Travel and Tourist Information
ABOVE: The Vevey waterfront on Lac Léman in Canton Vaud.
Vevey is a popular holiday resort, wine-trading center, and corporate headquarters town on the "Swiss Riviera." From its lakeside promenade, you can enjoy beautiful views of the French Alps on the opposide side of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva).
The town of 16,000 has long been popular with British and European celebrities--among them, the London-born Charlie Chaplin, who lived for 25 years in the neighboring village of Corsier-sur-Vevey (where he was buried after his death in 1977). Chocolate, baby formula, and other foods also play a role in Vevey's prosperity: Nestlé was founded here, and the company's international headquarters in Vevey has 1,600 employees from more than 70 countries.
Sightseeing and museums
The Grand-Place market square and the lakefront promenade are worth a leisurely stroll. Also take time to explore the pedestrian zone of the old town, where you'll find more upscale shops than might be expected in a town of this size--among them, chocolatiers and gourmet food boutiques. The Tourist Office on the market square can supply you with an excellent map/guide to Vevey and Montreux. (Ask about the two-hour guided tour of the two towns.)
Museums include the Alimentarium or Food Museum, the Musée Junisch museum of fine arts, the Swiss Camera Museum, the Vevey Historical Museum, and the museum-library of the Confrérie des Vignerons, the organization that hosts the Festival of the Winegrowers every 20-odd years. (The most recent fête was in 1999.) For other museums in or near Vevey, see Museesriviera.ch.
The nine-day Cully Jazz Festival takes place on the lakefront in early April. In summer, a "Léman Tradition" festival offers visitors the chance to ride traditional Lateen-rigged sailboats. Another popular event is the Street Artists Festival in August, which draws some 1,200 jugglers, mimes, puppeteers, and other performers.
Excursions from Vevey
Take the Mont-Pèlerin funicular to the Plein Ciel Tower for spectacular lake views, or ride Le Train de Vignes (the Wine Train) through Lavaux, a countryside of wine villages and vineyards. The cogwheel train ride to Les Pléiades is another option. See the GoldenPass Services Web site for information on these and other excursion trains.
The Hôtel Les Trois Couronnes, which was built in 1842, is the dowager empress of hotels in Vevey. Indoors, the hotel--whose corridors face a three-story atrium--combines vintage comforts with a stylish modern spa. The Trois Couronnes is surprisingly cozy by grand-hotel standards, since it contains only 55 rooms and suites, and the location next to the lake and town center is hard to beat.
To search for other (and less expensive) accommodations, see the tourist-office links below.
Vevey has a good assortment of eating places, including the Louis XV-style restaurant of the Hôtel Les Trois Couronnes (see above).
I had an excellent meal of lake perch with frites at the Restaurant La Clef at Rue du Théâtre 1 in the city center. The traditional bistro-style restaurant was cozy and friendly, with guests who ranged from business people to families with small children. (The restaurant occupies a house where Jean-Jacques Rousseau lived in 1732.)
Vevey is on the main railway line that runs from Geneva to Lausanne, Montreux, and the Simplon Tunnel. It's only about 15 minutes from Lausanne by the Swiss Federal Railways or commuter train. You can also reach Vevey by the No. 1 bus from Montreux, which passes the Castle of Chillon.
If you're driving, the N9 autoroute will bring you to Vevey; by boat, take a CGN lake steamer from other cities on Lac Léman.
To plan your Vevey trip, visit Montreux Vevey Tourism. For more information on other cities and attractions in the area, see the linked articles below and the Lake Geneva Region Tourist Office Web site.
Top photo and train photo copyright © ST/Swiss-Image.ch.
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