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Switzerland (CH)

Continent: Europe Swiss Land
Surface: 41.285 km ²
Inhabitants: 7.476.200
Capital: Bern International banking code (ISO Codes): CH
Official language: German, French, Italian and Romanche Code: +41
Currency: Swiss franc Number plate: CH
Routes of Switzerland: 5367 Routes towards Switzerland: 3722
Preferred airports: Geneva (GVA), Basle (BSL), Zurich (ZRH), Altenrhein (ACH), Lugano (LUG), Bern (BRN), Blecherette (QLS)
Principal cities: Zurich, Genf, Basel, Bern, Lausanne, Winterthur, Sankt Gallen, Luzern, Zurich (Kreis 11), Biel, Zurich (Kreis 3), Zurich (Kreis 9), Thun, Köniz, La Chaux-de-Fonds
Airline company based in Switzerland: International Swiss Air Lines, flybaboo, Hello, Edelweiss Air, Helvetic Airways, Belair, Easyjet Switzerland, Darwin Airline

Swiss tourist guide (Europe)

Switzerland, called Swiss Confederation since 1803, is divided into 26 cantons which are as many small States, with their particularisms and their habits. The Swiss confederation is one of oldest Connue world for its long tradition of neutrality political and military, it is the seat many international organizations.

This country astonishes especially by the variety by its landscapes and its populations, which is reflected already in the four official languages of the country.

Switzerland is located in division and Western Europe its borders with Germany at north, France in the West, Italy in the South, as well as Austria and Liechtenstein in the east. It does not have any access to the sea.

Geography: Switzerland is before a whole country of mountains. The relief of Switzerland is divided into three principal geographical areas: the Jura (natural border with Germany and France), the plate with its many lakes, which shelters the majority of the Swiss cities, and the Alps, which occupy 62,5% of the territory. From its relief and the variations of altitude and exposure which it generates, Switzerland knows a large variety of landscapes and climates.

Mountains and rivers: Switzerland is a very mountainous country since the Alps and the Jura occupy the majority of its territory. Five large rivers run or take their source in Switzerland: the Rhine, the Rhone, Po, the Danube and Adige. Moreover, Switzerland shelters many big lakes, such as the lake Léman (580 km2), the lake of Constancy (536 km2), the Lake Maggiore, or the Neuchâtel Lake

Climate and advised season: The barrier formed by the Alps, which are regarded as the roof of Europe, determines for much the climate of Switzerland. In the north of the country, the climate is rather moderate, oscillating between oceanic and continental climate according to the orientation of the winds. The differences between the seasons there are very marked. In the South of the Alps (Tessin, Were worth, Engadine), the climate is almost Mediterranean and the temperatures are softer. In general, the level of the temperatures depends especially on altitude.

Language (S) and communication: one can distinguish four national languages in Switzerland: German (63%), French (20%), Italy (6,5%) and the romanche (0,5%). But there also exists of many German Swiss dialects, or the dialect tessinois. These various languages are the reflection various cultures. Thus, the Swiss novels, localized in the west of Geneva until the bottom of Were worth and to the canton of the Jura, are without question of Latin. The largest territory and also more populated is that of the German-speaking Switzerland, which begins on the other side of the Sarine river. In the East of the country the Grisons are. It is there that one speaks the romanche, even if this language more is not very practiced. Lastly, on the other side of the tunnel of Saint-Gothard, Italian Switzerland starts: it is the area of Tessin. There too, the difference is not that linguistic, it is also cultural!

Lastly, 9% of the residents speak a nonnational language, mainly the English, the Spaniard, the Portuguese, the Serb one and Croatian

Health and vaccines: Just like for the other European countries, Switzerland does not know a particular health hazard. No vaccine is obligatory. For the courses stays, best is to be provided with the European chart of health insurance. This one is valid one year and allows you to profit from the care in the same conditions as the inhabitants of the visited country. As regards the network of health, it is of course excellent. Moreover, there exists a service of night for pharmacies.

Conditions of entry: Appearances are misleading… If Switzerland is in the center of Europe, it is not therefore member of the European Union. However, it adopted the convention of Schengen, and would have from here 2008/2009, to adopt the methods which are referred to it. While waiting, the French and the Belgians, as well as the other amenable ones to the European Union, must be provided with a valid indentity card or a passport (which will not have to be out-of-date of more than 5 years). And do not forget that Switzerland imposes restrictions on the importation and the export of the goods which are more drastic than on our premises. You will have if necessary to pay the difference in level between the two VAT.

