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Switzerland

With 78% of the territory covered with mountains, Switzerland can boast of 9,942 named peaks, Monte Rosa is the highest. The most prominent mountain is Finsteraarhorn.

Swiss Alpine Club (in German: Schweizer Alpen-Club) was founded in 1863 in Olten. It was the first Alpine club founded in continental Europe after the notorious Alpine Club in London came into being five years earlier, in 1857.

Small may it be, but Switzerland is considered to be the most picturesque part of the Alps. However, it has three distinct geographical regions (from south to north): Swiss Alps, Swiss Plateau, and Jura Mountains, each featuring unique topology, flora and fauna.

Monte Rosa

According to the SOIUSA classification adopted by PeakVisor, the Swiss Alps can be subdivided into the Swiss Prealps, the Bernese Alps, the Pennine Alps, the Lepontine Alps, and the Western Rhaetian Alps.

Significantly lower yet not less exciting are the Jura Mountains - a mountain range located north of the Western Alps. They resemble the main alpine arc if you look at the map. The name Jura is derived from juria, a Latinized form of a Celtic stem jor or "forest". The mountain range gives its name to the Swiss Canton of Jura.

Swiss Mountain Hut

Mountain huts all over the country provide convenient accommodation and authentic dining experience with local delicacies. Many popular mountain resorts operate all year long and offer perfect recess for every kind of budget and interest. It is worth mentioning that Swiss mountain huts often become a true treasure hunt for architecture art design lovers, e.g. Mario Botta’s Fiore di Petra at Monte Generoso.

Swiss Cantons High Points

There are 26 cantons of Switzerland.

Hiking in Switzerland

There are three types of hiking trail marks in Switzerland:

  • Yellow diamond with a walker - walking trails which are suitable for any outdoor enthusiast.
  • Red and white trail marker - more challenging trails which do not require any special skills or gear.
  • Blue and white trail marker - challenging alpine trails which require special gear such as ropes, harnesses, carabiners and helmets.

Swiss Trail Signs

Finally, here are some useful facts about hiking in Switzerland:

  • Rescue phone is 144.
  • The water is usually ща drinking quality unless explicitly mentioned otherwise as non potable. Due to the elevation and summer heat you might need more water than expected.
  • Sunscreen is advised.
  • There are many exposed trails and via ferrata ways, assess your skills and capabilities wisely.
  • Don’t deviate from the trails even if the risk of getting lost is extremely low since even the locals sometimes get lost.
  • Start early in the morning to avoid crowds.
  • Take some food with you in case you miss the lunch time in a mountain hut or it’s closed.
  • Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but memories.

History of the Alpine Nation

Switzerland was born as the result of a strong cooperation of Alpine tribes. In 1291, the inhabitants of three valleys: Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden signed the Letter of Alliance (Federal Charter) in order to withstand the Habsburg expansion. This pact initiates the current Swiss National Day - August 01. Later in 1208 at Lake Lucerne the pact was renewed. Nowadays, the place is a tourist attraction commemorating the events which led to the Nation’s foundation.

It wasn’t enough to sign the charter though. Young confederation had to prove its sustainability in fight. Several blowing defeats to Habsburgs at Morgarten, Sempach, and Nafels were the milestones towards the legitimacy of a new nation.

Confoederatio Helvetica, the Latin version of "Swiss Confederation" is where the CH-sticker on Swiss cars and Switzerland's top level internet domain .ch comes from.

Having supplied over one million of mercenaries to the world in the medieval age, the country is proud of its brave sons. One of the most impressive monuments in Lucerne, the Lion Monument, commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris.

Lion Monument in Lucerne