This year seems to be all about Switzerland. We were with the romantic couple in June for our wedding anniversary Belle Époque train On the way from Zweisimmen to Montreux, I went to Basel in September and two weeks later I was able to get to know the Swiss Riviera in the beautiful canton of Vaud better. In this article we take a little time out on Lake Geneva. We visit historic towns, cute wine villages and explore breathtaking hiking trails.

Canton of Vaud & the Swiss Riviera

Steep slopes, covered in lush vines, slope spectacularly almost down to Lake Geneva. Along the sparkling surface of the water stretch lively towns and small wine villages that have written a lot of history and are waiting to write new stories. Vaud, the French-speaking canton in western Switzerland, immediately captivated me with its scenic and cultural diversity. Every season the landscape presents itself in a new guise: in winter the Alps become a powdered-sugar paradise for families and winter sports enthusiasts. Spring invites you to hike on the Vaud mountain trails with blooming wildflowers. And in summer, the Vaud Riviera on Lake Geneva beckons with water sports activities, music festivals and warm summer nights.

Time out on Lake Geneva: 6 things you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera

But there is no doubt that Vaud (as Vaud is called in French) shines particularly magically in autumn, when the vineyards shine in brilliant shades of gold and red. And I don't just say that because I was there in the fall and it was a pleasant 20 degrees, but because this part of Switzerland feels almost Mediterranean with all the breathtaking views of Lake Geneva, the vines and the mild climate. It's no surprise that not only one celebrity has found his home in this region. In this article I'll tell you exactly who these people are and 6 things and activities that you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera.

Time out on Lake Geneva: 6 things you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera

#1 Vevey – pearl on the Swiss Riviera

Yikes, what is that? A huge fork rises surreally from Lake Geneva. The large fork in front of the Alimentarium food museum is not only an attraction for visitors, but also a popular photo motif. With its impressive height of 8 meters, the extraordinary landmark of Vevey even made it into the Guinness Book of Records in 2014. And yes, I admit it, of course we couldn't resist taking a few photos in front of it. Vevey immediately reminds me of a smaller and slower version of Montreux. The town is also characterized by a palm-lined lake promenade with a view of the Alps, which appear in gentle nuances like a watercolor painting on Lake Geneva. This similarity is hardly surprising since Vevey is located on the Montreux Riviera and the distance to Montreux is just under 8 km.

Time out on Lake Geneva: 6 things you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera

Time out on Lake Geneva in Vevey

The mild climate, the surrounding vineyards and the nostalgic steamboats circling on the lake give Vevey a relaxed atmosphere. In the old town of Vevey, which extends not far from the lake, you will find numerous charming shops, including Lido, the oldest shop in Vevey. There are also many cozy restaurants and cafés. The quaint city center of Vevey may not be an extravagant shopping metropolis, but it offers a relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy an ice cream, drink a tea or simply let yourself go.

Sights in Vevey

  • Charlie Chaplin Museum: The Charlie Chaplin Museum provides more than just a pinch of film history Chaplin's World in Corsier-sur-Vevey. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in the life and art of the legendary comedian in his former home. You won’t find any “Please do not touch” signs here. It is a museum to touch and empathize with his films and his way of working. Visitors are invited to look at the exhibits and installations at their leisure, to be carried away by the old film clips in the studio and to take funny souvenir photos with the numerous wax figures. The museum impresses with its loving details, the abundance of personal anecdotes and a very special atmosphere that makes it unique.
Time out on Lake Geneva: 6 things you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera
  • Château de l'Aile: This fairytale castle on the shores of Lake Geneva is a popular event destination and offers, among other things, an impressive backdrop for romantic wedding celebrations.
  • With the funicular to Mont Pèlerin: In just 11 minutes, the “Funi” funicular takes you through the vineyards to Vevey’s local mountain. Here is a great starting point for hikes and outdoor activities. The luxurious 5-star Mirador Resort & Spa with its own panoramic terrace is also located on Mont-Pèlerin.

#2 Wine tasting in Lavaux

Vaud is particularly known for its wine culture and wine-growing regions. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lavaux is home to some of the most breathtaking wine terraces in Switzerland, which even inspired Prince to write his song “Lavaux”. On a relaxed tour along the Lavaux wine terraces, you can not only taste exquisite Swiss wines, such as the local Chasselas, but also mix in the authentic village life of the numerous original villages such as Espesses and Cully.

The enchanting wine-growing village of Saint-Saphorin is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Switzerland. The medieval village with its picturesque streets and romantic passages forms an inviting backdrop for a relaxed discovery tour. Visitors can find out more about the origins of Lavaux and wine growing in the permanent exhibition “Vineyard Terraces of Lavaux”. Maison Lavaux.

