Switzerland Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

Switzerland: population and cities


According to Countryaah website, Switzerland has around 8.6 million residents – slightly less than 24% of them are foreigners.

Ethnic composition

Mainly Swiss live here, along with around 299,000 Italians, 291,000 Germans, 250,000 Portuguese, 69,000 French and 74,000 Spaniards.

Religious affiliation

41.8% of the Swiss are followers of the Roman Catholic Church, 35.3% are Protestants, 4.3% Muslims, 1.8% Orthodox Christians, 0.2% Jews and 11.1% are non-denominational or followers of other religious communities.

National languages

Switzerland has the following official national languages:

  • German is spoken by around 64% of the population.
  • French is spoken by approximately 19% of the population.
  • Italian is spoken by approximately 7.6% of the population.
  • Romansh is spoken by around 40,000 people (0.6%). A total of five dialects can be distinguished.

Capital and cities

The capital and seat of government of Switzerland is Bern, with a population of around 130,000. Officially, however, one does not speak of the capital, but of the federal city. According to Abbreviation Finder, SUI stands for Switzerland in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym.

Other cities are:

  • Zurich with around 415,500 residents
  • Geneva with around 202,000 residents
  • Basel with around 172,000 residents
  • Lausanne with around 116,000 residents
  • Sankt Gallen with around 76,000 residents
  • Lucerne with around 81,500 residents

Switzerland: geography, map

Switzerland covers an area of 41,285 km². Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of Switzerland. Thereof:

  • MountainsAround 60% of the country is taken up by the Alps and around 10% by the Jura.
  • ForestAround 25% of the country is forested.
  • Meadow and pasture landAround 46% of the land is used as meadow or pasture land.
  • Arable land and fieldsAround 6% of the land is used as arable land or fields.

National borders

Switzerland has a common border with a total of five countries:

  • Austria including Lake Constance of around 180 km
  • France of around 585 km
  • Italy including the Campione d´talia enclave of around 800 km
  • Principality of Liechtenstein of around 41 km
  • Germany including Lake Constance and the Büsingen enclave of around 361 km

Longitude and latitude

Switzerland extends (rounded) over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from around 46 ° to 48 ° north latitude Δλ = from around 6 ° to 11 ° east longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.


Central European Time (CET) applies in Switzerland.

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

The highest point of the sun in Bern

Bern, the capital of Switzerland, is located at a north latitude of around φ = 47 °.

If the sun is at the tropic, i.e. at δ = 23.5 °, summer begins in Bern, this is June 21.

Then, for the highest position of the sun at noon, according to Eq. 1 (see position of the sun):

47 ° = (90 ° – h) + 23.5 °


H = 66.5 °

At 66.5 ° above the horizon, the sun reached its highest level of the whole year on June 21 at midday in Bern.

Mountains, Dufourspitze

Jungfrau, Mönch, Eiger

Jungfrau, Mönch, Eiger, the three mountains lie next to each other, whereby the Mönch (4,107 m) lies between the Eiger (3,970 m) with the famous Eiger north face and the Jungrau (4,158 m).

In 2001, Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch, along with the neighboring areas – such as the Aletsch Glacier – were included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as the Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn.

The north face of the Eiger was climbed for the first time in 1938 by the rope team with the two Germans Anderl Heckmair and Heinrich Harrer as well as the Austrians Ludwig Vörg and Fritz Kasparek. The great mountaineers like the French Gaston Rébuffat, the Austrians Hermann Buhl and Kurt Diemberger and the South Tyrolean Reinhold Messner later also climbed the wall.


The highest mountain in the country is the Dufourspitze in the Monte Rosa massif in Valais near Zermatt with a height of 4,634 m. Although the top is in Switzerland, parts of the mountain are also in Italian territory. Therefore it is not considered by many as “the” highest mountain in Switzerland.


The cathedral – with a height of 4,545 m – is located entirely on the territory of Switzerland. It is therefore often regarded as the true highest mountain in Switzerland. It is located in the Valais Alps and belongs to the Mischabel group, the second highest mountain massif in Switzerland after the Monte Rosa massif. The mountain was climbed for the first time on September 11, 1858 by J. Llewellyn Davies, Johann Zumtaugwald, Johann Kronig and Hieronymous Brantschen.


The Weißhorn has a height of 4,506 m. The mountain lies in the Valais Alps. The first ascent was made on August 19, 1861 by Johann Joseph Brennen, the British John Tyndall and Ulrich Wenger.


