Ahhh Switzerland, you know the love we have for our little country that we “re “discover” since we returned from our round the world trip! (we must admit that we were not so curious before). For a year now, we have taken advantage of all our free time to discover places that we had never visited before. I am thinking in particular of the magnificent hikes on the 5 lakes, the tour of the Val d’Hérens or the Appenzell region, which really thrilled us.
But today, we wanted to share with you one of our regions of heart and also the place where Fabienne grew up. I have named the terraced vineyards of Lavaux! (so you won’t have to wonder why we like wine anymore;))).
Additional reading: If you come to the area, we encourage you to check as well our article about our favorite villages in the Canton de Vaud. Of course Lavaux is part of the selection, but there are some other hidden gems.
Site classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site: Lavaux
These vines, perched above Lake Leman, are absolutely spectacular. It is to protect this region, its landscapes and traditions, that Lavaux was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. As usual on our blog, we propose you a good little hike to discover this region which has so much to offer!
From Lutry to Epesses: Welcome to Lavaux
We suggest you start this hike at Bossière station just above the village of Lutry. (see map of the hike at the end of the article.) The route begins by following the railway line that links Lausanne to Bern.
Moreover, if you have already taken this train line, you have certainly already had the “Wooowwww” effect when you leave the tunnel that opens out over Lavaux and Lake Leman. In any case for us, every time we go back from Zurich to Lausanne for the weekend, it always has that effect on us. 🙂
The path overlooks the first vineyards of Lavaux with the city of Lausanne just behind us. We pass by several magnificent houses that have a breathtaking view of the vineyards and Lake Leman below. With Fabienne we say to ourselves that it must be nice to live here and spend in the evening on one of these terraces with a good glass of local wine. 😉
The village of Grandvaux
We continue along the train tracks to the village of Grandvaux while enjoying the view. On the way, you can already stop several times to taste the local wine. Even if we advise you to wait until the end of the walk for the aperitif 🙂 (We confess to you, the temptation was also great for us, but we resisted until the end 😉 ).
The path then continues between the villages of Grandvaux and Vilette, through the vineyards to the village of Riex and then Epesses. It is a real pleasure to stroll through these narrow streets and admire all these old winegrower’s buildings that have a lot of character.
You will find some restaurants or cafés with magnificent terraces overlooking Lavaux and Lake Leman. There are also several cellars where you can taste the local wines (the white wine of Epesses is very famous). Moreover, the inhabitants of the region are very proud of their wine and will not fail to remind you of it in any way whatsoever (see photo)
From Epesses to St-Saphorin via Dezaley
At the exit of the village of Epesse (if you leave it 😉 ), after the press, take the track which goes down on your right through the vineyards. You might see a little more people from there. Indeed it is possible to park your car in the village of Epesse and the walks in the area are very popular.
The path crosses the steepest part of Lavaux, more commonly known as the Dezaley, which also produces the grand cru of the same name. This plot is very impressive because the vines are steeper and the walls of the terraces higher. This place was even chosen to illustrate the 200 Swiss francs note, our 2nd largest note (yes, absolutely!).
Enjoy an aperitif in the heart of the Lavaux vineyards
At the end of the Dezaley path and just before the village of Rivaz, we met a lady in her small wooden hut who sold fresh white wine from the region. And as the sunset was approaching, we couldn’t resist the temptation to buy her a bottle to have a drink in the vineyards at the end of the day.
And as you can see from the pictures below, we did the right thing by stopping to have a luxury aperitif overlooking the Dezaley and sunset on Lake Leman.
After the aperitif, we no longer had the courage to continue the hike. As a result, we stopped at Rivaz village where there is a train station that allows us to take the train either to Vevey or back to Lausanne. But if you want to walk a little longer, you can continue to the medieval village of St-Saphorin which is clearly worth a visit on its own (see the red route on the map).
Hiking map / itinerary – Lavaux region
- Distance : Between 9 and 11 kms depending on whether you go to Rivaz or St-Saphorin
- Elevation changes : There are a few climbs and descents but the course is generally quite flat. No problem on that side.
- To reach the beginning of the hike, take the train to Lausanne (or park your car in Lausanne) and then take the S4 or S5 line towards Palezieux to the Bossière stop.
- To return to Lausanne, you can either take the train from Rivaz or St-Saphorin at the end of the hike
- The path is easy to follow and very well marked. In addition, throughout the trail, you will find didactic panels that will teach you more about Lavaux, its traditions and its wines.
Small loop from the village of Chexbres
If you don’t want to walk 10 km to discover the Lavaux region and its magnificent terraced vineyards, don’t worry! We made a lighter version this year for an instameet (yes yes, a meeting between people who use instagram… it was our first try 🙂 ) organized by the Montreux Riviera Tourist Office.
To get a nice overview, you can also take the train to Chexbres station and get off through the vineyards to the village of Rivaz. Here too, the landscapes are absolutely splendid even if the colours were still rather in yellow tones and not yet in oranges (we have to wait until the end of October or early November for orange 🙂 ).
Section from Rivaz to Chexbres
From Rivaz, you just have to go up to Chexbres by the small paths through the vineyards (be careful, it climbs steeply…). If you have the opportunity, stop in a capite in the middle of the vineyards to taste a small bottle of chasselas (the local white wine). There is nothing like enjoying a good glass of fresh white wine with this view 🙂
And finally, if you decide to do the loop from the village of Chexbres, prefer the late afternoon 🙂 … As you can imagine, the sunsets are amazing in the area. At our instameet, we had the chance to admire the sunset from a capite in the middle of the vineyards and the moment was simply magical (Thanks Ronny and Laura for the organization 🙂 )
That’s it, that’s all for this nice walk. I hope you have been inspired to discover this region that is particularly close to our hearts. We swear it’s worth it and you’ll fall in love with Switzerland after that. 🙂