Surrounded by Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein, Switzerland is a small country full of contrasts. The landscape can change very drastically over just a couple of miles. Snow-covered mountains, lakes, waterfalls, vineyards, cities, and green valleys make up the variety of landscapes that tourists can enjoy all year round. There are no beaches or palm trees, but Switzerland doesn't need these to attract tourists from all over the world.
No one knows exactly how many ski slopes there are in Switzerland, but one thing is certain, with its 118 (or more) resorts, the country is snowy garden of Eden for skiers of all levels. Sports enthusiasts will be delighted by the numerous activities on offer in these resorts: snowboarding, carving, cross-country skiing, curling, winter hiking, paragliding, snowshoe outings, etc. Those who don't feel quite so energetic can enjoy the many well-being centres strewn around the country. When the weather improves, the resorts change into a huge openair playground where people of all ages come to have fun. A few days (or weeks) of lighthearted fun!
The Swiss culture is characterised by its multicultural and multilingual society, which has resulted in great diversity in terms of literature, art, architecture and music. Numerous buildings in Switzerland were designed by foreign architects, such as the Paul Klee Centre in Bern by Italian Renzo Piano (the architect who also designed the Pompidou Centres in Paris and Metz). Another example is the Culture and Congress Centre in Lucerne, which was designed by Frenchman Jean Nouvel. Switzerland has played an important role in the world of art by giving birth to several artistic trends. For instance, Jean Tinguely was a Swiss artist from the 20th century known for his original scrap iron installations. As for Max Bill, he was the proponent of concrete art in opposition to abstract art. Zurich was the birthplace of the Dada movement, which was at the origins of surrealism. Many Swiss artists became famous because of their surrealist works. One example is Meret Oppenheim, notably for his 'Luncheon in Fur', consisting of a fur-covered teacup, saucer and spoon, which is exhibited in the New York Museum of Modern Art.