Arrival and displacements on the spot: Switzerland is very well served, that it is by its highway network maintained extremely well or its rail network which one of is developed Europe and which will take you along almost to the foot of the tracks! The Swiss ones indeed are very attached to the safeguarding of their environment and the train remains the most ecological means to travel! It is best the means to discover Switzerland, even if the tariffs can discourage of them more one. A good easy way can be the purchase of a step, such as the swisspass for example, which enables you to discover a whole area in the train for a reasonable price. In the stations of the railway network (CF), you can also rent bicycles for an affordable price, which you can then return in another station, which is very practical. Often, the trains are supplemented by the network of the famous yellow coaches: the bus postal. Lastly, the boats come to buckle the loop and allow you to cross the many lakes which furrow Switzerland. As regards the highway network, it will be necessary for you to acquire a label which costs 26 € and is valid 14 month. ATTENTION, the colors are exactly the reverse as of ours! The highways are in green and the roads in blue. As regards the airports, Switzerland is not in remainder. One can quote for examples those of Zurich, Basle, Geneva, Bern or Lugano. Among the companies which propose flights from Paris to Zurich, one finds Airberlin. Easyjet proposes flights towards Geneva or Milan.

Capital: Bern, the city of football, is the administrative capital of Switzerland. It is a German-speaking city, especially known for its hurdy-gurdy medieval city and its arcades which are among longest and of most beautiful of Europe the old city, with its imposing cathedral and the tower of the clock, is classified with the world heritage of UNESCO. It is also here that is the federal palate where seat Parliament. Federal terrace, one has a unspoilable view on the triad of the Alps: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. It is in this city that Albert Einstein developed his theory of relativity and one can visit his house there besides. Among the other centers of interest of the city, one can quote the museum of the Art schools and the foundation Paul Klee whose Renzo Piano is the architect. With 4.000 works, it is the largest known collection of works of this artist. Moreover, the city is the ideal starting point for an excursion in the Alps. (Interlaken or the area of Jungfrau). Zurich, as for it, is the economic capital of Switzerland and more the big city of the country (370 062 inhabitants). It is about a pole financial, scientific and artistic world. Its old city is not less very beautiful, just like its museum of the Art schools and the Bürhrle foundation. One speaks there Züridütsch, a dialect pertaining to Switzerland German. It is an extremely cosmopolitan city since 30% of its inhabitants are of foreign origin.

Tourist sites: Switzerland is before a whole paradise for the amateurs of nature, quite green meadows and high summits. Thus, one of the best means to discover the country is to borrow one of its multiple hiking trails (60 000 km in all!). One can divide them into four categories: the paths sets of themes and cultural treat history of the area and are in general very easy, since they are addressed to all the family. The hiking trails of plain and “mountain with cows” are marked out in yellow and are rather easy, even if it is advised to carry a behavior adapted to walk. The hiking trails of medium mountains are marked out in red-white-red and require more experiment. They are often escarpés and if the climatic conditions are degraded, they can become very difficult… Enfin, the routes of high mountain requires very technical equipment, the presence of a guide and especially, it is desirable that somebody is informed of your projects! Among the other practiced sports, one can quote the ski for the season of winter, and the VTT in summer. Moreover, it is possible to take along its bicycle in the majority of the Swiss trains, and this, for a modest sum! Lastly, one would not have to forget the water sports, Switzerland strewn with lakes.

If you prefer to let yourselves carry, the train will be your ally. Indeed, it is one of the best means of discovering Switzerland. Number of the Swiss lines of the railway network are legendary for the beauty of the crossed landscapes and the prowesses technical which they imply. Most known is that of the Glacier Express train, equipped with panoramic windows, which goes from Zermatt to Davos while crossing spectacular landscapes. On its board, you will borrow celebrates it and impressive viaduct of Landwasser, in the canton of the Grisons, which is high of 65 Mr. Among the other railway feelings, impossible not to think of the train with toothed rack who allows to reach Jungfraujoch, the most station of Europe (3454 m). In Tessin, you will be able to travel in one of the stiffest funiculars of the world which makes the shuttle between Piotta and the paradisiac landscapes of the Lake Ritom.

