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Three Lakes Region - A Wine Region with Atmosphere

Beautiful lakes, scenic towns, exquisite wine and delicious cheese - that is what travellers can expect from the Tree Lakes Region. No matter if you are looking for culinary delicacies, cultural variety or breathtaking nature for being active.

Vineyard in Neuchâtel

Geography - The greatest Swiss vegetable-growing region

The Three Lakes Region (German: Drei-Seen-Land) is a Swiss region which comprises the four cantons of Bern (French: Berne), Fribourg, Vaud and Neuchâtel. Most of its area lies on the Swiss Plateau. The region is named after its three lakes: Lake Murten (French: Lac de Morat), Lake Biel (French: Lac de Bienne) and Lake Neuchâtel. Together they constitute the greatest Swiss lake region at a stretch. The triangle between the lakes, the so-called Seeland, was once very swampy. Fortunately, the water could be diverted into the lakes so that this area is the greatest vegetable-growing region in Switzerland today. The hillsides of the Jura Mountains slope sharply towards the Three Lakes Region. The biggest cities around the lakes are Biel (French: Bienne), Neuchâtel and Yverdon-les-Bains. Thanks to the great lakes, which reflect the sunlight and accumulate heat, the region is dominated by warm climate. There are no cold onsets of winter or hot summers.

View of Lake Neuchâtel

Nature - Breeding ground for many water birds

The north and east of the region is characterised by the typical flat and slightly hilly landscapes of the Swiss Plateau. While the soils at the sides of the lakes are very chalky, the soils of the vineyards and around Lake Murten are really sandy. At the sides of Lake Neuchâtel you find the conservation areas Chablais de Cudrefin (south-east) and Fanel (north-east), which offer a diverse fauna. Animals such as common kingfishers, frogs, dragonflies, boars, beavers, crabs and grass snakes live here. The Fanel is a wetland area as well as one of Switzerland's most important breeding and hibernation regions for water birds. It is located in the middle of the greatest Swiss reed, the Grande Cariçaie, which extends over the southern side of Lake Neuchâtel. This area is known for its great variety of birds, water birds in particular. Over 300 species have been discovered so far. You can watch bearded reedlings, charadriiformes and - in summer - little bitterns, for example. Especially the sandbanks are populated by these special birds.

The bearded reedling - a water bird

Culture - Discovering historical stilt houses and Ligerz' church

Two cultures meet in the Three Lakes Region: the German and the French one. The cities Biel/Bienne and Murten are bilingual but Swiss German is most commonly used here. In Neuchâtel, people only speak French. Biel/Bienne is known worldwide for being the centre of the Swiss watch-making industry. The Swiss towns La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle were declared UNESCO World Heritage sites for their contribution to this industry. The Three Lakes Region offers many cultural sights such as the stilt houses, which are part of the World Cultural Heritage of the UNESCO. There are over 22 of these sites in this region altogether. Impressive cities are Neuchâtel, Saint Ursanne and Biel/Bienne. In the small town Ligerz, in the middle of a vineyard, you find the famous church of Ligerz. There is also a number of museums, which are a particularly great option on rainy days. Interesting examples are the Natural History Museum in Neuchâtel, the Maison d'Ailleurs in Yverdon-Les-Bains and the Watch Museum of Le Locle. On Lake Biel you see St. Peter's Island, on which Jean-Jacques Rousseau stayed for several weeks. At Lake Neuchâtel you find the famous stilt house settlement Gletterens, the Laténium (an archaeological museum) near Hauterive as well as the Centre Dürrenmatt, which exhibits paintings of the artist Friedrich Dürrenmatt. It was built by the Swiss architect Mario Botta. The town Murten at Lake Murten fascinates with its beautiful old town, which accommodates a great number of fountains. Other sights are the Mont-Vully Caves or the Celtic oppidum, a settlement in Le Vully.

Church in Ligerz at Lake Biel

Experience - A paradise for lovers of cheese and wine

The Three Lakes Region is most of all associated with vineyards, vegetable cultivation, modern towns, scenic villages and, of course, its lakes. The most important elements are without doubt the wine and the lakes. Travellers have countless opportunities of getting to know the regional wines and lakes. The vineyards extend along the foothills of the Jura Mountains at Lake Biel, Lake Neuchâtel and in Mont Vully. You can taste wines like the Chesselas (Gutedel), Pinot noir (Spätburgunder) and Oeil de Perdrix on a wine trail along Lake Neuchâtel. The best way of exploring the region's lakes are boat tours such as the Bielerseerundfahrt (cruises on Lake Biel) or the Murtenseerundfahrt (cruises on Lake Murten). However, the classic tour is still the Three Lakes cruise. The region offers many culinary specialities besides its wine. It is, for example, known for the Tête de Moine AOP (a cheese), the Treberwurst (a pork sausage from Biel) and absinthe, which was originally a remedy and comes from Neuchâtel. Holidaymakers should definitely visit one of the region's cheese factories, which are true treasuries for lovers of cheese. Other delicacies are the Damassine AOP (a small type of plum) and the chocolate. A special highlight is the chocolate from Neuchâtel, which you can get in a number of confectioneries, or the one produced in the Chocolate Factory Camille Bloch in the Canton of Bern.

Tête de Moine cheese from the Suisse romande

Activities - Fun for the whole family

The Three Lakes Region offers a wide range of leisure and sporting activities in both summer and winter. In the winter months, the region is excellently suited for Alpine and cross-country skiing as well as snowshoe hiking. In summer, travellers can choose from an abundance of activities. There are two national cycling routes with numerous tracks for velo and mountain bikers to enjoy. Families can walk along the path through the vegetable-growing regions. In addition, you can go skating, canoeing, horseback riding, golfing, climbing or have a ride on a summer toboggan run. A special highlight is a sleigh dog ride with Siberian huskies, which is available throughout the year.

View of the French Alps from the Jura Mountains

Information

Travellers easily reach the Three Lakes Region by plane. Switzerland's most important airports in Basel, Zurich and Geneva are only one and a half hours away. It takes less than one hour from the airport in Bern. Visitors from Europe can use the well-developed motorway network to arrive by car and the train is also a great means of transport. Before you set on your journey, you should change some money because the Swiss pay in Swiss franc (CHF).

The Three Lakes Region is the perfect destination for lovers of wine and cheese as well as for active holidaymakers who want to explore its breathtaking nature. There is also a great variety of cultural sights. All this makes the region a particularly popular travel destination.

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