A great day out on Lac Leman in Switzerland

I cannot believe that I have lived in the Geneva area for 9 years and had never taken this great day trip on the wonderfully picturesque lake – Lac Leman. One of the largest lakes in Western Europe. Lac Leman or Lake Geneva as it is also known is a crescent shaped lake with a shoreline in both France and Switzerland and is overlooked by the Alps. The lake has a surface area of 580 km² and is 73km in length.

SS Vevey on Lac Leman by Caro Blackwell
SS Vevey on Lac Leman

So having chosen a glorious sunny day we drove to Nyon in the Canton Vaud to embark the beautiful ship “Vevey” a diesel-electric water paddle wheel vessel built in 1907.  She is part of the Belle Epoque fleet that navigates the lake. Nyon is a charming lakeside town in Switzerland. Boasting an imposing chateau in the centre of the town high up on the banks of Lac Leman and offering great views over the lake.

Looking over Lac Leman from Nyon our port of embarkation
Looking over Lac Leman from Nyon our port of embarkation

We traversed the lake from Nyon in Switzerland over to the French port in Yvoire, which has an imposing chateau overlooking the lake. Yvoire is a beautiful medieval town with a small marina that really attracts the tourists in summer! After Yvoire it was back across to the ‘Swiss side’ and the delightful lakeside town of Rolle which boasts an impressive chateau.  I love walking along the lake in Rolle with my camera! The small island of Île de la Harpe, which our steamship navigated around can be seen clearly from the shore and small yachts sail in and around.

Isle de la Harpe off Rolle on Lac Leman
Île de la Harpe off Rolle on Lac Leman

Having booked first class tickets, which was a worthwhile investment to make the most of this special day out; we enjoyed the most beautiful views during our cruise from our traditional deck chairs on the top decks and ‘aperos’ from the bar.  Lunch just had to be the classic Filet de Perche from Lac Leman.  We dined on the upper deck affording us shade yet fresh lake air to make the most of the sunshine, blue skies and unforgettable scenery on that glorious June day.

Enjoying the changing views and the deckchairs on top deck
Enjoying the changing views and the deckchairs on top deck

Lunch on the SS Vevey on Lac Leman

Filet de Perch from Lac Leman for lunch for Taste of Savoie!
Filet de Perch from Lac Leman for lunch!

The steamship SS Vevey is such an impressive little traditional ship with her paddle wheel encased in glass, original teak decks and impressive sweeping staircases with brass footplates.  You will be mesmerised by the 1915 steam engines and waterwheel going round.

SS Vevey - the dining room, the stairway and the turning paddlewheel
SS Vevey – the dining room, the stairway and the turning paddlewheel

We made brief stops at Rolle then Morges, a lakeside town known for its annual Fete de la Tulipe in spring in the Parc de L’independance and the Dahlia festival along the lakeside in summer.

Fete de la Tulipe in Morges - photo by Caro Blackwell
Fete de la Tulipe in Morges every springtime
Looking at Morges from Lac Leman
Looking at Morges from Lac Leman

Coming into port at Lausanne

Then onto Lausanne for a stop long enough for a quick walk around the Ouchy area and the park in front of The Olympic Museum.

Waterfront at Ouchy, Lausanne
Waterfront at Ouchy, Lausanne

After lunch, we docked at Vevey where we had time to get off and wander around this lovely lakeside market town. I love Vevey – the home of photography! There is a photographic museum here – Musée Suisse de l’appareil photographique and every 2 years a Photography expo is held all around the town. Charlie Chaplin lived here for 25 years and Nestlé has their headquarters here.  The Alimentarium Museum is an imposing and grand building on the lake front.  This museum documents and displays the history of food and has the wonderful fork sculpture in the lake in front.

The fork sculpture in Lac Leman at Vevey
The fork sculpture in Lac Leman at Vevey

Then back onto the boat and heading towards our final destination of Montreux. We passed by the fabulous Unesco World Heritage site of the terraced vineyards of Lavaux.  Montreux of Jazz festival fame is an important and busy town on the lakefront.  Second home to many musicians, Montreux boasts a boardwalk and fun sculptures all along the lake front. Probably the most famous statue being that of Freddie Mercury.

The Freddie Mercury statue on the boardwalk at Montreux
The Freddie Mercury statue on the boardwalk at Montreux

After enjoying a walk along the lake and an ‘apero’ in Montreux we took the train back to Nyon.  Train journeys in Switzerland are another blog post. Train travel is not ‘cheap’ but is a fabulous and relaxing way to travel and see this amazingly beautiful Country.

Apero time in Montreux
Apero time in Montreux

This really was a fun and memorable day out. It was a great way to briefly see the shoreline of the beautiful Lac Leman from Nyon round to Montreux.  There are many different cruise options on the lake. We booked our trip online with CGN and there are many options for a day trip and dinner cruises on the Lac Leman.

Map of Lac Leman
Map of Lac Leman

Would my post inspire you to take a trip on Lac Leman? Or have you taken a boat trip on the lake what did you think?
Did you take a different route?  I’d love to know. Here’s a great post from My Custard Pie of her two boat excursions on Lac Leman. I love getting feedback and comments on my posts – so please feel free to comment below – Thanks Caro

SS Vevey part of the Belle Epoque fleet from CGN
SS Vevey part of the Belle Epoque fleet from CGN

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