Vaud Brings The Whoa To The Swiss Riviera

Although mentions of Switzerland often bring to mind sprawling mountains with ice caps of snow, its ample beauty spills over to the coasts, especially along Lake Geneva, the largest lake in the country as well as of France and the Alps. Cradling the northern, eastern and western banks is the Canton of Vaud, also known as the Swiss Riviera. Here, the water seems to nourish a vibrant bed of gastronomy, creativity and, since 1915, the palpable sense of Olympism as the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The GoldenPass Express.

One of the most scenic ways to get to Vaud is via The GoldenPass Express, one of Switzerland’s most picturesque train routes. Panoramic windows give you full uninterrupted views as you swish seamlessly through majestic peaks to the Vaud Riviera, all in an exceptional three hours and 15 minutes. For best comfort, service and, did we mention, view, the Prestige class is highly recommended, with 180-degree swivel chairs with heated seats that are also raised by 40cm to allow full immersion into the passing landscape.

The Montreux Riviera.

It will bring you right into Montreux, the charming traditional resort town also known as the Pearl of Lake Geneva. In the spring, flowers bursting with the most vibrant colours line its promenades, while Mediterranean trees and magnificent Alpine background set a fitting backdrop to its grand Belle Epoque buildings. Old and new co-exist here like a harmonious illustration of Switzerland’s past and present. Just offshore is the medieval island castle, Château de Chillon, with ramparts, formal halls and a chapel with 14th century murals, while a little further down stands the modern institution that is The Swiss Education Group housed within an equally contemporary building. This world-renowned hospitality and hotel management school has laid the foundation for generations of unrivalled Swiss hospitality that we have come to know globally.

Experience the essence of Vevey at Hotel Des Trois Couronnes & Spa, a peaceful haven that combines beauty, relaxation and discovery in the heart of the Swiss Riviera, affording breathtaking views of Lake Geneva and the Alps.

Gastronomy sizzles a lively spark in the town of Vevey, where cuisine is imagined in concepts that bounce in all ways out of the box. One such gem is Ze Fork, a fun outpost housed in a period house just on the water’s edge, that borrows its name from the famous giant fork planted in the lake right opposite it. Wine lovers will love Vevey for a centuries-old tradition that takes place only once every 20-odd years. The Fête des Vignerons, or Winegrowers’ Festival, has been inscribed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage that transforms almost the entirety of Vevey into a giant outdoor theatre to celebrate the crafts of grape-growing and wine-making. First organised in 1797 by the Confrérie des Vignerons, a society that dates back to medieval times, the festival takes place only approximately five times in a century—reflecting the life of a grape vine—and has evolved into a veritable artistic extravaganza involving poets, musicians and choreographers.

The UNESCO-listed vineyards of Lavaux.

Should time not align for you to catch the Fête des Vignerons—the last one was held in 2019—the neighbouring Lavaux vineyard terraces bring a sweeter visit you can actually taste. Also UNESCO-listed, the family-owned vineyards here grow vines on staccatoed terraces, criss-crossed with marked trails to produce in big majority the prized Chasselas, the King of Vines. Emblematic of French-speaking Switzerland, the Chasselas benefits from the ‘three suns’ of Lavaux—from the sun itself, from the reflection of its rays on the lake, and from the heat absorbed by the walls of the terraced vineyards during the day and released to the plants at night. This results in wine that is adaptable to the palate, flexible to culinary combinations, and easy to drink without becoming boring.

See, taste and experience the best of Lausanne from The Beau-Rivage Palace, a product of the finest Swiss hotel tradition since 1861.

A visit to Vaud is not complete without a pop into its capital Lausanne, Olympic City since 1915 and Olympic Capital since 1994. At the Olympic Museum located front and centre along Quay D’Ouchy, experience a marathon of emotions as you walk through the world’s largest and most comprehensive Olympic collection, relive great Olympic moments, and feel the pulse of the champions, all in one place. Exhibitions tell the long history of the Games and interactive activities immerse you into its colourful influence. More than just a museum, it serves as the visitor centre for everything to know about the Games as well as a place for fans to come home to where it all began.

The Olympic Museum.

It is not without reason that Vaud, from Montreux all the way to Lausanne, has steadily attracted and charmed visitors from all over the world. After all, there must be something to a place that writers and creatives the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Graham Green, Mary Shelley, Charlie Chaplin and Freddie Mercury all equally fell in love with.


Lead image: Discover surprising gems of gastronomy, creativity and Olympism in Vaud, also known as the Swiss Riviera.

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