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Switzerland Winter Travel Packages – Zermatt

Looks like winter is coming soon, and we know what this means! That’s right folks, ski trip to Switzerland. The Swiss Alps are a great destination for skiing, the most popular areas located in Valais, Graubunden and Bernese Oberland.

Zermatt is a village in the Valais area at the northern base of the Matterhorn. Despite the growth in popularity and the fact that it is one of the greatest mountain climbing and ski locations in the world, it is a small village. Zermatt is a car-free zone (other than emergency and municipal vehicles) thus providing fresh, pollutant free air.

When skiing in Zermatt, you have a choice of four different places to hit: Schwarzsee, Klein Matterhorn, Gornergrat, and Sunnegga. But skiing is not all the area has to offer. There are plenty of things to do during your time away from the slopes. Zermatt has bars, night clubs and restaurants suited to your preference. (And of course, you can’t visit without trying the traditional fondue while you’re there.) Zermatt also offers great opportunities for the photography buff, amateur or professional. From the Matterhorn to the wooden houses and chalets, every picture you take will look like a postcard. The main promenade makes for a beautiful walk, and the side streets are tiny cobblestone alleyways, also perfect for a romantic stroll. The peak of the Matterhorn dominates the village, so it is almost always within view. Many folks take a train from cities hours away, just to come and see the majestic beauty of this mountain peak.

German is the primary spoken language in this particular region, although the people at most places you visit do speak English as well. Like most cities in Europe, an attempt to speak the local language is always an appreciated gesture; it is usually met with a response letting you the traveler know that they do speak English.

Many hotels inns and resorts are located throughout the village. Getting to Zermatt, you can fly into Geneva or Zurich and take the Swiss Rail into town. The ride from Geneva is 4 hours, and from Zurich is about 5 hours. The trains on the Swiss Rail network are reliable, clean and fast. Your journey to Zermatt will be memorable as you will be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Switzerland on the way.

Source by Joy Ross

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Visit Switzerland

Are You Travelling To Switzerland?

Know How to Make Your Trip to  Switzerland Memorable

Tips, entry requirements and places to see on a vacation to Switzerland

Where is Switzerland?

Switzerland is a small country that is located in the heart of Western Europe and is situated in some of the highest points of the Alps. Unlike most of the Western European nations, Switzerland is not part of the European Union, nor is it in the Schengen Zone.

Switzerland still has its own currency, the Swiss Franc, which is more valuable than the Euro, US Dollar or the British Pound. Switzerland’s main industries are both banking and tourism. Because of its banks, Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world.

Entry Requirements for Switzerland

For entry into Switzerland, depending on your country of origin, you may or may not need a visa to enter Switzerland. Citizens of EU member countries as well as the United States and Canada do not need a visa to enter Switzerland.

The only requirement the above mention citizens need is to have a valid passport that is valid up to three months after the end of your intended stay in the country. If you are from the United States, Canada or any of the EU member nations, you can stay in Switzerland for up to three months without a visa.

If you are a citizen of another country, but are a legal resident of the United States and hold a US Green Card, you are also not required to have a visa to enter Switzerland. You will need to follow the same requirements as those of a US citizen.

If your country of origin is not the United States, Canada, or the EU member states, check with your local Swiss consulate or embassy to find out about visa requirements for your country.

Places to See

Switzerland is a very beautiful country. You can enjoy the mountainous beauty of the Swiss Alps and visit beautiful European cultured cities with fine dining. Some of the best places to visit in Switzerland are listed below.

1. Basel is a very unique city because of the fact that it is located in such an area where there are different languages spoken. The unique thing about Switzerland is that the country has four different national languages. The northern part of Switzerland is German-speaking, the southern part of the country is Italian–speaking, and the western part of the country is French-speaking. 

In a tiny area in the high Swiss Alps, there is a small group of people who speak Romanche, which is a living language that is as close to Latin as the Romance languages get. Basel is officially in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and all the street signs there are in German, but the French-speaking part of Switzerland is not far away.

