Western Switzerland: 10 Winter Activities (hidden gems)
Winter wonderland in Switzerland is magical - even for someone who lived here almost their whole life. This is my favorite top 10 gems to do in the French Speaking part of Switzerland during the winter. Some are local gems, other might be a little more known. Most of them are activities to do. From eating fondue to snowshoeing, everything to have an unforgettable experience!
15 Places • 2 Saves • ago
Free

#1 Ice Skating on lakes

Major cities like Montreux, Vevey, or Lausanne usually have a skating ring located within the city. However, some of them are made out of artificial ice and their city environment is not as magical as skating on natural lakes!

While lakes are magical, they also depend strongly on the weather. But they are a true wonderland to experience once! Here are some of my favs:

Patinoire de Caux

- nestled in a forest, this is magical in the evening. Small but there is not a lot of people. You can rent the shoes there and enjoy drinks and snacks too. My favorite! 

Patinoire de Caux/Montreux
@emilielagavi
Absolutely love it, but no often open because of the weather!
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Patinoire de Champex

- Often referred to as the "Small Swiss Canada", the lake is located in a cute mountain town and can become a skating ring when the conditions are good. 

Champex-Lac
@emilielagavi
Skates can be rented at "Magasin Look Sport" or Magasin Edelweiss! The access is free!
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Lac Retaud

- A beautiful lake to hike to during the summer and with the right conditions can be skated one! 

Lac Retaud
@emilielagavi
Another cute mountain lake. You can reach it directly by car, but I usually parc on the "route du Pillon" right before going up. Will take you less than an hour to reach by foot. In the summer you can even rent boats and go around. In the winter, you can walk on it!
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Schwarzsee/Lac Noir

- Quite a big lake surrounded by a beautiful scenery. 

Schwarzsee
@emilielagavi
You can either rent to skates at "Side Cut" or "Aeby Location". Skate at your own risks!
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Lac de joux

- The largest natural ice skating ring in Europe. Fans of hockey and ice skating come here from the region when the weather permits it! You can rent skates at the "Cordonnerie Mouquin" (Le Sentier). 

Lac de Joux
@emilielagavi
You can easily access the Lake from Sechey. Check the weather and conditions at myvaleedejoux.ch
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#2 Les forets du Risoux (also written Risoud)

During the Winter, there are many pistes for Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. In the winter, you can access the forest from La Combe du Vert (which is above les Rousses) or from Combettes (above the Bois d'Amont). Along your way you might find cabins; there are about a dozen within the forest. They used to be for the lumberjack and are now for the hikers. Some even stay for the night! They are free but very primitive...

You can either walk on your own and bring your food and just explore, or you can book a guided tour where you will learn a bit about the history of the forest and enjoy a nice fondue or local food. 

Forêt du Risoud
@emilielagavi
A real gem on the boarder with France. It is one of or the biggest Forest in Europe.
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#3 Visit the Ice Palace at Schwarzsee

The same lake where you can Ice skate on! Located in the Vallee of Schwarzee, let yourself travel in a mystical adventure. 

You can walk for a little but surrounded by ice sculptures decorated with lights. Eating the fondue there, is a must, and don't forget to reserve for it! You can also just snack and get drinks. 

The Ice Palaces in Schwarzsee
@emilielagavi
Open from mid-December to Mid-February (Wednesdays to Sunday from 3pm to 10 pm). 10 fr. for adults and 5 fr. for children
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#4 Piste de luge (Sledding) in des Diablerets 

The longest sled run in Switzerland. It will take you about 30 minutes from the top and you will have fun for sure! On Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays between 18h30 and 21h, you can even sled down with a headlamp and enjoy a nice drink and fondue at the bottom! A must do during the day or at night!

Diablerets express
@emilielagavi
From Les Diablerets, you will have to take the cablecar up the mountain. The start of the track is situated at the arrival of the Diablerets Express cable car. For one way up, adults will pay 15 fr. and children 8 fr. You can bring you own sled or rent one at the start of the cable car ("Fun Park et Centre ParAdventure" or "Moutain Evasion") or in the village ('Holiday Sport", "jacky Sports", or "Diablerets Passe-Montagne"). If you want the night package you can get it for 30 fr. (20 fr. for children) and have the way up, sled, and a "vin chaud" included!
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#5 Hike from Villars-sur-ollon to Ensex

One of my favorite Winter hike! A nice day roundtrip hike with beautiful views and with fresh snow, it looks like a winter wonderland movie. 

The full round trip can be quite long and is not for everyone. If you like shorter versions there are some short cuts! 

The full itinerary: the start is at Villars-sur-Ollon (route du col de la croix behind the Royalp); walk a bit and turn left towards the Chemin the Bretaye until Col de Soud; Continue walking up towards the Golf Club; follow the pink signs for snoeshooeing towards Ensex; take either of the two routes towards the Route du Col de La Croix; hike on the road downwards towards Villars and you will close your loop! Takes a few hours and requires snowshoes. 

