Explore Switzerland in Europe

Switzerland
Country Guide

Map of the area of  in

Switzerland with its capital Berne is located in Europe (Central Europe, east of France). It covers some 41,291 square kilometres (slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey) with 7,581,000 citizens. German, French, Italian and Raeto-Romance are the official languages spoken in Switzerland (consider regional differences). Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, France and Austria are bordering countries.

Switzerland is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The climate is temperate, but varies with altitude. Switzerland has cold rainy/snowy winters and cool to warm summers with occasional showers. Switzerland is a peaceful, prosperous, and stable modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP larger than that of the big Western European economies. Major international airports are in Zurich, Geneva and Basel, with smaller airports in Lugano and Berne. Common tourist destinations within Switzerland are easily reachable by car, e.g. Geneva from central eastern France, and Zurich from southern Germany. The Swiss will spoil you with fantastic transportation - swift, disturbingly punctual trains, clean buses, and a half dozen different kinds of mountain transport systems, integrated into a coherent system. Switzerland is famous for a few key goods: watches, chocolate, cheese, and Swiss Army knives (Note that these must be packed in hold luggage). Swiss employment law bans working on Sundays, so shops generally stay closed. Switzerland is not surprisingly one of the safest countries in Europe, but anywhere that attracts Rolex-wearing bankers and crowds of distracted tourists will also bring out a few pickpockets. Obviously, keep an eye on belongings, especially in the midst of summer crowds.

Advertising

Landscape, climate and basic hints for travelling

National Tourism office

Website: Switzerland Tourism

Toedistrasse 7
P.O. Box 695
8027 Zurich

Phone: +41 1 288 1111
Phone: +41 1 288 1205

The landscape features mostly mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes. The average density of population is about 184 per km². The climate in Switzerland can be described as temperate, but varying with altitude with cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters, cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers. Potential threats by nature are avalanches, landslides or flash floods.

To reach someone in Switzerland dial +41 prior to a number. There are 4,650,000 installed telephones. And there are 9,255,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks operate on frequencies of 900, 1800 Mhz. Websites typically end with the top level domain ".ch". If you want to bring electric appliances (e.g. battery charger), keep in mind the local 230V - 50Hz.

Learn more on our Swiss Facts page.

Description of the flag of Switzerland

Red square with a bold, equilateral white cross in the center that does not extend to the edges of the flag; various medieval legends purport to describe the origin of the flag; a white cross used as identification for troops of the Swiss Confederation is first attested at the Battle of Laupen (1339).

National administrative regions of Switzerland

Historical background information

The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. A constitution of 1848, subsequently modified in 1874, replaced the confederation with a centralized federal government. Switzerland's sovereignty and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and the country was not involved in either of the two world wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland''s role in many UN and international organizations, has strengthened Switzerland''s ties with its neighbors. However, the country did not officially become a UN member until 2002. Switzerland remains active in many UN and international organizations but retains a strong commitment to neutrality.

Learn more on our Swiss Facts page.

Based on the content from wikitravel.org. The original article can be found here based on the work of these users. Geography information is based on the data provided by geonames.org, CIA world facts book Edition 2010 and 2013, Unesco, DBpedia, wikipedia and others.