After eight beautiful days exploring Switzerland from our base in Lucerne – the rest of the family left for India. We had four more days which we spent in Lausanne, Montreux and Geneva all part of Romandy (the French speaking area of Switzerland).
We took the train from Lucerne in the afternoon and arrived at Lutry in just under 3 hours. Lutry is a lovely little village on the outskirts of Lausanne. Beautifully located on the banks of Lake Geneva. We had booked a hotel on the lakefront which was also quite close to the station so we walked there. A bit of a task with the kids and luggage but we managed! After checking into the hotel and freshening up we had a relaxed evening exploring the lovely Lutry village. There was a local band playing live music on the lakefront and we had a lovely time mingling with the locals and dancing away! Finished off the evening with a lovely meal again at a restaurant on the lakefront – La Buvette de la Plage. There’s a separate post about this restaurant.
Lausanne is extremely picturesque and is the second largest city on Lake Geneva and the capital of the Canton of Vaud. The town is built on three hills, surrounded by vineyard slopes, with Lake Geneva at its feet. Lausanne is the first and currently the only city in Switzerland with a metro system. The metro covers various parts of this hilly town. We boarded the metro from the Lausanne train station (which is the central hub) and went all the way to one end – the beautiful waterfront area of ‘Ouchy’ which is a different world! And an amazingly beautiful one – where all the action happens! The beautiful promenade overlooks the lake and the mountains on the French side. The promenade stretches along the waterfront – its got the newly renovated Olympic Museum, the ferry port where ferries leave for various destinations around the lake, a sailing club, several restaurants, cafes and bars, some lovely hotels and a children’s playground!! I think the next time we are in this part of the world it would be lovely to stay at one the Ouchy waterfront hotels!
We spent a couple of hours walking along the promenade and exploring the area and took the evening ‘Lake Geneva Pasta Cruise’ which was amazing and very relaxing!
The cruise route was for 3 hours (Lausanne – Vevey – Montreaux – Lausanne)….entry to the cruise is free on the Swiss pass – we just paid for the pasta and drinks!
After the cruise we saw some kids splashing about in the water fountain area on the promenade and my Si and Ri decided to jump in as well!!! And boy, they had a blast! What a lovely end to a beautiful day!!!
La Maison du Gruyere (Cheese Factory)
On our second day we decided to visit the Cheese Factory (La Maison du Gruyere) and the Chocolate Factory (Maison Cailler)!
Gruyere is the main cheese in all the yummy Swiss fondues – and here you can discover all the secrets to making Gruyere. Its a lovely interactive factory. The audio tour was very informative and narrated by a cow called ‘Cherry’ which the kids absolutely loved! Depending on what time you go you will get to see some process of the cheese making – we saw the ‘cutting the curd’ process. Oh and you also get three Gruyere cheese samples which we snacked on later in the train! Entry is free on the Swiss Travel Pass – this pass is just amazing….there is just so much you can do in Switzerland with it besides the obvious travel!!
Maison Cailler, Broc (Chocolate Factory)
Couple of train stations after Gruyere is Broc – a chocolate heaven!!
The factory was very crowded which was not surprising! It starts with a very informative tour about the history of chocolates…and you then move onto a production line to see how chocolate is made! And this ends with any chocolate lovers dream….the tasting tour! You can try a huge variety of chocolates and yes, eat as many as you want! And after eating all that you go to the Chocolate Shop where you can shop as much as you want! I had eaten so much chocolate that I didn’t feel like buying any!
The only disappointing thing of the day was the coffee shop which was so busy and badly organised – I was really looking forward to having a lovely hot chocolate! But alas….no such luck!
And of course the Maison Cailler is also free to enter on the Swiss Pass!!!
There are few scenic trains across Switzerland (GoldenPass Line, Glacier Express, Bernina Express, Gotthard Panorama Express). The GoldenPass Line from Lucerne to Montreax (via Interlaken) is supposed to be one of Europe’s best! The route is very picturesque and goes through mountains, rivers, lakes, villages, cities, etc. in just a few hours.
We hadn’t taken any of the scenic trains on this trip and while returning from Broc we realised we could take the GoldenPass line for a portion of the journey on the way back to Montreux. And needless to say it was included on the Swiss Travel Pass. It was a short but beautiful journey. The total journey on the GoldenPass Line is divided into three sections (Lucerne to Interlaken Ost, Interlaken Ost to Zwiesimmen, and Zwiesimmen to Montreux). We took a portion of the last section.
And then after a lovely train journey we spent the evening in beautiful Montreux. We just had an evening in Montreux but we loved it so much we could easily spend a week there! The lakeside Promenade Fleuri is breathtakingly beautiful and as the name suggests its full of beautiful, colourful flowers!
The Swiss Riviera is the area that stretches between Lausanne and Montreux (Vevey is another key town in between). On our next trip to the Swiss Riviera it will be a toss up between Lausanne and Montreux as our base! Summer was so so hot that I would probably come before or after the peak season to enjoy this stunning location even more!
Read about our day trip to Geneva on the next post.