Video courtesy of My Switzerland Tourism
Switzerland must be one of the most culturally-diverse nations of Europe, with differences in language, landscape and atmosphere. Its jagged mountains contain resorts that lure skiers for the rush of downhill air and the legendary Matterhorn offers many snow-filled experiences. Equally, a rustic Alpine way of life still exists, set against sweeping mountain views and paddle-wheel steamers that chug across the lakes. Switzerland also has several vibrant cities, all quite different in character.
Being one of Switzerland’s largest cities, Geneva also has the best view of Mont Blanc, seen over Lake Geneva (Lac Léman). The city is largely influenced by France; you will find that many of the signs are written in French and the city is encircled by French territory, with only a thin ribbon of land and water connecting it with the rest of the country. It is Switzerland’s most cosmopolitan city, filled with luxurious shopping areas and lavish restaurants.
The holiday resort is a popular relaxing spot for winter and summer vacationers alike. The city began to flourish with the beginning of tourism in the 19th century. Visit the Ballenberg open-air museum, where a collection of houses of different styles are displayed. You may also wish to visit Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Switzerland at the altitude of 11,333 feet.
Rises in tiers from Lac Léman, being built on five hills which overlook it, with the upper and lower parts of the towns connected by funicular. In modern times the city has attracted many expatriates including deposed monarchs, but even in the Age of Enlightenment it was associated with such names as Voltaire, Napoleon, Rousseau, and Goethe. Today, Lausanne has given way to many water sport activities, rather than the artists and writers that once dominated the city.
Once a small fishing village in the geographical heart of Switzerland, Lucerne has developed into a fairy tale-like city on the shores of Vierwaldtsattersee. Alexander Dumas described Lucerne as “a pearl in the world’s most beautiful oyster”. The beauty of the city with its magical view of towering mountains, and serene paddle-wheel steamers gently plying Lake Lucerne during the summer, has attracted such well-known musical figures as Richard Wagner.
Capital of the Ticino region, has long been a haven for artists, as well as lovers of the decidedly Italian flavor of southern Switzerland. Located on the shores of Lake Lugano, the city spreads itself between the peaks of San Salvatore and Monte Bre, the low mountains offering protection and a warmer climate.
This exclusive and celebrated resort is set peacefully in the mountains. Renowned for its “champagne air”, many lovely day trips can be taken from this relaxing base. Nearby Zuos is a beautiful old-world village, set amid lush forest and alpine meadows. The beautiful Bergell Valley is just outside of St. Moritz, and vistas can be admired from the curvaceous roadway leading from the town.
Is vehicle-free except for little electric carts used by the hotels. The town first came on the world scene as a ski and touring centre more than 125 years ago when English travelers discovered its charm and wonderful mountain location. Edward Whymper, who was an explorer and mountaineer, tried several times to climb the great Matterhorn, finally succeeding in 1865, but at a cost of several lives in the process. Since then, although attracting visitors from around the world, Zermatt has maintained itself as a small town while still offering deluxe and first-class amenities through the well-deserved reputation of its local hoteliers. Perhaps you may want to take a cog rail trip up to Gornergrat departing directly from the centre of Zermatt. Near the top of the Klein Matterhorn, an elevator will take you to the bottom of a flight of stairs which you walk up to a terrace at 12,747 feet from which you can see Mont Blanc and the Italian Alps as well.
Reputation as a shopping paradise and an art centre, which is home to many renowned auction houses, has done much to make the city known throughout the world. Stroll down the famous Bahnhofstrasse, one of the most beautiful shopping streets in Europe, towards Paradeplatz and the lake. Here you will find elegant boutiques, department stores and specialist shops. Zürich is a beautiful city, sitting astride the Limmat river where it emerges from Lake Zürich. Its charming old town is full of beautifully-restored historic buildings and narrow, hilly alleys. In the distance, snowy mountains overlook the waters of the lake, and the shores are dominated by turn-of-the century mansions.
The weather is moderate with no excessive heat, cold or humidity. From July to August the daytime temperature range is 18 to 28 °C (65° – 82° F) and from January to February the range is -2 to 7 °C (28° – 45° F). In spring and autumn, the daytime temperature range is 8 to 15 °C (46° – 59° F).
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