Shortcuts: Take the train to the "Golf" or "Bretaye" and start from there. 

Restaurants on your way: Col de Soud, Golf club restaurant, La verneyre. 

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#6 Hikes from Haut-de-caux

Situated right above Montreux, the views are amazing! You can park your car in the parking lot in front of the restaurant le "Coucou". From there, locals go to "La Perche", "La buvette de Jaman", or"Col de Jaman". For the first two, it is fun to go backcountry skiing (La perche is one of my favorite backcountry spot around Montreux). The "Col of jaman" is reachable by foot or by snowshoeing! 

Haut de Caux
@emilielagavi
A cute town located above Montreux. Reachable by car or by train easily!
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#7 Hikes from Cergniaulaz

Lots of locals from Montreux and around hike here in the winter! You can park you car in front of the restaurant.

Auberge de la Cergniaulaz
@emilielagavi
In winter, the road between the restaurant and Les Avants might be close, so you will have to take the other road usually!
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From there, we usually snowshoe or go backcountry skiing. There are quite a few hiking options but I love to go to the Folly or the Molard! Pretty easy and not too hard (good for beginners; this is where is learned to backcountry ski). 

#8 Hike from Cergnement to Solalex

One of my favorite place when I was a kid to go in the winter. There, you can do some cross-country skiing, sledding (for kids), a tour with dogs, snowshoeing, or just walk with snow boots! 

The view is nice and you can make your way up to Solalex, where there is two small restaurants and a few "chalets". The way up is not too long nor exhausting. Great spot for families!

Parking de Cergnement
@emilielagavi
You can park you car there and start your adventure from there.
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Solalex
@emilielagavi
Cute mini "town" (like 4 houses and two of those are restaurants), yet totally worth it!
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#9 FatBike in Villars-sur-Ollon

A great activity other than skiing or hiking in Villars. You can rent the bikes in the various shops in Villars and then take the train up to "Bretaye". Great activity if you like adrenaline! 

Villars-sur-Ollon
@emilielagavi
You will have to take the train up to Bretaye. You can park nearby!
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#10 Chemin des lanternes (Lantern path) in Pleiades 

In between January and February (Fridays and Saturdays - 18 to 23h), you can hike in the snow (snowshoeing or just snow boots) at night following hanging lights. There are two paths that you can take (20 or 45 minutes) for a unforgettable experience. You can finish your hike with a fondue or raclette at Chalet-Restaurant des Pleiades or Restaurant 1209, in Lally. 

You can start your adventure in Vevey and take the Mob (train) up there and back down. You can also pay for the whole packet (train, snowshoes, fondue, warm drink) at www.mob.ch 

Definitely a fun and unique way to spend an evening!

Les Pléiades
@emilielagavi
A small skiing area. Good for families and children.
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That's it!

Of course, as a local I could recommend you a hundreds of other winter activities! But these are my favorites ones of the less-known ones in the area! 

Thank you for reading, I hope this can give you some inspiration for your next adventure! 

Emi

* * *
CURATED BY
This is not your relax and chill retreat vacation recommendations. I am more of a live-my-life-to-its-fullest, watch-the-sunrise, walk-everywhere, everything-for-the-experience, acting-like-I-own-a-food-blog, enjoy-drinks-on-a-rooftop, art-critic type of traveler. Ironically, I love equally to travel solo or with a bunch of friends/family, eat old sandwiches on a backpacking trip or lavish on gastronomic food, a spontaneous adventure where we decide at 9pm where we are sleeping later or a day-by-day planned trip. No matter where, how, with whom, and for how long, I choose to prioritize the experience and memories. And with a friendly budget. Sometimes, budget friendly means only booking a room on Airbnb in order to enjoy a nice brunch. Or, going to the grocery store to balance out an expensive scenic train ride. At 23 years old, I am nowhere to be a travel expert. But, I lived in 4 different countries already, across two continents, and have a google maps saturated with saved pins. My obsession in finding the best gems, hidden spots, good food, fun cocktails, and unique experiences, has brought me here. You will find a good mix of shorts spontaneous weekends trips up to longer adventures; road-trip itineraries to nice hotels; Instagram- or TikTok-inspired worthy spots to unknown local gems; photogenic sceneries to more authentic views and smells. And occasionally, great spots to relax on your adventure. Because even if i enjoy walking 20'000 steps a day, I also enjoy a good spa/beach day as well!
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Western Switzerland: 10 Winter Activities (hidden gems)
Winter wonderland in Switzerland is magical - even for someone who lived here almost their whole life. This is my favorite top 10 gems to do in the French Speaking part of Switzerland during the winter. Some are local gems, other might be a little more known. Most of them are activities to do. From eating fondue to snowshoeing, everything to have an unforgettable experience!
15 Places • 2 Saves • ago
Free

#1 Ice Skating on lakes

Major cities like Montreux, Vevey, or Lausanne usually have a skating ring located within the city. However, some of them are made out of artificial ice and their city environment is not as magical as skating on natural lakes!

