With centuries of neutrality, Switzerland has truly established its own trademark in central Europe. In spite of its landlocked geographic, Switzerland’s culture and economy are individualistic. Staying in serviced accommodation here is not like staying anywhere else in the world.
Switzerland is landlocked in central Europe, bordering Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Liechtenstein. The Swiss population is only 8 million, with much of that population being concentrated in the northern half of the country. Overall though, Swiss land covers over 15,000 square miles, split into three main geographic regions; the Jura, the Plateau and the Alps. Visitors to serviced apartments in Switzerland may be heading to one of the country’s main financial and business centres, Zurich in the north-east and Geneva in the west, whilst other major cities include centrally-located Bern and Basel in the north. Topographically and culturally though, Switzerland is hard to summarise simply. For sure though, our serviced accommodation scattered across Switzerland is sure to accommodate for any trip you have in mind.
Switzerland has largely enjoyed a history avoiding foreign disturbance, whilst instead celebrating independent autonomy. The first inhabiting empire was the Celts, then the Romans, followed by the Holy Roman Empire. However, Emperor Rudolph I’s death in 1291 pathed the way for the foundation of the Old Swiss Confederacy and national peace. Canton allegiance fended of two centuries of overseas colonialization. These successes were halted though after a painful defeat in Milan, so from there onwards, Swiss expansionist attitude was dropped. From the seventeenth century Thirty Years’ War through to World War II, Switzerland committed to neutrality. Only a religious civil war caused disruption, and even this was ended with the creation of a federal constitution in 1848. With such neutrality, Swiss modern history was uninterrupted, allowing economic, political and social stability and progression.
To say Switzerland’s economy has progressed over the last few decades is a huge understatement. In terms of economic freedom, the Swiss rank first in Europe, and fourth in the world. Along with promoting a high standard of living, Switzerland is also very open to foreign trade, which incredibly represents 120% of the national GDP. With the help of forty-one separate free trade agreements across the globe, Switzerland can be one of the world’s biggest exporters. Products include gems and precious metals, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, and, of course, watches. Additionally, supporting the economy is the Swiss service sector, featuring banking, insurance and tourism industries. Banking facilities in Switzerland are reputable in Switzerland, but tourism is arguably the biggest source of economic success. With attractions such as the Alps, there is no surprise Swiss tourism generated total revenue of CHF 46.7 billion in 2017.
There is a healthy sense of economic competitiveness within Switzerland, with the federal government allowing all twenty-six cantons the opportunity to set their own investment policies in bids to attract foreign attention. Canton incentives can be very appealing, with some, offering ten years of tax exemption. Across all subsidiaries though, there is a guarantee of no sectoral or geographical preferential treatment. The legal system is transparent and fair, with no special permission required for investment in Switzerland either. The simplicity of foreign investment is evident, and the supporting world-class public and transportation infrastructure makes staying in Swiss serviced accommodation convenient. Investors have also been content with the value of the national currency, following the Swiss National Bank’s decision to abandon Euro associations, resulting in a currency value increase. The legal tender of Switzerland is the Swiss Franc, and exchange rates can be found at www.xe.com.
Switzerland adopts a Schengen visa policy, as one of its the twenty-six members. Residents of all other member states can freely stay in Switzerland, whilst citizens of, the US, Canada and Australia are eligible for visa-free entry for up to ninety days. The majority of African and Asian nationals will require a visa for Swiss entry, but some countries are exempt, so it is worth visiting the Swiss State Secretariat (www.sem.admin.ch) website for more information.
Switzerland ranks highly in various measures for quality of life. For instance, Swiss men have the longest life expectancy in the world. It was also ranked the ‘world’s happiest country’ in 2015, and came second in 2016. Some of its cities have held similar rankings for quality of life and for safety. Speaking of safety, despite the country’s small size, it wouldn’t be advisable to attempt invading Switzerland. Around 3000 access points into the country – bridges, mountain passes – are rigged with explosives to blow in the case of an invasion. Be assured though that the people have a great reputation for being extremely welcoming to foreigners, and social equality is widespread.
The combination of stunning scenic roads, good road conditions and a reputation for very little car accidents make Switzerland a popular location for foreign driving. All that is asked is that you purchase an International Driving Permit (recommended) and a vignette, to help avoid those pesky toll roads scattered around the country. Make sure you drive on the right too. The main reason public transport is so plentiful and useful in Switzerland is to help those who wish to avoid the challenges terrain can bring i.e. roads nears the Alps. If you are experienced though and fancy the challenge, driving in Switzerland can unlock some of the country’s hidden gems.
In terms of Europe sight-seeing, the Alps certainly comes to mind as one of the great landmarks. Millions of tourists visit the mountain range every year. Stretching over 115,00 square miles, the Alps are a sight to behold from all angles, with its mass covering several European nations. The Swiss segment is distinctive though. Encompassing more than 170 square kilometres of beautiful forestry and mountainous terrain, the Swiss National Park is the Alps’ oldest reserve. The park is home to heaps of wildlife, and lovers of the great outdoors will be overwhelmed by how in touch they can be with the region’s beauty. The Rhine Falls are equally magnificent. These falls in Schaffhausen are the largest of its kind in Europe. The scenery and blissful flowing water can put anyone at ease after a long day of travelling or business.
Two of the most popular cities for serviced apartment living are Bern and Zurich. Both are Swiss business and cultural hubs but differentiate in terms of expression. Bern, the capital, is attractive for smaller, more traditional companies. The World Heritage site old town radiates old world sophistication through its amazing museums, Renaissance-style buildings, and topped off by the charming medieval clock tower. Zurich, on the other hand, is the nation’s largest city. Its extensive transportation facilities make travel simple, ensuring a short visit could include seeing all the many impressive museums, the finest shopping strands and the beautiful Lake Zurich. The Bahnhofstrasse shopping experience is thriving, boasting fabulous eateries and some of the world’s top brands.
Residing in Switzerland is not anywhere else in the world. Centuries of detachment from the rest of Europe and the world have meant the economy, society and culture are inimitable. Therefore, as you can expect, staying in Swiss serviced apartments is also an irreplaceable experience.
Also sometimes called Kloten Airport, Switzerland’s largest and busiest airport is the primary provider of Swiss International Air Line flights. For flight information and booking details, visit www.swiss.com.
Both rail and bus routes to-and-from the airport are numerous, enabling visitors a journey no longer than fifteen minutes to Zurich’s city centre and its serviced accommodation. Alternatively, you could arrive into Geneva or Sion airports, as well as the unusual EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg. This airport is entirely in France, but it split into French and Swiss sectors enabling entry to both countries.
Highly rated as one of the best railway networks in Switzerland, Swiss Federal Railways serves over eight hundred stations across three thousand kilometres of track. You can visit the company website, www.sbb.ch, for the full range of routes and prices.
The quality of train services has not gone unnoticed around the world. The best scenic routes and most comfortable trains can come at a price though, so it is worth taking advantage of Supersaver tickets or Rail Passes. The most famed scenic routes are the Bernina Express, Chocolate train, Centovalli Railway, Golden Pass and Glacier Express.
Underground rail services are limited in Switzerland, as the metro in Lausanne is the country’s only service. Not only is it the sole system in Switzerland, but also operates one of the only driverless rapid transport trains in the world.
With Switzerland’s railway network being so popular amongst both residents and foreigners, a supplementary bus network is vital. They are fairly straightforward to use, with travel in only one class and the large majority of tickets bought from the driver.
The only exception to this is if you are travelling through a scenic route, where you may have to make early reservations.