Switzerland Tourism
Bellariastrasse 38
CH - 8027 ZURICH, Switzerland
Tel: 01/28811 11 - Fax: 01/288 12 05


Physical geography

Switzerland is known as the 'roof of Europe' because of the high mountains - the Alps - covering a good part of its territory. It is surrounded by the Federal Republic of Germany to the north, Austria and the Principality of Liechtenstein to the east, France to the west and Italy to the south. Situated in the western part of the European continent, Switzerland offers, on a small territory of 15,944 sq. miles, a huge quantity of beautiful landscapes which cannot be seen anywhere else on such a limited surface. Slightly more than half of the country consists of farm land and pastures, one quarter of forests and one quarter of glaciers, rocks and lakes. The highest mountains are Monte Rosa (15,209 ft.), and the Latterhorn (14,691 ft.). The lowest point: Lake Maggiore (643ft.). The main rivers: Rhine, Rhone, Aar, Inn, Ticino.


All types of continental climate are to be found in Switzerland, from Mediterranean warmth along the shores of Ticino lakes and Lake Geneva up to the most bracing high alpine weather. The clearness of the air and brilliant sunshine are part of Switzerland's 'natural resources'.

Average day temperature: spring, 12-18°C, summer 20-25°C, autumn 10-15°C, winter 10°C.</P> <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Economic geography</H3> Textile industry was for a long time the main industry of the country. Since the beginning of the 20th century, metallurgy and construction of machines have occupied the majority of the workers. Swiss electric engines are being driven throughout the world: Diesel motors of numerous ships and turbines of power stations come from Swiss factories which have gained a worldwide reputation; also agricultural machines. Swiss chemical and pharmaceutical products also have a worldwide reputation, as have Swiss watches, chocolate, cheese and lace. Also of great importance to the Swiss economy are banking, insurance business and tourism. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Demography</H3> More than seven million, including about 19 per cent foreigners. Largest cities: Zurich 342,900; Basel 175,600; Geneva 170,700; Berne 128,400 (seat of Federal Government); Lausanne 116,800. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>A brief history</H3> Switzerland was born when the people of the three mountain cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden signed the Perpetual Covenant of 1291. This was a solemn pledge of mutual support and defense against the encroachments of the House of Habsburg on the rights which the Emperor had earlier granted to some of them as guardians of the passes of the Alps. Some important dates in history: in <B>1315</B>, first victory of Swiss Confederates over the House of Habsburg at Morgarten. - In <B>1515</B>, the Swiss defeat at Marignano, Italy, was a first step towards neutrality. - The Treaty of Westphalia in <B>1648</B>, formally recognised Switzerland's independence from the German Empire. - In <B>1815</B>, at the Congress of Vienna, signatories declared that permanent Swiss neutrality was in the interest of Europe. Federal Pact confirmed equal status of the 23 states known as cantons (which have their own government). Since <B>1848</B>, the Swiss political system has been a combination of direct representative democracy. Based on the principle of the sovereignty of the people and the separation of powers, it rests on multiparty structure, the respect of the rights of minorities and proportional representation. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Religions</H3> The last census showed that the Swiss population is made up of 40 per cent Protestants, 46.1 per cent Catholics and 13.9 per cent others. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Languages spoken by nationals</H3> German, French, Italian and Romansh (Grisons) are the languages spoken in Switzerland, but in holiday resorts most people can either speak or understand English. