No other country is possibly more iconic and representative of the European continent than the Swiss Confederation. When one wishes to see Europe, this is one of the most ideal places to go for its vast cultural, linguistic, climatic, and geographic diversity. Situated right at the heart of the European giants, coming to Switzerland is tantamount to seeing France, Germany, and Italy all at the same time. Even with this mixture of influences, Switzerland maintains a quirky and fun uniqueness characterized by eccentric festivities and activities such as cowpat smashing, schwingen (Swiss wrestling), and so much more. In Switzerland, everything is just different, just better – the morning mist is mistier, the summer, more vibrant, the Alps, more majestic, and the air just, a bit cooler and fresher. And the Swiss folks…they possess as much fun and quality as a good Swiss knife, Swiss watch, and Swiss cheese.


Switzerland (47 00 N, 8 00 E) has a vast range of geographical features on its limited and landlocked 41,277 km2 area. Its 3 basic topographical characteristics include the Swiss Alps in the south, the Central Plateau, and the Jura Mountains in the north. The Aletsch Glacier which is the longest glacier in the Alps is also right here in Switzerland. The country is roughly 40% mountainous, with the southern half more mountainous than the rest. The country also straddles the central ranges of the Alps. The remainder are undulating hills and elevated plateaus. Interesting fact is that about 100 of Switzerland’s mountain crests are as tall as around 4,000 metres, if not higher. The highest point is Dufourspitze at a summit of 4,634 m, and the lowest, the Lake Maggiore, while not so low, at 195 m.


The climate here is temperate, although varying with altitude and season. In simple terms, the coldest area is Jura, specifically the Brevine Valley, because it is relatively high. Switzerland in general experiences a central European climate, but varies greatly in regions. Summers are bright and fun while tending to be very humid at the same time, rendering the most rain in the entire year. Therefore, in determining the best time to go, it all depends on where you’d like to go, what you’d like to see, and what you’d wish to do.


The Swiss are vastly multicultural as it lies in the crossroads of the major European cultures. Its population of 7.6 million thereabouts are, in effect, mixed European. Resident foreigners and temporary foreign workers consist around 22% of the entire population, mostly from the European countries. More than 75% of the Swiss residents inhabit the central plain.


Europe’s major cultures have impressed their influence heavily on the culture and more especially on the language. Hence, the four official languages of Switzerland are GERMAN, FRENCH, ITALIAN, and ROMANSCH (based on Latin). Swiss German is the language spoken by 63.7%, but this German is (a group) of Alemannic dialects. Characteristic of the Swiss official languages is the borrowing of terms from other languages wherein their use and meaning are not retained accurately. Other languages include SERBO-CROATIAN, ALBANIAN, PORTUGUESE, SPANISH, and, of course, ENGLISH.


In the aspect of religion, Switzerland has no official religion, and yet its official churches are the Roman Catholic Church and the Swiss Reformed Church. Christianity is the predominant religion of Switzerland, divided between the Roman Catholic (42%) and Protestant denominations (33%). Other Christian religions include Eastern Orthodoxy, Pentecostalism, Neo-Pietism, Methodism, New Apostolic Church, Jehovah’s Witness, and other minor factions. In the meantime, non-Christian beliefs include Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, etc. There also is a growing demographic of theists, atheists, and agnostics.


The chic and slick country of Switzerland is one of the world’s top destinations without hesitation. Exuding of French panache, German intensity, and Italian gusto, the nation of fresh, crisp air, expansive greenery, and eternal Alpine landscape is a cornucopia of things rolled in one. Switzerland is no other than the top ski destination with flair from Zermatt, Verbier, to St. Moritz. To begin with, the capital Bern renders great sightseeing, supreme cultural exposure, vibrant shopping scene, and unending nightlife – no question, the best place to start a Swiss tour. And Zurich, the country’s largest city, is a hotspot in its own right, with the countless clock towers that adorn the tourist region like jewels.

Each region and city of Switzerland has distinctive allures: Valais and its amazing, gargantuan glaciers; Geneva, the centre of arts and culture, besides being the 2nd largest city; Basel, Switzerland’s 3rd city, and its parties such as the Basler Fasnacht Carnival; Lake Geneva and the Chillon Castle; Lucerne and its early Swiss historic spectacles; and Zurich and its artsy vibrancy. Speaking of that last city, the small town of Rapperswil on the lake of Zurich is a tiny slice of Mediterranean haven that is on a road less travelled but a road worth taking. How about trailing Switzerland’s 7 Wonders and 7 Natural Wonders? Now that’s truly interesting!

The even greater thing is that anytime is the perfect time to see Switzerland. Surely, the Swiss Alps is as scenic in the summer as it is picturesque in the winter. This is, after all, no less than the summer and winter sports paradise. But Switzerland’s snow-capped alpine peaks evoke hankering of a different sort – gastronomic, if anything. For the panorama of the alps is so sophisticatedly perfect, it’s definitely a backdrop anyone would delight in while exploring its culinary offerings. The red milieu and white cross emblem of the Swiss Flag symbolizes quality and refinement in cuisine.


With influences from Italian, German, and French, this country of farmers (historically) prides on the freshest ingredients with simple interpretations. Switzerland is, at the end of the day, the home of the colossal Nestle food company. And simplicity in food is not a bad thing. Swiss cuisine thrives on fresh produce while doing very little with it. Cheese and potatoes are as unfussy as Swiss food gets, but the chocolate is at another level. Some chocolates undergo a 72 hour process – the Pamaco chocolates. These are among the best and most exclusive Swiss chocolates, but even its grocery brand chocolates outrun Hershey’s chocs by taste, by miles.

Of course, you’d still find pig’s trotters (pieds de porc) and more delightfully so, the fondue with melted Gruyere cheese. The Swiss cuisine also relishes variety in meat from rabbit with polenta, viande sèchée (dried beef/pork from Valais and the Grisons) or fondue bourguignonne (cubed meat with different sauces). Switzerland is the land of many key goods, edible or inedible. And with all the five-star service going on everywhere, a little tip is customary.

Joshua Boorman

Joshua Boorman

Founder & Editor in Chief at Backpacking Addictz
Come with me on a journey with me to various destinations throughout the world. We discuss all things Backpacking, Lifestyle Design & Online Business to help you achieve new found freedom and create a life of meaningful fulfillment.
Joshua Boorman

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