The Matterhorn with a height of 4,478 m is not the highest but without a doubt the most famous mountain in Switzerland. It lies between Zermatt in Switzerland and Breuil-Cervinia in Italy. It was first established on July 14, 1865 under the direction of the British mountaineer Edward Whymper and Michel-Auguste Croz from Chamonix, the British Francis Douglas, the British Douglas R. Hadow, the British clergyman Charles and by Peter Taugwalder and his son Peter Climbed the Taugwalder from Zermatt. Four of the rope team died on the descent – only Whymper and his father and son Taugwalder returned to Zermatt unharmed.

Dent Blanche

The Dent Blanche with a height of 4,357 m. The mountain lies in the Valais Alps entirely on the territory of Switzerland. The first ascent was made on July 18, 1862 by mountaineers Jean-Baptiste Croz, Thomas Stuart Kennedy, Johann Kronig and William Wigram

The Rhine

According to some authors, the Rhine rises in Tomasse in the Swiss canton of Graubünden. But there are some source rivers further away from the mouth that other authors consider to be sources of the Rhine, such as the source of the “Rein da Medel” in the canton of Ticino in the catchment area of the Hinterrhein. Depending on the source, the Rhine has a length of 1,320 km (from Tomasee) or 1,391 km. The Tomasee lies at an altitude of 2,345 m in the catchment area of the Vorderrhein. The Vorderrhein rises in the approx. 3,000 m high area of the Gotthard tunnel and flows through the famous Flims Gorge. The Hinterrhein lies further east and is coming

At Tamins, a municipality 10 km west of Chur in the canton of Graubünden, the Vorderrhein and Hinterrhein flow together to form the “Alpine Rhine”. This Alpine Rhine is around 100 km long and – as mentioned – forms the border between Liechtenstein and Switzerland and, further north, part of the border between Switzerland and Austria.

West of Bregenz, the Alpine Rhine flows into the Upper Lake – part of Lake Constance – then through the Rhine Lake and at the end of the Lower Lake it leaves Lake Constance at Stein am Rhein. At Schaffhausen in Switzerland, it plunges down as a waterfall over a height difference of m. The Rhine Falls of Schaffhausen – the most spectacular part of the “Scheizer Rhine” – is impassable for all types of ships and fish (except eels). With a height of 23 m and a width of 150 m, it is the largest waterfall in Europe after Dettifoss on Iceland.

At Hoek van Holland the “Rhine” then flows into the North Sea.

The entire Rhine from the source to the mouth is divided into the following sections:

Area of the source rivers

Alpine Rhine

described in the text above The Alpine Rhine extends from the confluence of the front and rear Rhine to Lake Constance (Oberer See) near Bregenz.

Obersee, Seerhein and Untersee (together Lake Constance)

From the Obersee the Rhine flows through the Seerhein and the Untere See, which ends at Stein am Rhein.

Upper Rhine

The Upper Rhine begins in Stein am Rhein, at the end of Lake Constance, and extends to Basel

Upper Rhine

The Upper Rhine begins in Basel and extends to the Binger Loch


The Middle Rhine begins at the Binger Loch and extends to Bonn.

At Sankt Goarshausen in Rhineland-Palatinate, it passes the Loreley, an approximately 125 m high slate rock on the right bank of the Rhine, which was immortalized by Heinrich Heine’s poem.

Lower Rhine

The Lower Rhine begins in Bonn and extends to the Rhine-Maas delta

Rhine-Maas delta

The Rhine-Maas delta consists of a branched river delta that is formed before the confluence of the Rhine and Maas into the North Sea. The Meuse rises in France, flows through Belgium and flows into the North Sea after approx. 925 km in this delta.

Cities on the Rhine:















Tributaries of the Rhine (alphabetically), the river lengths are rounded up or down:

Name of the river Estuary in section of the Rhine Length of the river in km
Aare Upper Rhine 290
Ahr Middle Rhine 90
Old Issel Rhine-Maas Delta 80
Bad Obersee (Lake Constance) 80
Berkel Rhine-Maas Delta 110
Birs Upper Rhine 75
Bregenz Oh Obersee (Lake Constance) 80
Elz Upper Rhine 90
Emscher Lower Rhine 85
Erft Lower Rhine 105
Ill Upper Rhine 210
Lahn Middle Rhine 245
lip Lower Rhine 220
Meuse Rhine-Maas Delta 920
Main Upper Rhine 525
Moder Upper Rhine 95
Moselle Middle Rhine 545
Murg Upper Rhine 80
Near Upper Rhine 115
Neckar Upper Rhine 365
Oude Maas Rhine-Maas Delta 30
Dysentery Lower Rhine 220
Angry Upper Rhine 70
victory Lower Rhine 155
Thur Upper Rhine 130
Wied Middle Rhine 100
Wupper Lower Rhine 120
Wutach Upper Rhine 90

More rivers


With a length of around 295 km, the Aare is the longest river that flows entirely in Switzerland. It is a tributary of the Rhine, into which it flows near Koblenz in the canton of Aargau in Switzerland. Their source is in the Aar glaciers in the Grimsel area. The two Swiss cities of Bern and Thun are located on the Aare.


