When you think of wine, Switzerland is perhaps not the first country that pops into your mind, is it?
Yet, wine bottles from as early as the 2nd century BC has been found here, so historians know wine has been produced in this land-locked mountainous country since Roman times, at least. The country’s largest continuous wine region is at Lavaux, dramatically set on the hills along Lake Geneva. In the small villages between Lausanne and Montreux you’ll find rank after rank, on both sides of the railway tracks – wine ranks with views of Lake Geneva.
The Lavaux Panoramic train can take you through this Swiss wine country, but these villages – St Saphorin, Pully, Lutry, Villette, Cully – are best explored by bike – or on foot. The excellent Terrasses de Lavaux hiking trail from medieval St Saphorin to Lutry is highly recommended.
One early evening in May, I took the train from Montreux to Cully, about half way into the trail. For the next few hours, I wandered among the vines. After a while the sun set above the wine ranks at the lake’s edge. I was all alone and it was a strangely tranquil and beautiful experience.
The historic vineyard landscape has placed Lavaux on the ubiquitous world heritage list. In addition to the vines, the villages with narrow streets and old houses – some from as far back as the 16th century – are absolutely charming. This is a place where you should take your time, stop by the wine cellars and sample the goodies. The main grape in Lavaux is the Chasselas. Try it once – or twice – or even three times along your hike. The steep landscape of the trail might even become easier.
Lavaux, vineyard terraces is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites I’ve visited around the world.
Nicely done expose on a wine country I don’t have much prior knowledge of. Thanks!
I like surprising little quirks like that.
I had no idea that there was a Swiss wine country! It sounds like the perfect area to spend a couple of days exploring!
Wine – and stunning landscape, yes.
Beautiful photo 🙂
Swiss wine is not so well known yet but they have some really great wines. That first photo is stunning !
I really liked the wine, too.
Wow, wine bottles from the 2nd century BC is old! Very interesting how something has stayed the same for so long. Thanks for sharing!
I also didn’t know there was such a great wine area in Switzerland. I can just imagine what gorgeous scenery there is around here. Love that first picture – it looks like a painting.
In Switzerland, I liked white wines more than red ones, but maybe it was because of the hot weather.
The Swiss white wines are wonderful.
I’ve never heard of Swiss wine before, but walking around vineyards everywhere is always a lovely experience.
Yeah…it really is.
If you arrive Montreux from the Geneva Airport by train sit at the left and admire the beauty of the Lavaux Terrasses. You will certainly want to see them closer or wander around. Montreux has a very good bus network and the tourists residing at Montreux hotels receive a free travel card (the Riviera Card). We took the bus 213 from Vevey Gare and went up to Châtel-St-Denis and Bossonnens, via Les Terrasses Lavaux. We did not descend but there are stops for those who wish to visit the vineyards. The route up to Bossonnes is beautiful, a typical Swiss mountain paysage! At one point (I think it was Bossonnes) the bus arrived a small train station from where it is possible to go to Gruyere. The bus routes can be printed from the VMCV official site.
Thanks for adding that info 🙂