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FUN THINGS TO DO IN GENEVA, VALAIS, MATTERHORN AND LAKE GENEVA REGION

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Anyone who visits Geneva, Lausanne, the Montreux Riviera, Verbier, Crans-Montana, Leukerbad, Saas-Fee and Zermatt is aware of the main tourist attractions in Switzerland's Lake Geneva Region.

Jet d'Eau fountain in Geneva
Jet d'Eau fountain in Geneva
Photo © Geneva Tourism & Conventions

But if you ask a person who lives there, you will discover new and unique things to do. Philippe Vignon, managing director of Geneva Tourism, for example, suggests the following fun activities.

Swiss chocolate

From mid-November until mid-January, indulge in the chocolate bar, every Sunday from 4 to 6 pm, at the Beau-Rivage Hotel in Geneva (address 13, Quai du Mont-Blanc). You will also find Switzerland's oldest chocolate company, Favarger, and nearly three dozen Swiss chocolate-makers in Geneva.

Try to rebuild a watch during a watch-making tour in Geneva, where manufacturers produce high-end watch brands, such as Rolex and Patek Phillippe. You will soon discover that it's easier to buy a watch at one of more than six dozen Swiss watch stores on Rue du Rhone.

Geneva Festivals

Watch one of the world's longest fireworks displays on the second Saturday in August, every year, at the Geneva Festival. You can also enjoy music, foods from around the world and shopping for handicrafts at the Fetes de Geneve, which begins in mid-July.

Sailboats in Bol d'Or race
Sailboats in Bol d'Or race
Photo © Geneva Tourism & Conventions

At the Bol d'Or, observe up to 300 sailboats travel from Geneva to Montreux and back. If the wind is good, the Lake Geneva race can last less than five hours, but if the winds are unfavorable, the Bol d'Or race can take up to 36 hours.

Eat chocolate marmites (soup pots) at the Fete de l'Escalade, in Geneva, on the second weekend in December. Philippe Vignon explains that during the Middle Ages, Geneva was independent. When troops from the Savoy kingdom attacked, an old woman who was making soup dumped the steaming cauldron of broth on the heads of the attackers.

Every year, 1,000 people in medieval costumes celebrate with a torch-light parade in Geneva's Old Town. Everyone eats lots of Swiss chocolates shaped like miniature marmites.

Valais music festival

Bruno Huggler, director of Valais Tourism, says that every April, you can see big-name bands and singers, such as Lionel Richie and Alanis Morissette, at Zermatt Unplugged (2018 dates: April 10 to 14). "The date of this Zermatt music festival allows you to combine it with spring skiing!"

He also explains that many people come to Valais to watch cows that fight to be crowned the queen of the herds. Afterward, you can taste their raw milk cheeses, which have the flavor of alpine herbs.

Zermatt's singing chef

Dan Daniell, owner and chef at Restaurant Chez Heini, was born in Zermatt, Switzerland. He took over his family restaurant, which is known for great lamb dishes.

Chef Daniell is a good friend of Anni-Frid of ABBA, who has also lived in Zermatt for many years. After his guests enjoy a delicious dinner, Dan Daniell comes on stage to entertain them with a repertoire of songs.

Matterhorn reflected in Riffelsee
Matterhorn reflected in Riffelsee
Photo: Switzerland Tourism

Matterhorn glaciers

The Matterhorn is the most photographed mountain in the world, according to Bruno Huggler. "It is only one of 47 peaks higher than 12,000 feet (3,660 meters)." He notes that about 20 per cent of the Matterhorn Region is covered with ice. "You can tour and hike on the Aletsch, the longest glacier, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site."

Making Swiss cheese
Making Swiss cheese
Photo: Switzerland Tourism

In Leukerbad, Huggler suggests another fun thing to do at the largest high-altitude thermal spa in Europe. "You can eat a Champagne breakfast in the thermal pool and watch movies, while relaxing in the thermal baths."

Swiss cheese

Mention Switzerland, and everyone thinks of Swiss cheese. Francois Michel, vice president of Canton du Vaud Office of Tourism, says that the first AOC cheese in Switzerland is Etivaz. The Gruyere-style cheese can only be made from controlled-origin milk from cows that graze in high-mountain pastures in Vaud.

The first wine-growers' festival of this century will be held in Vevez. Fete des Vignerons (dates: late-July to early-August 2019) takes place only four times every century.

You don't have to go to Italy to enjoy truffles, according to Francois Michel. Every October, you will find a Swiss Truffle Market in Bonvillars (located north of Lausanne and Yverdon-les-Bans in Vaud). You can learn about truffle-hunting dogs, see cooking demonstrations, buy Swiss truffles and taste delicious truffle dishes.

It's just one of the many fun things to see and do in the Lake Geneva & Matterhorn Region.


TRAVEL INFORMATION

Lake Geneva & Matterhorn Region: www.lgmr.ch

Switzerland Tourism: www.MySwitzerland.com

More things to see & do in Switzerland:

Switzerland Lakeside Hotels, Cruises, Spas and Water Sports

Lake Geneva & Matterhorn Region Wine Tours

Alphorns - Alpine Music from Switzerland