If you love the great outdoors head straight for Switzerland's snow-capped Alps, rippling mountain-framed lakes and winding meadow trails. Take France, Italy and Germany's best bits, mix them all together and you'll soon see why people return to Switzerland again and again. Head to Switzerland's picturesque towns to sip coffee and people-watch on historic squares, surrounded by Romanesque and Gothic architecture.
Switzerland is a nature-loving land with two-thirds of the country covered by the Alps. You'll find unspoilt forests wherever you go and pristine lakes in central Switzerland, around Lucerne. But this is no wilderness Switzerland is highly developed and prosperous, a centre of banking and insurance. You'll soon realise that Switzerland is less like a single country and more like a mosaic of several. Head south-west towards Geneva for French-speaking Switzerland and south for Italian flair. The rest is mainly German-speaking, including Switzerland's largest city, Zurich, and capital Bern. Everywhere you'll find flower-decked picture-book villages with colourful local traditions.
The majority of Switzerland's population lives in towns along the fertile lowland strip between Lake Geneva and Lake Constance. At the western end you'll find French-speaking Geneva and at the eastern end German-speaking Zurich with its distinctive twin-spired Grossmnster church. Between the two you can visit the 12th-century moated Swiss capital, Bern, for a science lesson at the Einstein House or to snap the medieval city-symbol Zytglogge clock tower. Switzerland's main cultural centre is Basel, packed with art museums in Switzerland's north-west corner.
In the north-west, visit the River Rhine's oldest Roman ruins of Augusta Raurica near Augst. Catch ferries across Switzerland's crescent-shaped Lake Geneva, narrow Lake Zurich and Lake Lucerne, tucked between soaring limestone mountains. Further south climb the High Alps for some of the world's best-known ski resorts including Davos and St Moritz. If you're not one for heights stick to Switzerland's lush green meadows, trickling sparkling streams and the gentle sound of tinkling cowbells.