Wellness, Wine & Nature: A 7-Day Itinerary for the Swiss Riviera
Food & Wine
While tourists are often lured by Switzerland’s alpine landscape, few opt to spend quality time in the often overlooked, yet stunningly beautiful Swiss Riviera. With its alpine backdrop, crystal clear water, lakeshore beaches, wine culture and wellness options, the Swiss Riviera makes a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the everyday world. You can also easily combine this 7-day itinerary with a longer trip within Switzerland or in neighbouring countries like France. Get in touch for a bespoke designed holiday!
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Where to stay
Domaine de Châteauvieux
Picturesque luxury hotel in the heart of Geneva with a renowned Michelin-starred restaurant.
Elegant boutique hotel overlooking Lake Geneva with opulent rooms and a fine dining restaurant.
Hotel Royal Savoy Lausanne
Blending Old World charm with modern luxury, this restored hotel features an upscale restaurant, a cigar lounge and a full-service spa.
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Day 1: Arrival in Geneva
As you arrive at the Geneva Airport, dive right into the world of wine-making in Switzerland.
Located just 14 minutes from the airport, Domaine de Châteauvieux is a top-quality, yet little-known vineyard hotel with a 360-degree panorama on the Rhône River and nearby mountains. It boasts a 2-star Michelin restaurant with a 19/20 Gault Millau score headed by famous Swiss chef Philippe Chevrier – a native from Geneva.
To allow you some rest from the long journey, feel free to take it slow today. Stroll through Domaine’s private vineyards and have a tasting of their own wine produced on-site, before sitting down for a gourmet dinner prepared with local produce.
Day 2: Explore Geneva
After a day of rest, it’s now time for some city explorations!
In the morning, you will be having breakfast at a cute little cottage in the city centre, steps away from the Leman Lake’s shores. Once finished, take a local crossing boat to get to the other side of the lake as you soak in the view of the lake and the neighbouring mountains. Then, be prepared for a day of exploration in the old town of Geneva.
Stroll along the charming stone-paved streets of the old town. You will find cute cafés, art galleries, traditional restaurants and confectioneries. If you’re interested in history and culture, why not check out the many museums there? If the weather is nice, I highly recommend climbing to the top of the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre, which offers the most wonderful view of Geneva from high up.
For dinner, try traditional Swiss cuisine at Restaurant Les Armures. An expert foodie once told me that they have the best crème brûlée in the world!
Day 3: Relaxing at the shores (and beaches) of Lausanne
You will check out of the hotel in the morning, and continue your journey toward Lausanne by train.
While Lausanne is a lively lakeside city, let’s take it slow again after a day of city exploration. After checking in to your hotel, head to Ouchy by Switzerland’s only metro in the country. You will be greeted by one of the most beautiful lakeside views in Switzerland, with crystal clear water, never-ending vineyards in the distance, and the backdrop of the French and Swiss Alps. Have a walk around. Hire a paddle boat to relax and swim in the middle of the lake for extra fun.
Who says you can’t have a beach holiday in the Alps? Lausanne proves you wrong with its strips of sandy beaches along the lake shore. I recommend going to Vidy Beach, where you could just lie down, swim, jog or even have barbecues. As the sun goes down, enjoy the great vibes and a beautiful sunset at a lakeside bar (send me a message for the locals’ most beloved bar by the lake!)
Day 4: A day at Lavaux – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Tourists who skip the French-speaking part of Switzerland seem to never have known the existence of Lavaux – an other-worldly wine growing region consisting of small, authentic villages – that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On a clear day, the lake, mountains and sky all merge into one. As you look far toward the direction of Geneva, there is no land to be seen and you feel like you’re staring at the Mediterranean Sea in the South of France or Italy.
There are a few ways to explore Lavaux: by small touristic trains, by bike or on foot. Feel free to book a guided tour if you wish to learn more about the specificities of producing wine, particularly in this region, in Switzerland. Visit village by village to discover and taste all kinds of local wine available at local cellars. Swiss wines are not exported due to their small quantity produced so they make excellent souvenirs to bring home.
You will enjoy the last sunshine of the day at a cute panoramic terrace of a local vineyard while sipping their wine.
Day 5: High up in the Swiss mountains
A trip to Switzerland cannot be without nature and mountains.
Today, you will be heading to the summit of a local mountain by train - or hike up/ down there if you love the challenge. On the way, you will be able to enjoy the panoramic view of Leman Lake, and the mountain ranges of neighbouring France. As the train climbs higher, you will be surrounded by nature and greeneries, sometimes above the clouds. If you’re lucky, you may even find some free-roaming cows of Swiss farmers.
On top, you will find the most jaw-dropping panoramic view of French-speaking Switzerland, and one of the best in the country – I promise. On the way down, you will dine at a traditional Swiss chalet also with a panoramic view of the lake and of Montreux.
Day 6: An idyllic castle by the lake
In the morning, take the train to visit the medieval Château de Chillon by the lake, made famous by Jean-Jacques Rousseau who based the story of his novel “New Heloise” here in the 18th century, and the poet Lord Byron’s “The Prisoner of Chillon”.
After the visit, if you wish to explore more of the surroundings, why not visit the Fort de Chillon right across and learn about Switzerland’s military affairs and soldiers’ life? The fort is a military fortification that’s opened its door to the public only in recent years.
Day 7: Say goodbye for now!
Fly home from Geneva, continue your journey in other parts of Switzerland, or go on and visit neighbouring countries.
Need to Know
If you are interested in visiting Switzerland in the winter, I have shared my top recommendations in Alpine Adventures into Switzerland's Winter Wonderland.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Switzerland, and our larger series on nature escapes travel.