Switzerland is synonymous with mountains. Not only do they cover one third of the country’s surface area, but they are also of major historical, geopolitical and economic importance. The mountains, for example, have been the selling point of the Swiss tourist industry for more than 100 years.
If the Swiss want to boast about their mountains, they are not short of reasons. They have more high peaks than any other country in Europe, with 48 standing over 4,000 metres high (13,120 feet)!
The Swiss mountains can lay claim to the following records:
- The highest railway station in Europe (the Jungfraujoch, canton of Berne, 3,454m/11,330ft).
- The highest permanently inhabited village in Europe (Juf, canton of Graubünden, 2,126m/7,000ft).
- The highest brewery in Europe (Monstein, canton of Graubünden, 1,600m/5,250ft).
- The highest tram in Europe (Zermatt, canton of Valais, 2,222m/7,290ft).
- The highest exterior elevator in Europe (the Hammetschwand lift to the top of Bürgenstock, canton of Nidwalden, 153m/502ft).
- The steepest cog railway in the world (Pilatus, canton of Lucerne, gradient of 48%).
- The steepest funicular railway in the world (the Gelmer at the foot of the Grimsel Pass, canton of Berne, gradient of 106% in places).
- The steepest road used by coaches in Europe (from the Kander to the Kien Valley in the Bernese Oberland, gradient of 28%).
- The longest glacier in Europe (the Aletsch, canton of Valais, approx. 23km/14 miles).