Switzerland is surrounded by four countries that are part of the European Union: France to the west, Germany to the north, Austria to the east and Italy to the south. A fifth country, Liechtenstein, is sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria.
Switzerland and Liechtenstein are not part of the European Union but are part of the Schengen area and border crossings are free, without passports or controls, although customs duties remain applicable for the transport of goods.
Aosta Valley
Valle d'Aosta is an autonomous Italian region in the northwest of the country, south of the Valais. It has many similarities with this Swiss canton: it is a long valley flanked by counter-valleys that climb to the highest Alpine peaks, the Valais Alps and the Mont Blanc massif to the north and the Gran Paradiso massif to the south.
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is a large region covering about 15% of mainland France, from the Massif Central mountains to the Alps, in the southern half of the country. Its main city is Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France, and two of its departments, Ain and Haute-Savoie, border on Switzerland.
The north-eastern part of Switzerland is bordered by the German Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, on the right bank of the Rhine and on the northern shore of Lake Constance for the greater part of a border that is mostly almost invisible if one disregards the road signs.
Bavaria, world-famous for its Oktoberfest in Munich, is the largest German Bundesland. It does not really border Switzerland, but its southwestern end touches Lake Constance, opposite the Austrian shore.
Burgundy-Franche-Comté is the French administrative region that lies to the west of Switzerland. It comprises two very different regions, Burgundy, the land of great Pinot Noir wines and Dijon mustard, and Franche-Comté, the land of yellow wine, Morteau sausage and Comté cheese.
Grand Est
The Grand Est is a region covering the whole of eastern France, from Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany in the north to Switzerland in the south. In the east, the Rhine River forms the border with Germany, and in the south, the Sundgau region (southern Alsace) borders the Swiss cantons of Jura, Solothurn, Basel-Landschaft and Basel-City.
The Principality of Liechtenstein (Fürstentum Liechtenstein) is a tiny landlocked state between Switzerland and Austria. It is a tax haven that has made it a world-renowned business centre. It is not a Swiss canton, although it is closely linked to the Swiss Confederation through a customs and currency union.
Lombardy is the region in northern Italy just south of the Swiss cantons of Ticino and Graubünden. Its capital Milan is only about 50 km from the Swiss border. It is the most populous region in Italy and the country's leading economic power.
Piedmont, a region in northwestern Italy, takes its name from its geographical location at the foot of the Alps (from the Latin "ad pedem montium", at the foot of the mountains). Its territory, whose capital is Turin (Torino), covers the upper part of the Po basin, the most important Italian river, which crosses the whole north of the country from west to east and flows into the Adriatic Sea.
Trentino-Alto Adige
Trentino-Alto Adige (or Trentino-South Tyrol) is an autonomous, partly German-speaking Alpine region of northern Italy bordering Graubünden to the west and Austrian Tyrol to the north. The region comprises two autonomous provinces, Bolzano, which is officially bilingual, and Trento.
Tyrol is a region in the eastern Alps, straddling Austria and Italy. The former County of Tyrol was divided between the two countries after the First World War, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire was dismembered, and only the northern part is part of Austria.
Vorarlberg is the westernmost Austrian state, bordering Switzerland, Germany and Liechtenstein. Between the shores of Lake Constance and the mountains of the eastern Alps, it is a region that stands out from the rest of Austria.
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