JOURNEYS

Experience the Charming Landscape of Switzerland’s Vaud Region

Golden fields stretch down a hillside to a seaside town

Also known as the Lake Geneva Region, the canton of Vaud extends along sparkling lakes from the peaceful Jura Mountains to the spectacular Alps Vaudoises. Known mainly for its dazzling landscape, this French-speaking part of Switzerland is also a favorite destination for winter sports like skiing and snowshoeing, as well as its vineyards including the Lavaux UNESCO World Heritage site, castles, and medieval towns. On a self-led adventure through the region, you’ll have the chance to experience it all in five days, with stays in the capital city of Lausanne and the resort town of Montreux to soak up the charming scenery, culture, history, and more.

In Lausanne, you’ll have the chance to explore unique attractions like the Olympic Museum, the largely car-free Old Town, and several beautiful parks. You can also look forward to cultural pursuits like seeing a theater production, musical performance, or the world-famous Béjart Ballet, or browsing the art collection at the Fondation de l’Hermitage. In Montreux, you’ll want to fully experience the town’s Mediterranean flair by strolling the palm tree–lined promenades and sipping local wines, but be sure to also save time for a hike through a verdant forest or a visit to the stunning Chillon Castle.

Whatever you decide to do in each destination, Switzerland Tourism will make sure you get the most out of your visit. Head to myswitzerland.com to learn everything you need to know before you go.

Trip Designer

Switzerland Tourism

Devoted to all visitors, Switzerland Tourism works to ensure your stay is truly unforgettable. On myswitzerland.com, the travel specialist provides everything you need to plan the ultimate trip, from attractive offers and detailed info on all kinds of attractions to inspirational photos, links to tourism partners, and an easy-to-use platform for bookings.

Trip Highlight

The Rock Island Castle That Inspired Lord Byron

While in Montreux, you’ll have the chance to tour Chillon Castle, the most-visited historic building in Switzerland, to see its 14th-century wall paintings, subterranean vaults, and perfectly preserved bedrooms.
A town by a bay

DAYS 1-2Lausanne

You’ll start your journey in Lausanne, the second-largest city on Lake Geneva and the capital of the canton of Vaud. Surrounded by vineyard-covered slopes, the town is known for being the Olympic capital—the International Olympic Committee has been based here since 1914 and the Olympic Museum (the world’s largest info center about the Olympic games) is one of the town’s major tourist attractions. There’s also a handsome, mostly car-free Old Town, dominated by a cathedral that’s considered Switzerland’s most impressive example of early Gothic architecture. After checking it out, roam the small alleyways lined with atmospheric cafes and boutiques, or take a stroll through one of Lausanne’s several beautiful parks.

For a culture fix, try a regional specialty like Papet Vaudois (cabbage-stuffed sausage with leek gratin), then head to one of Lausanne’s impressive art museums, like the Fondation de l’Hermitage. Also worth exploring is Plateforme 10, a whole district dedicated to art that joins. Located on the site of Lausanne’s former locomotive sheds, it brings together the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts (which will eventually house the Toms Pauli and Félix Vallotton foundations), the Musée de l’Elysée, and the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts. MCBA opened in 2019, while the other two museums are set to debut in 2022. You could also attend a play, concert, or ballet, or visit Aquatis, the largest freshwater aquarium in Europe.

When you’re ready to get out of the city and into nature, go for a lake cruise on a Belle Epoque boat. In operation for 140 years, the cruises embark and disembark from both the Swiss and French sides of Lake Geneva and offer views of picturesque harbors, castles, vineyards, and snow-covered mountains along the way.

Base your stay in Lausanne at the lovely Hôtel Angleterre and Résidence, spread across four buildings, each with its own distinct style. Close to the Olympic Museum and The Rolex Learning Center, the upscale hotel offers a peaceful stay with Lake Geneva views. You might also consider the Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel and its majestic accommodations right on the lake. Here, the elegantly furnished rooms offer a relaxing atmosphere for recharging.
Green Fields by the sea

DAYS 3-5Montreux

After Lausanne, you’ll move south to the gorgeous resort town of Montreux. Bordered by mountains, vineyards, and Lake Geneva, the city has long attracted artists, writers, and travelers (from Tchaicovsky to Freddie Mercury) in search of gorgeous landscapes and tranquility. Here, you’ll find sheltered bays, palm tree–lined promenades, and meadows filled with blossoming wild narcissus. Beyond the beautiful scenery, Montreux offers winter adventure in the form of skiing and snowshoeing, as well as a rich culture, with museums, castles, and popular festivals.

If you’re visiting during the winter, hit the slopes at Les Rochers-de-Naye ski resort, then warm up at one of Montreux’s many cozy restaurants serving traditional Swiss dishes. If it’s summer, start your visit with a hike through the surrounding forests and enjoy some seriously impressive views.

The next day, make time to visit Chillon Castle, perched on the banks of Lake Geneva where Romans once guarded the strategic road through the Alpine passes there. The historic site served as the residence and profitable toll station of the Counts of Savoy for nearly four centuries. Spread across 25 buildings and three courtyards, the property is protected by two circular walls. Inside, you’ll find parade halls, and intact bedrooms dating back to the time of Bernese rule. Take a guided tour or simply use the audiovisual presentations throughout the castle to learn more.

On your final day, you could continue on your culture crusade and tour Chaplin’s World, a museum located on the former country estate of the Chaplin family in nearby Corsier-sur-Vevey. Walk through the manor house and its huge park to learn about the actor’s private life, then head to the new building, which focuses on his artistic works. If you’re up for something a bit more delicious, however, you should tour the world-heritage-designated Lavaux region and its steep, terraced vineyards. The source of Switzerland’s Grand Cru, the area features nearly 2,000 acres of vineyards, explorable by train, bike, or even just walking. Stop into any of the various wineries to taste locally produced vintages in authentic cellars, learn more about Lavaux’s wine-growing culture, and toast to a vacation well spent.

While in Montreux, stay at the Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic, a classic Belle Époque property ideally located across from Lake Geneva, or the Eden Palace au Lac, which offers bright, elegant rooms and private villas, gourmet breakfasts, and terrace dining with lake views.