At a glance
The incredible variety of landscapes and cultures in this small country is astounding. While there are several native languages, German-speaking areas are the largest and encompass the capital of Bern, financial center Zurich, and many of famed ski resort areas like Zermatt and Grindelwald.
Traveling across Switzerland, you’ll cross the "Roesti Graben" (literally - "hash-brown ditch"). It’s the imaginary, but very distinct, border between the German- and French-speaking areas. The French-speaking region is home to Geneva and Lausanne, with stunning landscapes along Lake Geneva. Lugano anchors the small Italian-speaking portion of Switzerland, known as the Swiss Riviera with its palm trees and mountain vistas alike.
Switzerland is fiercely protective of its heritage and culture, so you’re sure to recognize the very genuine and strong culture. Across all of the varied landscapes and languages, there remains a distinctly Swiss flavor that sets it apart from its same-language neighbors.
The national pastime of Switzerland is "wandern" (literally "wandering," but more like leisurely hiking in the countryside). Because strolling the mountains is so popular, an extensive network of trails exists solely for pedestrians and cyclists. These paths are well maintained (as is everything in Switzerland) and were designed to pass through the most scenic vistas and overlooks in the country.
Why cyclists love it
- The looming Alps for hardy cyclists looking for a challenge and small hills and flatter areas to match every fitness and interest level
- The extensive network of trails that exisit solely for pedestrians and cyclists that take visitors through the most scenic vistas and overlooks in the country
- The popular "post" roads in the mountains used by infrequent mail truck traffic (and cyclists!)
- Quaint villages, with wooden farmhouses church steeples
- Modern cities with great culture and nightlife
- Swiss chocolate and cheese!
Aare Cycle Route: Along the Jura, Aare, and Rhine Rivers
The Aare Cycle Route is one of Switzerland’s most well-known cycle routes, beginning in Interlaken on Lake Thun against the backdrop of the Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger mountains. You will pass through the Swiss capital of Bern, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where famous Toblerone chocolate is made. While on your journey, you will experience an incredible boat trip along the Rhine River. This self-guided trip is suitable for all cyclist levels.
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Lake Constance Bicycle Path
On one of the most popular cycle routes in Europe, you'll bike around an entire lake and get to know the three surrounding countries. ain highlights are found in the medieval towns of Konstanz, Stein, Meersburg and Lindau.
More on this region >
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Ascona and Lake Maggiore
When staying in the Ticino region, you’ll easily forget you’re still in Switzerland. Crystal clear waters of Lago Maggiore sparkle in the sun alongside towering palm trees. Much different than most of Switzerland, this area feels quite tropical. While on this self-guided tour, you’ll discover some of the longest Swiss Valleys and the medieval city of Bellinzona. Close to the Lago Maggiore, the landscape is charming and tame; but the Maggia Valley Ticino is wild and defiant. This area is sure to put a spell on you! Tour is based in one hotel with daily loop rides.
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On our blog:
- Riding options for all in Switzerland
While dreams of Switzerland can often conjure up images of snow-capped mountains, steep Alpine ascents, and free-falling descents, crossing the country by bicycle can be surprisingly easy. Read this blog for ideas on how to explore Switzerland by bicycle for all levels and interests.
Language: German, French, Italian, Romansh
Currency: Swiss franc
Size: 15,940 square miles (41,285 square kilometers) - slightly larger than Maryland
Border countries: Germany, France, Italy, Austria, and Liechtenstein
National tourist office: www.myswitzerland.com