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The Jura Mountains

Welcome to Switzerland's not-so-wild west, where there are plenty of cows, fewer cowboys and it's quite possible that a gun has never been slung. It's incredibly peaceful up here, almost maddeningly so. This low-mountainous peripheral region, little known by overseas visitors, is known throughout Switzerland as a nice place to visit, but not a place where anybody wants to live. For those reasons, the Jura is often unfairly overlooked – but that just makes it all the more appealing.

If walks among sleepy medieval hamlets that rarely see a tour bus, strolls among undulating fields of verdant green and hikes through ancient forests to rocky outcrops overlooking a trio of lakes against an Alpine backdrop sounds like your Swiss fantasy come true, then the Jura is for you.

Highlights include the villages of Porrentruy and St Ursanne; the Val de Travers, where you might spy a green absinthe fairy; and the unmissable Creux du Van.