For many years Switzerland remains one of the most developed tourist countries in Europe. Quiet and beautiful cities, beautiful ski resorts with first-class hotels, snow-capped mountains, lakes with crystal clear water and preserved culture – make this country popular not only among European tourists. Although the area of the country is not too large, but it was able to fit a variety of creations of nature and human hands. For Switzerland are characterized by small towns, each of them in its own beautiful, and the possibility of active recreation, the country can compete with many European countries.
Geography of Switzerland
Switzerland is located in central Europe, so she has no access to the sea. The country borders France to the west, the east of the country neighbors Austria and Liechtenstein, the north neighbors Germany and in the south Switzerland borders with Italy. The capital of the country is the city of Bern.
Visa for Switzerland
As Switzerland is one of the countries of the Schengen agreement, the CIS residents must have a Schengen visa to visit it. Get a tourist visa can be people who have booked a bus tour of the country or a hotel room in advance. If you have friends or relatives with citizenship or residence permit in Switzerland, you can get a visitor’s visa. Children over 6 years old need to paste into the parents’ passport a photo of the child and a separate visa. Children who have their own passport need to submit the same set of documents as an adult. Schengen visa application processing time at Swiss embassy or consulate is at least 3 working days after payment of consular fee. The period of stay in the member states of the Schengen Agreement is 90 days. Consular fee for a visa is 35 euros, children under 6 years or children who are in their parents’ passport do not need to pay the consular fee.
Weather in Switzerland
The country has a moderate continental climate, but at the same time very diverse, which for such a small country is a rarity. The climate here depends largely on the topography and altitude, so in Switzerland there are many local climatic zones. In the south of the country is more characterized by a Mediterranean climate, and in the center – temperate. In Mitteland, the sea air masses have a greater influence on the weather. The contrast of climates in Switzerland – unique, for example in Geneva in January the average temperature of +6 C, and in July +10 C, while at the same time in 70 km from here January temperature is 0 C, and in July – +16 C. At any time of year in Switzerland you can find a place with suitable weather. Season at the ski resorts begins in December and lasts until April. The center of the country is best visited in July and September, and in the area of Lake Geneva is comfortable all year round.
Attractions in Switzerland
A trip to Switzerland will be fascinating, whichever city you are in. The small town of Vevey, which lies on the shores of the lake, is known worldwide thanks to the company Nestle. This city has preserved its old-time charm, small streets with little houses, as if frozen in the Middle Ages. A few kilometers away from here is no less famous city of Montreux, which can be reached on foot by walking along the road by the lake. Today these two towns have practically become one. The city is rich in history. Once here lived a famous Russian writer – F.M. Dostoevsky, who wrote his well-known novel “Idiot” in one of the local houses, on which there is a memorial plaque now. In addition, once here lived the famous silent film actor – Charlie Chaplin, whose relatives still live here, and on the embankment of the lake he put a monument. Of course, no less interesting place in Switzerland is the capital – Bern. Surprisingly, not many people know that Bern is the capital of Switzerland, thinking that it is Geneva or Zurich, even the Swiss themselves do not call Bern the capital, but only a federal district. The city was founded in the late 12th century and at first all the buildings were made of wood, but after a fire in 1405, all the buildings began to be built in stone. The Baroque Church of the Holy Spirit, the Clock Tower and the Parliament Building are reminders of those times. On the east wall of the Zeitglockenturm Clock Tower is the City Clock, which was installed in 1530. The clock is unusual and its mechanism drives the rooster, the bear and Chronos and gives a performance four minutes before the new hour. Apart from the time, the clock shows the movements of the stars and zodiacal signs. In the past this clock was used to check the time of day for the whole town, and was thus regarded as the most important clock in the city. In summer, you can sit in Bern at the city fountain near the Bundestag, and in the evening when the lights turn on the fountain, here begins a real show. You can also stroll along the spacious Kramgasse. Along the street are a variety of stores with souvenirs, restaurants and boutiques. From 1902 to 1909 on this street lived Albert Einstein, and now in the house at number 49 is a museum of the famous scientist. A characteristic feature of Bern is a huge number of flowers, which are planted almost everywhere. On many windows there are vases with red geraniums and every year in the capital there is a competition for the best window flower bed. Flowers are a special pride of the inhabitants of Bern and very often it is called the flower city. Geneva is situated in the place with amazingly beautiful nature at the very foothills of the Swiss Alps and on the shore of the largest lake in the Western Europe. Geneva is one of the centers of international business life, and every year it hosts meetings of world importance. The cultural life is always in full swing and you can find something interesting to enjoy at any time. Almost always there are a variety of concerts, exhibitions and festivals. Visitors to Geneva should not miss the Museum of Art and History, which exhibits the largest collection of masterpieces of fine art. Another interesting and exciting spectacle is a huge flower clock, the second hand of which is recognized as the largest. The most beautiful building in the city is the Coppet Castle, built in the 18th century on the shores of Lake Geneva. One of the most visited cities by tourists is Lucerne.