While lakes are magical, they also depend strongly on the weather. But they are a true wonderland to experience once! Here are some of my favs:

Patinoire de Caux

- nestled in a forest, this is magical in the evening. Small but there is not a lot of people. You can rent the shoes there and enjoy drinks and snacks too. My favorite! 

Patinoire de Caux/Montreux
@emilielagavi
Absolutely love it, but no often open because of the weather!
Add to
Details

Patinoire de Champex

- Often referred to as the "Small Swiss Canada", the lake is located in a cute mountain town and can become a skating ring when the conditions are good. 

Champex-Lac
@emilielagavi
Skates can be rented at "Magasin Look Sport" or Magasin Edelweiss! The access is free!
Add to
Details

Lac Retaud

- A beautiful lake to hike to during the summer and with the right conditions can be skated one! 

Lac Retaud
@emilielagavi
Another cute mountain lake. You can reach it directly by car, but I usually parc on the "route du Pillon" right before going up. Will take you less than an hour to reach by foot. In the summer you can even rent boats and go around. In the winter, you can walk on it!
Add to
Details

Schwarzsee/Lac Noir

- Quite a big lake surrounded by a beautiful scenery. 

Schwarzsee
@emilielagavi
You can either rent to skates at "Side Cut" or "Aeby Location". Skate at your own risks!
Add to
Details

Lac de joux

- The largest natural ice skating ring in Europe. Fans of hockey and ice skating come here from the region when the weather permits it! You can rent skates at the "Cordonnerie Mouquin" (Le Sentier). 

Lac de Joux
@emilielagavi
You can easily access the Lake from Sechey. Check the weather and conditions at myvaleedejoux.ch
Add to
Details

#2 Les forets du Risoux (also written Risoud)

During the Winter, there are many pistes for Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. In the winter, you can access the forest from La Combe du Vert (which is above les Rousses) or from Combettes (above the Bois d'Amont). Along your way you might find cabins; there are about a dozen within the forest. They used to be for the lumberjack and are now for the hikers. Some even stay for the night! They are free but very primitive...

You can either walk on your own and bring your food and just explore, or you can book a guided tour where you will learn a bit about the history of the forest and enjoy a nice fondue or local food. 

Forêt du Risoud
@emilielagavi
A real gem on the boarder with France. It is one of or the biggest Forest in Europe.
Add to
Details

#3 Visit the Ice Palace at Schwarzsee

The same lake where you can Ice skate on! Located in the Vallee of Schwarzee, let yourself travel in a mystical adventure. 

You can walk for a little but surrounded by ice sculptures decorated with lights. Eating the fondue there, is a must, and don't forget to reserve for it! You can also just snack and get drinks. 

The Ice Palaces in Schwarzsee
@emilielagavi
Open from mid-December to Mid-February (Wednesdays to Sunday from 3pm to 10 pm). 10 fr. for adults and 5 fr. for children
Add to
Details

#4 Piste de luge (Sledding) in des Diablerets 

The longest sled run in Switzerland. It will take you about 30 minutes from the top and you will have fun for sure! On Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays between 18h30 and 21h, you can even sled down with a headlamp and enjoy a nice drink and fondue at the bottom! A must do during the day or at night!

Diablerets express
@emilielagavi
From Les Diablerets, you will have to take the cablecar up the mountain. The start of the track is situated at the arrival of the Diablerets Express cable car. For one way up, adults will pay 15 fr. and children 8 fr. You can bring you own sled or rent one at the start of the cable car ("Fun Park et Centre ParAdventure" or "Moutain Evasion") or in the village ('Holiday Sport", "jacky Sports", or "Diablerets Passe-Montagne"). If you want the night package you can get it for 30 fr. (20 fr. for children) and have the way up, sled, and a "vin chaud" included!
Add to
Details

#5 Hike from Villars-sur-ollon to Ensex

One of my favorite Winter hike! A nice day roundtrip hike with beautiful views and with fresh snow, it looks like a winter wonderland movie. 

The full round trip can be quite long and is not for everyone. If you like shorter versions there are some short cuts! 

The full itinerary: the start is at Villars-sur-Ollon (route du col de la croix behind the Royalp); walk a bit and turn left towards the Chemin the Bretaye until Col de Soud; Continue walking up towards the Golf Club; follow the pink signs for snoeshooeing towards Ensex; take either of the two routes towards the Route du Col de La Croix; hike on the road downwards towards Villars and you will close your loop! Takes a few hours and requires snowshoes. 