The Rhone with a total length of around 812 km has its source in the canton of Valais on the Rhone Glacier in Switzerland. It flows into a wide river delta near the city of Arles in France in the Mediterranean Sea. The following larger cities in Switzerland are located on the river: Brig, Sion (Sitten), Geneva and the following French cities: Lyon as well as Arles and Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône.


The Reuss is a river that only flows in Switzerland and with a length of around 165 km it is the fourth longest river in Switzerland. It rises on the Gotthard Pass and Furka Pass as Gotthardreuss and Furkareuss, which unite in the Urserental. At Flüelen the Reuss flows into Lake Lucerne, which it leaves again at Lucerne. It then flows into the Aare below Windisch.

Linth – Limmat

Linth – Limmat with a length of around 140 km. The Linth rises in the Swiss canton of Glarus and flows into Lake Zurich after a distance of around 105 km. The Limmat River then leaves the lake and flows into the Aare after around 35 km near Brugg in the canton of Aargau.


The Thur with a length of 134 km is a river that only flows in Switzerland. The river is created by the confluence of the Säntisthur and the Wildhauser Thur at Unterwasser. Its confluence with the Rhine lies near the small community of Flaach and the village of Ellikon in the community of Marthalen.


The Saane is a purely Swiss river with a length of 128.5 km. It rises above Gsteig on the Sanetschhorn below the Col du Sénin as La Sarine. In its course it flows into the Gruyère lake and from there further north to Freiburg and then through the “Schiffenensee” reservoir. It flows into the Aare to the west of Bern. At Schiffenensee, the river is spanned by the 335 m long and 82 m high Grandfey Viaduct on the railway line from Bern to Freiburg.


The Inn with a length of 104 km within Switzerland and a total length of 517 km rises at the Malojapass in the Swiss Engadin at an altitude of 2,484 m. In addition to Switzerland, the river also flows through Austria and Germany, where it flows into the Danube near Passau. The following Austrian cities are on the river: Braunau, Hall in Tirol, Imst, Innsbruck, Kufstein, Landeck, Schärding, Wörgl and the following German cities: Altötting, Mühldorf, Passau Töging, Rosenheim and Wasserburg,


Lake Geneva (Lac Léman)

The country includes numerous smaller and larger lakes. The largest lake is Lake Geneva with a total area of around 582 km², of which 348 km² belongs to Switzerland and 234 km² to France. On the Swiss side are Geneva on the southern tip and Lausanne on the north bank, Montreux on the east bank and Vevey on the north-east bank of the lake and approx. 15 km from Lausanne. On the French side are Thonon-les-Bains and Évian.

Other larger lakes are:

Lake Constance Lake

Constance covers an area of around 536 km², with Obersee 473 km² and Untersee 63 km². The Lake Rhine, between Kreuzlingen and Konstanz, and the Untersee are divided by a border between Switzerland and Germany. The Überlinger See is part of Germany. The rest of the lake with a depth of more than 25 m is jointly managed as a so-called condomium by Austria, Germany and Switzerland. All three states have sovereign rights in this sea area.

Other large lakes in Switzerland are:

  • Lake Neuchâtel with an area of around 218 km²
  • Langensee with an area of around 212 km²
  • Vierwaldstättersee with an area of 114 km ²
  • Lake Zurich with an area of around 90 km²
  • Lake Lugano with an area of around 49 km²
  • Lake Thun with an area of around 48 km²
  • Lake Biel with an area of around 40 km²

The region of Lake Lucerne was hit by a severe earthquake in 1601, which resulted in a kind of tsunami with a tidal wave about 4 m high.


Juf in Graubünden is something special. Juf is a district of Aves in the Avestal and has around 30 residents. The place is at an altitude of up to 2,126 m and is therefore the highest continuously inhabited place in the Alpine region. There is a hostel and two chair lifts in the village.

Switzerland Population