At the moment, this city is home to most of the German-speaking residents of Switzerland. Around the city are picturesque places, snowy slopes of the Alps and the lake Firwaldstät. The old center of the city is beautifully preserved to this day, and the main attraction of the city are its famous bridges and the Villa Wagner. In addition, the city is full of museums. One of the most famous cities in Switzerland, the largest and most beautiful city Zurich. Zurich has become both the business center of the country and the main center of tourism. Well-preserved historical part of town is represented by buildings in the Gothic style, which are souvenir shops, cafes and antique stores, these narrow and beautiful streets of the best place to walk around the city. In the evening this part of town turns into an entertainment center, with street musicians playing, beer pours, and the noise doesn’t stop until midnight. The shopping is best done in the business center of Zurich, Bahnhofstrasse. Here you can buy not only clothes from famous manufacturers but also the most exotic things.
National cuisine of Switzerland
The national cuisine of Switzerland was formed under the influence of many nationalities that live on its territory. Greater influence on the local dishes had French, German and Italian cuisine. The main components of the local dishes are dairy products, meat and vegetables, and an important role played by spices and various herbs. Traditional local breakfast consists of bread cheese and coffee with milk, lunch is also light, but the dinner is much denser and usually includes several dishes. No doubt, when it comes to Swiss cuisine, the first thing that comes to mind is Swiss cheese, which has become its calling card and the main treasure. Switzerland, a country traditionally engaged in cattle breeding, and since ancient times the attitude to dairy products has remained special. Due to the enormous popularity of cheese, the main local dishes are also prepared with its use, for example – fondue, which is any dish with melted cheese. Meat dishes are not as varied and most of them are represented by hard smoked game sausages. However, not all regions have such a modest selection of meat dishes. In the north of the country there are more German meat dishes (sausages, frankfurters, etc.), and in the south and west the preference is for minced meat.
In most Swiss cities, the public transport system consists of buses, trolleybuses and streetcars. Ticket to any mode of transport is the same, so you can use the same ticket and trains, but only within the city. Pass for one day costs 7.6 francs. In many cities for tourists sell special tourist cards, their price includes travel on public transport, entry to museums and tours. The cost of such a card is approximately 13.5 francs. At Geneva airport special free passes are issued, which are valid for 80 minutes. Cabs can be ordered by phone or found at hotels and restaurants.
Currency exchange in Switzerland
As of September 2011, the national currency exchange rate of 1 USD = 0.79 CHF . The national currency is the Swiss franc. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 08.00 to 16.30, and some until 17.00 to 18.00. The lunch break is from 12.00 to 14.00. At airports and train stations, many exchange offices are open around the clock. The easiest way to change currency and traveler’s checks is at the special exchange bureaus “bureaux de change” located at the train stations. In the exchange bureaux have no commissions, and the rate is the same as that of the banks. In many places you can pay in euros. It is desirable to exchange currency even before entering the country, as in Switzerland, the rate is overvalued, although minimally. Local ATMs accept almost all types of cards. Credit cards can be used in almost every part of the country, but in some places to pay by credit card is necessary to make a purchase for a certain amount.
230V/50Hz (European sockets).
Switzerland is a Christian country and the majority of believers are Catholics – 41% and 35% are Protestants. Also in the country there live 6% of representatives of other religious confessions.
