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AREA: 41,285 km2



LANGUAGE: Swiss-German, German, French, Italian



Politically, Switzerland is divided into cantons, but the traveler will find the following regions more useful:
Lake Geneva - On the northern shores of Lac Léman, from the Jura to the Alps
Jura Mountains and Fribourg  - Hiking, lakes, watch-making
Bernese Lowlands  - The core region of Traditional Bernese influence
Bernese Highlands  - The Majestic Bernese Alps
Central Switzerland  - The birthplace of the Swiss Confederation, the legends of William Tell
Basel and Aargau  - Home of the Swiss pharmaceutical industry; launching point to Germany and France
Zurich  - The country's largest city, a tourist region in its own right
Northeastern Switzerland  - Between the Alps and Lake Constance and home to many scenic dairy farms
Valais  - Europe's highest peaks and largest glaciers
Graubünden  - Officially, tri-lingual, the region is very mountainous, lightly populated and home to many great tourist cities and includes the ancient Romansh minority language and culture
Ticino  - Italian speaking region including famous alpine lakes
The Swiss Alps stretch through the regions of Valais, Bernese Highlands, Central Switzerland and Graubünden.

The weather in Switzerland varies greatly between different places. Precipitation is generally higher in the western part of Switzerland where often clouds come in from the Atlantic coast. If the winds blow in clouds from the south, they get blocked at the Alps and drop their water. Usually this causes dry and warm weather north of the Alps, often accompanied with heavy winds and an extremely good view where the mountains appear much closer than they are. This phenomeno is known as Foehn ("Föhn"). On the other hand, the valleys Engadin in the very east and Valais in the southwest of Switzerland receive relatively little precipitation.
The average amount of sunshine per year is approximately 1700 hours. Some villages in the canton Valais claim that they get as much as 2300 hours of sunshine per year.

January 1 - New Year's Days
January 2 – St Berchtold
January 6 – Epiphany
May 1 - Labour Day
August 1 – Swiss National Day
August 15 – Assumption
November 1 – All Saints' Day
December 8 – Immaculate Conception
December 25 - Christmas Day
December 26 – St Stephen’s Day

The following are also public holidays that do not occur on the same date every year: 
Good Friday
Easter Monday
Whit Monday
Corpus Christi




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