Four Cultures in Switzerland


Over the millennia, Switzerland has developed culturally as one of the most diverse countries in the world with four basic cultures: French, German, Italian, and Romansch. Roman soldiers wandering into the Alps, speaking Latin, intermarried with the local maid’s, speaking Celtic – thus Romansch was born.

Swiss- German is the official language, though English is still the basic language spoken by practically everyone, each of these cultural sections teaches and speaks that local language and follows the traditions expected for that culture.

View a video tour of the 4 cultures we can take you to on a hike customized for your dreams and the time you wish to spend hiking it. This is a tour using Google Earth and the 3-D features to show you elevations and topography of the Alps.

What defines Switzerland Culture? Most likely, visitors see Switzerland as a chocolate snacking, cheese eating, alphorn blowing and yodeling nation that is ruled by perfectionism, and timed by precision watches; a law-abiding nation that takes seriousness very seriously and sleeps with guns under their pillow in well-ordered and efficient Switzerland.

The influence of so many different cultures makes it sometimes hard to tell. Switzerland was inhabited by the Celt’s in the West, the Helvetii (the most powerful Celtic tribe) in the North and the Raetians – a stubborn Roman alpine tribe – in the East. Switzerland’s culture is shaped by all of them and the many different languages spoken in our small country make the mix even more interesting.

Of course, there’s always a little truth in every stereotypical cliché. Though neither Alphorn nor yodeling are exclusively Swiss, nor is chocolate for that matter, though the Swiss – who knew – set the standard in terms of quality for the latter. It is said that the origins of the Alphorn lay in Asia. Over the centuries though, the Swiss managed to find their own distinct folk music style that is typically Swiss albeit with distinct differences between regions.

Switzerland boosts a thriving arts scene and has a rich heritage of historical architecture. It’s central position in Europe, its neutrality and shared languages with neighboring countries, made Switzerland attractive for artists and intellectuals who took refuge from political upheaval in their own country from the 19th century onward.

But when Mountain Tours looks at Switzerland, we see some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the world wending their way through beautiful valleys and over high passes beneath the many 14,000+ foot peaks of which there are over 50 in the country.

Hiking is a national sport with the Swiss Alpine club maintaining hundreds of lovely cabannes at high-altitude where getting back to nature is a way of life. These charming huttes (as they are called in German) provide dormitory accommodations and excellent food enjoyed in the camaraderie of the dining room with long tables when mealtimes are filled very often with six or seven languages spoken at the same table. It’s a cultural delight and the experience of a lifetime.

Russell Tours Hike in Switzerland

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