Switzerland, also known as the Swiss Confederation, is a landlocked country in western Europe. It shares borders with Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein.
The country has a population of about 8 million and is divided into 26 cantons. Important cities include Zurich, Berne and Geneva. Most of the population speak French or Swiss German, but there are also areas where Italian or Romansch are the native languages.
Switzerland is a country of mountains. Some of the best-known peaks are the Eiger, the Jungfrau and the Matterhorn. The country also has over 1500 lakes, including Lake Geneva and Lake Lucerne.
There are also references in the story to other real places in Graubünden, including the Domleschg Valley and the Prättigau Valley. Two other places, Bad Ragaz and Pfäfers, which are not far from Maienfeld, are also mentioned. These are in the neighbouring canton of St. Gallen.
Graubünden, also known as Grisons, is the largest canton in Switzerland. Graubünden shares borders with Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein. It is the only canton in Switzerland where Romansch is spoken as a community language.
Dörfli, the nearest village to Heidi's grandfather's home is fictional. However a hamlet not far from Maienfeld, called Ober-Rofels, has been re-named Heididorf, and is now the site of a museum known as Heidihaus (Heidi's house). It has also been suggested that the village of Jenins, which Johanna Spyri visited as a child, might be the model for Dörfli.
When Heidi is 8 years old, she travels to Frankfurt in Germany to be a companion to the invalid Clara Sesemann.
Frankfurt am Main is Germany's fifth largest city. In 1910, its population was about 414,000. Today, it is approximately 704,000.
Famous landmarks include St. Bartholomew's Cathedral, the Archaeological Garden and the City Hall (the Römer) which was partially destroyed in World War II.