A country as small as Switzerland could simply be flat, or mountainous, or hilly. Switzerland is all of the above.
Switzerland is synonymous with mountains. Not only do they cover one third of the country’s surface area, but they are also of major historical, geopolitical and economic importance. The mountains, for example, have been the selling point of the Swiss tourist industry for more than 100 years.
From the south-west to the south-east the sweeping barrier that is the Alps crosses the country, crowned by 48 mountains over 4'000 m. The roads cross the Alps using many alpine passes with countless bends and tunnels. The longest rail tunnels in Europe cross the country from north to south. The foremost of these is the new 34.6 km Lötschberg tunnel. Countless railways, bus routes, cog railways and cable railways open up remote valleys and heights covered in perpetual snow.
Along almost the whole north-western border of the country are the Jura hills with their dark forests and green pastures. The Swiss home of the dinosaurs, whose traces you can find even today in the limy Jurassic rock. In terms of altitude the Jura hills are not comparable to the Alps. You are seldom much over 1'200 m here, on average a little over 700 m.
Even the Central Plateau is not completely flat. The region begins in the west, at Lake Geneva, which has an average altitude of 580 m. In this region there is a string of many of the bigger cities, from Fribourg in the west to Romanshorn in the east, with Zurich in the middle. In the Central Plateau the rivers flow wider and slower and the houses are closer together, along the major transport network from east to west and from north to south.
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