Vevey is romantically known as the “Pearls of the Swiss Riviera.” It is part of the district of the same name, and is generally a part of the French-speaking region of Switzerland. Many also like to call it Chaplin’s town, with it being the final home of comedy legend Charlie Chaplin. Chocolate lovers will know it for a different reason though. For chocoholics out there, Vevey is the world headquarters of food giant, Nestle. The company was founded in 1867, and Vevey is considered as the birthplace of milk chocolate. It was concocted by Daniel Peter in 1875.
So, if you’d like to pay homage to either Chaplin or chocolate, head on to the town on the north shore of Lake Geneva, Vevey. Here are some other things that you might want to see while you’re in the area:
1. Learn more about nutrition at the Vevey Alimentarium
If you’re especially passionate about health and nutrition, the Alimentarium is the place to be. It is the first museum in the world that is solely dedicated to nutrition. It examines all phases of the human diet from the past to its possible future. It combines elements of science, culture, and art to make interactive and interesting displays. And because it’s a museum solely about food, there are areas where you’ll experience tastings, cooking workshops, and even learn how to plant your own vegetable garden.
The Alimentarium is located by Lake Geneva where it rises up like an eight meter (26 foot) high fork for which it became a part of the Guinness Book of World Records. The irony of it is that the building of the Alimentarium used to be the management headquarters of Nestle (yes, the chocolate company).
2. Check the sunny vineyard slopes of the Lavaux or the Wine Road
It seems like the French and wine go together even in Switzerland. The famous themed wine route in between Vevey and Lausanne is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recently added in 2007. As you can tell from its name, the tour involves lots of eating and drinking, sampling Swiss wine and local food. Don’t worry though. You also add a bit of exercise as you go through the 12-kilometer (7.4 mile) route.
You’ll also see a lot of 16th to 19th-century winegrower’s houses. Depending on your pace, you can go through the Wine Road in two or three days. The terraced vineyards found on the Wine Road were originally established in the 11th-century by monks. Lavaux has since been the largest vineyard region in Switzerland.
3. Ride the vine train through the wine-growing region of Lavaux to Puidoux-Chexbres
Places really are best seen by foot, but if you’ve just been through that hike mentioned above through the Wine Road and would like to do more riding and less walking after, then take a ride on the “Train des Vignes” or the vineyard train. The ride will give you an amazing view of the Savoy and Valais Al.
Everything takes about an hour, departing from or returning to Vevey Station to Puidoux – Chexbres and the terraced vineyards of Lavaux UNESCO World Heritage Site. The train station’s last stop is the Chexbres Village Station. As this is a tourist train, there’s a tour guide who will run you through the different wine varieties in the region. Wine growers also give the tourists a chance to taste their wine in their cellars.
4. Try the train of the stars, Train des Etoiles
Yes, it seems Vevey is all about trains. There’s a funicular railway from Chardonne to Mont-Pelerin, and another one along the museum railway line between Blonay and Chamby. Train des Etoiles joins the Pleiades with a sports resort. The ride is quite vertigo-inducing as the ascent is very steep. This route is also explored by cyclists as it leads to the ‘lookout’ mountain, looking down into the valley.
The Train des Etoiles runs every day, every hour. From the train, you’ll be able to see Lake Geneva and Rochers-de-Naye. The train is usually used by paragliders, mountain bikers, winter skiers, and tired hikers. The Pleiades was destined to receive the path of the stars which was sponsored by Claude Nicollier, the first Swiss speaker.
5. Stroll through Lake Geneva
Who doesn’t want to stroll through the captivating lakeside promenade that extends as far as your eyes can see? Lake Geneva’s promenade is a 10-kilometer (6 mi) stretch from Vevey to Chateau de Chillon. The whole area is full of flowers and palm trees. There is also a monument of Charlie Chaplin by the lakeshore if you care to look for it. The view extends to the waterside all the way to the Alps and into Savoy.
Once in a while, the promenade is a venue to cultural and musical shows. If you’re there on a normal day though, be sure to check with the local information center before going through the promenade. The route you want might be closed. For the safety of their guests, the management usually closes some parts of the promenade during winter.
Vevey was a popular area during the 19th-century. There are still remnants of that century especially in its grand hotels and at the lakeside promenade. However, it has also kept up with the times, especially with Nestle being on the scene. If you’d like to go people-watching and see what the modern scene is like, you might like to wander through the large market on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. The molk market or Marches Folkloriques is visited by over 200 people every Tuesday and Saturday. Buy your own wine-glass and try the different wines in the area while listening to some Swiss folk music or watching artisans at work. Try spending a whole week in Vevey. The countryside will give you reasons to love it more.