About Switzerland

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe where it is bordered by Germany to the north, France to the west, Italy to the south, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country whose territory is geographically divided between the Alps, the Central Plateau and the Jura that yields a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi). The Swiss population of approximately 7.8 million people concentrates mostly on the Plateau, where the largest cities are to be found. Among them are the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva. Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world by per capita gross domestic product, with a nominal per capita GDP of $67,384. Zürich and Geneva have respectively been ranked as having the second and third highest quality of life in the world. Extending across the north and south side of the Alps, Switzerland encompasses a great diversity of landscapes and climates on a limited area of 41,285 square kilometres (15,940 sq mi). Switzerland contains three basic topographical areas: the Swiss Alps on the south, the Central Plateau or middleland, and the Jura mountains on the north. The Swiss climate is generally temperate, but can vary greatly between the localities, from glacial conditions on the mountaintops to the often pleasant near Mediterranean climate at Switzerland's southern tip.