What are things that spring to mind when someone says “Switzerland”? Chances are that words such as ‘neutrality’, ‘Toblerone’ and ‘bank accounts’ (of the Swiss variety) are very high on the list, among many other things. For a small country with a total population of a little over eight million, there certainly are a lot of known exports and attributes linked to Switzerland; but why? For one, it would seem that when the Swiss set their minds to something, they don’t do things by halves. Whether its cheese, chocolate or banking, Switzerland is a country that always seems to ensure the highest level of quality and expertise. Check out the best of what Switzerland has to offer.
As whiskey is to Scotland, Switzerland is known as the spiritual home of luxury timepieces. With a quality watch, craftsmanship is everything, so you’re not only splashing out on a piece of jewelry – you’re investing in something that should last a lifetime. While there are a wealth of known-name watchmakers in the country within the high-end market, few have a history and prestige like Patek Philippe. If you’re not flush enough to drop dollars on a brand new bespoke timepiece, you can still get a slice of the action by buying second-hand.
Where to begin? Seeing as Switzerland enjoys the influence of several nations outside its borders, there are a great number of specialties as a result of this. If you find yourself in Switzerland, you’ll naturally want to check out the delicious cheeses (in both solid and melted incarnations, à la fondue and raclette), which traditionally goes hand in hand with cozy nights by the fire after a hard day skiing on the piste.
Chocolate lovers will also be aware that there’s more to Swiss chocolate than Toblerone! The Swiss have been known as some of the finest purveyors of chocolate since the 18th century, and its inhabitants are the largest consumers of chocolate in the world, which speaks volumes about the quality! Need we say more to convince you, than chocolate and cheese?
3. Outdoor Activities
Switzerland is famed for its world-class ski resorts, thanks to the majestic Alps that border the country between Germany, Austria, Italy, Liechtenstein and France. The resorts here attract visitors all over the world, and for the most part, the best time to visit the region for a spot of winter sports is (naturally) during the winter season, from around November – February. Of course, if you’re more of walker or hiker, the country is home to an abundance of luscious green valleys, rivers and Alpine hills for walking, climbing, biking and whitewater rafting. For ideas on masterminding the ultimate adventure holiday in Switzerland, check out a travel site such as Rough Guides, which allows you to book through the site’s trusted partners.
Switzerland has maintained its self-imposed military neutrality since the Treaty of Paris in 1815. As a result of this, Switzerland is the birthplace of a number of institutions such as the Red Cross and the base for a number of UN agencies like the World Health Organization. Naturally, this diverse and unique political history means that there are thousands of fascinating museums and galleries to check out during your stay. Amazingly, the amount of museums and galleries has tripled since 1950. Switzerland is also a noteworthy name in terms of its contributions to music, so audiophiles should be sure to check out some of its renowned musical festivals such as Paleo, Lucerne, and Montreux Jazz.