Straddling the northern shore of Lake Geneva, the Swiss Riviera is one of Europe’s most exclusive enclaves. Glamorous hotels, exquisite boutiques and picturesque towns packed with culture and history are flanked by breathtaking views of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps. Stretching from Lausanne to Montreux, it comes as no surprise that this scenic area is home to a long list of celebrities from royalty to the arts.
Scenery to take your breath away
Simply outstanding at any time of year, the views across Lake Geneva are some of the most spectacular in the world. One of Europe’s largest freshwater lakes, the bright blue waters of Lake Geneva glisten against a dramatic backdrop of snowy Alpine peaks. Terraced vineyards and charming belle epoque towns line the hillsides. Whether you take to the waters for a cruise or stroll the waterfront paths, the Swiss Riviera is a must-visit destination for any discerning traveler.
For travel inspiration: Switzerland destination guide
High end shopping and exceptional cuisine
World renowned for its high-end shopping experience, the boutiques of the Swiss Riviera are not just stores; they are an experience in themselves. Nestled seamlessly into historic cities, the architecture is exquisite with interior design nothing short of perfection. And foodies will be delighted by the Swiss Riviera’s gourmet offerings, which range from classic Swiss cuisine to exotic international dishes. The region is home to several Michelin-starred restaurants, including Anne-Sophie Pic’s eponymous restaurant in Lausanne, which boasts three Michelin stars and is considered one of the best restaurants in the world.
Climbing up the hillside from the shores of Lake Geneva, the city of Lausanne exudes charm and sophistication. As you wander through its picturesque streets, you’ll discover a wealth of cultural and historical treasures, including its stunning Gothic cathedral and world-class museums.
From Hermes scarves to Luis Vuitton bags, Lausanne’s charming Old Town holds within it a mini-shopping paradise. Designer brands and exclusive boutiques can be found among its narrow, cobbled streets, along with historic buildings and cozy cafés. And for a taste of local culture, be sure to visit the bustling open-air market at Place de la Palud, where you can sample fresh produce, artisanal cheeses and other local delicacies.
One of the must-visit attractions in Lausanne is the Olympic Museum, a sleek, modern building that pays homage to the city’s status as the Olympic capital, with an impressive collection of Olympic artifacts and exhibits.
Related article: Dine, Sleep, Do: How to spend a chic 24 hours in St. Moritz
Explore the ancient vineyards of Lavaux
Though less well known than their French and Italian neighbors, the vineyards of the Swiss Riviera produce some of the finest wines in the world. Considered one of Switzerland’s hidden treasures, the exclusivity factor of these vineyards lies in their limited production.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the picturesque Lavaux vineyards lie between Lausanne and Montreux. The culture of vines and wine has been rooted in the Lavaux lands for a thousand years and these ancient terraces have a long and beautiful history. Here you can find Domaine du Daley, the oldest commercial entity in Switzerland whose original cellars were built in 1392.
For wine enthusiasts, a visit to the vineyards of Lavaux is a must, with a range of notable wineries that offer tastings and tours. Among the most famous are the Domaine De La Crasusaz and Terres de Lavaux. Another winery of note is the Domaine Dizerens which produces a range of fine wines using traditional land cultivation methods.
Related article: What to look for in a top-quality Pinot Noir, by wine expert Courtney Kingston
Montreux and Chillon Castle
Famous for its annual jazz festival and its elegant lakefront promenade lined with palm trees, Montreux is a standout location of the Swiss Riviera. A playground of the rich and famous, the city boasts an elegant atmosphere, exquisite restaurants and a breathtaking mountain backdrop.
The town’s historic Château de Chillon dates back to the 12th century and is one of the most visited landmarks in Switzerland. This fairy-take castle juts dramatically out onto the lake and offers a real insight into the workings of the castle. Visitors can tour the castle’s well-preserved chambers and learn about its fascinating history. From the chateau through Montreux runs the waterfront Quai de Fleurs, one of the most beautiful walks in Europe.
For those looking to indulge in high-end shopping, Montreux offers a range of exclusive boutiques and designer stores. The town’s Rue du Marché is home to a variety of luxury brands, including Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton. Montreux is also home to many beautiful parks and gardens, including the famous Château de Chillon Gardens, which offer a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the town.
Discover this on: Majestic Switzerland
Read more: Majestic Switzerland through the lens of a Travel Concierge
Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or culinary delights, the Swiss Riviera is sure to exceed your expectations. To find out more about our limited-edition luxury tours to Switzerland and beyond, take a look at our exclusive worldwide collection.
Banner image @visitmontreux