Switzerland, legendary for its breathtaking natural beauty, is a mountainous country with high Alpine peaks, world renowned ski resorts and hiking trails, abundant lakes, and storybook villages – alongside its iconic industries: precision watches, outstanding chocolate, and banking.
Cosmopolitan Zurich, a city of hills located on the waters of Lake Zurich, is the largest city in Switzerland. Serving as the center of commerce and finance, Zurich also combines a unique mixture of culture – dozens of museums, galleries, and festivals – a vibrant nightlife, sumptuous cuisine, and high end shopping –especially along the exclusive Bahnhofstrasse- without foregoing its natural beauty. Green oases and lush parks dot the city – most notably the historic Lindenhof Park. Lake Zurich, surrounded by forested hills and encompassing 4 islands, is a popular summer destination for both natives and tourists. The Uetliberg, known as Zurich’s “own mountain,” towers above the city offering panoramic views –even reaching the Alps on a clear day.
Art lovers enjoy the masterpieces housed in the Kunsthaus Zurich and the Rietberg Museum, while the historic Altstadt (Old Town) in Zurich’s city center – located on both sides of the Limmat River – offers a glimpse of medieval life through its churches, squares, and guild houses. The 16th Century Grossmunster Church, with its twin towers, is a Zurich landmark, and the top of the Karlsturm offers a magnificent view of the city. The Fraumunster Church and convent are famous for their stained glass windows by Marc Chagall and Augusto Giacometti as well as their frescos.
Basel is known as Switzerland’s capital of culture, home to symphony and chamber orchestras, playhouses, and 40 museums – the highest density in the country- with the Basel Art Museum and Museum of Cultures among the most popular. Basel is a mix of historic landmarks – its quaint Old Town, market square, and the Gothic Basel Minster cathedral – and modern architecture, contemporary design, and stunning botanical gardens among other green spaces. Situated on the Rhine, the river is Basel’s unofficial symbol, and its banks come alive during the summer months.
Geneva, a beautiful city at the southern tip of Lake Geneva – Europe’s largest Alpine lake – is surrounded by the Alps and Jura Mountains. It is a global hub for diplomacy and banking, as well as a center of recreation, culture, and history, with a picturesque Old Town and a diverse range of museums. The Jet d’Eau – the world’s tallest water fountain – is Geneva’s iconic landmark.
Breathtaking Alpine resorts in Switzerland abound! Here is a glimpse at a few of the most popular ones…
At an elevation of almost 6100 feet, the celebrated St. Moritz is a top class ski and winter sports resort during the winter months and, with its mineral springs, a spa resort in the summer. Its luxurious hotels, restaurants, shopping, and entertainment have made St. Moritz a jet-setter destination – but be sure not to leave without sampling some of the outstanding local specialties such as the famous Engadine nut torte.
Zermatt lies at the foot of the mighty Matterhorn, one of Switzerland’s highest Alpine peaks. Motorized vehicles are not allowed in the charming village, preserving its air quality and distinctive atmosphere.
Interlaken, a stunning town lying between 2 large lakes and surrounded by high peaks, is popular all year round with its extensive array of winter sports as well as trails, cruises, and water-based sports in the warmer months.
Lucerne, surrounded by mountains, is located on glistening Lake Lucerne. In addition to its natural beauty, Lucerne boasts a well preserved medieval old town, historic buildings, charming squares, and covered bridges – with the 14th Century Chapel Bridge its most iconic.
Grindelwald is another outstanding mountain resort, located near the Jungfraujoch – the “Top of Europe” – with its train up to an observation deck at 11,330 feet.
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