What to Do in the Lake Geneva Region This Winter

by Nicole Quaste

Dec 31, 2017
Feature

The Lake Geneva region is located in the French-speaking part of western Switzerland, a timeless, picturesque destination boasting classic mountain beauty and iconic hotels.

Visitors come from around the world for wine tastings in the Lavaux vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; outdoor activities including hiking and winter mountain sports; and the Vallée de Joux, the birthplace of Swiss watchmaking.

In October, the Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium opened in Lausanne, an interactive cultural center, museum and educational institution. It’s the largest freshwater aquarium in Europe, containing close to 10,000 fish and reptile species from five continents.

Also this winter, the village of Château-d’Oex celebrates its 40th-annual Festival International de Ballons Jan. 27–Feb. 4, 2018. The town is famed as the start of the first successful around-the-world balloon journey in 1999 in the Breitling Orbiter by Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones. This year, more than 80 balloons from 20 countries will take to the skies.

If food is the main motivation for your trip to the Lake Geneva region, there is no shortage of world-class culinary experiences to be had this winter. Michelin-starred chef Franck Giovannini from Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville in Crissier was awarded Best Chef of the Year, and chef Florian Carrard at Hotel Valrose in Rougemont was named Discovery of the Year in Switzerland by Gault&Millau. There are 97 restaurants in the Lake Geneva region in the Gault&Millau 2018 guide and 12 restaurants in the Michelin Guide 2018.

If you’re traveling around Christmastime, enjoy Switzerland’s renowned holiday markets. The month-long Montreaux Noel features 160 chalets arranged along the lakefront, selling handmade goods and local food specialties. The nearby city of Lausanne has its own holiday festival, Bô Noël — a market with local food, wines and handmade goods.

Glacier 3000 expands its ski area for the 2017–2018 season with the creation of Red Run, which opened Dec. 20. At nearly five miles long, it will be the longest ski run on the glacier. Visitors can also take the Peak Walk, go dogsledding and enjoy a meal at the renovated Restaurant Botta. Visit the Lake Geneva website to learn more about skiing, sledding and other winter sports in Les Diablerets, Villas-sur-Ollon, Les Mosses, Leysin and other ski areas.

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