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IN PICTURES: Ten Swiss-inspired places from across the globe

Hundreds of regions, towns and landscapes across the globe bear the name ‘Switzerland’ in some way. Here are some of the prettiest.

Saxon Switzerland, in eastern Germany
Perhaps the most famous region named after Switzerland, Germany's Saxon Switzerland. By Thomas Wolf, www.foto-tw.de - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27758134

Switzerland’s beautiful villages and landscapes – along with a worldwide diaspora – has meant the name ‘Switzerland’ touches several continents. 

Some say there are more Swiss-inspired locations across the globe than from any other country, although this is impossible to determine. 

From neighbouring Germany to as far away as Asia, South America and Australia, Switzerland’s influence can be seen. 

As German magazine Welt reported, the late 1800s was a period of ‘Switzerland hype’, whereby places were given the name Switzerland or Swiss in far flung areas. 

During this time, European colonisation as well as Switzerland becoming the favourite holiday destination for the wealthy meant that Switzerlands sprung up all over the world. 

Germany alone has more than 130 areas named after or inspired by Switzerland, with almost every region in the country having its own little piece of Switzerland. 

Saxon Switzerland (Sächsische Schweiz), Germany

Perhaps Germany’s most famous ‘Switzerland’, the Sächsische Schweiz – Saxon Switzerland – is a region of the eastern state of Saxony on the border with the Czech Republic. 

The region’s sandstone mountains, which produce several unique and striking rock shapes, give the region its name. 

Perhaps the most famous image in the region is the Bastei bridge, a sandstone viewing platform which is one of Germany’s most iconic images. 

Morne Vert, Martinique

While the Caribbean climate does not reflect that of Switzerland, the landscapes in the region of Morne Vert, in Martinique have given it the nickname ‘Little Switzerland’.

Martinique, a French overseas department, also shares the French language with Switzerland. 

Little Switzerland, North Carolina

The town of Little Switzerland in the US state of North Carolina was christened as such in 1910 as a reference to the mountains which surround it. 

Rwanda

The African nation of Rwanda has also earned the nickname ‘Little Switzerland’, due to its lush foliage and mountainous landscapes. 

In recent years, the country’s stability and economic growth – as well as its pull as a tourist destination – has seen it receive the moniker for a range of non-aesthetic reasons. 

The pictures do resemble Switzerland, although as the home to many gorillas, it’s best to ask locals about the best place to hike. 

Anholter Schweiz/Anholter Switzerland

On the Dutch-German border is Anholter Switzerland, a landscape and wildlife park based around a Swiss-esque rock formation. 

The current park, which was built in 1892, features a homage to Switzerland including a replica Lake Lucerne and a wooden Swiss house. 

Anholter Switzerland, on the border between Holland and Australia. Von Frank Vincentz - Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8942658

Anholter Switzerland, on the border between Holland and Australia. Von Frank Vincentz – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, 

Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, Mongolia

The Gorkhi-Terelj National Park is one of Mongolia’s best known national parks – and is also known by the name Mongolian Switzerland. 

While some of the rock formations and foliage represents what you might see in Switzerland, the ever present yurts are a dead giveaway that you are not in Switzerland anymore, Dorothy. 

Turtle Rock in Mongolia - part of Little Switzerland

Switzerland’s influence can be seen as far away as Mongolia. Turtle Rock. By Arabsalam – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0. 

Asturias, Spain

The autonomous Spanish region of Asturias is also called Little Switzerland – and it is not difficult to determine why. 

Bohemian Switzerland, Czech Republic 

While this might be geographically linked with neighbouring Saxony, Bohemian Switzerland has a range of special mountainesque features which resemble Swiss landscapes. 

The Pravčická Archway, otherwise known as the Pravčická Gate or the Prebischtor, is a natural sandstone arch which has been featured in films and was so popular among tourists that it needed to be closed due to fear of erosion. 

Montville, Australia

The town of Montville, located above Brisbane in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, is known as Little Switzerland thanks to its mountainous landscapes and traditional wooden homes and shops. 

Montville, in Queensland, Australia, has been nicknamed Little Switzerland

The traditional wooden homes and buildings in Montville, Queensland, have been nicknamed Little Switzerland. By S. Newrick – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0. 

Drakensberg, South Africa/Lesotho

The Drakensberg is the eastern part of the Great Escarpment in Southern Africa, crossing through both South Africa and Lesotho. 

Due to European settlement, the region became known as Little Switzerland. 

The southern African region of Drakensberg

Drakensberg, in the southern African nations of South Africa and Lesotho. By Diriye Amey from Locarno, Switzerland – South Africa – Drakensberg, CC BY 2.0,

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Reader question: What are the rules if I travel to France via Switzerland?

As the ski season continues many travellers will be coming to the French Alps and often the most convenient route is to fly into Geneva and then cross the border into France - but what does this mean for travel rules?

Reader question: What are the rules if I travel to France via Switzerland?

Question: I will be flying into Geneva with my family and then travelling to a ski resort in France, but I’m confused about whether I have to follow the French travel rules or the Swiss one, or both?

Both France and Switzerland have relaxed their travel rules in recent days, but they do not have the same requirements.

Technically, anyone entering France from an orange list country (including the UK, USA and Canada) via Switzerland must follow the French entry rules for their country of origin, unless they have been in Switzerland for the previous 14 days. In reality the Franco-Swiss border, being a Schengen border, is very lightly policed and travellers are rarely asked for paperwork – that doesn’t mean that it never happens though. 

Into Switzerland – Switzerland has just announced the end of all its travel rules, so you no longer need to show proof of vaccination at the border or fill in an entry form.

Into France – France has relaxed some of its travel rules, but others remain in place.

Fully vaccinated – France still requires proof of vaccination at the border, and you also need to complete a declaration stating that you do not have Covid symptoms, find that HERE.

Not vaccinated – If you’re not vaccinated there are different rules depending on whether you are travelling from an EU or Schengen zone country (including Switzerland) or from outside the EU. Technically, if you’re just passing through Switzerland you should follow the rules for the country of origin.

If you’re not vaccinated and coming from the EU/Schengen zone you need to show a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours (if a PCR test) or 48 hours if you’re using an antigen test.

READ ALSO Can I use a lateral flow test to travel to France?

If you’re not vaccinated and coming from an orange list country, you cannot travel to France unless your trip is essential. You can find the full list of accepted reasons HERE, but it does not include skiing holidays. 

Children

The French testing and vaccine rules apply to all children aged 12 and over, however unvaccinated children over 12 can travel if they are accompanied by fully vaccinated adults.

Vaccine pass

If you decide to stop off in Switzerland you won’t need to show a vaccine pass since the rules were scrapped on February 17th. Masks are also no longer required in the majority of indoor spaces.

Once you get to France, however, the rules are a lot stricter.

The vaccine pass is required for entry to a wide range of venues including bars and cafés, for ski lifts and to access long-distance transport such as TGV trains.

EXPLAINED How France’s vaccine pass works

Children aged 12-15 need a health pass, while those aged 15 and over need a vaccine pass – full details HERE.

For adults, a booster may be required in order to get a valid vaccine pass – full details HERE.

Masks are required in all indoor public spaces, including public transport. The mask rule relaxes on February 28th, but they will still be required after this date in shops and on public transport – full details HERE.

The France-Switzerland border is once again fully open after crossings were limited during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. 

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