Time for a Swiss family vacation

Time for a Swiss family vacation

A vacation to Switzerland is not cheap, but the beautiful and rugged alpine land of Heidi, the Matterhorn, and yodeling is well worth the expense. Historically neutral despite its centralized location in Europe, Switzerland is home to numerous international organizations such as the Red Cross, as well as a multicultural population that is one of the few to engage in a direct democracy to some extent. Life expectancy is one of the highest in the world, and the largest cities, Zurich and Geneva, number among the top cities in the world with the highest quality of life. A vacation to Switzerland is just the thing to learn their secret (hint – it’s chocolate).   An outdoorsman’s paradise   Its high location among the Alps as a site of glacial activity has positioned Switzerland to witness first-hand the effects of climate change. Consequently, environmentalism plays a big part in the Swiss national consciousness. Energy comes mostly from hydroelectric sources, since Switzerland houses the headwaters of four major European rivers: the Inn, Rhine, Ticino, and Rhône. Carbon dioxide emissions are some of the lowest in the world. And Switzerland has an environment that is worth preserving, a paradise for those who enjoy outdoor activities.   Switzerland features some of the best skiing in the world, with its second largest peak, the Matterhorn, being the highlight. If you enjoy other adrenaline inducing activities, the city of Interlaken offers a variety of thrills from skydiving to canyoning to white water rafting.   Switzerland is ideal for mountain climbers and hikers. The numerous hiking trails are well-developed and feature small villages and other places to shelter or resupply along the way so that it’s possible to hike over 200 miles in relative comfort and safety. Mountain biking is another way to survey the Swiss countryside and there are even some designated routes for inline skating. One unique mode of seeing Switzerland is by riding the cable cars and wind around the high mountain passes and peaks, although these can get pricey.   Getting into Switzerland   Although it’s not part of the European Union, Switzerland is part of the Schengen Agreement, which allows unfettered travel from other countries into Switzerland with only a valid passport. For residents of the US, a valid passport will allow you entry for up to 90 days within a 180 day period that also applies to other countries in...

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