If you find yourself in the Lake Geneva region you must visit the Lavaux vineyards. Stretching for nearly 30 kilometres along the mountain slopes above the lake, the vineyards make for a great place to stroll and offer plenty of areas to stop and sample fine, and unknown, Swiss wines.
A brief history
The terraced vineyards, south facing and benefiting from plenty of sunshine, are thought to have been used as far back as the Roman period. The Romans were big wine drinkers and archaeological evidence suggests the early Swiss were as well. However, the current terraces that are still in use today date back to around the 11th-century. In 2007, the Lavaux vineyards were recognised as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
The wine route
The opportunity to enjoy a few glasses of fine Swiss wine might well be the highlight of your Lavaux trip. Although you might not think of Switzerland as a top wine producing country, that’s mainly because they don’t share it with the rest of the world and export a tiny fraction of their production. But just because Swiss wine isn’t well-known, that doesn’t mean it isn’t up there with the best. The Lavaux vineyards are among the best regions to go on a tasting spree, or to polish off a brisk hike with a celebratory glass or two. If you feel jaded from your walk, or the wine, you can also hop on the Lavaux Express.
From the many points along the expanse of the Lavaux vineyards, the views are simply stunning. On sunny days Lake Geneva shimmers like a mirror below your feet, reflecting the towering, snow-capped mountains all around. In the distance you can glimpse Montreux and the fairytale-like Chillon Castle. Hiking through the region is a pleasure no matter what the season, although spring, early-summer and in the autumn are particularly fine times.