July 12, 2024

Montreux Riviera – Food, wine, festivals, mountains and a lake you can swim in!

Evian on the south side of Lake Geneva produces water. That’s all well and good and terribly healthy but for more fun hop a boat to the lake’s northern coast, where you will find yourself in the wine-growing region of Switzerland’s Montreux Riviera. This is Lavaux, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of ancient terraced vineyards overhanging the lake between Lutry and Montreux.

A short forty-five minutes from the ski slopes, Montreux Riviera offers a wide choice of activities, although sipping drinks by the lakeside might well be as active as you want to get. If not, you can head onto the vineyards on the Wine Train that leaves from Vevey, climbing the sides of the magnificent Lavaux vineyards.

Less than an hour from Geneva airport (flight time from London around 1 hr 20 mins), the Riviera nestles between the mountains and the lake and has a micro-climate that even allows for the cultivation of palm trees and exotic flowers. There is lots to see and do, but don’t forget that Lake Geneva is safe for swimming. You can jump in off the rocks at many places along the coast and on a hot Swiss summer day it is a great experience. In winter it would be more bracing, but if you’ve survived swimming in the sea in England you will be more than able to cope.

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The cogwheel train between Montreux on the coast and Les Rochers-de-Naye (at an altitude of 2,042m) is worth taking, not just to experience the alarming angle at which it can travel. Be warned, that horizontal shelf on which you put you camera when you get on won’t stay horizontal for long. The train is noisy, slow and hot, but each tunnel shoots a refreshing blast of cold air into the carriage. It crawls up the mountain side above the lake, over narrow bridges and large drops, through forests of tall trees. Les Rochers-de-Naye has two restaurants, the Marmots Paradise centre and an alpine garden, but wherever you get off you’ll have a stunning view of the lake.

For foodies the Montreux Riviera is a treat, with gourmet menus and local specialities available in restaurants across the region. The local restaurants have earned 9 Michelin stars and 337 points in the GaultMillau guide for 2014. Recommended for its local perch fillets and home-made sauce tartar is the Auberge de la Gare in Grand Vaux. Here you can eat on the shaded terrace with views of the Lake and the Alps, and if you time it right, a local train or two on its way along the lakeside.

The region is famous for festivals, with the Montreux Jazz Festival top of the list. But the Riviera is not just the Montreux Jazz Festival. There are many other festivals spread throughout the year, including the Montreux comedy festival, Lavaux Passion wine weekend, a street performance fest, a Christmas market and – if you can’t get enough bebop – the Cully Jazz Festival.

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Famous residents in this French-speaking Switzerland include Freddie Mercury in Montreux and Charlie Chaplin in Vevey, where a museum (Chaplin World!) will open next year. But it’s an area with a much older history than LPs and movies. This is demonstrated by the lakeside Chilon castle. Built in the 13th century by the Counts of Savoy this fortress-cum-princely residence is one of Switzerland’s most visited sites.

Local travel is covered by the Montreux Riviera card which you can get for free from your hotel.  This enables you to travel for free on the regional public transports network mobilis (between Vevey and Villeneuve), and gives reductions on alpine transports, a cruise and a selection of museum and amusement park entrance tickets.

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 09.37.56Click the image for more images from Montreux Riviera

For more images and information you can download the new app – search the App Store for Montreux Riviera.

There is lots more to experience on the Riviera. Click below for more details.

More details about the area

The Flaneur flew with SWISS to Geneva. Book tickets and find other destinations here








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