The diversity of the landlocked, mountainous country is the essence of Switzerland. Whether you dream of downhill slopes, cross country tracks, snowshoe hikes or lively après ski; in Switzerland you will find all that your "winter" heart - could ever wish for. When new snow falls and muffles all other sounds, there is a peaceful silence that descends upon the alpine landscape.
Switzerland is the ideal destination for your family holidays. Everything can be reached quickly and easily, and even the journey to your final destination is never long and exhausting. Most trips in Switzerland last only a few hours, and then you can enjoy the gentle landscape, discover what it means to be free in a natural setting and really enjoy the thrill of a family holiday together. Switzerland caters to families and has much to offer. Among other things, we have a large selection of overnight possibilities for every taste and budget. For once you plan your vacations solely around the kids. And once the holidays are over, you are astonished to find that they were great for you, too.
The scent of alpine flowers and spicy herbs is in the air again and the faint ting-a-ling of the cow and the goat bells accompanies hikers from alp to alp. Mountains and valleys are magnificently decked out. Now it's time for the family hike through the national park; zoology and fun complement each other here quite naturally. For the cycle tour alongside the river; the jump afterwards into bubbling water refreshes the senses. Or for the mountain bike tour whose high points will definitely make your pulse beat faster. The natural experience of Switzerland is unique and so varied that you can hike and experience new things for weeks.
Crystal-clear mountain streams plunge over steep waterfalls into deep blue lakes. Wild gorges and quiet moorland, unspoilt nature wherever you go. You can experience all of that in the Swiss summer. Natural and authentic. Here, landscape and natural beauty are still unspoilt and still to be found.
ART AND CULTURE
Cultural life in Switzerland is rich and varied like its countryside. It feeds on the fertile friction between the four official languages and cultures - German, French, Italian and Romansh. Switzerland also features an astonishing mix of traditional and contemporary elements and manages to keep a happy balance between preserving its cultural heritage and allowing new impulses to bring about change.
The innovative work of Swiss architects has gained an international reputation. At the same time, many foreign architects have produced exciting new buildings in Switzerland.
Switzerland was the birthplace of one of the most influential architects of the 20th century: Le Corbusier (1887-1965) - born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret - who adopted French nationality in 1930. His diverse output ranged from town planning to furniture design. In 1922, Le Corbusier proposed principles for architecture: rationality, economy, and functionalism. Lugano-based Mario Botta and the Basel-based partnership Herzog and de Meuron are arguably the best-known Swiss architects practising today. Botta's buildings include several museums in Switzerland and abroad, churches, banks, and even the bus terminal in Lugano. He has taught in a number of universities and been honoured by many more.
Herzog and de Meuron were responsible for two prize-winning projects in London: the redevelopment of the Bankside power station into the Tate Modern, and the design of the Laban Dance Centre. Their current work includes the main stadium for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Innovative Swiss-designed structures can be seen in many countries. The sleek Charles River Bridge in the US city of Boston is the work of a Swiss, Christian Menn. And the Basel-based architects Diener + Diener expanded the Swiss embassy in Berlin by merging a new structure with the part of the building dating from the 19th century. Within Switzerland, architectural points of interest include the Thermal Baths in Vals designed by Peter Zumthor, and the Kirchner Museum in Davos by architects Annette Gigon and Mike Guyer.
A number of prominent buildings in Switzerland have been designed by foreign architects. They include the Paul Klee Zentrum in Bern (scheduled opening: 2005), by the Italian Renzo Piano, and the Lucerne Culture and Convention Centre (opened 1998), by Frenchman Jean Nouvel. Nouvel also built the Monolith for Switzerland's National Exhibition in 2002, a cube of rusting metal which transformed the lakescape of Murten. Despite hopes that it might be retained in the lake or moved elsewhere, it was finally decided to demolish it and send it for scrap.
Over the last 100 years or more, the Swiss state has provided grants to preserve over 2,000 buildings of national importance. These efforts are backed up by contributions by the cantons and the local communities. The authorities are currently drawing up a complete list of Switzerland's cultural heritage, to ensure that nothing worth preserving is forgotten. A number of voluntary organisations are also active in the field.
