to combine train, boat and bus transport, opt for the Swiss Travel Pass. Finally, it may be more advantageous to travel by car (yours or rental). Provided that it is well equipped for mountains and snow....
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The thirst for discovery is unquenchable because the offer is so large and diversified. Do you like the mountains? All outdoor activities are possible: canyoning, hiking, cogwheel train rides, paragliding, snow sports, cheese tasting. The mountain panoramas are breathtaking and the comfort maximum. The lakes promise you beautiful escapades on steam boats, diving in the frozen high mountain lakes or swimming in the crystal clear waters of the rivers. The museums are of great interest to tourists, and some are emblematic of the destination, such as those of chocolate and watchmaking. The bucolic and authentic side of the region is enhanced by activities in the villages, open-air museums and experiences to share local know-how (cheese making, chocolate workshops, etc.).
Architecture (and design)
Fine Arts (Painting / Sculpture / Street Art / Photo)
Nature (Biodiversity / Fauna & Flora)
Music and Stage (Dance / Theatre)
Literature (Comics / News)
On screen (Cinema / TV)
Society (social life)
What to bring back ? (handicraft...)
Sports and leisure
Pictures and images Switzerland
The 12 keywords Switzerland
1. #Banks and Secrets
With as many as 250 banks represented, banking secrecy has been stale since 2015. In the name of transparency, the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have decided that Swiss banks must disclose the names of their clients to avoid being accused of complicity in tax evasion.
The oldest brand is that of François-Louis Cailler, who opened in 1819, in Corsier-sur-Vevey. Philippe Suchard opened one in Serrières. Charles-Amédée Kohler in Lausanne. As for milk chocolate, it appeared in 1875, in Vevey, thanks to Daniel Peter. The reputation of chocolate is well established and continues with innovations.
3. #Swiss Knife
An indispensable tool of the Swiss army since 1961 (Victorinox ® brand), at the time silver-coloured, the famous little red knife with a white cross has become an emblem of Switzerland. Constantly improved, it does more than cut and can also include a magnifying glass, a toothpick, a cigar cutter, a ballpoint pen, a lamp, a barometer.
Based in Geneva, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), an organization that aims to be impartial, neutral and independent, was founded in 1863 by Henri Dunant. It was founded in 1863 by Henri Dunant, who witnessed many injuries during the Battle of Solferino. Today, the ICRC is one of the most important institutions for humanitarian action.
The environment is a key issue in the Swiss economy. The country has done real research around ecology in order to find solutions in recycling, energy. Thus, the Swiss are often cited as examples to follow in terms of recycling, as in 2018 in the energy performance index.
With four official languages, Switzerland is a multilingual country par excellence. German is the official language in 17 of the 26 cantons. Four cantons, Geneva, Vaud, Neuchâtel and Jura, are exclusively French-speaking. Crossing the country requires adapting to languages such as German, French, Italian and Romansh.
The only time Switzerland attempted a military alliance, with the Milanese at the battle of Marignan in 1515 against the troops of Francis I, it was a failure. Otherwise, it signed a peace treaty with France, which gave rise to the status of neutrality, which was recognised under international law in 1815 with the Treaty of Vienna
Although the second largest UN headquarters after New York is in Geneva, Switzerland only became a full member of the United Nations on 10 September 2002. It has also contributed logistically and financially to various UN peacekeeping activities.
The Swiss network has an average of 122 km of track per 1,000 km2. The EU average is 46 km of track per 1,000 km2. If the terrain is steep, a funicular is built! It is almost self-evident that mechanics and mountains go hand in hand, so it was a Swiss man by the name of Egben who perfected the principle of the funicular railway in 1879.
Many Swiss people living in large cities travel by bicycle. There is often a real circuit of cycle paths. Mountain biking is also very popular: most tourist offices have detailed routes. Bicycles can be hired at all railway stations or borrowed in some cities.
Switzerland was once a European hub for the geographical distribution of grape varieties in Roman times, and now occupies a prominent place in the history of contemporary wine. Today, Switzerland produces a number of internationally renowned wines. The terraced vineyards of Lavaux are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
"Voting" rather than voting! In Switzerland, we vote all the time, it's called direct democracy. The right to vote was only granted to women in 1971. And it took another twenty years for this measure to be applied in the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden. The majority of votes are cast by digital means and all issues are discussed.
You are from here, if...
You do not arrive late for an appointment : punctuality is a must
You refrain from any arrogance. The Swiss are very quick to spot pretentious French people!
You do not throw papers on the ground : the environment is everyone's business here!
You give three kisses, not two.
You plant a Swiss flag in your garden or on your balcony.
You eat at least 10 kg of chocolate per year and master the recipe for half-and-half fondue
You are proud of your cantonal accent.
You always leave a tip in restaurants or bars.
You juggle with the 4 languages of the country.
You willingly give up your seat on the bus for older people.
You say "service" for thank you, "natel" for telephone and "syndic" for the mayor of a town.