Switzerland, a wealthy republic with fairy-tale landscapes
An immaculate country lying amid the Alpine grandeur of central Europe, Switzerland is not only affluent but abundant in beauty. Whether its rich, creamy chocolate, emerald-green hills, or dazzlingly complex watches, Switzerland excels at celebrating both man-made and natural beauty from the tiniest cuckoo clock to the grandest snow-capped mountain.
Aside from the stirring landscapes, a cluster of world-class cities give Switzerland a chic, global edge. Sophisticated Zurich is a formidable financial centre, with a high quality of life and a vibrant cultural feel. Meanwhile, Lucerne is a picture-perfect medieval city with a typical Swiss backdrop of rugged mountains and clear-blue lakes. Whether you hike in the hills, sip coffee in the cities, or enjoy rural music in the quiet market towns, Switzerland promises a wealth of unforgettable encounters.
Flights to Switzerland from London take you to all the major centres, with Bern Airport a short distance from the capital city of Bern. Occupying a scenic curve in the River, Bern's medieval heart has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Old Town is anchored by the enchanting Zytglogge astronomical clock, which features an ornate tower and golden figurines that move when the bells toll on the hour.
The city has a magical aura, where fairy-tale houses overlook statues of allegorical demons and princes. Among the many fountains in the picturesque squares is the striking Ogre of Kindlifresserbrunnen, a fearsome character from Alpine folklore depicted gleefully eating sack-full of children.
History and nature
Switzerland's operatic scenery surrounds the imposing fortress of Château de Chillon, where you can discover the region's rich history. Within the thick walls, down in the darkest dungeon, the Swiss patriot François Bonivard was imprisoned during the 16th century. During the Romantic age, the lake and fortress were immortalised by Lord Byron. Indeed, the spectacular stone ramparts of the Château loom high above Switzerland's most famous attraction: Lake Geneva.
For adventurous mountaineers, the sheer rock-face of the Matterhorn is Switzerland's greatest mountain, while the Engadin Valley offers walkers stupendous Alpine vistas with rugged peaks sloping majestically down into glistening lakes.
Food and drink
Wholesome staple meals like fondue, raclette and rösti are common throughout Switzerland, while dairy and cheese products are world-renowned. If you have a sweet tooth, you'll love Switzerland as the Swiss are the world's largest consumers of chocolate. What's more, full-bodied Swiss wine is available throughout the country.
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Cost of living in Switzerland
|Food and drinks||Prices average|
|Beer (0.5 litre)||£1.00|
|Meal at McDonald's||£11.00|
|Water (0.33 litre)||£3.00|
|One way tube ticket||£3.00|
|Taxi starting price (normal tariff)||£6.00|
|1 summer dress in a chain store (Zara, H&M,...)||£41.00|
|1 pair of jeans (Levi's 501 or similar)||£89.00|
|Average monthly disposable salary (net)||£4,430.00|