City & Destinations : -
The fascinating city. Encounter the best of modern art and architecture at every step. Savour cherries fresh from nearby orchards and asparagus from the Alsace. Wave good-bye as ships leave the shore. Let this unique , young-at-heart city kindle a yearning for far away places within you, and revel in its rich history and natural surroundings. The lanes and alley of the older quarter. But art and culture alone do not define Basel. Fairs and congresses, scientific institutes and world commerce have also left their mark on the metropolis on the River Rhine, at the heart of Europe. Nearby hills, forests, peaceful valleys and the peaks of the Jura mountains invite you to make an excursion, on foot or by bike, by rail or by tram.
Where nature and holidays come together. Waterfalls crash down sheer cliff sides. Glacier-fed creeks force their way through th narrow Rosenlaui and Aare canyons. High peaks briefly disappear behind a feathering of snow. Mountain railways afford spectacular panoramic views that, in his day, impressed even James Bond. Ice climbing in glacier crevices gets you in touch with your inner self. Ski sailing lets you leave the ground now and then, without danger. Ski tours take you to the untouched world of mountain peaks. Dreamy villages show their homely, friendly faces along the way. Famous holiday resorts and traditional destinations such as Interlaken or Gstaad entice you with their top-level entertainment, and children are always king in Europe's playground.
Unlimited freedom. Switzerland was born when the good people of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden formed an alliance at the Rütli. Here, in Central Switzerland, is the Schöllenen Bridge which made north-south travel across the Gotthard range possible, and here, in 1871, Europe?s first cog railroad up to Rigi marked the beginning of tourism as we know it. Favourable snow conditions right until spring. In the high-altitude regions up to 3,020 metres, no question - Central Switzerland has powder snow throughout the season.
Eastern Switzerland / Liechtenstein
Eastern Switzerland stretches from the shimmering waters of Lake Constance across the hilly Appenzellerland to the Alpine landscapes of Toggenburg, the Heidiland holiday region and the Glarnerland. Far off in the Rhine Valley is Vaduz with its princes' castle. Art and culture lovers will enjoy a stay in St Gallen, enticed by the monastery district - officially part of the World's Cultural Heritage - and the magnificent Baroque basilica. Or they might prefer the historic little town of Schaffhausen below the round Munot fortress.
From the Jura range to the pre-Alpine hills. Vast elevated plains punctuated with fir trees in lush pastures, farm buildings of light-coloured Jura limestone. - the Jura region is a giant park created by Nature herself, bordering France to the north and crossed by deep canyons to the south.
The world's smallest metropolis. Cosmopolitan Geneva - a world of its own, a world for everyone, quite apart from the rest of Switzerland. Capital of Peace is one of its names - the European headquarters of the United Nations is located here.Another well-deserved name for this city with a humanitarian tradition, international organisations and cosmopolitan flair, is The World's Smallest Metropolis.
Alpine valleys descending from high mountains. Rivers in every conceivable direction. German, Romansh and Italian in a single canton. Graubünden has every colour: Red for the Rhätische Bahn railway, yellow for the postal buses, blue for its 615 lakes and the skies above 150 valleys, green for forests and pastures, golden brown for larch trees in autumn, grey for castles and rocks, and white for snow and ice.
Neuchâtel / Jura / Jura Bernois
Considered as a Mecca for Swiss watchmaking tradition, the different regions of the Jura range from Geneva to Basel welcome you under a single idendity: Vallée de Joux and Jura vaudois, Pays de Neuchâtel, Bienne-Seeland, Jura bernois and Jura.
The Italian flair of Switzerland. The Mediterranean region seems to begin on the southern side of the Alps. There is a feel of Italy, with palm trees at clean beaches and lanes and alleyways leading to piazzas and churches. But the Alps are always close by.
Finding, enjoying, understanding. Balmly summer warmth bathes the valley. Water gurgles from pond to pond in pine forests and vineyards. A cool breeze wafts down from the glaciers.
Zürich is top for leisure and pleasure. Gentle hills, peaceful woods, the unpolluted lakes and rivers, picturesque villages - and all just a stone's throw from the Alps. Zürich is the ideal starting point for all kinds of varied excursions. more...