Spectacular scenic beauty, enormous majestic mountains and prosperity are the synonyms for Switzerland, a country that integrates colorful palate of cultures from its three neighbors Germany, Italy & France and blends them in itself very marvelously.
Because of its unchallenged beauty, magnificent Alpine panorama, alluring mountain chalets, impressive ski runs, well ordered and neat cities by the side of serene lakes,
And enormous other specialties, Switzerland stands as a prioritized tourist destination since years.
Switzerland's official Latin name is "Confoederatio Helvetica" named after a Celtic tribe called Helvetians. The first Swiss association called "The Swiss old confederacy "was formed on 1st august 1291 since then Switzerland celebrates its national holiday on first day of August .Switzerland was officially accepted as an independent nation by its neighboring countries after 1648, European peace treaty. In the year 1848 Switzerland's modern federal constitution came into existence and has been revised several times till date.
International flights in Switzerland arrive normally at Zurich and Geneva; the two major cities are in fact business hub of Switzerland. Alternatively a tourist from European countries can arrive here by train, Switzerland is attached with the European fastest train network that includes French TGVs, German ICEs and Cisalpine trains .They connect all major European cities. Since the country is situated at the very heart of Central Europe it becomes an ideal point for a Euro trip.
Each Swiss city has a lot to be seen, admired and remembered, the small villages with decorated chalets and flowerbeds harmonize with the natural scenic beauty, whereas the big cities are perfect picture of old township and modern business culture. The country can be visited in every season; each season in Switzerland has its own way to spellbind its visitors.
Inevitable, Eminent locations and tours:
Although the whole country is packed with locations that offer authentic experience to its visitors, there are few unavoidable and highly recommended locations that must be included in your trip to Switzerland:
Bern: Bern, the capital of Switzerland, is full of historical buildings with some remarkable architectures of Roman period, parliament house, an array of incredible fountains each with specific significance. You will definitely appreciate the city for its painted fountains, chocolates and beautiful flowers.
A fountain tour, walking city tour , clock tower tour are some famous, different and enjoyable tours conduct there, apart from this Bern has some very fine museums and gardens to be visited.
Zurich: the city is considered as an ideal starting point for your trip, a perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nearby villages, placid hills and serene lake. You can take pleasure in attending a guided walking tour in Zurich's old town, a city tour on lake cruises, you may wish to attend an opera, the city has around fifty museums that can be visited any time of year, Bahnhofstrasse and the Limmatquai are very popular colorful shopping lanes in Zurich.
Most of the world famous Swiss banks are found in Zurich, where you can find Armani -suited executives charging daily through the world's fourth largest stock exchange and world's biggest gold exchange. Zurich's night life too is very lively and exciting.
Among some nearby places that can be visited easily from Zurich is
Rhine falls- the Rhine falls are the biggest water fall in Europe, a close look at this hounding water fall from boat is spectacular, These falls are located at about 20 minutes distance from Winterthur, which is a neighboring city of Zurich.
Geneva: The city has a complete metropolitan look with its international organizations, trade centers and sophisticated panache but apart from this it has some very spectacular scenery and picturesque lake shores to be viewed. United Nation Organization's European headquarters are located in Geneva.
Lucerne: Lucerne is considered as a northern gateway to Alps, the city is well connected by road and by air with most of the major cities in Switzerland, Lucerne is situated at about 45 minutes train journey from Zurich and is considered as one of the most picturesque locations in the country, Lucerne is full of towers turret's ramparts, museums and has widely spread Luzern lake but the majestic peaks of Mt. Titlus and Mt.. Pilatus are Lucerne's largest fortification.
Mt Titlus: Journey to mount Titlis is an extraordinary experience in itself, reaching at such a height while enjoying the beautiful arc of Alps, from the world's first revolving cable car is a rare experience. At the peak it has whole
Set-up to entertain its visitors, you can find restaurants, other tourist attractions and of course the incredible scenery, the view of surrounding peaks is breathtaking. To reach the top of Mt. titlis you need to take a mountain train from Lucerne to Engelberg and then you will take a cable car to reach at the top. The entire route is dotted by meadows, picturesque villages and grazing cows.
Mt. Pilatus: Is another mountain peak that rises 7000 feet above the sea level, in tumult of wizened rocks, snow and ice, it has : the steepest cogwheel railway , cable cars and gondolas to take you at the top, where the magnificent view of seventy mountain peaks and five lakes is just awesome.
The city of Lucerne has some much admired buildings and places like the Chappell Bridge (Kappelbruecke) which is an oldest wooden bridge in Europe, Rock carved Lion of Lucerne, glacier garden museum and bourbaki panorama , therefore a visit to lucern is never complete without visiting these remarkable spots.
Interlaken: although defined just as a small town in the Canton of Bern located between the lakes of Brienz and Thun, Interlaken in itself is a real scenic luxury ,The rout from Lucerne to Interlaken is spectacular , the Panorama trains running on this route are special trains called Golden Pass , provided with large glass windows so that the traveler can enjoy the splendorous scenic beauty of entire rout ,which is full of eye catching , gorgeous landscapes . Trains run by the side of lake and the reflection of mountains and hills in calm water of lake makes the scenery eternally charismatic.
Interlaken is also famous for the arc of giant mountains in the south, the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, the town is a well-known spot for the out door adventures like skydiving, hiking, canoying, rafting etc .
