Airplane: Numerous scheduled airlines offer flights from and to Switzerland. These include Lufthansa,Air France, EasyJet, Swiss International Air Lines, Germanwings, British Airways and Air Berlin. Flights depart
from Zurich to Germany, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Hungary, among others.
Airports: the two most important Swiss airports are Zurich Airport and Geneva International Airport. The EuroAirport in Basel and Bern-Belp Airport are also becoming increasingly important. There are also good connections to Switzerland from the airports in Malpesa (Italy) and Friedrichshafen (Germany) close to the border.
Train: Traveling by train is much more expensive within Europe than by plane, but it is also more environmentally friendly. Trains leave Paris several times a day to Geneva and Lausanne. The journey takes three and a half to four hours. A journey from Paris to Bern takes around four and a half hours. Zurich is the country’s most important train station. Trains connect the city with Munich, Vienna and numerous Eastern European cities every day. Most trains from Germany pass through Zurich or Basel. Almost all trains from Italy pass the Milan train station before continuing to Zurich, Lausanne, Bern or Lucerne.
Car: There are fast and well-maintained motorways in Switzerland and its neighboring countries. On German motorways there are in contrast to the Austrian, Swiss, Slovak, Czech, Italian and French motorways do not have tolls.
The Alps form a natural border when traveling to Switzerland, so that the main roads into the country run through tunnels. Smaller roads that lead over mountain passes are more scenic but also more dangerous. Some routes, such as the N5 (E21) from Champagnole (France) to Geneva, should not be used by drivers inexperienced in Bergen.
To enter the country with their own car or motorcycle, travelers need a valid driver’s license, the green insurance certificate and a warning triangle. First aid kit, a set of light bulbs and a fire extinguisher are also recommended.
Bus: the Swiss bus company Alsa + Eggman is part of the Eurolines consortium and connects Geneva and Zurich with cities across Europe. Buses travel on around 35 routes from Switzerland to Croatia, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Romania, Germany, Slovakia, Portugal, Montenegro, Poland and Serbia, among others.
Switzerland – key data
Area: 41,277 km² (of which land: 39,997 km², water: 1,280 km²)
Population: 7.6 million (July 2011 estimate, CIA). Composition: Swiss 77.9%, Italians 3.8%, Germans 2.9%, Serbs 2.5%, Portugal 2.4%, othersEuropeans 6.2%, Asians 1.3%, Turks 1%, others 2%.
Population density: 185 residents per km²
Population growth: 0.21% per year (2011, CIA)
Capital: Bern (122,658 residents, December 2007)
Highest point: Dufourspitze, 4,634 m
Lowest point: Lake Maggiore, 195 m
Form of government: Switzerland has been a parliamentary federal state since 1848. The constitution of Switzerland dates from 1874, numerous changes have been made over time, and a new constitution was passed in 2000. The Swiss Parliament (Federal Assembly) consists of two chambers: the National Council has 200 members, the Council of States 46. The Federal President is elected every year by the Federal Assembly. He exercises the office of head of state and government. The Federal President also accepts thatFederal Council in front of (7 members), who exercises executive power in Switzerland.
Administrative division: 26 cantons: Aargau, Appenzell Ausser-Rhoden, Appenzell Inner-Rhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Bern, Friborg, Geneve, Glarus, Graubunden, Jura, Lucerne, Neuchatel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Sankt Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Vaud,train and Zurich
Head of State: The collective head of state is the Federal Council: Alain Berset, Didier Burkhalter, Doris Leuthard, Ueli Maurer, Johann Schneider-Ammann, Simonetta Sommaruga, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf. Ueli Maurer has been Federal President since January 1, 2013.
Head of Government: none
Language: The official languages of Switzerland are German, French, Italian and Romansh. German 63.7% (in several Schwyzerdütschen dialects of northern, central and eastern Switzerland), French 20.4%, Italian 6.5%, Serbo-Croatian 1.5%, Albanian 1.3%, Portuguese 1.2 %, Spanish 1.1%, English 1%, Romansh 0.5%, other 2.8% (2000 census)
Religion: Roman Catholic 41.8%, Protestant 35.3%, Muslim 4.3%, Orthodox 1.8%, other Christians 0.4%, other 1%, no information 4.3%, no religion 11, 1% (2000 census)
Local time: CET. Between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October there is summer time in Switzerland (CET + 1 hour).
The time difference to Central Europe is 0 h in both winter and summer.
International phone code: +41
Mains voltage: 230 V, 50 Hz