Look beyond the chocolate, cuckoo clocks and yodelling – contemporary Switzerland, land of four languages, is all about once-in-a-lifetime journeys, heart-racing Alpine pursuits and urban culture. Switzerland's ravishing landscapes demand immediate action – grab boots, leap on board, toot bike bell and let spirits rip. Skiing and snowboarding in Graubünden, Bernese Oberland and Central Switzerland are winter choices. When pastures turn green, hiking and biking trails abound in glacier-encrusted mountain areas and lower down along lost valleys, glittering lake shores and pea-green vineyards. View the grandeur from a hot-air balloon or parachute, or afloat a white-water rafting.
The perfect antidote to rural beauty is Switzerland's urban edge: capital Bern with its medieval old town and world-class modern art, deeply Germanic Basel and its bold architecture, chic Geneva astraddle Europe’s largest lake, party-loving Lausanne, tycoon magnet Zug and uber-cool Zürich with its riverside bars, reborn industrial west district and atypical street grit. Castles and craft beer, gigs and new-wave restaurants – you’ll find the lot in Swiss cities.