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The Switzerland Holidays

Swiss Cities & Culture

Places Covered : Switzerland
Duration : All Year
Tour Cost: On Request

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POPULAR CITIES / TOWNS OF SWITZERLAND


Their compact size means that Swiss cities embody quality of life and urban flair. You’ll find well-preserved historical centres, modern architectural masterpieces and a vast number of green spaces – all within easy reach.

Why would you visit the Swiss cities?

Switzerland is best known for its stunning Alpine nature, so we would certainly advise to go and see the Alps. But if you love city trips, you will definitely enjoy yourself too. The cities listed here offer a lot to see and to do.


LIST OF SWITZERLAND CITIES/TOWNS:

LUCERNE

Lucerne is ideal for first time visitors. It's compact and lively, and close to many attractions for both good and bad weather.

Location: in the Alps, central, lakeside

Region: Lake Lucerne (Central Switzerland)

Lucerne can be reached by train

Popular attractions: Golden Pass line, Pilatus, Titlis


ZURICH

Plenty of museums, luxury shopping in the Bahnhofstrasse and a lively town center with a wide choice of restaurants.

Location: lakeside, central

Region: Lake Zurich (Region Zurich)

Zurich can be reached by train

Popular attractions: Rhine Falls, Boat trip Lake Zurich, Bahnhofstrasse Zurich


GENEVA

Lakeside cosmopolitan city, base of the UN and CERN.

Location: central, lakeside

Region: Lake Geneva West (South-West Switzerland)

Geneva can be reached by train

Popular attractions: Boat trip Lake Geneva, Jet d'Eau Geneva


LUGANO

The city of Lugano is sitting on a lake in a very scenic area in southern Switzerland. Lugano is well connected to the entire region by trains, buses and boats.

Location: central, lakeside, in the Alps

Region: Lake Lugano (Ticino)

Lugano can be reached by train

Popular attractions: Bernina Express, Gotthard Panorama Express, Boat trip Lake Lugano


MONTREUX

Enjoy the Swiss Riviera, the best of gastronomy, music and nightlife.

Location: in the Alps, central, lakeside

Region: Lake Geneva East (South-West Switzerland)

Montreux can be reached by train

Popular attractions: Golden Pass line, Boat trip Lake Geneva, Glacier 3000


BERN

The UNESCO world heritage town center of Bern and Swiss Capital City is well worth a visit.

Location: central

Region: Bern and surroundings (Region Bern)

Bern can be reached by train

Popular attractions: RegioExpress Lötschberger


BASEL

Modern city with a historical town center and many interesting museums.

Location: central

Region: Basel and surroundings (North-West Switzerland)

Basel can be reached by train

Popular attractions: Boat trip Basel, Münster Cathedral Basel


LAUSANNE

The Olympic city of Lausanne is one of the largest cities in Switzerland. The pretty historical town center sits on a hill, so there are lots of views on Lake Geneva and the mountains

Location: central, lakeside

Region: Lake Geneva East (South-West Switzerland)

Lausanne can be reached by train

Popular attractions: Golden Pass line, Boat trip Lake Geneva, Glacier 3000


THUN

The Bernese Oberland begins in Thun. It's an atmospheric town on the lake and a perfect base for all kinds of day trips.

Location: in the Alps, central, lakeside

Region: Lake Thun (Bernese Oberland)

Thun can be reached by train

Popular attractions: Golden Pass line, Boat trip Lake Thun, RegioExpress Lötschberger


INTERLAKEN

Interlaken is the central town in the Bernese Oberland, and the gate to the famous Jungfrau region. It's an ideal base if you want to explore the entire Bernese Oberland.

Location: in the Alps, central

Region: Jungfrau region (Bernese Oberland)

Interlaken can be reached by train

Popular attractions: Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe, Golden Pass line, Schilthorn




Population: Switzerland has a population of approximately 8.3 million (2015 figure), the majority of which lives in the German-speaking part. The most populous canton is Zurich, while the least populous is Appenzell Innerrhoden.

Population 

Three-quarters of the Swiss population choose to live in urban areas – but still the population of Switzerland’s cities remains manageable. Given this, it is not surprising that the mountain Cantons of Graubünden, Ticino and Valais, which make up 40% of the total area of Switzerland, only account for 10% of the population.


Population in larger cities:

• Zürich: approx. 402,000

• Geneva: approx. 199,000

• Basel: approx. 171,000

• Lausanne: approx. 133,000

• Bern: approx. 133,000

• Winterthur: approx. 110,000

• Lucerne: approx. 82,000

• St. Gallen: approx. 75,000

• Lugano: approx. 64,000



Switzerland Culture and Traditions

What defines Switzerland Culture? Most likely, visitors see us as a chocolate snacking, cheese eating, alphorn blowing and a yodelling nation, ruled by perfectionism and timed by precision watches; a law-abiding nation that takes seriousness very serious and sleeps with guns under their pillow in well-ordered and efficient Switzerland :)


Cultural Life / Cultural milieu:

Although Switzerland is small and relatively isolated from more well-recognized cultural centres, it nevertheless can boast an impressive list of contributors to the arts and sciences. For example, Switzerland has won more Nobel Prizes and registered more patents per capita than any other country, and the country abounds in cultural institutions, museums, and libraries, all well supported with federal funds. However, because of limited opportunities at home, some of Switzerland’s most creative minds—for example, architect Le Corbusier and painter Paul Klee—went elsewhere to work. On the other hand, Switzerland’s traditional neutrality and its laws of political asylum have made the country a magnet for many creative persons during times of unrest or war in Europe. For example, writers such as the English poet George Byron, the Irish novelist James Joyce, the Romanian-born French poet Tristan Tzara, and the French writer Voltaire resided in Switzerland, and, in the 1930s and ’40s, the rise of fascism caused a number of German, Austrian, and Italian writers such as Thomas Mann, Stefan George, and Ignazio Silone to seek harbour in Switzerland.


Switzerland’s geographic centrality in Europe is reflected in its role as Helvetia mediatrix (“Switzerland the mediator”). The spirit of Henri Dunant, the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross, lives on in the continued sense of a distinct mission of cultural union that is shared by many Swiss, a mission also revealed in the country’s extensive foreign-assistance programs for less-developed countries. Since the 1990s, with the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the bipolar division of the world, Switzerland has had to reevaluate and redefine this traditional role. It can no longer serve as a go-between for the major power blocs; instead, international peace initiatives are often now embedded in institutions such as the UN or the EU, and, until it joined the UN in 2002, Switzerland was a member of neither.


If a “Swiss culture” can be spoken of in its broader implications beyond the arts, distinctive French, Italian, and German cultural circles must be recognized, as well as a Rhaeto-Romanic culture, which has been threatened by the increasing influence of the German language in the Romansh parts of eastern Switzerland, spread largely through the medium of television. It is mostly the common political and institutional visions—federalism, direct democracy, individualism, and the will not to be dominated by the surrounding large, often centralist countries—that both unite the Swiss and constitute their culture.


Some see the influence of the mass media as a threat to Swiss culture and tradition, both because of its homogenizing effects and because the different language groups can now receive and be influenced by television and radio in their respective cultural hearths of Germany, France, and Italy. These critics stress the important role of the national radio and television corporation in maintaining and nurturing a common understanding among all Swiss.


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The Switzerland Holidays