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Time</H3> Middle European Time (summer time = MET + 1). <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Currency</H3> The monetary unit is the Swiss Franc (= 100 centimes). US$1 = CHF.1.26; £1 = CHF.1.94. (June 1996). <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Official holidays (all offices and shops closed)</H3> 1 January, New Year- 28 March, Good Friday - 31 March, Easter Monday - 8 May, Ascension Day - 19 May, Whit-Monday - 1 August, National Day - 25 December, Christmas Day - 26 December, Boxing Day.</P> <P>There are other public holidays observed in various cantons, such as 2nd January; 1st May (Labour Day) and Corpus Christi.</P> <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What one should not fail to see</H3> For more than a century the Swiss have been creating a paradise for holiday visitors. They continue to improve their facilities and to make travel easier, thus making their guests from all over the world feel happy and comfortable. Cathedrals, churches, castles and monasteries of the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods are architectural jewels. Swiss works of art are to be found in places of worship, city halls and town houses. City arsenals, granaries and ornamental fountains are also witnesses to the past. A considerable number of outstanding art treasures are housed in the National Museum in Zurich, the Art and Historical Museums in Basel, Berne and Geneva. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touring</H3> Throughout the year. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>How to dress</H3> In summer light dresses and suits, with a sweater or a light coat for the evenings and a raincoat. For the mountains: good walking shoes and a parka. In winter: snowboots, overcoats, skitrousers, sweaters and parkas. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main holiday resorts</H3> Switzerland offers a choice of more than 300 holiday resorts in the plain as well as in the mountains; 6,200 hotels, boarding houses and spa establishments are supplying 270,000 beds, 80 youth hostels, 7,300 beds; houses and apartments for rent, 360,000 beds; 238,000 guests can be accommodated in camping and caravanning grounds. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main holiday sports</H3> Sports facilities are plentiful and just a few interesting facts are listed below: 50 mountain peaks with an altitude of more than 13,000 feet; 516 sq. miles of glaciers; 547 sq. miles of lakes; 26,100 miles of rivers and streams abounding in fish; more than 72 rivers for boating (canoe, kayak, folding boat, etc.); hundreds of beaches, swimming pools, and tennis courts; 30,000 miles of marked trails for hiking 43 golf courses ranging from 660 ft. to 6,330 ft. in altitude; 170 fully equipped winter resorts: about 1200 ski-lifts 1800 tourism transport facilities; 80 artificial ice-rinks and 190 Swiss ski schools. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What to eat and drink</H3> The Swiss are gourmets. The classic cuisine of Swiss hotels and restaurants is world renowned and every hotel manager and restaurant-keeper has a very special surprise for his guests - the speciality of his town or canton. Switzerland also has famous wines and excellent beer. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What to buy</H3> Music boxes, hand-woven Swiss lace, delicious chocolates, high precision watches, wood carvings and, of course, the latest fashions for the ladies. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Frontier formalities</H3> <H3>Passports and visas</H3> For a visit to Switzerland, the documents listed hereafter are sufficient and no visa is required from citizens of the following countries: Federal Republic of Germany - national passport, valid or valid up to one year previously, or valid identity card; Austria, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, San Marino - national passport, valid or valid up to five years previously, or valid identity card; Italy, Greece, Malta, Cyprus - national valid passport or valid identity card; For other nationals, a valid passport is required. <P>For certain countries and for persons without nationality orpersonal papers, a visa is necessary. For information concerning passports and visas, please apply to the Swiss diplomatic and consular offices in your country.