Switzerland is one of the safest countries in the world, even by Western European standards. But recently the crime rate has increased a bit and the main reason for that are migrants, who commit 70% of all crimes. Most attention should be paid to crowded places (museums, transport, train stations), where pickpockets are most likely to get into trouble. It is desirable not to carry a bag or a camera on one shoulder. It is best to lock the car doors, and do not leave things on the front seat.
Russian residents visiting Switzerland must carry international medical insurance. At the time of the visit to the doctor must show the insurance or make a deposit. If you do not have insurance, you may be asked to pay in cash on the spot. The cost of medical services is very expensive and almost all doctors work on a schedule, and in order to get to see them it is necessary to make an appointment in advance. If you need medical care, the address of the nearest hospital can be found at the pharmacy or from local residents. Even in small towns there are small clinics. If the illness is life-threatening, you must immediately contact the ambulance at 144.
Russian Consulate in Switzerland
Switzerland – the country with beautiful nature and the best cheese in Europe
Switzerland is a country with beautiful nature and the best cheese in Europe
Switzerland, a small independent country in Europe, is home to some of the best ski resorts. This part of Europe has amazing nature, with many lakes, mountains, waterfalls and meadows. Everybody knows the quality of Swiss cheese, the best chocolate in the world, the best watch shops. Also Switzerland is famous for banking, the tradition of which has been formed for decades. Despite the tradition, it is a rather diverse country, where you can find many interesting things.
Switzerland in miniature
An open-air amusement park on Lake Lugano with models of important and ordinary buildings from all Swiss cantons. When Pierre Vuigner was 32 years old, he realized that it was time for a change in his life. The vegetable store owner and municipal councillor, who was born in Grimisuato in the canton of Valais, decided to create a country of miniatures. He searched for months for suitable land until he found it in the picturesque mountain village of Melide in the southern Swiss canton of Ticino. He also impressed the local mayor with his project, who obtained all the necessary permits within three weeks and leased the land to Wügner for thirty years. The success of this idea is evidenced by the fact that this lease has been gradually renewed and today its termination date has been postponed until 2042.
Switzerland in miniature
Vuigner then sold his existing business, moved to Melida with his wife and two sons, and fully immersed himself in his new job. The park first opened its gates on June 6, 1959, although construction was not completed until a month later. Although there was great interest in the exhibit, the profits did not recoup the costs for a long time. It did not succeed until the 1970s, when Italian interest turned here, and the idea of inviting celebrities to the park was a success. After that, part of the income could be invested in new models and rides.
Today the park is run by the founder’s sons. On an area of 14,000 m2 you can see more than 120 handmade models in scale 1:25. Swiss buildings and monuments form the base, but a great deal of attention is also paid to transportation. In addition to castles, stadiums, mountain huts, churches, parliament and bridges from the various cantons of the country, you can also see boats, cable cars and even four-legged vehicles. There is also a model railroad 3,560 meters long, on which eighteen trains run.
The Affoltern Cheese Factory
The model cheese dairy, where visitors learn about the production of the famous Swiss Emmental cheese, is located in the village of Affoltern in the heart of the beautiful Emmental Valley in the canton of Bern. Admission to the cheese dairy is free, but tours with a local guide or one of the offered activities must be paid for. The cheese dairy, the ideal place to learn how the famous “king of cheeses” is made, every day at certain hours they will explain and demonstrate the process of its production.
Cheese factory Affoltern.
Emmentaler Schaukserei, a complex of several buildings surrounded by green meadows. In the main building there are large vats in which cheese is mixed and there are regular production demonstrations. There is also a cheese and souvenir store, as well as a restaurant that mainly offers cheese delicacies. Another building, a traditional cheese dairy from 1750, where the cheese is prepared over an open fire and where you can also peek into the cellar where the cheese matures. In similar cellars, the emmental matures for at least 120 days. In another building you can see what the cheese dairy looked like in the middle of the 20th century and a small exhibition. A bakery has been on the property since 1900.
