"take the summer in Switzerland"
Lake Lucerne in central Switzerland
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLake Lucerne in central Switzerland - Credit: Andrew Bossi

Switzerland is a small, landlocked country in the centre of Western Europe with a population of 7.9 million. Spreading across the Alps, the Jura mountains and the Central Plateau which is bordered by the Lakes Geneva and Constance, Switzerland has a diverse range of landscapes and also people; the highest concentration of the population is on the Plateau. The country is divided into three parts: German-speaking (the majority), French-speaking and Italian-speaking, and there are also some areas where Romansh is spoken. The capital city is Bern, but Zurich and Geneva are major cities which are also central to the worldwide financial industry. One of the richest countries in the world in terms of GDP per person, Switzerland’s cities are also consistently ranked as having some of the world’s highest qualities of life. The country is famously neutral – it has not taken part in an international conflict since 1815, although it is still influential on the world political stage as part of peace-making processes as home to the second-largest UN headquarters; the Red Cross was also founded in Switzerland. Famous for its watches, cuckoo clocks, fresh Alpine air, diverse cultures and beautiful landscapes, Switzerland has long been very popular with tourists who come in the winter for snow sports and the summer for hiking and mild weather in the cosmopolitan cities.