With a population of just about 8.2 million people, Switzerland is a small country located in Western – Central Europe. Despite its modest size, the country can boast unusually wide range of primacies and outstanding facts that makes this country one of the world´s very best places to live. To name a few – the country is famous for its armed neutrality (it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815). As the birthplace of the Red Cross and home to numerous international organizations, Switzerland is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. Although not a member of the European Union, nor the European Economic Area, Switzerland has the highest nominal wealth per adult (financial and non-financial assets) and eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product in the world. One of the less enviable primacies is the fact that Switzerland is also the most expensive country in the world to live in but these 25 reasons will tell you why living in the country, or – at least – visiting it, absolutely pays off.
As much as 3/5 of Switzerland is covered with the Alps and the Matterhorn is one of the iconic dominants of the mountains. With its height of 4,478 meters (14,692 feet), it is one of the highest and most spectacular peaks of the mountains and the Swiss often consider Matterhorn their national symbol.
With the Alps occupying such a significant part of the country, it is obvious that there have to be many great ski resorts. In fact, Switzerland can boast some of the best and most popular ski areas in the world. Zermatt, Davos, St. Moritz or Samnaun are among those where you will enjoy great skiing with people from all over the world.
If you are not a keen skier but still want to enjoy the breathtaking mountain panoramas, hiking is the right choice for you. There are numerous perfectly maintained hiking routes in the Swiss Alps and many of local peaks are also accessible to visitors by cable car or cog railway
If you want to see some cool historical sites or go shopping, there are many amazing cities to visit in Switzerland too and Zurich is definitely one of them. With a population of about 400,000 people, Zurich is the largest and most populous city of the country. Packed with historical buildings and astounding architecture as well as modern shopping centers and boutiques, it is a major tourist hot spot.
Low crime rate
Every year, Switzerland ranks among the very safest countries in the world. According to the Global Peace Index, it was the world´s 5th most peaceful country in 2014. Rumor has it that the locals don’t even lock their cars on the parking lots. Anyway, safety is definitely not a thing you should worry about in Switzerland.
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Situated near the town of Schaffhausen, the Rhine Falls is Europe’s largest waterfall and a magnificent natural wonder. Near the falls is the medieval castle, Schoss Laufen, which houses a restaurant, a youth hostel, and shops. On the Swiss National Day, 1 August, the Rhine Falls is the host to a fantastic display of fireworks which attracts thousands of tourists.
Renowned public transport
The Swiss are known for their accuracy and high quality standards in every aspect of their life and public transportation is no exception. The country has a very dense and elaborated network of roads and rails with the super modern trains and buses go always on time.
Despite their seemingly reserved approach, independence and self-sufficiency (Switzerland is not a member of the EU, nor the European Economic Area), the Swiss are very friendly and nice to foreigners and tourists.
Switzerland is known for the fresh mountain air, unspoiled nature and clean cities, which – combined with the top medical care – results in the Swiss having the second-highest life expectancy in the world.
Because of its prosperous hi-tech economy and high living standard, Switzerland is often classified as a Western European country but geographically, it rather belongs to the Central Europe, which makes this country easily reachable from almost all the other European countries.
Although Bern, the capital of Switzerland, is smaller than Zurich and some other cities, it is a place that is absolutely worth visiting. Especially fans of historical sites and architecture shouldn’t miss Bern since the structure of the city centre is largely medieval and has been recognized by UNESCO as a Cultural World Heritage Site.
Switzerland is home to numerous unique and fragile ecosystems that provide natural habitat for abundant fauna and flora species. The biodiversity is particularly rich thanks to the mountains that offer unique living conditions in many different altitudes.
Exemplary nature conversation
The Swiss are very aware of the natural beauties and ecosystems they have and they are one of the world´s leaders in nature conservation. The country ranks first among 132 nations in safeguarding the environment with a heavy reliance on renewable sources of energy (hydropower and geothermal energy), and the strict control of greenhouse gas emissions. Another Swiss example the rest of the world should follow.
There is probably no need to introduce this guy but just in case – currently ranked world No. 2 by the Association of Tennis Professionals, Roger Federer, a holder of numerous tennis records, is – according to most commentators and players – the best tennis player of all time. Why is he on this list? Because he is a proud Swiss who was born, raised and still lives in this country.
If there is something the Swiss are really famous for all over the world, it is the Swiss watches. In terms of value, the country is responsible for half of the world production of watches. Their watches are so iconic they even prompted the creation of a new proverb – “To be as accurate as a Swiss watch” that is used in some other European countries.
Chateau de Chillon
Switzerland can also boast some spectacular medieval castles. Located on the shore of the Lake Geneva, Chateau de Chillon is among the most popular ones, attracting crowds of tourists every day. Consisting of 100 individual buildings that were gradually linked together, it is one of the best preserved medieval castles in the world.
We already talked about the great conditions Switzerland offers for skiing and hiking but the country is a perfect place for many other sports including snowboarding, ice climbing, deep-snow skiing, heli-skiing, glacier-walking, snow-biking, tobogganing, ice skating , dog-sledding, cycling, climbing, sailing, water-skiing, canoeing, swimming, rafting, rowing, bungee jumping, paragliding or skydiving.
Apart from the low crime rate, Switzerland is also excellent in the corruption level. The country is tied with the Netherlands for the top rank on the Bribe Payers Index, indicating very low business corruption. The 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International ranks Switzerland as the 5th least corrupt country in the world.
If you want come across this legendary singer, you would be looking for her in the U.S. in vain. This iconic pop and rock star has been living in a lake house near Zurich since 1994. She liked her new country of residence so much that she even applied for the Swiss citizenship and – after passing the mandatory citizenship test – was given that in 2013.
Swiss National Park
Located in the eastern part of Switzerland, the Swiss National Park is a part of the worldwide UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Founded in 1914 as one of the earliest national parks in Europe, the park is home to pristine nature and wildlife protected by very strict visitor rules.
Situated in the German-speaking portion of the country, Lucerne, home to 76,000 people, is often considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There are many popular tourist attractions in Lucerne but the 14th century Chapel Bridge and Water Tower are the most visited sites of the city.
Apart from the watches, there is one more commodity that has made this little country famous in many parts of the world – the Swiss chocolate. Dating back to as early as the 17th century, the local chocolates have earned a world reputation for high quality with many famous international brands such as Nestlé, Kraft Foods, Lindt or Toblerone – the iconic chocolate bar with the distinctive triangular shape resembling the Swiss mountains.
Agrotourism is a relatively new type of tourism that allows people to get some unique experiences related to rural life and in Switzerland, there are 200 farms that offer this exciting adventure. Popular especially among kids, the farms introduce the visitors to the rural life and let them stay for a few days in the immediate proximity of the farm animals.
With a surface area of 580 square kilometers (224 square miles), the Lake Geneva is the largest lake in Switzerland and one of the largest in Western and Central Europe. It is a popular vacation sport for both local as well as foreign visitors who come here to relax and practice various sport activities such as sailing, wind surfing, boating, swimming or scuba diving.
With a population of almost 200,000 people, Basel is among the most important cultural centers of Switzerland. The city comprises a large number of theatres and museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the world’s oldest art collection accessible to the public. The city also features numerous architectonical jewels dating back to medieval times.