Easily accessed and explored from Geneva, the Vaud Region of Switzerland is well worth making an effort for this summer. A train ride of just over two hours will take you right into the heart of the area’s good stuff (and, my word, there’s a lot of good stuff here). This is what Jenny Jones and Hersha Patel got up to on their visit to the canton with our crew last year. Oh, and spoiler alert if you haven’t watched the video yet: they really enjoyed themselves.
For those keen on the geographical details (good on you), our trip in the Vaud Region consisted of the following spots: Leysin, Les Diablerets, Alpage Pâquier-Mottier and L’etivaz. Individually, these places are special. Brought together over the course of a number of days, they acted as building blocks in a Switzerland-based adventure of a lifetime.
Mountain Biking In Leysin
Two wheels are better than one / none. That’s our maybe slightly clunky way of introducing the magic of the mountain biking on offer in Vaud (and Leysin in particular). Jenny J and Hersha P got on some saddles during our trip, and did some downhill shredding on the epic terrain this part of Switzerland has to offer. Switzerland, of course, has plenty of excellent places to go mountain biking but Vaud’s menu of MTB delights really is right up there; offering up some of the best spots in the country. Like mountain biking? Like bike-based adrenaline rushes? Like rhythmic flow on the berms? You’ve come to the right destination, friend.
Thanks to the excellent, and seriously varied, terrain that’s waiting to be enjoyed around Leysin the area has already made a real name for itself among enthusiastic bike riders of all ilk. Whatever your riding discipline of choice, you’ll find something to get excited about around here. Cross-country? Absolutely. Downhill? Oh yes. Enduro? Believe it.
The downhill trails, which we’ll shine a light on here, begin at the top of Berneuse; high above the village of Leysin. However you’re feeling that day, and whatever your riding level, you’ll be able to make choices about where you go to test out your skillset. If you back yourself as something of an on-bike talent, the steep turns and ‘sendy’ jumps in this neck of the Vaud Region might just have you frothing with anticipation. Get extreme, get that adrenaline pumping, get yourself on the Nérine trail. It might just end up being the ride of your life, so far. Those that prefer taking it super casual, by the way, shouldn’t be alarmed. There’s plenty of stuff here for you to enjoy as well.
Paragliding In Leysin
If you’re going to go paragliding, you might as well do it in one of Europe’s most scenic destinations. Jenny and Hersha took to the skies on our trip, and got a breathtaking bird’s-eye POV on the Swiss Alps during summer. Glorious, bucket-list crossing-off, adventure-inspiring stuff we think you’ll agree.
In Leysin, the take off zone and place where you’ll be ultimately crying out like an eagle is at the top of Berneuse (at an altitude of 2,048 metres above sea level). You can use the Berneuse cable car to get up there, and the landing strip for this activity is back down in the village so it’s all pretty convenient as well as extremely fun. The views you’ll soak up during this activity are the kind of views you’ll never forget. See the Dents du Midi, feast your eyes upon Mont Blanc, gaze out on Lake Léman as it stretches out in all it’s glory. We’ve convinced you, haven’t we? Yes, thought so.
Have Unique, Local, Experiences
The best thing about getting away, and going on adventures, is that you can embrace a different way of life and do things you wouldn’t get the chance to at home. When in Vaud, why not get agricultural in a uniquely Alpine way by sleeping in a barn, at a farm, on some hay (yes, hay) like Jenny J and Hersha P? And then just like Jenny and Hersha, for breakfast, eat 100% locally-sourced (and therefore more sustainable and environmentally-friendly) products? Of course, the concept of unique experiences isn’t exclusive to Vaud but there’s something about unique experiences in Switzerland, in general, that just hit the spot in entirely unexpected yet still extremely enjoyable ways. You can’t help but love it.
Did we mention you can make your own cheese on the bio-dynamic farm with the hay beds? Did we? Did we mention that? Get yourself to Vaud, sleep on some hay, and make your own cheese. It’s a little bit different to the act of sipping mojitos by the pool at some generic all-inclusive resort, and we reckon that’s something to celebrate to be honest.
Head to Pâquier-Mottier if you really like the idea of sleeping in a barn, and making your own more sustainably-minded cheese. We think it’s the ideal way to break things up here, the most gloriously chilled out way to slow the pace of an activity-focused trip in Switzerland down. You can’t, after all, embrace getting properly extreme all the time. Well, you can… but maybe don’t. Maybe take it easy sometimes, find moments to connect with the local culture for a bit. It’s the best way to travel.
Via Ferrata In Les Diablerets
Here at Mpora, we make no secret of the fact that we love experiencing different via ferrata routes. Italian for the ‘iron road’, via ferrata is essentially rock climbing with a metal twist. A head for heights is still needed but the nature of the activity, where participants are clipped in and able to use fixed ladders and cables to move up and through the terrain, means it can feel a whole lot more accessible for entry level climbers. Home to a truly spectacular waterfall, and some of Europe’s best via ferrata views, Les Diablerets Via Ferrata offering should be right at the top of your ‘reasons to visit Vaud’ list.
You’ll access terrain that wouldn’t be reachable otherwise (unless you’re a really experienced climber), and go on something of a journey. The waterfall at the end of Via Ferrata de la Cascade is a real gem FYI, and a natural feature that’s well worth making the effort for. Don’t miss out.
Go For A Peak Walk
Vaud is home to one of the world’s coolest bridges. The Peak Walk by Tissot is a suspension bridge in the sky that runs between two mountain peaks (it’s the only suspension bridge in the world to stretch between two summits in this way). The bridge overlooks the glacier of Les Diablerets, is situated 3,000 metres above sea level, and is free of charge for Glacier 3000 visitors. An incredible feat of engineering that offers equally incredible views of the surrounding summits, this epic attraction is a must visit for mountain enthusiasts.
On our visit, it was initially quite cloudy and we feared the worst. Then it cleared up somewhat and we were confronted by one of the all-time great views we’ve had the good fortune to lay eyes upon. This special tourist attraction is worth travelling many miles for. Believe the hype. It’s outstanding.
More information on Vaud: Vaud.Swiss
More information on Alpes Vaudoises: alpesvaudoises.ch