6 reasons to visit the Lake Geneva Region of Switzerland
RAISE A GLASS TO OPEN CELLARS IN VAUD
The vineyards of Vaud are justly celebrated, with the Lavaux Region recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. With six wine regions and eight appellations, this is one of the country’s richest wine regions. During the month of May, visitors have a chance to learn, taste and meet celebrated vintners at Open Cellars in Vaud. A CHF 20 ($21) pass is good for two days of tastings in the Vaud cellars and the opportunity to preview and discover vintages from the 2016 harvest, including Chasselas. http://ete.myvaud.ch
LAUSANNE À TABLE
Lausanne à Table is back for the seventh year, from April to December 2018, with more than 80 culinary events in the capital of the Vaud Region. From fondue dinners and street food to picnics, brunches and cooking workshops, Lausanne à Table is a public celebration of traditional and cutting-edge gastronomy in this vibrant city overlooking the lake. During Lausanne à Table is the Miam Festival, on May 19-21, at Place de la Riponne in Lausanne. It brings together the crème de la crème of local restaurants, caterers, food trucks, craftspeople, producers and gastronomic shops. www.lausanneatable.ch
One of the coolest jazz festivals in Europe takes place in the heart of the Swiss Riviera. This year marks the 36th annual Cully Jazz Festival, an extraordinary musical event that will be held from April 13-21, 2018. More than 55,000 people are expected to attend a series of intimate performances in the lakeside wine village of Cully, at the foot of the UNESCO Lavaux vineyards. Headliners this year include David Krakauer & Kathleen Taag, Joshua Redman, Fatoumata Diawara, Jordan Rakei, Raul Midon, Renaud Garcia-Fons and the Blind Boys of Alabama. The music continues in local wine cellars and cafes throughout the village. Go to www.cullyjazz.ch for information and ticketing for this year’s festival.
TOUR DES ALPES VAUDOIS
Touring the Alpes Vaudois by bike is a great way to experience the remarkable mountains of the region firsthand. A company called Grand Tours Project has created a four-day bike trip through the region’s most famous passes: Col des Mosses, Col du Pillon and Col de la Croix, which link the mountain resorts of Les Diablerets, Château d’Oex, Villars and Gryon. There’s also easy riding in the Rhone Valley, all on roads with little traffic and in excellent condition. The Vaud region is a center for world cycling, home to the headquarters of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and a regular host of stages of the Tour de Romandie and the Tour de Suisse. There are scheduled departures of this tour in July, August and September, as well as self-guided options. Visit https://grandtoursproject.com
SPRING FLOWERS IN VAUD
All along Lake Geneva, spring announces itself with colorful blossoms that last for weeks. On the hillsides and meadows above Montreux and Vevey, a sure sign of spring are the fields of wild narcissus that bloom and transform the meadows above into what locals call the “May snow.” The white flowers appear between April and June and there are dedicated paths for walkers and hikers to stroll along fields of narcissi. The website www.narcisses.com has information on the timing of the blooming and even guided narcissus tours in the mountains. In Morges, every spring is marked by the Tulip Festival at Parc de l’Indépendance along the shores of Lake Geneva. This free festival lasts six weeks, from March 31 to May 6, with more than 120,000 tulips of 300 varieties blooming in succession. Go to www.morges-tourisme.ch for more information. Finally, the Château de Vullierens has remarkable gardens with thousands of irises, roses and daylilies. They surround some equally compelling outdoor works by internationally-recognized sculptors. At the moment, those include 16 “rocks ” of stainless steel by the Belgian artist/designer Pol Quadens and Judgement Day, a forest of cat sculptures by the English sculptor Laura Ford. Now open for the 63rd year, the gardens have a welcoming café that serves brunch. Open from 28th April to 28th July 2018. www.chateauvullierens.ch
FREE ACCESS CARD IN VILLARS, GRYON AND LES DIABLERETS
Take a cable car, try out a ropes course or experience an adventure circuit in the mountains of the Lake Geneva Region – for free. Visitors who spend a night or more in a hotel or rental apartment in Villars, Gryon or Les Diablerets this summer will get a Free Access Card, which can be used for public transportation and more than 40 leisure activities and sports, including mountain scooters, mini-golf, rope park, tennis, swimming pool, adventure circuit, mountain railways and cable cars, and theme trails. https://www.region-du-leman.ch/en/Z160/villars-gryon-les-diablerets
The Lake Geneva Region (Canton of Vaud) is located in the French-speaking part of Western Switzerland, a timeless, picture-postcard destination of classic mountain beauty, refined cuisine and legendary hotels. Visitors come for wine tastings in the Lavaux vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They dine in celebrated Michelin-starred restaurants and local brasseries and visit lively farmers markets. Outdoor opportunities range from hiking and biking to sailing and swimming in Lake Geneva. Major ski resorts include Les Diablerets, Villars and Leysin. The region is famed for the Vallée de Joux, the center of Swiss watchmaking, and the new Chaplin’s World museum. Visit the www.lake-geneva-region.ch for more information.