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5% by the end of 2009. 5% by 2009, say economists. As a global financial centre and guardian to a substantial chunk of the world’s offshore funds, Switzerland is synonymous with numbered accounts and financial secrecy. Every Swiss canton sets its own tax rates, prompting individuals and businesses to ‘play’ the canton market: Zug entices tycoons with Switzerland’s lowest income and corporate tax rates and breaks, Click here. 1%) for all, rich and poor alike. ON GUARD ‘The Swiss are most armed and most free’, wrote Machiavelli.

Mid-August to late October generally has fairly settled weather, and is a good period for hiking trips. For more on when to walk, Click here. In Alpine resorts the busy winter season kicks off mid-December and moves into full swing from Christmas onwards, closing down again when the snows start to melt around mid-April. Between the summer and winter seasons, Alpine resorts close down (except where year-round glacier skiing is on offer) or, at best, go into frustrating snooze mode. HOW MUCH? 50 Then, of course, there is Switzerland’s fabulous fiesta of festivals around which to plan a trip: it parties year-round, although Switzerland’s renowned international music festivals happen in summer, as do some of those lesser-known, decidedly eclectic local festivals that best express the country’s deep-rooted Alpine culture Click here.

Integrating the country’s nonmotorised traffic routes, it maps out 22 national routes and 147 regional routes for walkers (6300km), cyclists (8500km), mountain bikers (3300km), rollerbladers/skaters (1000km) and canoeists (250km). Every route is perfectly signposted; sections suitable for families are flagged accordingly; and each comes with a list of relevant hire outlets, accommodation options, public-transport connections, striking landscapes and nature spots en route, digital maps and so on.

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