</P> <H3>Customs</H3> Allowance for overseas countries: <P>Admitted free of charge upon entrance: 200 cigarettes (400), or 50 cigars (100), or 250 gr. tobacco (500), one litre alcoholic beverages over 15°, two litres up to 15°. Gifts (incl. perfume): up to CHF100.</P> <H3>Currency regulations</H3> No restrictions for imports or exports. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main travel routes</H3> <B>By air</B>: Switzerland has three international airports: Geneva- Cointrin, Zurich-Kloten (both fully integrated into the network of Swiss railways) and Basel, served by more than 80 airlines which handled more than 22 million passengers in 1994. <P><B>By road</B>: There are 43,200 miles of roads, of which 950 miles are highways. The Swiss Postbus Service takes travellers through the principal mountain roads and passes and covers more than 5,320 miles in regular services. <P><B>By rail: </B>There are 3,100 miles of electrified railway tracks, 13 cog-wheel mountain railways, 57 funiculars. Switzerland is at the crossroads of important railway lines of Europe. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Miscellaneous</H3> Main events in Switzerland 97: (all information subject to change). <H3>Folklore - Public festivals</H3> <TABLE> <TR><TD>17-19.02</TD><TD> Basel</TD><TD> Carnival</TD></TR> <TR><TD>19-24.08</TD><TD> Fribourg</TD><TD> Int. Folklore Festival</TD></TR> <TR><TD>15-17.08</TD><TD> Geneva</TD><TD> Fetes de Geneve, city festival</TD></TR> <TR><TD>13-14.12</TD><TD> Geneva</TD><TD> 'Escalade' Historical Festival</TD></TR> <TR><TD>5-11.02</TD><TD> Lucerne </TD><TD>Carnival</TD></TR> <TR><TD>26-28.09</TD><TD> Neuchatel</TD><TD> Wine Harvest Festival</TD></TR> <TR><TD>05-06.07</TD><TD> Weggis</TD><TD> Rose Festival</TD></TR> <TR><TD>20-21.04</TD><TD> Zurich</TD><TD> Sechselaeuten, spring festival</TD></TR> <TR><TD>14-15.09</TD><TD> Zurich</TD><TD>'Knabenschiessen', youth shooting festival</TD></TR> <TR><TD>1 August</TD><TD> Switzerland </TD><TD> Swiss National Day, Celebrations nationwide: folkloric events, fireworks. </TD></TR></TABLE> During 1997: 150 years of Swiss Federal Railways'. <H3>Trade fairs - markets</H3> <TABLE> <TR><TD>28.02-9.03</TD><TD> Basel</TD><TD> Swiss Industries Fair <TR><TD>10-17.04</TD><TD> Basel</TD><TD> European Watch, Clock and Jewellery Fair</TD></TR> <TR><TD>24.11</TD><TD> Bern</TD><TD> Onion Market</TD></TR> <TR><TD>06-16.03</TD><TD> Geneva</TD><TD> Palexpo, International Motor Show</TD></TR> <TR><TD>11-20.04</TD><TD> Geneva</TD><TD> Int. Exhibition of Inventions and New Techniques</TD></TR> <TR><TD>10-13.04</TD><TD> Zurich</TD><TD> Int. Art and Antique Fair. </TD></TR></TABLE> <H3>Music - theatre - film</H3> <TABLE><TR><TD>28.06-06.07</TD><TD> scona TI</TD><TD> New Orleans Jazz Festival </TD></TR> <TR><TD>30.04-04.05</TD><TD> Bern</TD><TD> Int. Jazz Festival</TD></TR> <TR><TD>07-17.08</TD><TD> Locarno</TD><TD> Int. Film Festival</TD></TR> <TR><TD>19-23.03</TD><TD> Lucerne</TD><TD> Int. Easter Music Festival</TD></TR> <TR><TD>24-29.04</TD><TD> Montreux</TD><TD> TV Golden Rose Competition</TD></TR> <TR><TD>03-20.07</TD><TD> Montreux</TD><TD> Int. Jazz Festival</TD></TR> <TR><TD>end Aug-end Sept</TD><TD> Montreux/Vevey</TD><TD> Int. Music Festival</TD></TR></TABLE> <H3>Sports</H3> <TABLE> <TR><TD>1-2.02</TD><TD> Arosa</TD><TD> Greyhound racing on snow</TD></TR> <TR><TD>15-16.2</TD><TD> Arosa</TD><TD> Golf: Int. Winter Tournament</TD></TR> <TR><TD>20-28.09</TD><TD> Basel</TD><TD> Tennis: Swiss Indoors</TD></TR> <TR><TD>29.03-5.04</TD><TD> Berne </TD><TD> Curling: World Championships</TD></TR> <TR><TD>18-26.01</TD><TD> Chateau-d'Oex</TD><TD> International Hot-Air Ballooning Week</TD></TR> <TR><TD>18-21.9</TD><TD> Chateau-d'Oex </TD><TD> Biking: Mountainbike World Championships</TD></TR> <TR><TD>26-31.12</TD><TD> Davos</TD><TD> Ice hockey: Spengler Cup Intl Tournament</TD></TR> <TR><TD>9.03</TD><TD> Engadine</TD><TD> Nordic