Besides a production demonstration, the Emmentaler Schaukserei is the perfect place to learn everything you need to know about Switzerland’s most popular hazelnut cheese, which first saw the light of day in 1293. For example, its typical big holes are due to carbon dioxide oxide, which forms during the three months of ripening and creates holes in the cheese mass.
Monumental waterfall in the Lauterbrunen Valley near Interlaken in the Swiss canton of Bern. The Trümmelbach Falls are considered one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland. As the name suggests, it is a system of ten waterfalls on the stream Trümmelbach. It is fed by water frozen for thousands of years in the glaciers of the two passes between the Alpine giants Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. The catchment area of this stream is 24 km2, half of which is covered by snow and glaciers. The strength of the Trümmelbach is also evidenced by the fact that it washes over twenty thousand tons of rock annually.
The only glacial waterfall in the world inside the mountain flows into the White Lythschina River. It leads to the end of the valley through the village of Lauterbrunnen and after seven kilometers along the Zweiluchinen joins the Schwarze Lutschin called Lutschin. The stunning force of the water gave the creek its name. The name Trümmelbach probably comes from the term trommeln, which means to drum. Together with the word Bach it forms the Rumbling Stream. For thousands of years, it has been tromping through solid rock, creating beautiful nooks and cliffs of bizarre shapes.
Visitors have been able to reach the illuminated waterfalls since 1877, and in 1913 an elevator capable of carrying up to five hundred people an hour was built here. Twenty thousand gallons of water with temperatures approaching crushed ice flow through the falls every second and can be navigated on marked concrete walkways. There are also several viewing galleries, bridges and tunnels from which visitors can admire the surrounding beauty. It’s clear to everyone, then, why this waterfall is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.
The Verzasca Valley, a valley almost 30 km long, is washed by the emerald green river of the same name. It begins just a few kilometers north of Locarno in the canton of Ticino. The wild valley is surrounded by villages with traditional simple mountain stone houses. The starting point is the town of Tenero, which is located on the north shore of Lake Maggiore at the confluence of the Ticino and Verzasca rivers into the lake. Between the mouths of both rivers is the Bole di Magadino Reserve, home to many species of waterfowl.
If you go upstream from the Verzasca River from Tenerife, you can find yourself in the heart of the valley itself. Along the way there are several medieval villages with church steeples towering above them. There is also the oldest church in the area in the village of Vogorno, the church of St. Bartholomew with Byzantine frescoes, built in 1220.
Five kilometers away is the village of Lavertezzo, which boasts the medieval bridge of the Ponte dei Salti with its two arches. The building, however, is only a copy because the original Romanesque bridge was demolished in 1951 because of a sudden surge of water . Not far from another village on the way across the valley, Brione, is the Castle of Marcacci of the first half of the 18th century, which was built as a summer residence by a wealthy family from Locarno. In one of the typical stone houses in the highest village of Sonogno is the museum of the entire valley, where ancient village costumes, handicrafts and traditional products are on display.
In the Verzasca Valley, visitors can choose from several marked hiking trails, thanks to which they can fully enjoy the unspoiled nature. One such less traditional walk is the so-called Art Road (Sentiero per l’arte), which stretches for four kilometers between Lavertezzo and Brione. Along the way there are more than 30 sculptures by Swiss, Italian and German artists, which complement the beauty of the local nature in a special way.
The waters of Lake Vierwaldstätter flow in the heart of the country, in central Switzerland, at the foot of the Alps. With an area of 114 km2, it is the fourth largest lake in Switzerland and its immediate surroundings played an important role in the birth of the Swiss Confederation. At the easternmost tip of the lake, on the edge of Firwaldstätter, is the Rütli Meadow, where the representatives of the cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden were sworn in in 1291. This historical event, associated with the lake, still occupies an important place in the history of Switzerland.
The lake is 38 kilometers long and its maximum depth is 214 meters, but its name in different languages is different. In German it is called Vierwaldstttersee, the lake of the four forest cantons. The four cantons, between which the lake forms a natural boundary, are called “Waldsttte” (forest cantons). People who speak French and Italian use the name, which can be translated as “Four Canton Lakes”, while in Rhaeto-Romanic, English and some other languages the lake is called simply “Lucerne”.