JETSET’s Luxury Travel Designer Jill Taylor on 6 Fun Facts of Switzerland and why to visit now.
It’s been many years since I’d journeyed to Switzerland. Yet I quickly discovered it was exactly how I remembered it—beautiful, easy, clean, efficient, and safe (Switzerland has one of the lowest crime rates in the world). There are four official languages: Swiss German—spoken by over two thirds of the population—and French, Italian, and Romansh. We traveled to several regions to explore the differences. Herewith, a quick tour by language, and my insider tips to prime your next Swiss escape.
We started our trip in Lucern (mostly German spoken here) at Bürgenstock Resort, where we took a boat to a funicular. The views? Stunning! We continued on to the Italian speaking area of Ascona. Hugging the northern shore of Lago Maggiore, get your Italian fix and experience white merlot—YUM. We then made our way to Gstaad for hiking, biking, rappelling, and its famous via ferrata. We learned there’s 1:1 ratio of cows to people in this area. As such, expect 7000 cows, 7000 people, and not one traffic light. We then visited the French speaking area in Lausanne and the wine region of Lavaux. Insider tip: This is a stellar wine area, as only two percent of Switzerland’s wine leaves the country.
Next up, we visited the capital of Bern and learned that Switzerland has no single head of state or president, which means no one person holds all the power. Rather, Switzerland has a seven-member executive council which serves as the Swiss collective head of state. Additionally, come summer, you’ll find most locals swim around Bern in the River Aare. Lastly, we stopped in Zurich and took a day trip to the historic and traditional Appenzell Region and learned that a cowbell weighs up to 17 pounds!
Did You Know? 6 Swiss Fun Facts
1. There truly is something for everyone here. But it’s important to know how to say thank you in each language: danke dir, grazie, merci, and grazia!
2. The official name (in Latin) of Switzerland is Confoederatio Helvetica, which means Swiss Confederation. The Latin name is only used on official documents, but it’s the reason why Switzerland’s abbreviation is CH.
3. Switzerland is one of only two countries to have a square flag; the Vatican has the other.
4. There are more than 1500 lakes in Switzerland, and over half of the electricity generated is from hydroelectricity, while another 39 percent is from nuclear power. The result? A nearly CO2-free, electricity-generating network.
5. Switzerland is a very mountainous country, with 208 mountains over 3,000-meters (9,842 feet) and 24 over 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). Happy trailblazing!
6. There are Swiss taxes for owning a dog. Annual taxes are determined by the dog’s size and weight. Dog owners are also required to take a training course to learn how to properly care for their pets.
To plan your own fact-finding adventure to Switzerland, contact Jill Taylor.