Switzerland is a mountainous Western European country, home to numerous lakes, villages and the high mountains of the Alps. Its cities contain medieval quarters, with landmarks like capital Bern’s Zytglogge clock tower and Lucerne’s wooden chapel bridge. The country is also known for its ski resorts and hiking trails. Banking and finance are key industries, and Swiss watches and chocolate are world renowned.
The city of Zurich, a worldwide center for banking and finance, lies at the north end of Lake Zurich in northern Switzerland. The picturesque lanes of the central Old Town, on either side of the Limmat River, reflect its pre-medieval history. Waterfront promenades like the Limmatquai follow the river toward the 17th-century town hall.
Lucerne, a compact city in Switzerland known for its preserved medieval architecture, sits amid snowcapped mountains on Lake Lucerne. Its colorful Altstadt (Old Town) is bordered on the north by 870m Museggmauer (Musegg Wall), a 14-century rampart. The covered Chapel Bridge, built in 1333, links the Aldstadt to the Reuss River's right bank.
Interlaken is a traditional resort town in the hilly Bernese Oberland region of central Switzerland. Built on a narrow stretch of valley, between the emerald-colored waters of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, it has old timber houses and parkland on either side of the Aare River. Its surrounding mountains, with dense forests, alpine meadows and glaciers, has numerous hiking and skiing trails.