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This small country has it all: a colorful carnival of cultures, picture-perfect villages, wonderful food and drink, and the most spectacular scenery in Europe. Plan to spend most of your time in the breathtaking Alps, but don't miss the lovely lakes and the vibrant cities. Founded in 1291, Switzerland is the world's oldest democracy, a model of stable government where issues are often decided by national votes. She treasures her independence, remaining neutral in Europe's wars and (so far) declining to join the European Union. The country is divided into 26 cantons and has four official languages: German, French, Italian and Rhaeto-Romansch. ...

This small country has it all: a colorful carnival of cultures, picture-perfect villages, wonderful food and drink, and the most spectacular scenery in Europe. Plan to spend most of your time in the breathtaking Alps, but don't miss the lovely lakes and the vibrant cities. Founded in 1291, Switzerland is the world's oldest democracy, a model of stable government where issues are often decided by national votes. She treasures her independence, remaining neutral in Europe's wars and (so far) declining to join the European Union. The country is divided into 26 cantons and has four official languages: German, French, Italian and Rhaeto-Romansch. All four Alpine regions (the Bernese Alps, Graubunden, Valais and Central Switzerland) offer endless opportunites for winter sports and scenic summer hikes, rides or drives. Cities and villages are showcases of history, art and architecture, especially Bern (the capital), Lucerne and cosmopolitan Geneva. The Swiss Riviera, Lake Constance and Italian-speaking Ticino are idyllic summer destinations. Switzerland's combination of Germanic efficiency and Mediterranean zest for life is unique in the world. Travelling here is a breeze, as hotels and public transport are famously efficient and English is widely spoken.

Charlie Morris
About the Expert

Charlie Morris is the author of the Open Road guidebooks Best of Honduras, Best of Costa Rica, Best of Belize, and Switzerland Guide.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A small landlocked country surrounded by Germany, Austria, Italy and France
  • Language: German, French, Italian, Romansch
  • Currency: Swiss Franc
  • Research: Switzerland | Wikipedia