Switzerland Travel Guide
An overview of Switzerland - from major hotels, attactions and localities to climate and weather information.
The stunning Lake Geneva area in Switzerland is the country’s main tourist spot and one of Western Europe’s largest lakes. Several popular cities including Geneva surround the lake and there are exciting opportunities for swimming, boating and other water sports, hiking and skiing in the surrounding mountains and exploring the cultural delights of the nearby cities. Summer in Switzerland involves hiking, cycling and mountaineering in areas like the Jura Mountains, the Bernese highlands, Valais and Graubünden. Because of their mountainous terrain, skiing and other adventurous winter sports are also popular in these areas. A number of amazing skiing resorts can be accessed in the country’s alpine mountains.
Adventure seekers will enjoy the Creux de Van natural site, Chasseral look out peak, the Grottes de l’Orbe cave and the Taubenloch gorge all in the Jura Mountains. The mountain resort of Zermatt is home to the famous Matterhorn Mountain and offers a lot in terms of winter and summer activities. Thrilling activities like skydiving, bungee jumping, white water rafting and canyoning are best enjoyed at the Interlaken area. Switzerland also has a variety of nature and theme parks as well as intriguing zoos. Among the most enjoyable are the Connyland Amusement Park with its exciting water parks and dolphin fun, the Labrynthe Adventure Park and the Maxi Fun Sports and Nature Park. Zoos like the Papiliorama-Nocturama Tropical Gardens, Tierpark Goldau, Zoo Zürich and Wildpark Langenberg should not be missed.
There are quite a few superb health resorts in Switzerland particularly in the Zurich and Fribourg regions. A number of interesting cultural sites can be enjoyed as well. Berne’s old town is a popular World Heritage Site with features like the Berne Historical Museum, the Federal Palace of Switzerland, the Swiss Alpine Museum and the Museum of fine Arts. There is also the monumental Zentrum Paul Klee, the zoo Tierpark Dählhölzli and the 13th century clock tower known as the Zytglogge. Geneva is home to the St Pierre Cathedral with its fine architecture, the monumental Jet d'Eau in Lake Geneva, the magnificent Palais des Nations and museums like the International Museum of the Reformation, Museum of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Contemporary and Modern Art.
The Romanesque Grossmünster church, Rietburg Museum, Lake Promenade and Chinese Garden can be found in Zurich while the impressive Baroque buildings in Solothurn should not be missed. Lugano with its delightful restaurants is home to the Hermann Hesse museum and Lausanne has a multitude of galleries, museums, concerts and theatres. The Picasso Museum, Glacier Garden and landmark Chapel Bridge in Lucerne are worth visiting.
Switzerland’s largest city, Zurich, is the best place in the country for an intense nightlife. Many of the countries’ cities are equipped with excellent theatres with entertaining cultural programs, a variety of water and mountain activities, great restaurants and bas. Switzerland has its fair share of exciting annual events. Summer is by far the liveliest time in the country as it relates to major festivals. In May, there is a colourful Afro-Pfingsten Festival, the Locarno International Film Festival takes place in August and the Geneva Festival in July. There is also the Montreux Jazz Festival, Blue Balls Festival and the Biel International Chess Festival in July, while Bern International Jazz Festival takes place in March and the Caribana Festival in June. The August Grand Raid and Caliente events should not be missed.
Switzerland has a generally temperate climate. During the summer, the country experiences warm, humid and cloudy summers while winter sees a lot o snow, very cold temperatures and a lot of rainfall. The country’s temperatures vary with altitude with glacial conditions at higher mountainous areas and a Mediterranean type climate in the lower southern areas. At winter, the mountainous areas receive most snow and the lower areas are usually foggy. Switzerland also experiences the windy weather phenomenon known as the fohn which has been known to trigger avalanches in the Alps.
Five star hotels, luxurious apartments, winter chalets, holiday homes and picturesque camping areas are typical types of accommodations available in Switzerland. The Bellevue Palace in Berne has all the modern comforts you can think of, amidst a lively traditional atmosphere. The hotel offers state of the art business and meeting facilities and adventures like boating on Lake Thun for outdoor lovers. Other notable hotels in the country include the Palace Luzern in Lucerne and the Beau Rivage Palacein Lausanne both with waterfront locations, the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa in Interlaken, the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz which is great for winter tourists and the Grand Hotel Kempinski Geneva. The beautiful Swiss Diamond Hotel in Lugano and the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace on Lake Geneva are superb stays as well. Switzerland’s refreshing natural appeal is ideal for those seeking adventure and relaxation while its trendy upscale city areas are best suited for those in need of fun and entertainment.
http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/home.html : Official Tourist Information
http://www.2camels.com/festivals/switzerland.php : Swiss Festivals