Switzerland is located in the heart of Europe, bordering Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy and France, has a population of 9 million and is divided into 26 cantons. Switzerland is organized on a federal basis and has no real capital. However, Berne is the seat of the Swiss Confederation and has the status of the capital.
Switzerland is a neutral country and therefore not a member of Nato, even though it is located in the middle of it. It is also not a member of the EU. Attention, if you have included mobile phone data volume for the EU, it may not be valid in Switzerland because of this. Check this before you go and deactivate your roaming if necessary. If you need a prepaid sim, it is best to buy it directly from a mobile phone provider. You can find stores directly at the airport or near the train station of many bigger cities. They can activate the sim for you directly. With prepaids from the supermarket it can happen that the activation with foreign ID does not work. Swisscom and Sunrise offer the best coverage even off the tracks.
Even though not part of the EU, Switzerland has joined the Schengen Agreement. That means open borders in Europe and with the Schengen visa of another Schengen country, you can also travel to Switzerland. The largest airports are located in Zurich and Geneva.
Switzerland is internationally known for watches, pocket knives, chocolate, cheese and the banks.
Country and People
The topic of national languages is a bit different here than in most other countries, because there are 4 national languages at once. Depending on the region, one speaks German, French, Italian or Rhaeto-Romanic. French in the regions along the French border with the big cities of Geneva and Lausanne, German in most of Switzerland, including Zurich, Bern and Lucerne. Italian in Ticino with the city of Lugano and Rhaeto-Romanic only in canton Graubünden, in the southeast of Switzerland. Anyway, touristic activities are often multilingual and most people can speak English as well.
In Switzerland there are countless large and small lakes and no matter where you are in Switzerland, there is definitely a lake somewhere nearby. So you can cool off in summer. In addition, the Alps run through the middle of Switzerland and you will find a lot of mountains. This makes Switzerland a popular ski paradise in winter and a hiking paradise in summer.
In Switzerland, you pay with Swiss francs. By the way, the Swiss franc is also the official currency in Liechtenstein. Almost everywhere you can also pay with a credit card.
In comparison, Switzerland is a very expensive country and Geneva and Zurich are among the most expensive cities in the world. You have to consider this if you want to spend your vacations here. But if you do, you will be rewarded with beautiful cities, great mountains and outstanding panoramas.
Switzerland is a safe country when it comes to crime. You can see it especially in the countryside, where you still find many farm stores with a cash register of trust. Like everywhere else, you have to be careful with your valuables in crowds. And take care in nature and don’t fall off a mountain or into a crevasse.