Basel is also unique because of its close proximity to both the German and French borders. The center of Basel is a beautiful medieval city along the banks of the Rhine. The tiny dark green tramways can take you to all different parts of the city. Basel also offers steamer rides on the Rhine with fine dining on board.

Some of the steamers that sail along the Rhine in Basel will even take you to a section of the Rhine that allows you to see into both Germany and France. You can also arrive into Switzerland in Basel, but Basel’s airport is actually in France.

Basel’s international airport is called the Moulhouse International Airport and is in France, just outside of the Swiss border. You have the option to travel either into France and visit Dijon or go on to Basel. There are different entry ways.

2. Bern is the capital of Switzerland and is in the French-speaking part of the country. Bern is a rather small city and everything in the city center can be reached by walking. Not far from Bern, in an area where French and German Switzerland meet is Luzernne, which is on a lake and is home to the famous wooden Luzernne Bridge. The bridge was damaged by fire a few years ago, but it has been restored.

3. Geneva is Switzerland’s most famous city. Geneva is home to some of the United Nations offices, including the famous World Health Organization. Geneva is considered the international city and during the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union had many summits there.

4. Zurich is Switzerland’s business center. It is also Switzerland’s largest city and is situated in the Alps on Lake Zurich.

5. The Rhone Gletsch is a glacier in the western Alps and is the source of the Rhone, which flows out of Switzerland through France where it eventually lets out into the Mediterranean Sea. The Rhone Gletsch is a great place to visit. You can take unique tours of the glacier and go into some beautiful ice caves which inside give off a light blue light as the sun’s light is filtered through the packed ice and snow.

6. The San Bernadino Tunnel connects the northern German-speaking part of Switzerland with the southern Italian-speaking Switzerland. The San Bernadino Tunnel goes under some of the most rugged and impassible Alpine terrain and is the longest tunnel in continental Europe. South of the San Bernadino Tunnel is also the setting where a major part of Ernest Hemmingway’s Farewell to Arms took place.

For what ever reason you want to travel to Switzerland, you will discover that it is a breathtakingly beautiful country with friendly people. Switzerland also has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe. Another interesting fact about Switzerland is that it has been neutral for over 700 years and has not seen war since the times of Napoleon.

Though Switzerland is neutral, it is ready for an outside attack. All buildings in Switzerland, from businesses to residential homes are required by law to have a built in air raid shelter and every able bodied man must serve in the military for two years and then be in the reserves for forty years and are issued a rifle by the Swiss government, which they must keep in their home and be ready to be called to duty anytime. The Swiss defense system also influenced the US founding fathers to have the second amendment in the US Constitution.



Source by Shivraj Ghorpade

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Travel Trends – Switzerland

Switzerland is more than skiing!

Many people only visualize ski slopes when they hear Switzerland; However this country has much to offer beyond the slopes in the urban cities of Zurich, Lucerne and Lausanne. These cities offer wonderful and interesting art, colorful old towns and beautiful waterfront settings worthy of a visit on your way to the slopes.

Zurich is located in the north and is Switzerland's largest city and a major transportation hub. Like most Swiss cities, Zurich visitors and residents alike enjoy a huge body of water, Lake Zurich, provides the opportunity for romantic walks, bike rides and cruises. A great way to see the town is on a riverboat which functions similar to a city bus.

Known as one of Europe's most "fountainous" cities, Zurich is sprinkled with more than 1200 fountains, a stream of cafes and streets with a colorful ambiance. One of the city's art treasures is a set of Chagall stained-glass windows depicting Bible scenes located in the Fraumunster Church in the center of Zurich.

