Most often, people tend to associate Switzerland with white mountains and world-class ski resorts. Others think of its financial centers, Zurich and Geneva, both of which rank among the top ten financial centers in the world. But only a few people mention the Swiss Riviera region when asked about places in Switzerland they would like to visit or have already visited. That, in my opinion, is a true pity, as the region has stunningly beautiful scenery and hosts great events all year round.
The French-speaking region comprises Vevey and Montreux, as well as several other nearby towns. It also includes the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, a UNESCO world heritage site. The hiking route through the vineyards is classified by Switzerland Tourism as one of the 32 most enjoyable hiking routes in Switzerland. I’ve hiked that route seven times and can definitely recommend it!
Having spent 16 months of my eternally nomadic life in Geneva, I got to know the region quite well, especially through multi-day hiking tours. There are quite a few spots and towns I enjoy going back to: St. Saphorin, Lutry, Cully, La Tour-de-Peilz, Château de Chillon… Besides Vevey and Montreux, of course!
Especially Vevey, I would say. Vevey is my favorite town in the region and is home to Nestlé’s international headquarters, the (Nestlé-founded) Food Museum (which deserves an entire blog post of its own!), and the Swiss Museum of Games – to name just a couple of interesting places to check out.
Many famous people have sojourned in Swiss Riviera: Charlie Chaplin, Freddie Mercury, Lord Byron, Princess Sissi, Igor Stravinski, and Vladimir Nabobov, being perhaps the most famous.
Every summer, Montreux hosts an international jazz festival. I have to confess that I haven’t attended it yet, but I did hear and read rave reviews about it.
The event in Montreux I do attend every year is Montreux Noël, a Christmas celebration with five different sites both in and just outside the city. I went back today and spent the afternoon strolling the lakeside promenade and through the 150 stands of the main Christmas market.
Below are pictures I took of the market’s colorful stands. And there were yummy stands, too! I had a very delicious pizza margherita (12 SFr. or 10 €) inside a chalet-stand with a lovely fire in the middle.
I wish you all a wonderful Christmas break! Only six days left before we can open our Christmas presents! Yay!