The Swiss Alps is the mountainous region of Switzerland and is part of the Alps Mountain Range which extends across Europe.
Swiss Alps Location
The northern part of Switzerland is known, as the Swiss Plateau. Many of Switzerland’s largest cities, including Zurich, Basel, and Bern are located on the Swiss Plateau. The Swiss Alps lie to the south of the Swiss Plateau. The geographic boundary between the Alps and the Plateau runs from Vevey on the shores of Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) to Rorschach on the shores of Lake Constance. The cities of Thun and Lucerne are on the southern fringe of the Swiss Plateau and are set against the Swiss Alps to the south. The lower hills and mountains in Switzerland that lie in the foothills of the Alps are called the Swiss Prealps.
The Swiss Alps lie at a northerly latitude which is roughly between 45° and 47° which is a latitude comparable to that between Minneapolis and Duluth Minnesota in the US.
Swiss Alps Geographic Importance
Since before Roman times, the Swiss Alps have formed a natural barrier and division between northern and southern Europe. As such, they have played an important role in European history. At the same time, the mountain passes through the Swiss Alps have provided important trade routes connecting Italy with European countries to the north.
The Swiss Alps Today
Today, most international travelers visiting the Swiss Alps fly into airports in Zurich or Geneva, then travel by car, bus, or Switzerland’s excellent rail network to popular tourist destinations like Lucerne and Interlaken, which are traditional gateways to the Swiss Alps. From there, they visit many of the winter and summer resorts in the higher elevation alpine valleys such as Zermatt, Grindelwald, and St. Moritz.