Whenever traversing the northern shore of Lac Leman (or Lake Geneva), it’s hard not to be astounded by the terraced vineyards cascading into the lake, nearly 1000 hectares of grape vines, the densest concentration of viticulture in Switzerland. Dedicated a UNESCO Heritage site in 2007, these dry-stone walls have been used to grow wine since the 11th century.
While countless quaint vigneron villages are scattered throughout the Lavaux, the main towns are Vevey and Montreux, with grand belle-epoque hotels and world-class restaurants and shopping in both. Vevey is also famous for one of the best weekly markets in Switzerland, showcasing the seasonal best in local produce and products.
Montreux, on the other hand, is famous for its annual Jazz Festival, started 45 years ago by the late Claude Nobs, which has become a compulsory stop for the finest musicians in the world. Held every July for 2 weeks, the MJF is also a favorite of the artists, as they get to relax on the Leman Riviera, take in other concerts, and enjoy the Swiss summertime on the lake.
Above this region are countless hikes through the vineyards, some of our favorite bike trails from the cog-railed Rochers de Naye train, and inimitable views of the snow-capped Alps across the lake. With everything from high-alpine to an almost Mediterranean climate along the shores, the Swiss Riviera is a world apart from the rest of the Alps.