In Switzerland, we refer to the French part of the country as the Romandie. It is located in the western part of the country and borders France. This is the area where I grew up and as I moved to America, I noticed that people that visit Switzerland, often fly into Zurich and visit a couple of places in the center of the country. The most famous ones are Lauterbrunnen/Interlaken, Luzern and Mount Pilatus and the Zurich area.
Obviously, these places are gorgeous but if you are interested in seeing less obvious places like Lower Engadine, I have summarized my top 5 below. In order to visit these places as part of your trip to Switzerland or Europe, you are better off flying into Geneva and either rent a car or travel by train and bus (which take you literally everywhere in Switzerland).
If you have been following me on Instagram for a bit, you know that Lavaux is probably my favorite places in the area. It is a UNESCO world Heritage site and I can definitely see why. Even though I grew up in the area, I am still mesmerized by the beauty of the view of the Leman Lake with the Alps in the background. To this day, I haven’t seen anything like it.
Did you know that Chillon castle inspired the castle in the Little Mermaid? All the Disney fans are going to see the resemblance!
Chillon castle is located only 3-minute from Montreux by train or by car (there are parking spots at the site). Whether it is for the gorgeous views of the Dents du Midi mountains in the background or for a full visit of the castle, it is definitely worth it. My favorite part aside from the beautiful scenery is probably the dungeon which is right at the level of the lake.
The entrance fee is CHF 12.30 for an adult and it is best to book your tickets online on the official website.
I only started exploring the Gruyère region a couple of years ago and I am glad I finally did! If you are looking for the typical views of Switzerland, you will love this region of Romandie. Gruyère is well known for it’s mountain landscapes and cows in every corner. In terms of food, of course, this region is where Gruyère cheese comes from. But maybe less known to foreigners, this is also the place of a very famous chocolate brand (Cailler).
If you end up visiting this area, make sure to go check out a cheese and/or chocolate factory! Also, try the cheese fondue, as this is the typical dish of the region.
You can also take a quick trip to the Gruyère Castle. It is one of my personal favorite as it sits on top of the hill and offers a fantastic view of the region.
Lausanne and Lake Leman
I might be biased on that one since Lausanne is where I grew up. The campus of University of Lausanne is located right by the lake so I can’t count how many strolls and picnics we took by the lake. This is truly the most breathtaking view. Even after spending 26+ years there, I am still mesmerized every time I get to see the view of the mountains behind the lake.
You have a lot of places that you can go to to stroll around Lake Leman (this is how we call it in French but is also often referred to as Lake Geneva). Aim for a stroll in Lausanne-Ouchy, Vidy, Lutry, Vevey or St-Sulpice to name a few. If you settle on Lausanne-Ouchy, you can even hop on a boat that will take you to the French side of the lake.
Glacier 3000 – Les Diablerets
Last but not least, if you like gorgeous 360-degree views of the Swiss Alps, Glacier 3000 is for you. A gondola will take you right at the top of the platform located at a 3000-meter altitude. There is also a restaurant if you want to have lunch or a quick drink before going back down. Full disclosure though, it is a touristy spot and it is quite expensive. The gondola ride is CHF 80 so it is definitely a budget. Use this link for the Glacier 3000 website for more information.
Switzerland is fairly small so all these places are located less than a 1-hour drive from each other so they make for a perfect addition to any itinerary.
Have you been to this part of Switzerland? If so, let me know in the comments what was your favorite part!