One of the prettiest places on the shores of Lake Geneva (Léman) is certainly Lavaux, in Canton Vaud - western Switzerland. Lavaux, a UNESCO World Heritage site, counts 830 hectares of terraced vineyards. Overall, the whole Lavaux-Oron region spans over 30 kilometres along the lakeside, between Lausanne and Vevey.
This “land of the vineyards” is nestled between Lake Geneva on the southern border and the hilltops on the north side. If you cross the area, you can still enjoy the views of this fascinating place. You can catch a glimpse from the motorway as well as from on board the trains connecting Lausanne to Fribourg/Freiburg, the Swiss Midlands, and Zurich. Alternatively, the scenery from the road and the railway connecting Lausanne to Vevey and Montreux along the lake is also spectacular.
Vineyards in the area have been reported since the 11th century; they presumably had existed even several centuries earlier, when the Romans settled in the region. With the sun reflecting on the mirror-like surface of Lake Geneva and the heat radiating from the stone walls, the place is indeed best suited for vine cultures. More recently, the vineyards were threatened by urbanization during the 1960s: fortunately, the local authorities chose to protect Lavaux and its vineyards. Since 2007, Lavaux and its vineyards are listed among the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Apart from the wine-producing buildings (well hidden), the few lovely traditional villages scattered among the vineyards make this place simply charming.
The best way to discover this special place is probably walking on the 32-kilometre path stretching between the Olympic Museum of Ouchy near Lausanne and the medieval fairy tale castle of Chillon, close to Montreux. This path will take you through the eight different Appellations of Controlled Origin vines. You should definitely stop at least one of the different wine cooperatives along the way: There, you can taste the famous wines produced in Lavaux - the Chasselas is the emblematic wine of the region. At Vinorama, you can taste up to 300 types of wine! A great experience not only for connoisseurs. There, you can also learn the history of Lavaux and its culture of vines. To have a closer look at the vineyards, you can walk just from the rear of the Vinorama through the steep stone stairs: In only a few minutes walk, you will be in the middle of the vineyard. An excellent place to take beautiful pictures of the vines “diving” into Lake Geneva! We're very happy to share some of our sights in this story!
An additional tip: To enjoy a lovely view of the region from another impressive perspective, you can hop on the Vevey-Chardonne-Mt-Pèlerin funicular snaking through the vineyards, taking you up to Mont Pèlerin.
Autumn is probably the best season to discover Lavaux vineyards. Especially on a sunny day, the sun reflects on the blue waters of Lake Geneva and the vine leaves turn yellow before falling off. At sunset, it is even more romantic... The landscape is so grandiose that, honestly speaking, any time of year Lavaux and its scenery are worth the visit.
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