Country guide Switzerland

When it comes to natural beauty, Switzerland has it in spades. It is a country famous for its rolling hills, glass-like lakes and jagged mountains. If access to the great outdoors is a factor that is high up on your relocation priority list - Switzerland might just be a winner.

Sights and Attractions

Nature lovers will feel right at home in Switzerland. The aforementioned mountains and lakes provide almost unlimited scope for outdoor adventures all year round. Whether you're hitting the slopes at Davos or St. Moritz in the winter, or swimming in the cool waters of Lake Maggiore in the summer – you will never run out of sights to see or things to do.

Juxtaposed against these dramatic natural landscapes are a collection of stunning castles, fortresses and chateaux. These towering buildings look as though they should belong in the pages of a child's fairy tale. The notions of romantic fantasy end here, though, as the museums that now occupy the majority of these impressive structures offer a look into Switzerland's grizzly medieval past.

Restaurants and Cafes

Cuisine in Switzerland is an interesting blend of French, German and Italian foods. Dishes that are served up here could include anything from mouth-watering stews and sausages with potato rosti on the side, to delicious, creamy cheeses.

Those seeking fine-dining will find they are well-catered for in Switzerland. Numerous five-star restaurants can be found in most cities, all of which serve up their own interpretations of various international menus.

Notable restaurants that will quickly become regular haunts include Arté al Lago and Chetzeron. Arté al Lago is a Michelin-starred restaurant housed at the exclusive lakefront Villa Castagnola in Lugano and specialises in dishes based around fish and other seafood. Chetzeron can be found 2,112m above sea-level at the Crans Montana alpine resort. The restaurant is housed in a converted cable-car station and is one of the trendiest mountain hangouts Switzerland has to offer.

Shopping

Those looking for the latest designer garb will find all the familiar names of European fashion present in Switzerland. Shoppers in Geneva and Zurich will be greeted by a number of modern department stores, some of which house the aforementioned fashion houses as well as Swiss equivalents of UK high street brands.

Hidden treasures and trinkets can be found at the numerous flea markets that take place throughout the week in cities all over Switzerland. Two such flea markets that are certainly worth a visit include Geneva's Plainpalais Flea Market and Basel's Flohmarkt Petersplatz. The twice-weekly Plainpalais Flea Market is one of the largest of its kind in Switzerland. At both of these markets, you will be able to find an eclectic range of items, from old cameras to records and clothes. The Flohmarkt Petersplatz is especially unique, as you may find yourself haggling for the price of a toy with a school boy or girl, as children are also permitted to sell their belongings in the centre of the market square.

Travel

Switzerland boasts an efficient and reliable public transport network. In terms of getting from city to city, road and rail are by far the most popular options – and regular trains mean that you will never have to wait too long to embark on your journey. One huge bonus of using ground-based transportation is the fact that it offers you the perfect chance to observe the stunning beauty of the countryside.

Buses and trams run in most of the big cities, although interestingly, metros are few and far between. In fact, Lausanne is the only city in Switzerland that operates a metro network.

Travelling abroad in Switzerland is an easy task. Thanks to the fact that Switzerland is an entirely landlocked country, travellers can get from one country to another by road or rail. Neighbouring countries, Italy, France, Germany and Austria are never more than a couple of hours' drive or train away. If you are planning on moving to Switzerland from the UK, you would not find it difficult to drive there yourself. However, if driving isn't really your thing, numerous flights can also be booked relatively inexpensively.

Currency zone

Buying a property overseas?

PrimeLocation have teamed up with RationalFX to help you transfer money abroad. Every year RationalFX help thousands of individuals save money on their foreign currency payments for property purchase, emigration, overseas mortgage repayments, etc.