Switzerland is a landlocked country, bordering Germany, Italy, France, Austria and Liechtenstein, which makes it a great base for exploring Western Europe. It is a fantastic destination in itself, too, though. In fact, here are five reasons why you should visit Switzerland.
1. The Swiss Alps
The beauty of the Swiss Alps is something you should see for yourself, which you can only do, of course, when you visit Switzerland. The best way to do this is by following one of the scenic hiking trails in the Alps during the summer, particularly those in the Jungfrau Area and around the Matterhorn, one of the most breathtaking mountain peaks in Switzerland. There are also opportunities for horseback riding and cycling, as well as glacier hiking and glacier climbing.
The Swiss Alps are equally spectacular in winter when they are covered with snow, and become one of the best places in the world for skiing. Some of the best ski resorts in the Alps include Zermatt, Champery, Crans-Montana and Davos, which is also a haven for snowboarders, although the most popular one in Switzerland is the elegant St. Moritz resort in the Engadine Valley.
2. Rhine Falls
Aside from breathtaking mountains, Switzerland also has majestic bodies of water, like the Rhine Falls. Located in Schaffhausen, these waterfalls are the largest not only in the country, but in all of Europe, towering from a height of roughly 75 feet and spanning 450 feet in width, making them truly an amazing sight, whether in summer or in winter when it gets partially frozen. There are also many glittering lakes in Switzerland, which are perfect places for a relaxing cruise, like Lake Geneva, Lake Lucerne and Lake Neuchatel, the largest in Switzerland.
3. Swiss Food
Switzerland has a diverse cuisine, with influences from its surrounding countries. If you are in the canton of Vaud near France, for example, you will find yourself treated to French dishes like a dish of leeks and potatoes with Saucisson (filled sausages); if you are near the German border, you will find German-influenced specialties, and if you are somewhere around Lake Maggiore near Italy, you can have your fill of pasta and risotto.
The most famous Swiss foods, though, are Swiss cheese or Emmentaler and Swiss chocolate, made with the milk that comes from the herds of cows grazing in the Alpine valleys. Indeed, there are many restaurants serving cheese fondue and many shops where you can buy Swiss cheese – with or without holes. There are several chocolate factories you can tour, too, when you visit Switzerland, and of course, many brands of chocolate you can take home with you, like Nestle, Toblerone and Lindt.
Aside from shopping for Swiss cheese and chocolates, there are plenty of other things you can buy when you visit Switzerland. Swiss watches, of course, are on the top of the list, since they are considered the finest in the world, with top brands like Rolex, Swatch and Tissot. In fact, Swiss watches are worn by the world’s best divers, pilots and astronauts and even James Bond himself. You might want to get an authentic Swiss Army Knife, too, or buy souvenirs like cowbells, music boxes, crystal ornaments and leather goods.
5. Museums and Historic Monuments
For a small country, Switzerland has many museums – all of which you can tour when you visit Switzerland. The most popular ones include the Swiss Transport Museum and the Glacier Garden in Lucerne, the Swiss National Museum in Zurich, the International Red Cross Museum in Geneva and the Alprose Museum in Lugano. Switzerland also has its share of remarkable historic monuments, like Gruyere Castle, Lenzburg Castle and the well-preserved Abbey Library of St. Gallen, which are all worth visiting.