The Western Region of Switzerland extends as far south as Lake Geneva and as far north as the Jura mountain range. It is bordered entirely on the north, west and south by France, and as you can guess, French is the primary language spoken here. To the east is Bern and the Bernese and Mittelland regions of Switzerland. There are two main bodies of water in this region: Lake Geneva and Lac du Neuchatel. In this post, I will cover the main points of interest in this region, although this is by no means an exhaustive look at all of the things to see and do in this region.
NOTE: My primary sources of information for this post are from the DK Eyewitness Switzerland Guide, and Rick Steves’ Switzerland Guidebook.
The Southern Area
If you see nothing else in the western region of Switzerland, Lausanne is a can’t miss. Located on the northern shores of Lake Geneva, the area was originally a Roman settlement dating back to the 1st Century. Lausanne is the home of the International Olympic Committee. The town hosts several museums and historic sites. The town really has two areas of interest – the lakefront area and the main town center. These are easily accessible by public transportation.
Home of the famous Montreux Jazz Festival, the town has also been the home of several celebrities including Freddie Mercury from Queen, and a statue in his honor is located near the lakeshore. The jazz festival, held annually, hosts over 200,000 visitors.
The Chateau de Chillon
Just south of Montreux is the Chateau de Chillon. The Medieval castle dates to the 11th Century and has served as a seat of government, a courthouse and a prison.
The Central Area
The town of Fribourg was founded in 1137, and is considered one of the most attractive towns in Switzerland.
Notably known for the origin of Swiss Gruyère cheese, the town also is the destination of the Swiss Chocolate Train and the Cailler Chocolate Factory.
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