Regions in Switzerland
Politically, Switzerland is divided into 26 cantons, but the following regions will be more useful for the traveller:
- Western Switzerland
From the north shore of Lake Geneva and the Alps to the Jura.
- Bern Region
The central region of traditional Bernese influence
- Bernese Oberland
The majestic Bernese Alps
- Central Switzerland
The birthplace of the Swiss Confederation and the legends of William Tell
- Northwestern Switzerland
Culture, art and cradle of the Swiss pharmaceutical industry; neighbouring countries Germany and France
The country’s largest city with an extensive metropolitan area
- Eastern Switzerland
Between the Alps and Lake Constance lies the Abbey of St. Gallen with numerous picturesque dairy farms on the hills of Appenzell
Switzerland’s highest peaks and Europe’s largest glaciers
Officially trilingual, the region is very mountainous, sparsely populated and home to many prime tourist destinations. It encompasses the ancient Romansh minority language and culture (in English: The Grisons).
Italian-speaking region with famous Alpine lakes
The Swiss Alps cover the regions of the eastern part of Lake Geneva, the Valais, the Bernese plateau, the southern part of central Switzerland, almost all of Ticino except the southernmost part, the southern part of north-eastern Switzerland and Grisons.
Cities in Switzerland
- Bern (Berne) – as close as you can get to a capital in this highly decentralised nation, with a surprisingly well-preserved old town, with arcades along almost every street; great restaurants and bars abound
- Basel – the travel gateway to the German Rhineland and Black Forest and to the French Alsace with an outstanding medieval centre on a bend of the Rhine
- Geneva – this centre for art and culture is an international city that is home to some 200 governmental and non-governmental organisations, the cradle of the World-Wide-Web at CERN, and the Red Cross (ICRC).
- Lausanne – Landscape, restaurants, dancing, boats and Swiss wine country are the attractions
- Lucerne (Luzern) – capital of the central region with direct water links to all the sites of ancient Swiss history
- Lugano – a beautiful old city, a beautiful lake; a lot of Italianatà paired with Swiss seriousness.
- St. Gallen – the main town in north-eastern Switzerland, famous for its St. Gallen Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also the gateway to the very special region of Appenzellerland.
- Zurich (Zürich) – the largest city in Switzerland and an important banking centre with a thriving nightlife
Other destinations in Switzerland
- Bellinzona – famous for its medieval castles, UNESCO World Heritage Site, pretty centre and capital of Canton Ticino, overlooking one of the few flat rural areas in Switzerland on the way to Lake Maggiore.
- Davos – large ski resort where the annual meeting of the WEF takes place
- Chur – capital of the canton of Graubünden; it is the only trilingual Swiss canton and is located in the east and south of the country; gateway to several sunny skiing and hiking resorts.
- Grindelwald – the classic holiday resort at the foot of the Eiger
- Interlaken – the Swiss capital of outdoor and action sports; from skydiving, bungee jumping, hiking, white-water rafting to canyoning.
- St. Moritz – ski resort in the Engadine in south-eastern Switzerland
- Zermatt – famous mountain resort at the foot of the mighty Matterhorn