Water has left its mark on much of northern Switzerland – from the River Rhine and Lake Constance on the border with Germany to lakes Zurich and Walen at the northern edge of the Alps.This content was published on April 11, 2006 - 17:29
Well-marked bicycle trails follow the course of the Rhine, which for millennia served as an important trading route.
Viewing platforms have been built out over the mighty Rhine Falls, which were once an important source of power for key industries, and the fertile slopes of Lake Constance have long supported fruit-growing and wine production, and now visitors are drawn by the mild climate.
The thermal baths of Baden, downriver from Zurich, have been attracting people since Roman times.
The mineral content of the springs is claimed to be the highest in Switzerland.
The well-preserved old town also boasts an excellent Impressionist art gallery and a museum dedicated to children.
Stein am Rhein
Stein am Rhein on the River Rhine and Rapperswil on Lake Zurich are two of the finest examples of town preservation, while the centres of the larger cities of Schaffhausen, Winterthur and St Gallen have retained much of their ancient charm.
Moving eastwards along the waterways from Lake Zurich, travellers find themselves in an alpine landscape.
"Heidiland" is made up of a number of ski resorts and bucolic villages, and not surprisingly, is the area which inspired Johanna Spyri to write Heidi.
The jagged peaks of the Churfirsten chain loom over the remote Toggenburg valley.
It is no wonder legends of crazed hags and hermits still haunt the area.
The Appenzell region in the northeast corner is a land of rolling hills and picturesque farms where time-honoured traditions are kept better than anywhere else in the country.
swissinfo, Dale Bechtel
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