Posted by: kimberlysullivan | July 15, 2014

Medieval lakeside charm in Nyon, Switzerland

Nyon, SwitzerlandThis summer, on a trip to Geneva, Switzerland with my family (see my earlier post about things to do in Geneva), the disastrous weather forecasts were (luckily!) proven wrong, the sun broke out from the grey clouds, and we decided to hop on a Lake Geneva boat to visit the medieval, lakeside town of Nyon.

Lake Geneva is impressive. Bordered on one side by Switzerland, and by the other by France, the lake stretches 70 picturesque kilometers, and is 13 kilometers wide.

Nyon, SwitzerlandIt’s an impressive 310 meters deep, which my kids believe explains for its Arctic temperatures (to be fair, they’re used to the warm waves of the Mediterranean.)

The boat ride from Geneva was slow (almost an hour and a half), but beautiful, and we arrived to see the impressive coastline of Nyon, with its towering castle up on a hill.

Nyon was originally settled by a Celtic people, the Helvetics. But the town gained importance after having been conquered by Ancient Rome. Emperor Julius Caesar established a colony, Colonia Iulia Equestris, with its urban center of Noviodunum.

Nyon, SwitzerlandWe did not have time to visit the town’s Roman Museum. I didn’t feel too guilty. Living in Rome, we visit more than our fair share of Roman museums and exhibitions…

The beautiful view over the lake boasts Roman columns, quite picturesque with the sparkling blue waves beyond.

The view from the Nyon castle (1574-1583) is picturesque, and the spires of the castle itself are fairytale inspired. The tickets to visit then interior are fairly expensive for a collection that’s hardly going to overwhelm, unless you are a true connoisseur of porcelain.

Nyon, SwitzerlandStill, the views from the lakeside rooms are impressive, the old prisoner chambers are worth a visit, and there’s one study in there that made me green with envy. How I’d love to write in that perfect room, with the sounds of Lake Geneva waves lapping below.

We wandered around the city’s pretty, winding streets, and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. On the way back to Geneva, we opted for the faster transport option. It was only about 15 minutes to the city by train.

All in all, Nyon’s a pleasant place to stroll and enjoy a taste of medieval Switzerland, with lots of the requisite swans floating around the lakefront. Don’t miss a trip to Nyon when you’re next in Geneva.

And  if you want more Lake Geneva trip ideas, see my earlier post about Lausanne.

Nyon, SwitzerlandNyon, Switzerland


  1. […] took the boat up to adorable town of Nyon, which I wrote about in an earlier post, and then returned with the (much faster) train. But we loved our time out on Lake […]

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