Switzerland is a mountainous Central European country, home to numerous lakes, villages and the high peaks of the Alps. The climate is temperate, but varies with altitude. Switzerland has cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters and cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers.
Switzerland's independence and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers and Switzerland has not been involved in any military conflict since 1815. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland's role in many UN and international organizations has strengthened Switzerland's ties with its neighbors. However, the country did not officially become a UN member until 2002. Switzerland remains active in many UN and international organizations, but retains a strong commitment to neutrality.
Switzerland showcases three of Europe's most distinct cultures. To the northeast is the clean and correct, 8-to-5-working, stiffer Swiss-German-speaking Switzerland; to the southwest you find the wine drinking and laissez-faire style known from the French; in the southeast, south of the Alps, the sun warms cappuccino-sippers loitering in Italian-style piazzas; and in the center: classic Swiss alphorns and mountain landscapes. Binding it all together is a distinct Swiss mentality.
|First ascent||14 July 1865|
There are a wide variety of different attractions to be discovered around the Matterhorn. A top excursion is Gornergrat. On this three-thousand metre mountain ridge there is a viewing platform with a truly unforgettable view of the Matterhorn and the surrounding mountain world.
|Established||1 August 1914|
The Swiss National Park is unequalled in terms of the alpine scenery it offers across its 50mi (80km) of hiking paths and nature trails. Founded in 1914, Swiss National Park was one of the first national parks in Europe, and to this day remains Switzerland’s only national park.
|Elevation||273 m (896 ft)|
Lugano is a lakeside city in Cantone Ticino, the only majority Italian-speaking Canton of Switzerland. Located at the extreme south of the country, Lugano is part of a temperate micro-climate, offering palm trees, picturesque boulevards, stunning views of the lake and the Alps, and plenty of opportunity for outdoor and indoor activities.
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