Capital | Bern
Population | 7,623,438 (July 2010 est.)
Area | 41,295 SQ KM
Official Language | German, French, Italian, Romansch
Holidays | Founding of the Swiss Confederation, 1 August (1291)
Currency | Swiss francs (CHF)
Time Zone | UTC+1
Best Time to Visit | Year-round
Connecting with the Culture | Getting in amongst the Alps – by train, funicular, cable car or portal bus or on foot, skies, snowshoes or dog sled. Relazing in centuries-old Roman spas, Wine tasting inside a glacier atop Klein Matterhorn. Following Lord Byron’s footsteps through Chateau Chillon.
Read | Heidi by Johanna Spyri – the story of an orphan girl living in the Swiss Alps.
Listen | to Appenzeller Echo – a traditional Swiss group, featuring yodeling and Alphorn.
Watch | Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colours: Red – the story of a relationship between a model and a judge set in Geneva .
Eat | rosti (fried, shredded potatoes) and chocolate
Drink | Rivella (lactose-based soft drink)
In a Word | Rostigraben (literally rosti trench); refers to the cultural divide between German and French speaking Switzerland.
Characteristics | Clocks; banks; cows; mountains; edelweiss; fondue; blondes; Swiss Army knives; Matterhorn; mercenaries.
Surprises | Diverse architecture; snow golf
NEWS ABOUT SWITZERLAND:
Shock after Valais coach crash leaves 28 dead