swissworld.org - Switzerland's official information portal

swissworld.org - Switzerland's official information portal

Your Gateway to Switzerland

Towns and villages

The boundary of Bern (in new window)

The boundary of Bern - about 3.5 kilometers, or just over two miles, from the heart of the state, the parliament buildings© swissworld.org

Schwyz, the capital of the canton of the same name (in new window)

Schwyz, the capital of the canton of the same name, has a population of about 14,000© swissworld.org

Even the big cities tend to feel like small towns. Everything is on a human scale. People can see where they are, and do not feel overwhelmed.

There are relatively few tall buildings. Most are less than 60 meters (200 ft). The tallest is the Messeturm (Fair Tower) in Basel, at 105 meters (344 ft). By way of comparison, the Taipei 101 office block, the world's tallest completed building, is 509 metres (1670 ft) high.

Small towns and villages

There are many well-preserved small mediaeval towns. Even some of the cantonal capitals have populations of only a few thousand.

The rural landscape is characterised by small villages and farmhouses surrounded by fields or on the hillsides.

Although shortage of space in the Plateau means that industry, agriculture and residential areas are often close together, strict planning regulations aim to preserve the appearance of towns and villages.