All shops and some restaurants are close on Sundays in Geneva and in most parts of Switzerland. This brings us to one of the most common questions: “What to do on a Sunday?”. One of my suggestions for an active Sunday activity is to do the Lavaux Vineyard hiking trail.
The Lavaux vineyard terraces is a beautiful UNESCO heritage sight in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland. This vineyard terraces goes all the way back to the 11th century. It stretches from St-Saphorin to Lausanne. It is the home of Chasselas, the famous Swiss white wine.
The hike is an easy one. It is more or less a walk than a hike. Whether you do it by yourself, with a date, friends or family, the Lavaux vineyard hike is great.
There are several ways to do this activity. From 30 min to 8 hrs, the hike is very flexible. The vineyard goes through several towns and you can easily take the train back to a bigger town or even back to Geneva.
This itinerary includes 10-11 kilometer walk from St-Saphorin to Lutry. I went hiking with my fiancé on a cloudy Sunday morning. Cloudy can be a good weather for hiking in Lavaux since there’s no shade in most part of the trail. So, on a sunny day, don’t forget to put on some sunscreen and wear a cap, hat or a bandana.
Travel by train from Geneva to St-Saphorin is approximately 1h 10m and is about CHF 30 per person for one way. We took the 10:30 am train from Gare Cornavin (train destination is Brig). We got of at Vevey and took a train (direction Vallorbe) to St-Saphorin. We started walking up to the terraces at approximately 11:40 am. Be warned that street that goes up to the terraces from St-Saphorin is quite a hill.
After 5 km of walking, we were starving and in need of bathroom break. We ended up in the town of Epesses. There, we discovered the Auberge du vigneron. This hidden gem is a lovely restaurant with an outdoor sitting overlooking the vineyards and the Geneva lake. They are open 7/7 but it might be better to make a reservation as they can be pretty busy. We we were lucky to get a table without reservation but I guess it is because we came before the people started coming in. The food is really good but with the usual Geneva price.
After an hour and a half of wonderful lunch, we continued walking towards Lutry, passing Riex, Cully, Villette and other smaller towns. The vineyards had picturesque young grapes.
After Cully, the path signs have led us to the lake side, exiting the terraces. It was fine because after Cully (7-8 km from St-Saphorin), we were getting tired and the sun was up and burning us. About 3 km later, we finally reached the Lutry train station at 16:10. Unfortunately, the train to Geneva (via Lausanne) was scheduled at 16:50ish so we had to wait for a while. Note that the train station at Lutry has practically nothing in it on a Sunday – no shops, just vending machines and a not-so well maintained WC.
The train ride from Lutry to Geneva, via Lausanne, is approximately 40 minutes. If I remember it correctly, the train should cost you approximately CHF 25 per person.
Overall, the Lavaux vineyard trail is a nice Sunday activity. The advantage of doing this on a weekend or a Saturday is that the caves are open – you can add wine tasting in your itinerary.
See here for more information about the Lavaux vineyards hiking trail.