Swiss Information

Geography

Switzerland is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in western Europe where it is bordered by Germany to the north, France to the west, Italy to the south, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east.

Here are the 26 cantons : Aargau, Appenzell Ausser-Rhoden, Appenzell Inner-Rhoden, Basel-Land, Basel-Stadt, Bern, Fribourg, Geneva, Glarus, Graubünden, Jura, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, St. Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Vaud, Zug, Zürich.

Languages

Switzerland, with four official languages, is one of the most multilingual countries in Europe. The languages are German, French, Italian and Romansh.

German is spoken by 63.7% of the population. French is spoken in western Switzerland, by 20.4% of the population; Italian, spoken mostly in the south, by 6.5%. Romansh is spoken by 0.5% of the population, mostly inhabitants of the mountain valleys of Graubünden. 8.9% of the population have another language as their mother tongue.

Most Swiss, especially those who work in the tourist industry, speak several languages – and many people speak English.

Currency

The Swiss Franc (CHF) is the official currency of Switzerland.

Panoramic Lines

Glacier Express

Travel aboard the famous Glacier Express, one of the most beautiful panoramic trains of Switzerland, riding across the Alps and linking two of the most popular destinations, Zermatt and St. Moritz. On a journey which lasts seven and a half hours, crossing 291 bridges and riding through 91 tunnels, the train climbs the Oberalp Pass at more than 2,033 metres above sea level.

Bernina Express

Travelling on the Bernina Express will give you the chance to admire magnificent landscapes along the Graubünden Canton. You will go through 55 tunnels and cross 196 bridges over spectacular gorges. Comfortably seated in scenic coaches you will enjoy the panorama, the glaciers, the viaducts and the palm trees. While riding from Tirano to the Ticino, on the Bernina Express Bus, you will have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the South. Passing through vineyards and riding along the shore of Lake Como, you will reach Lugano.

Golden Pass Line

Get on board the Golden Pass train for a journey across a universe of two languages, three worlds, six lakes… this is what awaits you on the Golden Pass Line. Starting with the German-speaking region of Lucerne, the train takes you over the Brünig Pass into the Berne Canton. After Lake Brienz, you will arrive at Interlaken. Then, continuing along Lake Thun shores, you will reach the Simmen valley, with the town of Zweisimmen, and Gstaad, the world-famous holiday resort. You are now in a French-speaking area. The trip will then take you to the wild romantic Pays d’Enhaut and its picturesque villages, Château-d’Oex and Montbovon. As the train emerges from a tunnel, you will discover a magnificent view on Lake Geneva and the city of Montreux.

Wilhelm Tell Express

The Wilhelm Tell Express links two of the most attractive regions of Switzerland: Central Switzerland and the Ticino. An unforgettable cruise aboard an historic paddlewheel steamer will take you from Lucerne to Flüelen. Then, you will continue by train to reach the country’s Italian region, with its Mediterranean climate offering palm trees and the magnificence of its blue lakes.

Cities and interests

Lucerne

Lucerne, the gateway to central Switzerland, sited on Lake Lucerne, is embedded within an impressive mountainous panorama. Thanks to its attractions, its souvenir and watch shops, the beautiful lakeside setting and the nearby excursion mountains of the Rigi, Pilatus and Stanserhorn, the town is a destination for many travelers on their journey through central Switzerland.

Interlaken

Interlaken lies in the Bernese Oberland on an alluvial plain, between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. The vacation destination, which is presided over by the three mighty mountains, Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, is the starting point for numerous activities

Montreux

The town of Montreux nestles in a sheltered Lake Geneva bay, surrounded by vineyards and against the breathtaking backdrop of snow-covered Alps. The Montreux Jazz Festival, which takes place in June/July and features concerts on a variety of stages and parks is very famous.

Zermatt

Zermatt lies at the foot of the Matterhorn. The town’s touristic development is closely linked to what is most probably the world’s most famous mountain. The vacation destination is a car-free zone, has preserved its original character and offers nearly unlimited possibilities as far as excursions are concerned.

St-Moritz

On average, the sun shines 322 days of the year in St. Moritz, which is nestled in the Upper Engadine at 1,856 meters above sea level. In addition to indulging in traditional sports, such as hiking and climbing, holiday-makers can enjoy a spot of sailing and windsurfing. And St. Moritz with a total of five golf courses and 60 holes is an absolute golfer’s paradise in the Alps.

Lugano

Lugano, the largest town in the holiday region of Ticino, is not only Switzerland’s third most important financial centre and a conference, banking and business centre, but also a town of parks and flowers, villas and sacred buildings. With Mediterranean flair, Lugano offers all the advantages of a world-class city, combined with the cachet of a small town.

Genève

Discover Geneva, the world’s smallest metropolis, home to many international organizations. You will enjoy the lovely old town and the incomparable lakefront promenade, with the world famous “Jet d’Eau”.

Bâle

The border city on the Rhine lies in the tri-border area of Germany, France and Switzerland. Basel is a vibrant metropolis of art and architecture, with its picturesque old town with winding narrow streets.