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The Swiss towns wine festival is as revered as it is rare but, from a Chaplin museum to boat tours and chocolate heaven, a trip need not be grape-related

On 18 July, the peaceful town of Vevey, on the shores of Lake Geneva near Montreux, transforms into party central as it hosts one of the worlds biggest (and rarest) wine festivals. The Fte des Vignerons which was granted Unesco intangible cultural heritage status in 2016 was founded in 1797 to honour the wine-makers of the Lavaux wine region, one of Switzerlands premier wine appellations.

Performers during a rehearsal for Fte des Vignerons. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Today, the Fte des Vignerons (18 July-11 August) is a celebration that is only held every 20 years. Its centrepiece is 20 live shows in a specially built 20,000-seat arena but there are also daily parades, costumed wine-themed performances, workshops, wine and food tastings, music and more. A million visitors are expected to attend the event.

While this grape gala puts Vevey in the spotlight, theres an array of things to see and do, year-round, that will raise spirits without (necessarily) raising blood-alcohol levels and here is our pick of 10 of them

Chaplins World

Photograph: Florian Lica/Alamy

In Charlie Chaplins former estate (which he moved to after effectively being exiled from the US in 1953), Chaplins World is the only museum dedicated to the revered comic actor and film-maker. Even if youre not a devoted fan, its worth visiting this interactive museum. Peppered with letters, photos and original furnishings, the home is also filled with lifelike wax figures of Chaplin and his famous friends (such as Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein). Recorded television performances and home movies of Chaplin and his family are enthralling. A nearby complex holds recreations of Hollywood film stages from his movies, where guests are encouraged to act out some of his most famous scenes.
Adult 20, 6-15 14.50, under 6 free,

Vevey promenade

Charlie Chaplin statue on Quai Perdonnet. Photograph: Alamy

On the north-eastern shore of Lake Geneva, Vevey offers mountain views at every turn. For the most picturesque stroll, head to the towns lakeside, tree-lined promenade (Quai Perdonnet). It passes along the old town and by some of the towns museums plus a couple of tiny parks. Keep an eye out for the bronze Chaplin statue (near the Alimentarium food museum), as well as the huge silver fork sculpture rising out of the lake.

Muse Jenisch Vevey

Photograph: Julien Gremaud/Jenisch Vevey Museum

This small, eclectic museum specialises in prints and drawings from Swiss and international artists, with a collection that spans from the 16th to the 21st century. It also has the worlds largest collection of art by Viennese expressionist Oskar Kokoschka. Of particular interest are works by Alechinsky, Courbet, Drer, Hodler, Picasso, Rembrandt and Vallotton. The 120-year-old building that houses the collection is a beautiful example of neo-classical architecture.
Adult 9.80, 18 and under free, museejenisch.ch

Les 11 Terres


A local favourite, this wine bar is worth the 10-minute drive out of Vevey. Amid the Lavaux vineyards, it serves up the areas largest selection of local vintages (many not usually available by the glass). Its a wonderful way to sample the regions wines. It also has a superb range of meats, honey and cheese from local farms. Its not unusual to run into one of the wine-makers from a nearby winery regaling guests with tales of the harvest while acting as bartender for the day. If unsure what to order, try a glass of chasselas; this refreshing white varietal is the darling of the Swiss wine world.
Ruelle du Petit-Crt 2, 1098, Epesses,

Ze Fork


This rustic cafe in a historic mansion offers casual Swiss dining at its best and takes its name from the famous fork sculpture just a few metres away. The menu changes daily but its 3-ways tapas-style concept remains constant. For example, the menu item La Mer will highlight three different kinds of seafood, each with its own innovative touch (from 18). While the food is amazing, Ze Forks terraces, which border the restaurant on two sides and face the lake, are possibly its biggest draw and explains why the restaurant is always busy (reservation advised).
Rue du Lman 2,

Boat tour

Chillon Castle, Lake Geneva. Photograph: Scott Wilson/Alamy

With the French Alps in the distance and the Lavaux vineyards behind, a boat trip is one of the best ways to explore Vevey and the surrounding Swiss riviera. CGN offers a variety of tours aboard its 100-year-old belle epoque boats. The Riviera Tour floats by Montreux, Chillon Castle and Les Grangettes nature reserve. The Joyaux de Lavaux cruise does a loop around the Lavaux terraced vineyards and quaint hillside villages.
Tours from 30pp, cgn.ch

Funicular Vevey-Mont-Plerin

Photograph: Getty Images

The funicular from Vevey up Mont Plerin takes passengers through the Lavaux vineyards while climbing to an altitude of 810 metres. From this stop, passengers can visit the village of Mont Plerin and take in views of Lake Geneva. For even more vistas, theres also the option to continue by foot, along a well-marked, 45-minute route to the Plein Ciel lift (adult 4). The tower takes guests 65 metres to the top of Mont Plerin for views of the surrounding region.
Funicular runs every 20 minutes, 2.30 one-way, region-du-leman

Swiss Camera Museum


Gain a new appreciation for just how far cameras have come at this diminutive-but-engrossing museum. From the Camera Obscura up to modern digital devices, the museum has a collection of equipment, photographs and hands-on displays that testify to the ingenuity of those who worked so hard to capture a moment for an eternity.
Adult 13, 18 and under free,


Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2019/jul/18/10-best-things-do-vevey-switzerland-wine-festival-fete-des-vignerons