Switzerland

Switzerland Overview

Switzerland is a small European country known for its beautiful, snow-capped mountains and freedom-loving people. The Alps and the Jura Mountains cover more than half of Switzerland. But most of the Swiss people live on a plateau that extends across the middle of the country between the two mountain ranges.

The Alps are spectacular, but the region of Jungfrau-Aletsch, which includes Switzerland’s longest glacier, the 24km Aletsch glacier, has been singled out for World Heritage status. In the Schilthorn Region, the lofty farming village of Gimmelwald (1400 m) makes a good base for walks to waterfalls through rocky crags, forests and, in summer, flower-filled meadows.

CLIMATE

The climate of Switzerland varies greatly from area to area because of the wide variety in altitude. In general, temperatures decrease about 3 °F (2 °C) with each 1,000-foot (300-meter) increase in elevation, and higher areas of the country receive more rain and snow. Fog sometimes covers the entire Swiss Plateau like a sea of clouds. Some areas may be covered by fog for as many as 120 days a year.

January temperatures average from 29 to 33 °F (-2 to 1 °C) on the central plateau and in the Swiss mountain valleys. During the winter, there is colder though drier and sunnier weather above the layer of fog than below it.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

CAPITAL: Bern
POPULATION: 7.5 million
LANGUAGE: German, French, Italian, English, Romansch
CURRENCY: Swiss Franc
ELECTRIC CURRENT: 230V, 50Hz. To power any electrical item an international adapter or a two pin plug is required.
COUNTRY DIALLING CODE: +41
TIME ZONE: GMT/UTC +1