Over the years, Switzerland has developed an international reputation among the makers, travelers, and artists of the world. Known for a love of fine cheese and chocolate and a dedication to efficiency of design in everything from wristwatches to train schedules—not to mention the stunning mountain range that covers more than 60% of the country—Switzerland promises a lot, and delivers on that promise every time.
Switzerland is a relatively small country, situated in Western Europe and bordered by Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Italy, and France. These bordering countries have all had a kind of melting-pot impact on Switzerland’s cultural heritage: Switzerland has four official languages, depending on the region, and of its population of 8.4 million people, 23% of that population are immigrants.
Switzerland is famous for quite a few things. Generally, this country has made itself a name in every industry that involves taking great care to make things well—the name “Swiss,” when applied to almost any product, immediately lends it a sense of craftsmanship. Swiss watches, Swiss banks, and Swiss-made cheeses and chocolates are all seen as some of the best in the world, and for good reason.
Switzerland is also home to a large portion of the Alpine Mountain Range. The Swiss Alps—the name commonly used to refer to the segment of the Alps that cuts through Switzerland—are famous for both their natural splendor and for their position as world-class skiing and snowboarding destinations almost year-round. Ski lodges are hugely popular tourism and vacation destinations in Switzerland, and skiers come from all over the world to rent a room, take in the view, and explore the winding, freezing cold slopes of the Swiss Alps.
While Switzerland certainly has an air of almost archaic quaintness about it, don’t be fooled—Swiss cities are on the cutting edge of innovation, featuring world-class public transport and some of the fastest average internet speeds in the world. Swiss city-dwellers have also fully embraced their art and culture, and you can find galleries, exhibitions, and art museums just about everywhere you look.