The Swiss Alps at a Glance
The Swiss Alps are home to some of the most dramatic scenery in the world.
The Alps are home to some very distinct and unique places to visit – Europe’s largest glacier is in the Swiss Alps, and it stretches for 23 kilometres and this region is also home to the Matterhorn which is the most photographed mountain in the world – for good reason. The Swiss chocolate company Toblerone based their concept on this iconic mountain!
Experiences in the Swiss Alps
The Alps have a unique climate and picturesque beauty that is unlike anywhere else in the world. The Swiss Alps comprise almost all the highest mountains of the Alps, such as Dufourspitze (4,634 m), the Dom (4,545 m), the Liskamm (4,527 m), the Weisshorn (4,506 m) and the Matterhorn (4,478 m). The Swiss have the highest rail usage in the world and this is no different in the Alps - there are many trains that reach the high mountain settings. The highest railway station in Europe is the Jungfraujoch at 11,332 feet set on a saddle below the summit of the Jungfrau where you can overlook the longest glacier in the Alps.
Food and Drink
Destinations in the Swiss Alps
Learn more about flights, climate and geography for this destination.
A large number of airline companies land in Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Bern. Swiss International Air Lines is the national carrier of Switzerland serving more than 100 worldwide destinations.
For travellers arriving by road, Switzerland is linked to Europe’s extensive motorway network and there are options to arrive and depart by rail from Frankfurt, Milan, Paris or Vienna.
The climate in Switzerland is extremely varied depending on where you travel. Mountain tops are usually covered in snow year-round but the lower valleys have a more moderate climate with no excessive heat, cold or humidity. Depending on the altitude the temperature range may vary. It is highly recommended to visitors to pack a sweater, good walking shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses, a compact umbrella and/or a light rain coat.
Switzerland has an area of 41,285 square kilometres (15,940 square miles). The productive area – that is, the area without the lakes, rivers, unproductive vegetation and no vegetation at all – covers 30,753 square km (11,870 square miles).
It measures 220 kilometers (137 miles) from north to south and 350 km (217 miles) from east to west.
The Jura, the Plateau and the Alps form the three main geographic regions of the country.
Switzerland has a population of 8 million. Population density is high, with 193 people per square km (500 per square mile) of the productive area in 2008. In the agglomerations, which cover about 20% of the total surface area, the density is 590 per square km (1528 per square mile).
The Swiss have always maintained and nurtured their own local customs, and because of this, Switzerland is a country with an enormous wealth of cultural activity and living tradition.
No matter whether there is dancing taking place or not, Swiss folk music is mainly dance music.
Alpine farming has a long history. It is believed that the pastures above the tree line were being farmed as far back as 4,000 BC. The practice of Alpine farming gave birth to various customs such as the festive processions up into the Alps and down from the mountains, the call to prayer, the Älplerchilbi carnival and the Chästteilet cheese sharing – traditions that have been carefully maintained to this day.
Switzerland has many customs that are tied to the calendar – most are of pagan origin or have a religious connection. The festivals celebrated in Switzerland differ considerably depending on the season and the region. Some are based on ancient traditions while others have emerged only recently. Many of them reflect the course of the agricultural year, such as the ringing in of the vineyard workers in spring, the Alpine ascent and descent during the summer months, and the wine festivals, the Chästeilet cheese sharing and the Älplerchilbi carnivals in autumn.
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