Skiing: </TD><TD> Engadine Ski Marathon </TD></TR> <TR><TD>11-12-19.01</TD><TD> Grindelwald</TD><TD> World Snow Festival</TD></TR> <TR><TD>27.01-2.02</TD><TD> St. Moritz</TD><TD> Bob: World Championships</TD></TR> <TR><TD>24-26.01</TD><TD> St. Moritz Polo </TD><TD> World Cup on Snow</TD></TR> <TR><TD>2, 9, 16.02. </TD><TD> St. Moritz</TD><TD> Horse Racing: Int. Races on Lake</TD></TR> <TR><TD>18-19.01</TD><TD> Wengen</TD><TD> Alpine Skiing: Lauberhorn Downhill Race</TD></TR> <TR><TD>13.08</TD><TD> Zurich</TD><TD> Int. Athletics Meeting. </TD></TR></TABLE> <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Representatives abroad</H3> AMSTERDAM*: Zwitserland Toerisme, Koningsplein 11, NL-1017BB Amsterdam. Tel: 020/6222033. Fax: 020/6255985. <P>BERLIN: Schweiz Tourismus, Haus der Schweiz, Unter den Linden: Friednchstr. 155-156, D- 10117 Berlin. Tel: 030/2012050. Fax: 030/2012051.</P> <P>BRUXELLES*: Suisse Tourisme, Ave Brugmann 24, B- 1060 Bruxelles. Tel: 02/3455445. Fax: 02/3453552</P> <P>CHICAGO: Switzerland Tourism, 150 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 2930 Chicago, IL 60601, USA. Tel: 312/6305840. Fax: 312/6305848.</P> <P>DUSSELDORF: Schweiz Tourismus, Kasernenstr. 13, D-40213 Dusseldorf. Tel: 0211/3230913. Fax: 0211/133436.</P> <P>FRANKFURT/MAIN*: Schweiz Tourismus, Kaiserstr. 23, D-603 11 Frankfurt Main. Tel: 069/2560010. Fax: 069/25600138.</P> <P>HAMBURG: Schweiz Tourismus, Speersort 18/IV, D-20095 Hamburg. Tel: 040/321469. Fax: 040/323900.</P> <P>HONG KONG: Switzerland Tourism, Admiralty Centre, Tower 2, 8th Floor, 18 Harcourt Rd, Hong Kong. Tel: 00852/28218290. Fax: 00852/25289955.</P> <P>LONDON*: Switzerland Tourism, Swiss Centre, Swiss Court, GB London WIV 8EE. Tel: 0171/7341921. Fax: 0171/4374577</P> <P>LOS ANGELES: Switzerland Tourism, 222 No. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 1570, El Segundo, CA 90245, USA. Tel: 310/3355985. Fax: 310/3355988.</P> <P>MADRID: Suiza Turismo, Edificio Espaaa, Gran Via 84, E-28013 Madrid. Tel: 01/5594112. Fax: 01/5470852.</P> <P>MILANO*: Svizzera Turismo, Centro Svizzero, Piazza Cavour 4, I-2012 Milano. Tel.: 02/76013114. Fax: 02/76001163.</P> <P>MUNCHEN: Schweiz Tourismus, Leopoldstr. 33, D-80802 Munchen. Tel: 089/333018. Fax: 089/345346.</P> <P>NEW YORK: Switzerland Tourism, Swiss Center, 608 Fifth Ave, New York NY 10020, USA. Tel: 212/7575944. Fax: 212/2626116.</P> <P>PARIS*: Suisse Tourisme, Porte de la Suisse, 11 bis rue Scribe, F-75009 Paris. Tel: 1/44 516551. Fax: 1/47 424388. Minitel: 3615, code Suisse.</P> <P>ROMA: Svizzera Turismo, Via Po 10, I-00198, Roma. Tel: 06/84 70 521, Fax: 06/84 70 588. <P>STOCKHOLM*: Schweiz-Turism, Kungsgatan 38, Box 3316, S-103 66 Stockholm. Tel: 08/234100. Fax: 08/240523.</P> <P>TOKYO: Switzerland Tourism, CS Tower, 2nd Floor, 1-11-30 Akasaka Minato-ku, Tokyo 107, Japan. Tel: 03/35895588. Fax: 03/32240888.</P> <P>TORONTO: Switzerland Tourism, 926 The East Mall, Etobicoke (Toronto Ontario M9B 6KI), Canada. Tel: 416/6952090. Fax: 416/6952774.</P> <P>WIEN *: Schweiz Tourismus, Karntnerstr. 20, A- 1015 Wien. Tel: 01/5127405. Fax: 01/5139335.</P> <P><B>mit/avec/con/with SWISSAIR:</B></P> <P>CAIRO: Switzerland Tourism, c/o Swissair, 22 Sharia Kasr el Nil. Tel: 023937955. Fax: 02/3916080.</P> <P>TEL AVIV: Switzerland Tourism, c/o Swissair, 1 Ben Yehuda Street, 63801 Tel Aviv, Israel. Tel: 03/5116666. Fax: 03/5102993.</P> <P>* <B>Official agency of Swiss Federal Railways with ticket sale.</B></P> <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><I><P>We have been able to publish the present tourist information on Switzerland thanks to the co-operation of the Switzerland Tourism in Zurich.</P></I> <!-- End of article --> <P> <CENTER><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="4"></CENTER> <P> <CENTER><A HREF=#TOP><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteTopbut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A> <A HREF="../../../watanetwork/NTOs/Countrieslist/"><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteNTObut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A></CENTER> </TD> </TR> </TABLE> </BODY> </HTML>