Shortcuts: Take the train to the "Golf" or "Bretaye" and start from there. 

Restaurants on your way: Col de Soud, Golf club restaurant, La verneyre. 

Add to
Details

#6 Hikes from Haut-de-caux

Situated right above Montreux, the views are amazing! You can park your car in the parking lot in front of the restaurant le "Coucou". From there, locals go to "La Perche", "La buvette de Jaman", or"Col de Jaman". For the first two, it is fun to go backcountry skiing (La perche is one of my favorite backcountry spot around Montreux). The "Col of jaman" is reachable by foot or by snowshoeing! 

Haut de Caux
@emilielagavi
A cute town located above Montreux. Reachable by car or by train easily!
Add to
Details

#7 Hikes from Cergniaulaz

Lots of locals from Montreux and around hike here in the winter! You can park you car in front of the restaurant.

Auberge de la Cergniaulaz
@emilielagavi
In winter, the road between the restaurant and Les Avants might be close, so you will have to take the other road usually!
Add to
Details

From there, we usually snowshoe or go backcountry skiing. There are quite a few hiking options but I love to go to the Folly or the Molard! Pretty easy and not too hard (good for beginners; this is where is learned to backcountry ski). 

#8 Hike from Cergnement to Solalex

One of my favorite place when I was a kid to go in the winter. There, you can do some cross-country skiing, sledding (for kids), a tour with dogs, snowshoeing, or just walk with snow boots! 

The view is nice and you can make your way up to Solalex, where there is two small restaurants and a few "chalets". The way up is not too long nor exhausting. Great spot for families!

Parking de Cergnement
@emilielagavi
You can park you car there and start your adventure from there.
Add to
Details
Solalex
@emilielagavi
Cute mini "town" (like 4 houses and two of those are restaurants), yet totally worth it!
Add to
Details

#9 FatBike in Villars-sur-Ollon

A great activity other than skiing or hiking in Villars. You can rent the bikes in the various shops in Villars and then take the train up to "Bretaye". Great activity if you like adrenaline! 

Villars-sur-Ollon
@emilielagavi
You will have to take the train up to Bretaye. You can park nearby!
Add to
Details

#10 Chemin des lanternes (Lantern path) in Pleiades 

In between January and February (Fridays and Saturdays - 18 to 23h), you can hike in the snow (snowshoeing or just snow boots) at night following hanging lights. There are two paths that you can take (20 or 45 minutes) for a unforgettable experience. You can finish your hike with a fondue or raclette at Chalet-Restaurant des Pleiades or Restaurant 1209, in Lally. 

You can start your adventure in Vevey and take the Mob (train) up there and back down. You can also pay for the whole packet (train, snowshoes, fondue, warm drink) at www.mob.ch 

Definitely a fun and unique way to spend an evening!

Les Pléiades
@emilielagavi
A small skiing area. Good for families and children.
Add to
Details

That's it!

Of course, as a local I could recommend you a hundreds of other winter activities! But these are my favorites ones of the less-known ones in the area! 

Thank you for reading, I hope this can give you some inspiration for your next adventure! 

Emi

* * *
CURATED BY
This is not your relax and chill retreat vacation recommendations. I am more of a live-my-life-to-its-fullest, watch-the-sunrise, walk-everywhere, everything-for-the-experience, acting-like-I-own-a-food-blog, enjoy-drinks-on-a-rooftop, art-critic type of traveler. Ironically, I love equally to travel solo or with a bunch of friends/family, eat old sandwiches on a backpacking trip or lavish on gastronomic food, a spontaneous adventure where we decide at 9pm where we are sleeping later or a day-by-day planned trip. No matter where, how, with whom, and for how long, I choose to prioritize the experience and memories. And with a friendly budget. Sometimes, budget friendly means only booking a room on Airbnb in order to enjoy a nice brunch. Or, going to the grocery store to balance out an expensive scenic train ride. At 23 years old, I am nowhere to be a travel expert. But, I lived in 4 different countries already, across two continents, and have a google maps saturated with saved pins. My obsession in finding the best gems, hidden spots, good food, fun cocktails, and unique experiences, has brought me here. You will find a good mix of shorts spontaneous weekends trips up to longer adventures; road-trip itineraries to nice hotels; Instagram- or TikTok-inspired worthy spots to unknown local gems; photogenic sceneries to more authentic views and smells. And occasionally, great spots to relax on your adventure. Because even if i enjoy walking 20'000 steps a day, I also enjoy a good spa/beach day as well!
Send A Tip
Support Emilie La Gavi’s work.
Select your tip amount
$5
$10
$20
$50
Or type in other amount
Powered by Thatch
The home for unique & authentic travel
Powered by Thatch: Where great trips are made.
© Emilie La Gavi Privacy Terms