View of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Bern

View of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Bern

photo by Jackph (wikimedia commons)

Swiss Geography

photo by Johnw (wikimedia commons)View of the Lötschental Valley, Valais Photo by Johnw (wikimedia commons)

Switzerland’s geography is influence by its neighbours, the atmosphere and language changes depending on which country you’re nearest to.  To the north-west is the German influenced Switzerland with lots of beer drinking and sausages, but in a very sophisticated sort of way! To the south west the wine sipping and shopping culture of France and to the south east the laid back coffee drinkers of Italy.  The centre is the one place where you will find true Switzerland, mountains and flugelhorns.

The temperature is also something which mirrors it neighbours and is very much dependent on altitude.  During the winter it can be cloudy and cold with rain or snow, and during the summer temperatures can range from cool to warm and sometimes humid as well.

There are quite a few regions in Switzerland, most having something unique about them.  

Lake Geneva – lies on the border with France and is one of the largest lakes in Western Europe.

The Jura Mountains – great for hiking and lakes, but also the home of the Swiss watch making industry.

Bernese Lowlands - The central, flatter part of Switzerland and famous for its Emmental cheese; the one with the big holes.

Bernese Highlands – This is where you will find some of the tallest mountains in the country including the beautiful Eiger.

Central Switzerland – Is where you will find Lucerne, with its historic steamboats on the lake.  It also has links with the legend of William Tell.

Basel – pronounced baa-hl in French and Bay-Sul in German, whichever way you say it you’ll undoubtedly be wrong, so just copy he locals, or just don’t say anything.

North Eastern Switzerland – a quieter region with autonomy and its own identity.

Valais- An incredible area, with the country’s highest glaciers right down to almost sub tropical valleys where almonds grow.

Graubünden – A very mountainous area to the east of the country, and home to the famous resort of St. Moritz.

Ticino – Is the Italian speaking area in the south east of the country, most famous for the beautiful Lake Lugano.

Not only are there lots of regions, Switzerland has an incredible amount of very beautiful cities and towns  such as Berne, the capital, Geneva, the centre for arts and culture, Zurich, the banking centre, Interlaken, the outdoor sports capital, and Zermatt, home of the Matterhorn.

Switzerland really is diverse, and not just in its landscape, in its languages too.  The four main languages spoke in this small country are French, Italian, Rumantsch (don’t worry about this one) and the large majority of people speak German.  English is spoken in some of the tourist areas, but be prepared with a German phrasebook, just in case!

Switzerland’s diversity is what makes it so popular with visors taking a motorhome rental or campervan hire holiday, not only are there beautiful views around every corner, you feel like you’ve visited a wide range of different countries, without having travelled very far.

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