Part of the EU macro-regional strategy of the Alpine region, Switzerland sits smack dab in the centre of Europe, bordered by Germany to the north, Italy to the south, France to the west, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Nearly 60 percent of the country is covered by the Alps, with over 48 mountains hitting altitudes over 4,000 metres—the two highest being Monte Rosa and Matterhorn. Panoramic trains snake their way along scenic passes straight up the mountains, where travellers can hop on transport even more traditional: open wooden coach cable cars. The country is divided into three geographic areas—the Jura (known as the three-lakes district), the Plateau, and the Alps—and features 26 different cantons, or states. On the Upper Rhine, the bridge city of Laufenburg was split into two by Napoleon over 200 years ago and is considered the gateway to the Jura Park, as well as a stop on the Via Habsburg route. The watchmaking centre of La Chaux-de-Fonds (part of the Réseau Art Nouveau Network), meanwhile, is one of the most significant examples of Swiss urban construction from the 19th century.
How to get there?
Fly into one of Switzerland’s major airports—Zurich, Geneva, Basel or Bern Belp—or take a direct train from Paris, Milan or Hamburg. The TGV Lyria travels multiple times per day between Paris or Marseille and Geneva, Lausanne, Basel and Zurich. See a more panoramic side of Switzerland on board trains like the Glacier Express from Zermatt to St. Moritz. The country is also a cycling favourite, featuring over 12,000 kilometres of bike paths.