The ideal is to combine the visit of a big city with that of its area. Indeed, Switzerland abounds in splendid cities in the middle medieval, to start with those which border the lake Léman. In the very beautiful town of Montreux, you will be able to combine the visit of the castle of Chillon with a voyage by panoramic train (GoldenPass Line) or an excursion with the impressive rocks of Naye. Not far from there, Lausanne and its Saint-François place will be able to charm you. Then. At the other end, it is Geneva which awaits you, with its old city, the Saint-Pierre cathedral, the museum of Art and History and that of the Red Cross, or the palate of the United Nations. If your voyage is not limited to banks of the lake Léman, then do not miss the town of Freiburg, at the edge of Sarine, which is one of the most beautiful medieval cities of Europe. The picturesque village of Thoune, on banks of the lake of the same name, is worth also the turning. Among the other cities not to be missed, one can quote to it Lime-of-bottoms, cradle of the clock industry, or Basle, famous for his old city, his carnival and Art Basel, most important of the annual fairs of contemporary art in Europe, which takes place mid-June. Moreover, the city lodges very interesting museums, like that of the Art schools or the Beyeler foundation. For the amateurs of museums, there exists a step which is valid in more than 420 museums of the country, and which includes/understands the principal Swiss museums. It is valid one year east is worth 72,20 €. Not far from there the impressive falls of the Rhine are, which are highest of Central Europe.

But let us return with what makes the charm of Switzerland: its imposing nature! It will be difficult for you to choose among so many possibilities. The Alps Bernoises will charm the amateurs of intact nature. Between by naturalness of the blue lake, the falls of Trümmelbach or celebrates it glacier of Aletsch, which is the largest glacier of Central Europe and the first to be classified with the inheritance of UNESCO. There exist many possibilities to approach it, for example starting from the picturesque village of Bettmeralp. In the middle of the summits of were worth is also the idyllic village of Zermatt, which is located at 1620 m of altitude, with the foot of the Cervin mount, and which offers a unspoilable view on 38 tops exceeding the 4000 meters

But Switzerland has many other facets still. Thus, the atmosphere and the Mediterranean light of the area of Tessin will charm you, just like the town of Lucerne on banks of the lake of the four cantons or that of Ascona on the Lake Maggiore.

With not missing: Swiss chocolate! Even if Switzerland did not invent the chocolate (since in fact Italy), it is it which gave him its noble letters, most known of the Swiss marks being the Lindt chocolate. And since we are in the field of the gastronomy, do not forget to test the many kinds of cheeses, all more succulent the ones than the others! One in the best ways of appreciating them is the fondue or the scraper, two of the Swiss culinary specialities most known.

You can also combine your voyage with some festivities, which are numerous in this country with the quite long-lived traditions. One can quote for example the famous combat of cow, which take place of spring at the beginning of the summer, at the time of the rise to the mountain pasture of the cows. It is also in these areas that the habit of the désalpe takes place (in Sigriswil, in the canton of Bern, the spectacle is particularly imposing). But it has there also the festivals of the grape harvest in French-speaking Switzerland and of course, the many carnivals, most known being that of Basle

Religion: Catholicism is the religion most practiced in Switzerland, with 42% of the population in 2000. Comes then the reformed evangelic church, with 33%. 4% of the population are of Islamic religion. 11% are declared without religion.

Big cities: Zurich, Geneva, Basle, Bern, Lausanne, Lucerne, Lugano.

Flights expensive not preferred towards and of Switzerland/EXPENSIVE

·  Flight Toulouse Geneva (TLS GVA) with Air France
·  Flight Oporto Geneva (OPO GVA) with TAP Air, International Swiss Air Lines, Easyjet Switzerland
·  Flight Bangkok Geneva (BKK GVA)
·  Flight Moscow Geneva (SVO GVA) with Aeroflot Russian Airlines
·  Flight Bordeaux Geneva (BOD GVA) with Air France, Easyjet Switzerland
·  Flight Marrakech Geneva (RAK GVA) with Royal Air Maroc, Easyjet Switzerland, Blue Atlas
·  Flight Brussels Geneva (DAUGHTER-IN-LAW GVA) with American Airlines, Brussels Airlines, International Swiss Air Lines
·  Flight Caen Geneva (CFR GVA)
·  Flight Tangier Geneva (TNG GVA)
·  Flight London-City Geneva (LCY GVA) with International Swiss Air Lines, Air France
·  Flight Basle Barcelona (BSL BCN) with International Swiss Air Lines, Easyjet Switzerland, Spanair
·  Flight Geneva Dakar (GVA DKR)
·  Flight Geneva London (GVA LON) with American Airlines, easyJet, Easyjet Switzerland
·  Flight Geneva Madrid (GVA MAD) with Easyjet Switzerland, Finnair, IBERIA
·  Flight Geneva London-Heathrow (GVA LHR) with British Airways, Qantas Airways
·  Flight Geneva Montreal (GVA YUL)
·  Flight Geneva Lyon (GVA LILY)
·  Flight Geneva Algiers (GVA ALG) with Air Algérie
·  Flight Geneva Brussels (GVA DAUGHTER-IN-LAW) with American Airlines, Brussels Airlines, International Swiss Air Lines
·  Flight Geneva Oporto (GVA OPO) with TAP Air, International Swiss Air Lines, Easyjet Switzerland
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