Vaud - An Idyllic Wine-Growing and Lake Region
Wonderful lakes, exciting towns, a vast wine-growing region and breathtaking mountains - the opportunities travellers have in Vaud are almost unlimited. The canton's variety of leisure activities, culture, culinary specialities and nature caters for all tastes.
Geography - The greatest canton in the Suisse romande
Vaud is a French-speaking canton in the west of Switzerland and extends from Lake Geneva to Lake Neuchâtel. It borders on France in the north-west and south-west, on the Canton of Geneva in the west, on Valais in the south-east, on the cantons of Bern and Fribourg in the east as well as on Neuchâtel in the north-east. With an area of 3,212 km², Vaud is the greatest canton in the Suisse romande (French-speaking Switzerland) and the fourth biggest canton in the country. It has 745,000 inhabitants, most of which live and work in urban centres. The canton's capital is the city of Lausanne. Other worthwhile travel destinations are the towns Vevey, Yverdon-les-Bains, Yverdon-les-Bains and Montreux. The climate differs. While there is Mediterranean climate at Lake Geneva, it is slightly colder and rougher in the mountains.
Nature - Discovering the Alps and lakes in Vaud
The Canton of Vaud is characterised by different landscapes. Its highest point are the Les Diablerets in the Vaud Alps with a height of 3,210 metres. In addition, there are many lakes, which take up an area of 393 km² altogether - about 12.23 percent of the whole area. The best known landmark is probably Lake Geneva, which is only partly located in Vaud but it extends over the eastern border of the canton. Important lakes which lie within the canton's borders are Lac Brenet, Lac de Joux, Lac de Bret and Lac de l'Hongrin. There is also a great number of rivers such as the Orbe, Broye, Venoge, Mentue and Aubonne. At Lake Geneva, you find Switzerland's largest wine-growing region Lavaux. It has an area of over 3,882 hectares and is part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The so-called "Vaud Riviera" is located between Lausanne and Montreux, in the same place as Lavaux, and is particularly popular in summer.
Culture - Impressive castles and relaxing thermal baths
Vaud originally belonged to the French territory of Savoy but it was conquered by Bern later on. Thanks to Napoleon, Vaud gained independence in 1798 and in 1803, it joined the Swiss Confederation. Today, the canton is divided into four tourist regions: the city lakes, the Jura Mountains, the countryside and the Alps. Wherever you look, you cannot help but notice the impressive castle density in Vaud. The most popular example is Chillon Castle near Montreux, which is the most frequently visited historical building in the whole of the country with 300,000 visitors per year. Other beautiful castles are Grandson, Nyon, Aigle, Oron and Yverdon Castle, to name but a few. Furthermore, there are numerous monuments of art and churches. Highlights on many travellers' trips are Lausanne Cathedral as well as the well-known thermal bath in Yverdon-les-Bains and the thermal bath of Lavey, which is the warmest one in the whole of Switzerland. Vaud is an extremely beautiful canton and the one in which film legend Charlie Chaplin spent the last 25 years of his life. In the small town Corsier-sur-Vevey, in which he lived with his family, you can find a statue in honour of Chaplin as well as a museum called Charlie Chaplin's World, which was opened in spring 2016. Montreux, on the other hand, accommodates a statue of Freddie Mercury.
Experience - Tasting delicacies from Vaud
Like many other Swiss cantons, Vaud has several local specialities. Examples are different kinds of saucisson (sausages), the papet vaudois (leek stew), soupe aux choux (white cabbage soup), pomme de terre au lard (potatoes with bacon), torta di zucchine (courgette casserole) and the L'Etivaz cheese. Vaud is most of all known for its delicious wine. The Christmas market in Montreux is very popular at Christmas time. Other interesting events are the Jazz Festival in Montreux, the Paléo Festival in Nyon and the Tulip Festival in Morges. Vaud's nightlife is lively and varied. There are many clubs and bars in the towns which are opened until the early morning hours.
Activities - A winter sports region with a lot of potential
Vaud offers a variety of sporting and leisure activities. In summer, the lakes are excellently suited for going bathing, sailing, windsurfing and fishing. In addition, you can go on a boat trip on Lake Geneva, Lake Neuchâtel or Lake Murten and marvel at both the impressive nature and the beautiful towns along the lakeside. The most popular activity in winter is doing winter sports in the Vaud Alps or in the Jura Mountains such as skiing, snowboarding, snow hiking, tobogganing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, snowshoe hiking, ice diving, snow tubing (tobogganing on a tube) and skijoring (skiing while being pulled by a horse). So, there is no room for boredom.
There are different ways of reaching Vaud. You can take a plane to the airport in Geneva or arrive by car or train on the well-developed road or rail network. The Swiss pay in Swiss franc, so travellers best change some money before they set on their journey.
Vaud offers travellers a variety of ways in which they can arrange their holidays. Lovers of both culture and nature as well as active holidaymakers get their money's worth in this beautiful region.