Holding a place of pride in the heart of Lausanne's Old Town, this imposing Gothic cathedral soars over a sea of red-roofed buildings. Although the original master mason is undocumented, construction efforts can be traced back to the 12th Century. The structure was completed roughly a century later in 1275 under an engineer named Jean Cotereel. It was ordained by three important figures - Pope Gregory X, Rudolph of Habsburg, and Guillaume of Champvent, the then bishop of Lausanne. Its belfry a home to seven sonorant bells, the Lausanne Cathedral's other noteworthy features include an exceptional pipe organ and a stained glass window considered to be one of Europe's finest. Those in the city will also hear a town crier announcing the hours every night between 10p and 2a from the bell tower, as has been tradition since the Middle Ages. An architectural wonder par excellence, this historic cathedral comes alive with a repertoire of concerts and a bevy of cultural events.
A site of regional and national pride, this formidable defensive fortification sits along the picturesque Lake Geneva. Built in the year 1286 on the orders of Baron Louis I of Vaud, this castle was constructed as a traditional Savoyard Carré, essentially a thick fortress with four conical towers enveloping a plaza. Through the years, several of the castle's features were altered, especially during the Bernese conquest of Vaud, when the castle's gates were destroyed. After years of instability, the castle was converted into a site housing four regional museums, the most prominent of which is the Vaud Military Museum.
One of the oldest and most serene chalets in Switzerland, the Grand Chalet dates back to the 18th Century but in 1852 it was turned into a classy hotel. It is one of the most popular landmarks in the village of Rossiniere and is situated on a small hill right above the center of Gstaad, offering an amazing view over the valley and the mountains. The architecture of the chalet is a testament to the ancient era of the village. The Grand Salon inside the building hosts popular exhibitions and concerts, showcasing the cultural heritage of the region.
The Château de Chillon (Chillon Castle) is the most visited historical building in the country. Located 20 minutes away by train (just outside Montreux), this fortress dates back to the 11th century and is worth a visit. Try to avoid the massive number of tourists who flock here during the summer months by arriving early. And if you are able to, take the train to Montreux and walk along the lake to the castle. One piece of advice, a tourist stall screens a video of the castle right outside the entrance. Try not to be one of those people who become glued to the screen when the real thing is towering above your head!
Perched atop a small hill with the mighty Swiss Alps in the background, the Gruyères Castle forms a picturesque fairytale like image. Built in the late 13th Century, the castle has been passed down through a number of noble families but has been remarkably well preserved throughout all these years. A Swiss heritage site today, it attracts a number of visitors every year due to its rich historical heritage and beautifully manicured hedge gardens. Today it is home to an art museum with paintings by notable artists like Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and many others. A number of temporary exhibitions, cultural events and music festivals are also regularly organized at its premises.
Throughout its history, Nyon Castle has been used for many purposes. Originally an administrative building in the House of Savoy, it has since been a courthouse, prison, and now a beautiful museum that offers visitors a little bit of everything from history to portraiture to a permanent exhibition of fine Swiss porcelain that was created in the municipality of Nyon between 1781 and 1813. Completely restored as of 2006, visitors can view the entire building floor-by-floor, beginning in the basement then working their way up, passing old prison cells, as well as wonderful art and architecture along the way.
Standing right in the heart of the historic city of Lausanne, the palace is most famously known as the place where the Treaty of Lausanne was signed in 1912. This opulent palace, replete with illusory staircases, spacious chambers and atriums, was christened after its sponsor, the Russian aristocrat Gabriel de Rumine. Rumine donated a princely sum to the city for the purpose of constructing a pubic edifice. The responsibility of building the palace fell to one of Lyon's most highly-acclaimed architects at the time, Gaspard André. After its construction, the palace went on to serve as the site of the Lausanne University Library, the Cantonal Money Museum, and eclectic repositories that cater to the fields of zoology, archaeology and fine arts, among others.
Located in the center of the famous Parc de Mon Repos in Lausanne, Maison de Mon-Repos is a heritage mansion designed and constructed by Vincent Perdonnet in 1817. Renovated and acquired by the City of Lausanne in 1910, this iconic mansion served as the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from 1922 to 1967. After the IOC moved its base to the Castle of Vidy, the mansion served as the seat and office of the Olympic Solidarity Committee. The first floor of this multi-story heritage structure is reserved for official events hosted by the city.
Climb aboard the Lavaux Express for a fascinating yet exciting tour the region of Lavaux. This little toy-train, takes you a beautiful journey through the regions famous terraced vineyards, stopping along the way, for a shot of some of the finest wines. The winding path it follows, is peppered with breath-taking views of the Lavaux and its surroundings. Take your pick from one of the three routes, sit back and relax as the guide feeds you some interesting information about the sites the history behind it.
Terres de Lavaux offers some of the best varietals of the region's wines. Set against the backdrop of the famous terraced vineyard of Lavaux, this is where one can enjoy the best the city has to offer- wine and fine views. Boasting a collection of wines that encapsulate the essence of the region, each varietal has a its own peculiar characteristic, which sets it apart from the rest. Wine tasting tours are also organised at the neighboring vineyards, where one can learn a thing or two about the art of wine-making, as well as sample some of the finest wines of the region.
A family owned and run winery, Luc Massy has long been one of the finest producers of wine in the city. Staying true to its course, this winery puts its products together, solely using ingredients sourced from the region and of course, its own vineyard. Also one of the most picturesque sites in the region, here one can sample a fine varietal, while basking in the serenity of the town. Visitors can also take a guided tour of winery and vineyard, wherein one can get a first-hand account of the various process and stages of crafting the finest batch of wine.