The Swiss are a friendly and hospitable people, though somewhat
reserved at times. Cleanliness and orderliness are the order of
the day. Life in our towns and cities is secure. We share an independent
spirit, a respect for tradition, no fewer than four languages
and dozens of dialects. All this finds expression in the country's
fascinating folklore, deeply rooted in the nation's past. Colourful
markets reflect our rural lifestyles. The seasons are marked by
traditional festivals and popular pageants. Some may celebrate
the end of winter, others a successful wine harvest.
Simple or sophisticated ?
Holiday accommodation in Switzerland ranges from the simple to
the sophisticated, from one-star inns to five-star luxury. Many
hotels are small and medium-sized establishments, owned and operated
by the same family for generations. Small hotels, guest-houses
and private houses offer excellent bed-and-breakfast arrangements
at reasonable prices.
Pleasures for the palate
Hotels and restaurants throughout the country take pride in serving
traditional local cuisine. Each region has its specialities -
Fondue and Raclette (melted cheese dishes) in the French part;
sausages, roasts and Rösti (fried potatoes) in the German part;
sliced air-dried meat (Bündnerfleisch) in the Graubünden region;
and Italian specialities in Ticino. And Swiss wines are one of the country's best-kept secrets.
Shopping in our cities is one of life's great delights. The list
of excellent buys is long and varied. The finest watches, elegant jewellery, delicious chocolates, exclusive embroideries,
fascinating music boxes and multi-blade pocket knives. Swiss shops offer the most prestigious products that money can
Welcome to the best of Switzerland !
Our country's most popular museum is the Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne. Then follow the Botanical Gardens in Geneva and the
medieval Castle of Chillon on Lake Geneva. The most popular zoo is the Basel Zoo where successes
in animal breeding have ensured the survival of species threatened
with extinction. The most visited of Switzerland's many traditional
cheese dairies is to be found at Affoltern in the Emmental region.
Every year Switzerland hosts hundreds of music festivals, ranging
from rap, rock and reggae to classical and choral. The International
Music Festivals in Lucerne and Gstaad last several weeks and are among the most important
events on the classical calendar. The famous jazz festivals of
Montreux, Berne and Willisau are just a few of the many held across the
country. Other festivals specialise in steel bands, film music,
brass bands, organ music, military music and country & western.
And, of course, yodelling. For movie-lovers, the open-air Locarno Film Festival is one of the most acclaimed in Europe.