Switzerland is perhaps best known for its chocolate, cuckoo clocks, and yodeling – but you would have to look beyond those, to the contemporary Switzerland, to find a its true nature. A land of four languages and a melting pot of different central European cultures, Switzerland is all about once-in-a-lifetime journeys, heart-racing Alpine pursuits and urban culture.
Switzerland's ravishing landscapes demand exploring: grab your boots, and go skiing and snowboarding in Graubünden, Bernese Oberland and Central Switzerland during winter. When pastures turn green, hiking and biking trails abound in glacier-encrusted mountain areas, and through lost valleys, glittering lake shores and romantic vineyards. Ancient markets, folkloric fairs, flag waving and alp-horn concerts engrave the passing of seasons. And then there is the food: a hearty and flavorsome gastronomic celebration of cheese, velvety chocolate, autumnal game, and air-dried meats.
On the other side of Switzerland's rural beauty is the urban edge of its capital, Bern, with its medieval old town and world-class modern art, the deeply Germanic Basel and its bold architecture, the chic Geneva astraddle Europe’s largest lake, the party-loving Lausanne, the tycoon magnet Zug and the uber-cool Zürich with its riverside bars, reborn industrial west district and atypical street grit. Castles and craft beer, gigs and new-wave restaurants – you will find them all in Swiss cities. And never has the urban been so close to the outdoors: within minutes you can reach nearby peaks, chill at waterfront bars with Alpine views, or enjoy invigorating swims in the Rhine, Aare and Limmat rivers.