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Swiss Riviera for 3 Days

We are 3 adults with only 2 nights and 3 days to see as much as we can of Switzerland. We fly into Geneva in August and take a train to Montreux arriving around 10am.

The places we want to see in Montreux are the Castle and Rocher de Naye. Will this be manageable on the first day we arrive?

On the next day can you suggest where to go and what we can fit into one day? We thought for the 2 nights we would stay at Montreux. On our last day we are flying out of Geneva at 4.30pm.

Do you have any suggestions to what we could visit on that day giving us enough time to meet out flight?

Your help is greatly appreciated.

Answer to

Swiss Riviera for 3 Days

Hello there,

You made a good decision in concentrating on just one small corner of Switzerland if you can't visit for more than three days.

The train to Rocher s de Naye departs every hour from Montreux. In under an hour you reach the top. Of course, you could spend all day lingering in this area but since your time is limited return by train to Montreux early enough to visit Castle Chillon the same day, as long as you are there before 6pm. Doors close at 7pm.

Take the boat from Montreux (takes between 9 and 15 minutes depending on the boat) or catch the very frequent Bus #1 (15 minutes) from the lake promenade just down from the train station to Castle Chillon (direction Villeneuve). The bus takes you directly to the castle.

After your visit you could stroll back along the lake promenade into town.

Or - if you up for some more sightseeing - board bus #1 again (opposite direction) and head to Vevey for dinner and a stroll through the picturesque small city. It's also a great place to spend the night.

Day Two

On your second day you could take a lake cruise with a steamer. If the day is clear, the views are superb. There are a variety of cruise routes to choose from. Just two ideas: A short one from Montreux or Vevey along the vineyards to Lausanne; or a day trip from Lausanne to the French resorts of Yvoire and Evian-les-Bains. Keep in mind though, August is very touristy and the small but charming village of Yvoire could be overrun with visitors.

Alternatively, spend the day taking one of the trains through the vineyards, depending on the day you visit it would either be the Lavaux Express or the Lavaux Panoramic train.

Vinorama in Rivaz and Lavaux vineyards
The Vinorama in Rivaz is built into the mountainside

Hike the rest of the remaining day parts of the Lavaux vineyards - everywhere between Montreux and Lausanne. I particularly love the postcard-perfect route from Lutry to Rivaz. If you are a wine connoisseur, you might want to stop in one of the wine caves or taste some wine and learn about wine making in this region at the very informative Lavaux Vinorama in Rivaz (not too far from the train station and easily reached on foot).

Day Three

I would spend the last day in Lausanne. Pick up a city map and up-to-date info at the tourist office right in the train station.

view from the Sauvabelin tower in Lausanne
The view from the Sauvabelin Tower above Lausanne. This is the view to the west (the lake is to the south)

Next to the official points of interest, I suggest the following:

  • If weather permits, start your city tour at the Sauvabelin Tower (bus 16) for fabulous views. It's a little outside of Lausanne, but worth every minute.

  • As for museums, I love the fascinating internationally acclaimed Collection L'Art Brut which features art by untrained artists. It's located in the Château de Beaulieu, a beautiful 18th century mansion (11, av. des Bergières, Buses # 2, # 3 and # 21, stop Beaulieu-Jomini. Open every day 11am to 6pm; free entry on Saturdays of every month).

  • Recover from going up and down the steep roads (Lausanne is situated on a hill) by sampling delicious handmade chocolate at Durig's (Avenue d'Ouchy 15, closed Sunday and Monday) or at "La Chocolaterie" Blondel (Rue du RĂ´tillon 2B - closed Sundays).

  • Lausanne's delightful lakeside promenade in Ouchy has pretty parks, a large marina, and is great for rollerblading or just hanging out.

Direct trains from Lausanne to Geneva-Airport take 42 minutes. So you have plenty of time to see the most interesting spots Lausanne has to offer.

August is a very touristy month. You might have to calculate a bit more time for the popular sites since you won't be alone exploring the Swiss Riviera.

Have a wonderful time,

Additional Information:
- Rail passes
- Help page to figure out the best rail pass option
- Swiss Riviera day trips

Comments for Swiss Riviera for 3 Days

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Lausanne to Yvoire
by: Elky

How can I make a day trip from Lausanne to the French resorts of Yvoire and Evian-les-Bains?

1)ship from Lausanne to Evian-les-Bains, and bus to Yvoir, then ship back to Lausanne?

Hello Elky,

Yes you can. However, you can do the round-trip entirely by boat.

Here's the Lake Geneva Cruise website. Click on "Schedules" and then enter "Departure from" (Lausanne-Ouchy) and "Destination".

You can do a round trip by leaving Lausanne-Ouchy to Évian-les-Bains, spend some time there then continue to Yvoire with another boat. From Yvoire return on a direct cruise to Lausanne.

Alternative option: Go directly from Lausanne ot Yvoire but instead of returning to Lausanne on the same route you could take the ferry from Yvoire to Nyon - a delightful small city on the lake for a bit of sightseeing and to recover from the crowd in Yvoire :)

Proceed by train to Lausanne but hop off in Morges to have an aperitif or even dinner at a lakeside restaurant in the port of Morges - then continue to Lausanne by train.


Guidance for hiking in the Lavaux
by: M

Thank you for your suggestion about hiking around the vineyards.

Is there any way to find a map or directions for easy starting and ending points if you are staying overnight in Lausanne?

Thank you!

Hello M,
You can pretty much start (and end) your hike at any point along the Lavaux Wine route (Route de Vignoble) between St. Saphorine and Lutry, for example:

  • Lutry to Cully
  • Cully to Riva
  • Chexpres to Cully
  • Grandvaux to Rivaz (where the Vinorama is located)
  • Grandvaux to Cully
  • Grandvaux to Lutry

This links leads to the wine route in 3D.

I recommend you download the free SwitzerlandMobility App that offers the most accurate maps of Switzerland, info of the 32,000 km sign-posted trails and more.

While in Lausanne, you can get more info on hiking options at the tourism office.

Happy hiking,

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Date: 22.04.13
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