Switzerland is a small European country of great natural beauty, where big cities are close to mountains, lakes, forests, rivers and plenty of fresh air. Ski down alpine slopes, cruise inland lakes and venture underground to learn about the origin of the universe.
With so much impressive scenery, Switzerland doesn’t lack for outdoor adventure. Head off to the mountain resorts of Verbier, St. Moritz and Interlaken for skiing and snowboarding. Go hiking through the mountainous Swiss National Park. Experienced climbers can tackle the Matterhorn, the colossal pyramid-shaped peak in the Swiss Alps.
The Swiss love to explore their own country and SwitzerlandMobility is a national network of hiking, cycling, mountain biking and canoe routes covsering approximately 12,500 miles (20,117 kilometers). Routes are marked by signposts and color coded according to the pursuit. The trails are connected to Switzerland’s dense public transportation system, making them easily accessible from wherever you are in the country. There are also more than 80 Rent a Bike stations, where pedal and electric bikes can be rented.
For an alternative way to enjoy the scenery, climb onboard the Glacier Express. The train ride travels through the mountains, valleys and deep gorges between Zermatt and Davos or St. Moritz. Book a cruise across a Swiss lake, such as Lake Geneva or Lake Zurich. At Lake Lucerne, enjoy a sunset cruise on a paddle steamer.
Devote some of your vacation time to discovering Swiss cities. Shop in the medieval arcades of Bern, the country’s capital. Follow the history of the Olympic movement at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. See the twin-towered Grossmünster cathedral in Zurich, the country's largest city. In Geneva, find the huge Jet d'Eau water fountain and CERN, the particle physics laboratory. Tour the underground facility to discover how international teams of scientists are trying to unlock the mysteries of the universe.
Switzerland is also known for its chocolate and cheeses. Visit cheese factories in Gruyères, home to the eponymous cheese. Go on a guided tour of Maison Cailler, the Swiss chocolate factory in Broc. In November, join locals in Bern as they pay homage to a more humble food source at the Onion Market (Zibelemärit). During this folk festival, try traditional savoury treats such as tarts and soups as well as Glühwein, a delicious mulled wine. Switzerland has a host of other festivals celebrating everything from hot air balloons to yodelling, so time your visit to experience the cultural diversity of this beautiful country.