Vacation on Lake Geneva
Vacation on Lake Geneva: Lavaux

#3 Autumn magic in Jongny

Only 6 km from Vevey, Jongny is idyllically located between vineyards and Lake Geneva - at the same time close to numerous attractions. The Charlie Chaplin Museum is within walking distance, Lausanne is only half an hour's drive away and Morges, where Audrey Hepburn's house is located, can also be reached in just 35 minutes by car.

But Jongny himself is also worth seeing. The view here is magnificent, especially in autumn, when the leaves on the vines slowly change color. The best way to experience Jongny's unique spirit is at a wine tasting Domaine de la Toveyre winery experience. The winery is run by the friendly Neyroud family. In a family atmosphere, this wine tasting feels like an evening among good friends. And between Merlot, Chasselas and Pinot Noir the sunset is even more beautiful.


#4 Boat trip on Lake Geneva

The traditional paddle steamers provide a very special change of perspective. These relaxing cruises on Lake Geneva not only offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, but also the opportunity to stop at various lakeside towns. The Ships in the elegant Belle Époque style have been running on the Léman for over 140 years. With a delicious meal and a glass of exquisite Swiss wine in the Belle Époque Salon of the on-board restaurant (reservation required), I briefly feel like I'm in a miniature version of the Titanic. The nostalgic ambience is definitely cinematic, even without the drama and iceberg.

Time out on Lake Geneva: Ship Vevey

Already knew? All boat trips are also included in the Swiss Travel Pass.

#5 Take the panoramic train along Lake Geneva

From one Belle Époque moment to the next: don't miss the opportunity to take a panoramic train ride. For example, with the GoldenPass line or the Montreux-Berner Oberland Railway, both of which offer magnificent views of the varied landscape. The famous Belle Époque train in historical vintage style provides a touch of Orient Express feeling. I will never forget the view of Lake Geneva from the train. You can also find out more about this special train journey in our article Traveling by train in Switzerland ...

#6 Visit Nyon

The historic town of Nyon is known for its enchanting old town. Strolling through the quaint little streets feels like walking through a living history book. Nyon looks back on a rich history that even dates back to Roman times. The well-preserved old town still bears witness to the different eras that shaped the city.

Time out on Lake Geneva: 6 things you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera

The city's historic buildings, including the Château de Nyon, are like windows into the past. The castle itself houses the Historical Museum of the City of Nyon. Here, visitors can not only enjoy the impressive architecture and breathtaking views, but also immerse themselves in the fascinating history of the region.

Nyon Castle

Domaine La Capitaine winery

Nyon is in the renowned wine region Coast And that's where a visit to a winery comes in handy. This is a popular address here Domaine La Capitaine winery. Reynald Parmelin has been producing organic wine at the highest level here for 28 years. It quickly becomes clear during our tour that it is not just a job for him, but a philosophy of life. Before I got into winemaking, I didn't realize how diverse the profession of winemakers could be. Reynald himself has lived and worked all over the world. His son is following in his footsteps and is also currently working at various wineries abroad.

Time out on Lake Geneva: 6 things you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera

Because the art of winemaking does not have to remain rigid and can change over time, Reynald explains to us. While his son is responsible for modern impulses in winemaking, his father likes to stay true to his own classics. Their portfolio therefore includes a selection of classic grape varieties from the Lake Geneva region, including Chasselas, Pinot Noir, Gamay and Gamaret. But also special varieties such as Sauvignon Gris, Gewürztraminer and Johanniter. The striking blue bottles from Domaine La Capitaine are known far beyond the region and have now become their trademark.

More sights in Nyon

  • Roman Museum (Musee Romain): Here visitors can immerse themselves in Nyon's Roman past and admire archaeological finds.
  • Paleo Festival: Annual music festival that is one of the largest open-air events in Switzerland and attracts visitors from all over the world.
  • Musee du Leman: “In, on and around the water” is the motto of this museum, which is dedicated to Lake Geneva, its underwater world and shipping.
  • Le Jardin des Cinq Sens: Just in Switzerland and 20 minutes later in France? This is very easy in Nyon. Only 20 minutes by boat from Nyon opposite, This extraordinary garden is located in the French village of Yvoire.
Time out on Lake Geneva: 6 things you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera
Time out on Lake Geneva: 6 things you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera

Spend the night on Lake Geneva

Hotel du Léman in Jongny

The romantic one Hotel du Leman in Jongny is absolutely idyllic at the foot of the Lavaux wine-growing region. The view of the lake is like a painting, constantly changing from time of day to time, but no less astonishing. From the extensive garden with old trees, guests and visitors can stroll along the vines. The Charlie Chaplin Museum can be reached in just a few minutes on foot and this cozy hotel is absolutely quiet and at the same time ideally located to get an impression of the region. Every morning, a fresh breakfast buffet is served in the bright and modern hotel restaurant. When the weather is nice, you can also have a fantastic breakfast on the spacious terrace.

