Switzerland, formally known as The Confederation Helvetica, is a landlocked mountainous haven in the heart of Europe. Partially due to the isolating geography, the Swiss people have maintained a strong commitment to tradition, independence and the preservation of their long-established way of life. Hence, it is very important for the traveler to note that Switzerland is not a member of the European Union and uses the Swiss Franc as their form of currency.
An incredible benefit of Switzerland's independence is a clean, speedy and reliable train system and public transportation network, including the new Rail 2000 program that offers regular half-hourly service between all major cities.
The thought of Switzerland strikes up images of enchanting castles, milk chocolate, fine cheese speckled with holes, sturdy watches and the Matterhorn. Don't be fooled by this simplicity or the precision and just-so design of Swiss towns and get ready to discover a society far more rich, worldly and dynamic than you had ever imagined when you travel Switzerland! As homogenous as the nation might appear, Switzerland is divided into very diverse regions with four national languages: German, French, Italian and Romansch (a Latin derivative). English is also spoken widely. The fusion of these cultures adds a zest of flavor that complements the serenely picturesque landscape.
Four Seasons to Travel to Switzerland
Unlike many other European destinations, it is wonderful to travel to Switzerland any time of year! Switzerland is centrally located on the European continent and consequently enjoys moderate and consistent weather for each season. Skiing is by far the best excuse to travel Switzerland in the winter, but make sure not to miss the splendor of cities like Geneva covered in a blanket of snow. Geneva, the second-largest city, is close to the Swiss Alps and the French border and also boasts an international history of its own. The municipality has been central to European affairs for centuries, most notably including the Geneva Convention. Interlaken should be a part of a summer and winter itinerary as well. The pristine setting among some of the tallest and fiercest alpine peaks makes Interlaken a sanctuary for skiers and hikers alike. The town is small and limited on lodging so make reservations early.
In addition to the most popular destinations, such as Zurich and the Alps, the Swiss traveler is encouraged to leave the beaten path behind to discover the true beauty of the country and meet the resilient and warm people who define a nation that is over 700 years old. Remember that traditional does not translate into old-fashioned or archaic in Switzerland. The Swiss society stands out among European nations as an extraordinarily progressive and cutting-edge standard of modernity.
Interview: Peter Alexander
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