There is no better way to enjoy a beautiful sunny afternoon than to stroll through Backer Park which is considered to be one of the most beautiful and lush in all of Zurich. Once you have had your fill of the outdoors, head to the very interesting Indianermuseum where you can trace the history of the Native American culture. For a different type of culture, go over to Langstrasse, Zurich's red light district. As dusk falls, it is great to stop for a drink at Long Street Bar or get in a few laughs at Volkshaus Zurich comedy club.

An hour south of Zurich lays the beautiful city of Lucerne. A covered, medieval Chapel Bridge forms the centrepiece of the city's townscape and is considered to be one of the oldest, covered wooden bridges in Europe. Approximately 100 colorful paintings, some replicas and some dating from the 17th century, hang under the bridge's rafters, showing scenes from Lucerne's history. Swans often cluster near the bridge and locals will tell you the swans arrived in the 17th century as a gift from Louis XIV in appreciation for the protection the Swiss Guards provided him.

Historic houses are decorated with frescoes which line the numerous picturesque town squares such as 'Weinmarkt' square.

Picasso fans will want to see Lucerne's Rosengart Collection which showcases several dozen black-and-white candid photographs of the artist. Here you will see Picasso in the bathtub, getting a haircut, playing dress-up and horsing around with children.

Lucerne is a city of town squares and churches. The Jesuit church dating from the 17th century is regarded as Switzerland's first sacral Baroque building and the twin towers of the Hofkirche form an integral part of the townscape. The figure of a dying lion which was chiselled from rock in remembrance of the heroic death of Swiss guards killed during an attack on the Tuileries in 1792, is one of the best-known monuments in Switzerland.

Tradition and modern life stand side-by-side with ease in Lucerne, as the town has also earned a reputation for itself with innovative design. The futuristic Culture and Convention Center, the KKL, designed by leading French architect Jean Nouvel, is one of the architectural highlights of the town. The Center is also a landmark of Lucerne and a venue for a wide variety of cultural events throughout the year.

Lucerne is the ideal starting point for many excursions to the highlights of central Switzerland. A trip up one of Lucerne's regional mountains, the Pilatus or the Rigi – the queen of mountains – is a must. But excursions up onto the Stanserhorn, or a steamship cruise on Lake Lucerne with its many bends and arms are worthy experiences.

The Wilhelm Tell Express originates in Lucerne and ferries its passengers to the foot of the Gotthard pass via Lake Lucerne and then continues by rail into Ticino, south of the Alpine ridge. The "cherry road" leads from Lucerne through the landscape of cheery trees.

Lausanne is perched elegantly above Lake Geneva and has been home to the International Olympic Committee since 1915. The museum here displays a colorful history of the games complete with a century of ceremonial torches and medals. The evolution of sports equipment is evident here containing Carl Lewis' track shoes and Sonia Henie's ice skates.

Lausanne's city center spans several hilltops, linked by bridges spanning deep, river less gorges. Place St. Francois dominates the hilltop district known as the Bourg, formerly the wealthiest part of the city and still known for its upscale markets and boutiques. To the north the hill of The Old Town, crowned by the Cathedral, dominates the city. Expansion during the nineteenth century broadened the city scope to the east and west. The pedestrian walking zone lies north of the train station and provides great entertainment for shoppers and locals alike.

The waterfront area is the happy domain of commoners, office workers and roller skaters. The locals nicknamed their town the San Francisco of Switzerland for all its hills as it seems to be a trek each direction.

If you are a shopper, items to purchase in Switzerland may include pottery, watches, crystal, embroidered items, wood carvings, clocks (including cuckoos), Swiss army knives, liquors (Williamine, the best thing that can be done with a pear) , lace, textiles, folklore souvenirs (such as music boxes), cowbells, cheese, antiques, stainless-steel cutlery, ski equipment and clothing, leather goods, shoes and of course chocolates!

Whether you enjoy displays of modern art or wish to explore Old World charm, the cities of Switzerland seem to have it all. While most people come to enjoy, explore and ski the alpine peaks, there is more to this country to be found in its glorious urban areas.



Source by Lynda S. Schauf