Switzerland: Entertainment & Leisure                        

Sports

Sports is an important part of leisure activity in Switzerland. In 1972, a federal law ensured government financial support for the promotion of sport. Exercise and sport are now an essential part of a child's education. There are many sports organizations in the country. One of the largest is the Swiss Association for Football and Athletics. 

Soccer (“football”)

The most popular sport in Switzerland and in the rest of Europe is soccer (or “football” in Europe). Almost every village has a soccer club and children typically begin to play at age 4.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Naturally, for a country made up largely of high mountains, winter sports are very popular in Switzerland. The country boasts dozens of major ski resorts and has an extensive system of cross-country ski trails.

Hockey

Ice hockey is very popular in Switzerland as is unihockey.  Unihockey, or floorball, is an indoor team sport that is very popular. The Swiss women's unihockey team won the world champion title in 2005.

Curling

Switzerland is famous for curling. The Swiss were the curling winners at the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano.

Hiking, Camping and Rock Climbing

Hiking is one of the most popular leisure activities in the country and there are more than 50,000 kilometers of designated footpaths.

Biking

There are numerous famous bike races in and around Switzerland such as the Tour de France, the Tour de Suisse and the Giro d’Italia. The tours last from one to four weeks. Bike racers from all over the world ride together.

Museums

There are many museums all throughout Switzerland. The Swiss are particularly known for their integration of modern architecture with old.

Landesmuseum (Swiss National Museum), Zurich

The Swiss National Museum (photo) showcases the history and culture of Switzerland from prehistoric times to the present day. The museum has a collection of prehistoric relics and objects from Roman and Carolingian times as well as works of art from the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance periods. Also on display are collections of rare Swiss weaponry, armor and clocks. Ancient apparel and folk artifacts from each of the Swiss Cantons is also displayed.

Rietberg Museum, Zurich

The Rietberg Museum is the collection of a wealthy amateur collector, Baron von der Heydt, who left his articles to the city of Zurich in 1952. The Reitberg Museum houses a large collection of Buddhist Asian art and sculpture as well as masks from Africa and Oceania. There is also artwork from the Americas and carpets from central Asia.

Kunstmuseum (Fine Arts Museum), Basel

An extensive collection over 3,000 works of art are displayed at the Fine Arts Museum in Basel. The museum showcases a fine collection of Swiss and German old masters from the 15th and 16th centuries. The museum is also famous for its extensive modern art collection.

Kunstmuseum (Fine Arts Museum), Bern

The Fine Arts Museum in Bern has a collection of art dating back to 13th century Italian painters. It is renowned for having one of the largest collections of works from the Swiss painter Paul Klee.

Musée d'Art et d'Histoire (Art and History Museum), Geneva

This premier museum in Geneva has a vast collection of art and artifacts. Its displays highlight the history of civilization, European archaeology, the history of Geneva and an extensive painting section that covers both medieval and modern art.

Verkehrshaus der Schweiz (Swiss Transport Museum), Lucerne

Built in 1959, the Swiss Transport Museum (photo) displays over 60 historic locomotives, 40 automobiles, 50 motorcycles and many other modes of transport. The museum is a celebration of the railway, automobile and airplane industries that helped drive Europe into the modern era.