Switzerland (German: Schweiz, French: Suisse, Italian: Svizzera, Romansch: Svizra), officially the Swiss Confederation (Latin: Confoederatio Helvetica) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It has borders with France to the west, Italy to the south, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east and Germany to the north.
Switzerland is known for its mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) but it also has a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes. The highest point is Dufourspitze at 4,634 m (15,203 ft) whileLake Maggiore is only 195 m (636 ft) above sea level. The climate is temperate, but varies with altitude. Switzerland has cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters and cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers.
Switzerland is intrinsically culturally more diverse than perhaps any other European country. It has four official languages, which have historically been dominant in various regions, or cantons - German, French and Italian in the regions bordering the respective country, and the uniquely local Romansch. Switzerland also has one of the proportionally largest expat/immigrant populations, consisting of almost all of the world's nationalities and enthnic groups. Renown for tolerance, neutrality and direct democracy, as well as almost-legendary affluence, Switzerland has one of the highest standards of living in the world - and prices to match. Switzerland can be a glorious whirlwind trip whether you've packed your hiking boots, snowboard, or just a good book and a pair of sunglasses.
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