Language: Swiss-German, German, French, Italian, Lombard, Romansh

Climate: The climate is moderate and generally agreeable. Temperatures depend largely on altitude, with averages 5°C lower for each additional 300m of elevation. Summers can be hot, with temperatures sometimes reaching 30°C or more, but thr evenings are usually cool. September and the first half of October tend to be the driest, April and November are usually the wettest periods. High-altitude areas in the Alps may have a high average rainfall in excess of 2000mm per year, while some regions in the flatlands of Switzerland see only 600mm per year. From June to August, rain usually comes in the form of sometimes heavy thunderstorms, these storms can sometimes bring heavy hail and snowfall in the mountainous regions of the Alps, even in summer.

Time Zone: CET - Central European Time

International phone code: 41

Currency: Swiss Franc (CHF)

Capital: Bern

Transportation: Major international airports are in Zurich, Geneva and Basel, with smaller airports in Lugano and Berne. Trains arrive from all parts of Europe. With Germany, Switzerland is one of the most central countries in Europe, making it a centre of railways and highways to the rest of Europe. Common tourist destinations within Switzerland are easily reachable by car. Geneva, for example, is easily driven to from central eastern France, and Zurich from southern Germany. The transportation system within the country is unmatched with swift, punctual trains, clean buses, outstanding roads and a half dozen different kinds of mountain transport systems, integrated into a coherent system.

Gay Switzerland

Switzerland is traditionally a very conservative country, but one where individual rights and privacy have always been a high priority. The result is a conservative country with progressive, egalitarian laws.

The general public, while considered reserved, is respectful of gay people and their rights, and bias-motivated discrimination or violence is all but unheard of.

Like most places in the world, there is a strong contrast between city folk and country folk, and the widest range of gay and lesbian subculture is to be found in the two main cities of Zurich and Geneva, as well as certain neighbourhoods of Basel, Bern, Lucerne, Lausanne, and St Gallen.