For EU and Swiss residents, 15 June marked the re-opening of most European borders for summer travel. Our church friends, Adeline and Daniel suggested going on a daytrip to Yvoire. Vince and I jumped at the idea at once. It had been been 3 months of staying put at home ever since the Covid pandemic began, and we were brimming with excitement at the thought of travelling overseas at long last, even if it’s just for a day!
Note: With adequate protection of course, like wearing a mask in crowded, confined places, and observing hand hygiene.
Yvoire is a medieval town located on the southeastern France, along the shores of Lac Leman. Given its location, it is a hotspot for many Swiss daytrippers from Geneva, Nyon and Lausanne.
Prior to this trip, I’d never heard of Yvoire. In fact, it is classified among the most beautiful villages in France! And rightfully so, with romantic flowers adorned everywhere, well-preserved stone houses and old cobblestone streets.
How to Get There
Making a daytrip to Yvoire is easy. From Geneva, it is a breezy 20 minute drive. Alternatively, you can take the train to Nyon, and then board the pleasure boat cruise from the harbour. The crossing took us only ±25 minutes. I recommend taking the ferry ride, as it affords beautiful views of the blue lake and Nyon castle.
A round trip to Yvoire and back to Lausanne cost us 28.20CHF. You can check out Passenger Ferry Boats on Lake Geneva for more details on ferryboat services between Switzerland and France.
Ferry tickets can also be purchased via the SBB app.
As the ferry slowly came to dock, a quant fairytale-like town emerged into view.
Where to Eat
We started off with lunch at Restaurant la Perche, which has a typical French terrace with small tables along the streets.
We tried their in-house speciality, the filets de perche (€18), a sweetish fish caught locally in Lac Léman, prepared with different sauce and served with fries. They were freshly cooked and tasted really delicious. Vince went for their 3-course menu du jour (€18) consisting green salad, poulet and panna cotta. Portions were huge and it was a great value-for-money choice.
Overall a very charming restaurant with impeccable service: Though it prolly helped too that we spoke to our waiter in French!
La Creperie d’Yvoire is a traditional crèperie that sells a wide variety of sweet and savoury crèpes. I HIGHLY recommend making a stopover here for desserts!
The SALTED CARAMEL crèpes are to-die-for! Don’t leave without trying this.
Sights & Attractions
Yvoire is low on formal sights, with the old town itself an attraction on its own.
Yvoire’s historical centre is really small, but filled with restaurants, cafes, boutique shops. We actually finished exploring in under two hours. Without needing the usual rush for sight-seeing, it felt nice to spend the afternoon slowly and enjoy the town simply for its charming beauty and atmosphere.
This 700-year old castle was built in the 14th century and towers over the small town. It is now private property and unfortunately, not open to public.
However, you can take a little stroll down the stone path along the castle walls, which leads to the old harbour.
The harbour is parked with cute little fishing boats and modern white yachts. It is an ideal spot to relax, look out and immerse in the awe-inspiring lake views.
For the first time, we get to see the landscapes of Switzerland with French eyes!
Jardins du Cinq Sens
We passed by the Jardins du Cinq Sens (Garden of Five Senses), formerly the kitchen garden of Chateau d’Yvoire. It is a labyrinth with over 1,300 variety of aromatic plants, fruit trees, old roses, and designed to tickle all five senses.
The Garden is open from mid-May to mid-October, with admissions priced at €12. We didn’t have much time on hands, and gave the Garden a miss, but I figured this could be a good sensory experience for families with young kids!
Our daytrip to Yvoire was completely ideal in terms of proximity and time, and a much-needed overseas getaway for the weekend. Again, I am reminded of how lucky we are to live in Switzerland where with just a train ride or a lake cruise, we can land up in another neighbouring country for a whole new European experience!
What about you? Do you have other suggestions for daytrips from Switzerland? Share with me in the comments below!