General Information

Information about language, weather, culture, etc...

 

Language

-          German: mainly spoken in northern, central and eastern regions

-          French: main language in western area

-          Italian: main language in southern region

-          Romansch: spoken in the eastern-southern region

-          English: used in the whole Switzerland so tourists will have no trouble for communication

Weather

The climate or weather conditions of a country determine the best tourist season. A tourist planning for a Switzerland Tour should know the climatic conditions that prevail during all round the year to grab the best possible time to visit Switzerland. Fortunately in the whole of Western Europe, which is thronged by the travelers during the vacations, Switzerland has the most favorable and pleasant climate throughout the year.

Though the highest peaks of the Alps receive a high snowfall the year-round (it's rare July-September, however), yet Switzerland has a cool and cozy climate throughout the year. The best seasons looking to the weather conditions are Spring, summer and autumn. June and July are the months when the alpine wildflowers are usually at their peak, but summer is the season for the overwhelming tourist traffic visiting Switzerland. The tourists are advised to take a sweater, a light raincoat and folding umbrella while going on a Switzerland Tour.

Switzerland is a land of contrasts. Completely different landscapes and completely different climatic conditions can be found within the space of only a few dozen kilometers.

From a climate point of view, Switzerland is located in a transition zone. In the west, there is a strong influence of the Atlantic ocean. Winds bring a lot of moisture into Switzerland and cause rainfall. In the east, there is an almost continental climate, with lower temperatures and less precipitation. On the other hand, the alps - which run from east to west - act as a climatic divide. South of the alps, there is an almost Mediterranean climate, with significantly higher temperatures but also a lot of precipitation.

Seasons

The seasons are clearly defined. In spring (March to May) the trees blossom and the meadows become green. In summer the temperature rises to 25-30 degrees (77-86 degrees Fahrenheit). In autumn (September to November) the fruits ripen, then the leaves turn brown and fall. In winter the snow changes the landscape.

Generally speaking, spring is wet and cool, April is well known for fast and often changing weather conditions. Summer is supposed to be warm and dry with maximum temperature up to 35°C (95°F). The temperature depends primarily on the elevation, the zero line (0°C or 32°F) may rise as high as 4000 meters above sea level (13125 feet). Fall is usually dry, but cool. The temperature will drop significantly in September or October, with the zero line around 2000 meter above sea level (6560 feet). Winter is supposed to be cold and dry. The temperature may drop below 0°C everywhere in Switzerland, especially at night. In the alps, they usually get a lot of snow, but even at lower elevations, there is a good chance that they will get a foot of snow every now and then.

Swiss Culture

Nightlife
Nightclubs and discos with music and dance are common in most of the major towns and resorts. They also serve food sometimes. Cinema halls and theatres are also popular. Local folk entertainments are also arranged sometimes by the city bars and restaurants.

Special Events
The special events in Switzerland include The World Snow Festival at Grindelwald, Polo World Cup on Snow at St Moritz, Basle Carnival at Basle, International Motor Show at Geneva, Berne International Jazz Festival, International Dog Sleigh Race, Les Mosses, Allianze Swiss Open (tennis), Bernese Oberland, Montreux Jazz Festival, Swiss Alpine Marathon at Davos, Lucerne Festival etc. Details regarding special events happening in Switzerland can be obtained from the Switzerland Tourism Department.

Social Conventions
It is a Swiss custom to gift unwrapped flowers to the hostess when invited for a meal. But red roses should be avoided; Chrysanthemums or white asters must never be given as they are considered to be funeral flowers. Informal wear is widely accepted. There may be a dress code (jackets and ties) in First-class restaurants, hotel dining rooms and important social occasions. Tie a black tie only when specifically mentioned.

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