I have been to Switzerland at least six times. Recently I sat down with my daughter who has worked at a hotel at Interlaken in Switzerland during her years in Business Administration at McGill - up to last summer - and we went over the Switzerland guides to see how they ranked, and what was currently the best guide in our humble opinions. We are not experts but have certain requirements and preferences. It helps if one can get a feel for the area in advance of a trip, and generally that is helped by good maps and color photos. So those guides do better in our review. We like to make reservations by internet and telephone and just use the Guide as a "guide".
Generally it costs more to publish a book with color photos so when all else is reasonably equal, one feels that they get better value with a guide with photos. Also we wanted to see if the ambiance at certain hotels and resorts was accurately portrayed in the text based on our knowledge. So those aspects of the guides determine our ranking. Incidentally all the books are excellent. When we did our review the new DK Eyewitness guide was not yet available, but in any case it will be short, under 400 pages.
For the Swiss guides we separated the guides into three groups, 5, 4, and 3 stars.
5 Stars (this group has nice color photos plus maps and text).
A. Green Guide to Switzerland published February 2001 by Michelin, 395 pages, $14., ranked 24,380 on Amazon.com, 0.64" x 9.4" x 4.7", lots of photos, maps, text, accurate portrayal of areas. Gives a nice idea of what you will find. Goes right down to small villages in detail even though it is just 395 pages. First choice.
B. Lonely Planet Switzerland published July 2003, 335 pages, $ 14., ranked 29,913 on Amazon.com, .69" x 6.42" x 6.5". Solid effort, lots of good photos and descriptions.
4 Stars (this group mainly text and maps).
C. Rough Guide to Switzerland published June 2003, 704 pages, $13.27, ranked 30,209 on Amazon.com, 1.08" x 7.8" x 6.38". Solid effort lots of things to see and do and best "text and maps only" books.
D. Frommer's Switzerland published February 2003, 512 pages, $15.39, ranked 47,638 on Amazon.com, 1.1" x 8.5" x 5.08". Similar to Rough Guide but shorter.
E. Fodor's Guide to Switzerland 42 edition, published December 2002, 448 pages, $14.7, ranked highest in group on Amazon.com at 3,172, 1.2" x 8.98" x 5.01". The smallest in the group, do not know why it is so popular?.
F. Michelin Red Guide published in 2004, 563 pages but in four languages: Italian, French, German and English so English sections are just a fraction of the book.