The Jungfrau: Europe's largest glacier, There is an aphorism famous about the three mountains in arc the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau (maiden). It is said that The Monk is protecting the maiden (Jungfrau) by standing between her and Eiger (ogre). You are taken at the view point of Jungfrau top by the highest railway in Europe chiseled out of solid mountain and tunnels through eiger and Mönch. At the top you can: visit the ice castle , go for skiing, and watch the magnificent range of mountains peaks from Jungfrau view point.
Grindelwald: the town located beneath north face of eiger is skiers and climber's dream spot .The flourishing green valley surrounded with blue glaciers offers a most glittering view in presence of sun.
There are several other places , with untouched natural beauty , ideal for hiking and biking, which must be visited, when in Interlaken ,the prominent ones are Schilthorn, Murren, Wengen, and Gimmelwald ,
The list goes on and on, there is a lot more worth mentioning , along with all the destinations given above some of the other major destinations in Switzerland are Lugano, Zermatt that fall in eastern (Italian) Switzerland and have lots to offer for adventure and nature lovers.
Switzerland offers lots of activities in all seasons , In winters when the marvelous mountain panorama is heavily sown capped the place becomes ideal for hiker and skiers for satisfies there cravings of adventure and thrill, country has numerous sports action resorts and schools to guide you and make your experience of the real adventure in the lap of alps more existing. Similarly Summers and autumn are ideal for biking, hiking, skating and other summer activities that can let you experience the swiss natural beauty more closely.
There is a long list of specialties for which Switzerland is famous worldwide. Apart from splendorous scenic beauty, alpine passes the country is well known for it's Swiss watches, chocolate, cheese, and Swiss Army knives. Tourists prefer to buy these as a souvenir to keep that exclusive Swiss experience into their minds for ever.
Swiss watches: the Swiss watches are accepted as a mark of quality in watches. the fancy and classic variety of world famous Swiss watches at reasonable rates within country makes it a must buy , if you don't have one.
Swiss cheese: Apart from wide variety of cheese available here, The well known Swiss specialties in cheese dishes is Fondue, which is a special Swiss cheese dish , made with well known quality of Swiss cheese like Vacherin or Appenzeller and white wine. If you wish to have a real swiss cuisine when you are in Switzerland , your menu must include a fondue treat.
Other famous and preferred Swiss cheese brands are Excremental and Gruyère.
Swiss chocolate: here you can find some of the finest brands of chocolates, even the chocolate at local shops are incredibly tasty. Switzerland is home of some of the best chocolate brands in world.
Swiss army knives: Other special Swiss offering is very famous Swiss knife that come in various models and sizes.
Swiss cow bells: The real Swiss Cow Bells are made of pure cast bronze and have very clear and vibrant tone, personally handmade for perfect sound by Swiss craftsmen; they are like a valuable property that keeps on moving in family from generation to generation, the original cow bells are very costly and rare in market. But you can easily buy cow bell souvenirs that are melodious and have significant sound.
Hotels and accommodation:
Every city and town in Switzerland has a good range of hotels at diverse rates, you can find the highly luxurious classy hotels at high expenses and at the same place you can also find very reasonably priced small cozy quaint chalets and cottage hotels offering all obligatory services.
Most of the railway stations have a hotel phone booth, so if you don't have a prior booking in an hotel you can check with all the hotel in the area as soon as you step in the city, the Hotel phone booth offers names, tariffs and phone numbers of all hotels in the area, the visitor can call (for free) to any of these hotels and check the availability of rooms.
There are tourist information centers in every city, providing all the information related to your trip and can advice suitable accommodation.
Switzerland is well connected and can be reached easily via air, train or by road. Transportation within the country is swift and very organized.
The train bus and boat network in Switzerland is remarkably planned, they all are well connected in a time frame so that traveler gets the least waiting time between change of conveyance.
Trains: Switzerland provides various types of train traveling experience varying from ordinary trains on plains to some of the steepest cogwheel trains that take you up at maximum heights.
Swiss Saver pass for trains, buses and boats: the Swiss saver pass is the best bargain for a traveler seeking right to use Swiss travel system i.e. train bus and boat, the Swiss passes provided for 4, 8, 15, 22 and 30 days work as an access to all the buses, trains and boats of Swiss travel system for the relevant dates. There are various types of Swiss passes like flexi, youth, transfer; half fare pass etc. the traveler can choose the suitable one from these passes.
Cars: There are many Car Rental companies offering car of your choice to move around the country while enjoying its marvelous landscapes, meadows, grazing Swiss cows and quaint houses.
Cable cars: some mountain tops can be reached only through cable cars, Switzerland has the first highest reaching revolving cable car.
Walking: A walking tours in Switzerland are famous, as the cities and town have so much to be seen and admired, a walk through the streets; by the lake, among old town buildings is a real pleasurable experience.
In few towns of Switzerland (Zermatt, old Lucerne etc.) automobiles are banned to retain the natural beauty of the area, the main mode of conveyance in these areas is via electric driven taxis and carts.
Switzerland has always attracted students, newly wedded couples and families to visit relax and enjoy its panoramic, alluring exquisiteness. There are so many superlatives associated with the country that it won't be exaggeration if we say "it must have been a replica of heaven on earth"
Credits: Article and Images by Juhi Verma