Switzerland, The “Good Germans”

by

switzerland

The title may seem somewhat strange, but when I’m thinking about Switzerland, the first thing that comes to my mind is that they are a better “species” of Germans, hence the Good Germans tag.

Everything the Swiss people do is nearly perfect: the Swiss army knife, their chocolate, their watches and their banking system. Oh, I almost forgot about the Smart cars, a joint venture between the watch maker Swatch and Mercedes-Benz.

What I know is that the Swiss-made logo guarantees a good deal, regardless the price.

Now, getting back to business, Switzerland is a “petite” country, a “landlocked” place located in central Europe. It is bordered by Italy on the southern border, France on the western “front”, Lichtenstein and Austria to the east and Germany on the northern border.

st moritz

Just like Austria, Switzerland is a magnificent winter sports resort, being well known for its mountains. The top ski resorts are Verbier, Zermatt and St Moritz, proudly showing their awesome white capped mountain peaks profiled over the beautiful blue skies, making for the perfect place to visit if you’re into hiking and skiing. The capital is the ancient city of Berne and the main city being Zurich.

With a population of 8 million, as of 2013 and a land surface of ~41,284 square kilometers, Switzerland is a small yet very rich country, with beautiful landscapes and a very high living standard.

Just pack your bags, don’t forget your hiking boots, your snowboard and some good reads and a pair of high quality sunglasses and let’s roll!

zurich

What to see in Switzerland

 

Being a highly sophisticated and rich nation, everywhere you go everything works like clockwork and it has a hefty price tag. Regardless, while in the Swiss country side, just go and visit the Appenzell villages, the classic canton featuring picturesque towns and traditional villages. Santis peak is the best place to visit, offering the hiker a nice view over six countries : Germany, France, Lichtenstein, Italy, Austria and of course, Switzerland.

Basel is a medieval city, sitting on the Rhine river, near the Black Forest in  Germany and Alsace in France; Basel is an ancient trading place and harbors one of the oldest universities in the civilized world, along with the Art Museum and the red sandstone Munster.  Basel hosts the Basler Fasnacht, a three days long “carnival”, with street parades and masked parties.

basel

The most famous castle in Switzerland is Chillon Castle, offering the visitor a spectacular view, being located on the eastern side of the Lake Geneva, near Montreaux. If you visit this beautiful place, you’ll be delighted to see in the background the Dents du Midi (Teeth of the South) mountains. The castle was built back in the 13th century.

Geneva is another must-see “tourist trap”, harboring a pedestrians only city center and the Cathedrale de St Pierre, an exquisite piece of architecture or Romanesque inspiration.

Vues aériennes / Aerial view

While in Switzerland, buy a ticket for the Glacier Express, one of the coolest rail journeys one can take in a lifetime, and see the stunningly beautiful Alps in the process. Hiking is the name of the game while in Swiss country  and while you’re at it, visit the Graubunden health resorts.

Lausanne is another highlight of Switzerland, being home for the Cathedrale Notre Dame and the Olympic Museum.

The highest cable car in Europe is also here, in Swiss country, namely in Little Matterhorn at Zermatt.

Vues aériennes / Aerial view

One of the most elegant and well preserved ancient cities in Europe is St Gallen, featuring baroque architecture and a famous cathedral, not to mention the Abbey Library, a world heritage treasure by UNESCO.

Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland, proudly displaying the stained glass windows of the gothic Fraumunster, painted by Chagall, along with the Grossmunster cathedral and the Swiss National Museum.

Berner Oberland is a major tourist area that will offer you spectacular landscapes and lots of places to visit, like alpine streams, lakes, wild flowers and famous mountain peaks : Monch, EIger and Jungfrau, along with tourist resorts.

Bern, the capital of the country, brags with its 11th century arcaded streets and a 13th century and still working clocktower.

Food and Drink

Swiss cuisine is very interesting, just like the country itself and the most popular “specialty” is called fondue, a mix of cheese, white wine, garlic and Kirsch (a local spirit drink).

Emmental and Tete de Moine are Swiss specialties when it comes to cheese, along with pork salami and sausages : Landjager, Leberwurst, Beinwurst and Engadinerwurst.

Swiss wines and beer are among the best in the world.

Specialties include dried pork/beef served with pickled onions, cubed meat, fried potatoes, pig’s trotters and spiced honey cakes.

fraumunster

Visa Requirements

A valid passport is required for visiting Switzerland by USA/Canadian/EU nationals but no Visa.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: