The Lavaux Vineyards

What do you think about when you think ‘Switzerland’?

Skiing? Rolling green hills with cows wearing large cow bells? Cheese? Chocolate? Alps? Watches? Banking secrecy? Tax evasion? Sweden? You’d be shocked how many people confuse Switzerland with Sweden.

But unless you’re a wine buff or have lived in Switzerland, I’m pretty sure you didn’t think vineyards and winemaking did you? Take a look at these (click on the photo’s to have them expand)

These amazing UNESCO heritage listed terraced vineyards can be traced back to the 11th century. And they’re still functioning vineyards today. Spanning 30 kilometers of the Lac Lehman (Lake Geneva) lakeside they’re a fabulous place to visit. My husband and I had often seen them from the train, car and boat (and had sampled a reasonable amount of the local white wine) but we’d never actually got in amongst the vines. We put that on the ‘do this when we have guests’ list.

So when Husband’s parents came for a visit we decided to go. We went to Cully (home of my favourite gluten free bakery) where we caught the Lavaux Express. This cute little train is pretty much a tractor in disguise. It pulls two trailers where you sit on bench seats 3 abreast.  But on a 30 degree day it makes for a fabulous alternate to walking.

The only disadvantage with taking the train versus walking is that most of your photos will have heads or pieces of train in them. And on a hot day, sitting in the center seat can become a little bit warm and frustrating. Though if you get the last seats you have a spectacular view for most of the trip (hint, request them when you buy your tickets if you can). These kids had a fabulous trip.

The trip takes about an hour and a quarter and includes a drive through the small but gorgeous villages of Riex and Epesses. It then stops for a while amongst the vines where (for 3 chf per glass) you can taste some of the local produce. The train then turns around, returning you back to the Cully lakeside.

On a clear day like the one we had, the views are amazing! And the regions white wines are a wonderful accompaniment to a hot summer day. So if you’re in the area, I recommend you take a look!

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