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20 surprising facts about Switzerland

Surprising Facts about Switzerland

After a while, things tend to become normal and you start to forget that you ever had a fridge twice the size of the current one or used to buy milk in half-gallons at a time... But before the initial "wow effect" wears off after having lived here for several years, we wanted to share some of the most surprising facts we have learned about Switzerland.


1. Switzerland has more than 1500 lakes.

Surprising Facts about Switzerland - Lakes

2. This explains why you are never more than 16 km from a lake...

3. And why 60 percent of Switzerland’s electricity is produced by hydroelectric power.

4. Not surprisingly, 70 percent of Switzerland is covered in mountains.

5. More surprisingly, the landscape ranges from 196 meters above sea level in Ascona to 4'634 meters above sea level in the Dufour Peak.

6. Most surprisingly, these spots are less than 70 km apart!

7. Switzerland's rail system extends some 5'251 km.

Surprising Facts about Switzerland - Trains

8. Thus, it makes sense that the Swiss rank only second behind Japan in relying on trains.

9. However, you can’t turn right at a red light. But who cares? Everyone rides trains anyway...

10. If you still want to drive a car, you would be surprised to find out that fuel economy is measures in "quantity per distance" (liters per 100 km). In the US, it is measured in "distance per quantity" (miles per gallon).

11. By law, you need to buy a liability insurance sticker for riding a bicycle on public roads.

12. On public buses, you can buy a ticket directly from the driver.

Surprising Facts about Switzerland - Public Bus

13. Drivers have to stop for pedestrians to cross the road.

14. There are more banks than dentists.

15. There are now more Starbucks coffee shops than banks!

16. Most grocery stores close by 8 PM, and only the airport locations stay open on weekends.

17. Employee rights are sometimes more important than customer service, which is reflected in the fact that quite a few businesses are closed for lunch from noon through 2 PM.

18. Teaching is one of the highest paid occupations with the most vacation time: 12 weeks!

19. Switzerland has the most hospital beds per 1000 people: 5.8 beds.

20. Very much unlike the US, bank tellers are protected by bullet-proof glass.


Now, download our e-book with 77 interesting facts about Switzerland:

77 Facts about Switzerland - e-book from Newly Swissed

Check out some more surprising facts about Switzerland or facts about lakes and mountains in Switzerland. Plus, you will surely be surprised by this latest batch of facts about Switzerland.

Dimitri Burkhard

As the founder, editor, and community manager of Newly Swissed, Dimitri owns the strategic vision. He is passionate about storytelling and is a member of Swiss Travel Communicators. Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.

Dimitri Burkhard

Download our e-book: 77 Facts about Switzerland