t Edelweiss blooming across Les Pléiades, Vaud.
Forget yodelling, cheese, cuckoo clocks and chocolate, this country has so much more to offer. Magnificent natural beauty, charming medieval villages, cosmopolitan cities and a healthy dose of alpine air – Switzerland’s small size belies its beguiling charms. The varied scene is coloured by a fascinating history and the unique mix of four official languages only add to the appeal. Whatever your dream trip to Switzerland includes, this DK Eyewitness Travel Guide is your perfect companion.
Once a group of independent cantons, the Swiss Confederation has come along way since its foundation in 1291. Today’s federal state is an intriguing blend of different customs, languages and dialects, lending the country a rich heritage. The year’s myriad traditional festivals, where alphorn players and Swiss wrestlers take centre stage, are woven into the country’s cultural tapestry. And there are stunning historic landmarks to explore across the land, from the castles of Bellinzona in the south to St Gallen’s abbey quarter in the north. As much as it is rooted in the past, Switzerland looks to the future, with cutting-edge nightlife in Zürich, world-class art galleries in Basel and superb fine dining across the country from Geneva to St Moritz.
Away from its buzzing cities, Switzerland is a land of the great outdoors, and the country’s network of hiking, biking and skiing trails is as well organized as its public transport system. In a single day, you can encounter breathtaking glaciers, high altitude lakes and iconic mountains, and be back in time for fondue and schnapps.
With so many different things to experience, Switzerland can seem overwhelming. We’ve broken the country down into easily navigable chapters, with detailed itineraries, expert local knowledge and colourful, comprehensive maps to help you plan the perfect visit. Whether you’re staying for a weekend, a week or longer, this Eyewitness guide will ensure that you see the very best Switzerland has to offer. Enjoy the book, and enjoy Switzerland
1 A warmly lit train passing the iconic Matterhorn.
2 Charlie Chaplin statue, overlooking Lake Geneva.
3 Evening in buzzy Zürich West.