Sep 8 2017

Geography of Switzerland #switzerland, #geography, #dimension, #mountain, #pass, #lake, #river, #glacier, #climate, #highway


Geography of Switzerland

8. Climate:

From a climate point of view, Switzerland is located in a transition zone. In the west, there is a strong influence of the Atlantic ocean. Winds bring a lot of moisture into Switzerland and cause rainfall. In the east, there is an almost continental climate, with lower temperatures and less precipitation. On the other hand, the alps – which run from east to west – act as a climatic divide. South of the alps, there is an almost Mediterranean climate, with significantly higher temperatures but also a lot of precipitation.

Generally speaking, spring is wet and cool, April is well known for fast and often changing weather conditions. Summer is supposed to be warm and dry with maximum temperature up to 35 C (95 F). The temperature depends primarily on the elevation, the zero line (0 C or 32 F) may raise as high as 4000 meters above sea level (13125 feet). Fall is usually dry, but cool. The temperature will drop significantly in September or October, with the zero line around 2000 meter above sea level (6560 feet). Winter is supposed to be cold and dry. The temperature may drop below 0 C everywhere in Switzerland, especially at night. In the alps, they usually get a lot of snow, but even at lower elevations, there is a good chance that they will get a foot of snow every now and then.

See Climate in Switzerland for much more detailed information and links to weather forecast services.

9. Major highways:

The map below shows the major highways in Switzerland and their names plus some major cities.

In Switzerland, names of towns are used for navigation on the roads, rather than highway numbers. Signs show the names of the major cities, road numbers are rarely seen. Signs on or for highways use white letters on green background. Signs for major roads use white letters on blue background, signs for local roads use black letters on white background.

Highways in Switzerland are often congested, particularly in summertime. Weekends are especially bad. The most busy highway is the highway A1 between Z rich and Bern, but also the Gotthard tunnel between G schenen and Airolo is often very crowded. Cars may build up for as long as 20 km and it needs a lot of patience to get to the other side of the Alps. An alternative is to use the San Bernardino pass but congestions are there very likely too.

In order to use the highways in Switzerland, a toll has to be paid. But there are no toll booth, instead a special sticker – known as “Autobahn Vignette” – is required. The sticker is valid for one calendar year (actually from beginning of December of the previous year until end of January of the following year = 14 months), there is nothing like a one day or one week pass. It costs CHF 40.00 and is available at customs at the borders and at all gas stations and post offices throughout the country. The sticker must be fixed to the windshield on cars and trucks, there are particular rules for where it has to be placed on motorbikes and trailers.

The best choice is the avoid cars at all and use public transportation instead. Trains and busses are available everywhere and on the larger lakes, taking a boat may be a very enjoyable alternative. The “Schweizerische Bundesbahnen” (SBB) – the Swiss Federal Railroad – has a nice website with an on-line time table where you can also purchase tickets and print them on your own printer.

Before you hit the road, check the local road conditions online.

There is an interactive map of Switzerland available at .

10. Distances and estimated driving times between major cities:

Distances are measured in kilometers, driving times in hours and minutes (hh:mm). Routes are supposed to be the fastest possible but not necessarily the shortest path. Highways in Switzerland are often under construction and traffic jams occur frequently. During winter seasons, many roads in the mountains are closed and in higher elevations, winter tires or chains may be enforced by law.

Before you hit the road, check the local road conditions online.

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