Time out on Lake Geneva: 6 things you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera
Time out on Lake Geneva: 6 things you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera

Hotel des Trois Couronnes in Vevey

The Hotel des Trois Couronnes is almost a sight in its own right. Founded in the heart of Vevey in 1842, it is not only one of the oldest addresses in the city, but also one of the best. The stylish terrace offers a fantastic view of Vevey's lake promenade.

Time out on Lake Geneva: 6 things you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera

Restaurant tips on Lake Geneva

The region around Lake Geneva is also considered a paradise for foodies. Here is a small but fine selection of restaurants that I particularly remember.

À la Demi-Lune – romance under a half moon

À la Demi-Lune – Oh, the name alone sounds like a mysterious meeting place for lovers, right? And the high number of couples in the restaurant actually spoke volumes. At least on the day our group arrived at this restaurant, we couldn't just feel the crackling of the candles. The ultra-romantic ambience is due in part to the phenomenal view of the Léman above the vineyards, as well as to the refined cuisine. In addition to regular dishes on the menu, there are also various menus.

Tout un Monde – A touch of Santorini in the middle of Switzerland

A fabulous address for small or large appetites after a wine tasting in Lavaux is the “Tout un Monde” in Grandvaux. The view from the spacious summer terrace leaves me briefly confused as to whether we are still in Switzerland or whether we have mysteriously landed on Capri or Santorini. But we don’t have to travel that far, because “Tout un Monde” is completely inspired by Lavaux and Lake Geneva. White walls interspersed with blue accents create a relaxed and inviting ambience.

Time out on Lake Geneva: 6 things you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera

A nice highlight is definitely the sensational view of the Léman, as Lake Geneva is also called in Celtic. And since the eye eats, it doesn't surprise me that the dishes served are aesthetically tailored to the breathtaking landscape. The ingredients used are mainly regional: fresh fish from Lake Geneva, vegetables and wines from Lavaux and the other ingredients largely come from Switzerland.

Time out on Lake Geneva: 6 things you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera

Already knew? As already mentioned, Lake Geneva is called “Léman” in Celtic. It is often mistakenly referred to as “Lac Léman”, which is incorrect, as “Léman” already translates to “the big lake” and therefore does not need an article.

A La Valsante in Vevey – retro ambience in the heart of Vevey

Café & pub at lunchtime, restaurant in the evening – whoever? A La Valsante If you enter Vevey, you might think you have traveled back in time. The restaurant with its round brick ceiling, reminiscent of a wine cellar, exudes the charm of days gone by. It may seem a little old-fashioned, but that's what gives A La Valsante a nostalgic feel that's rarely found these days. A special highlight is the bright red retro bowling alley. Good home-style local cuisine is served at fair prices.

Time out on Lake Geneva: 6 things you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera
Time out on Lake Geneva: 6 things you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera

Auberge de l'Etoile – feasting in the vineyards of Duillier

The on-site restaurant Star Inn is a popular address near Nyon. A little inconspicuous from the outside, the restaurant enchants with an extraordinary ambience and excellent cuisine. The portions are quite generous and the dishes are freshly prepared. The desserts in particular leave nothing to be desired. In summer the terrace is also open, from which guests can enjoy a beautiful view of the vineyards.

Time out on Lake Geneva: 6 things you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera

Arrival to Lake Geneva

The best way to reach the Vaud Riviera is by train. The train journey from Karlsruhe, for example, takes around 2 hours with 3-5 changes. By car it takes about 4 hours. The nearest airport is Geneva Airport.

The Swiss Travel Pass

With this pass Travelers not only receive unlimited travel on trains, buses and boats as well as on the entire public transport network in Switzerland, but also free entry to over 500 museums and attractions across the country. Also included are trips on exclusive panoramic trains such as the Glacier Express. (However, for panoramic trains it is occasionally necessary to make reservations and book them separately.) The pass also offers discounts on mountain railways and cable cars.

Time out on Lake Geneva: 6 things you definitely shouldn't miss on the Swiss Riviera

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This article is part of a media trip emerged.