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The high life on Lake Geneva

Chateau Chillon perches on the shore of Lake Geneva. swiss-image.ch

Often called the Swiss Riviera, the rich and famous have long been attracted by the region's mild and sunny climate and breathtaking lake and mountain scenery. Many celebrities still take up residence in the towns and villages that dot the northern shore.

This content was published on April 11, 2006 - 15:29

Promenades, hiking trails and bike routes make it possible for any and all visitors to travel at their own pace while discovering the lakeside and its many medieval villages, castles, Roman ruins and vineyards.

Among the castles, medieval Chillon outside of Montreux is a must on any travel itinerary while the Château de Prangins near Nyon tells the history of Switzerland in the 18th and 19th century.

Lake Geneva – the largest alpine body of water in Europe - is a paradise for sailors.

Paddle steamers also pull in at most ports.

Montreux

While the neighbouring towns of Montreux and Vevey get the most attention, the shops and museums along the cobbled streets of the towns of Nyon, Rolle and Morges are well worth exploring.

Above the lake, the alpine resorts of Chateau-d’Oex, Leysin and Les Diablerets have been welcoming tourists for more than a century and have retained a certain rustic charm – dominated by chalet-style accommodation.

Hot-air

Leysin is also well known for its international schools and Chateau-d’Oex for its annual hot-air balloon festival.

Chateau-d’Oex entered the international spotlight in 1999 when it served as the launching pad for Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones to become the first humans ever to circle the globe non-stop in a hot-air balloon.

Skiing Le Mans

Villars is the best known ski resort in this part of the Alps, and has the advantage of being the closest Swiss alpine resort to Geneva airport.

Each year in January, some of the world's top Formula One drivers turn their high-tech race cars in for skis to take part in a 24-ski marathon in Villars, with the proceeds going to charity.

swissinfo, Dale Bechtel

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