Switzerland has three main geographic regions: the Alps, covering around 60% of the country’s total surface area, the Swiss Plateau (30%) and the Jura (10%).
Geography – Facts and Figures
- Switzerland covers a total surface area of 41,285 km2.
- The Alps, the Plateau and the Jura are Switzerland’s three main geographic regions.
- Switzerland measures 220 kilometres from north to south and 348 kilometres from west to east.
- Switzerland shares its 1,882 km-long borders with five countries: Italy, France, Germany, Austria and the Principality of Liechtenstein.
- Standing 4,634 metres (15,000 feet) above sea level, Dufour Peak, part of the Monte Rosa massif, is the highest summit in Switzerland.
- With an altitude of 193 metres, Lake Maggiore is the lowest point in Switzerland.
- Standing at an altitude of 2,126 metres, Juf, in the canton of Graubünden, is Switzerland’s highest village.
- Of Switzerland’s surface area, 7.5% is used for settlements and urban areas, trade, industry and transport, energy supply and waste disposal or recreational areas and parks, while agricultural land occupies 35.9% and forests and woodlands 31.3%.
- Many new forest areas have spread out over abandoned mountain farms.
- Glaciers cover roughly 1,140 km2 of Switzerland’s surface area. Between 1985 and 2009, Swiss glaciers receded by more than 390 km2.
- Approximately 20% of the Alps are in Switzerland.
- The headwaters of four of Switzerland’s main rivers – Rhine, Rhone, Reuss and Ticino – are in the Gotthard massif.
- Switzerland has around 1,500 lakes.