Culture and relaxation on the southern shore of Lake Neuchâtel

Some ideas for a short stay exploring the gourmet and cultural attractions of Yverdon-les-Bains and Estavayer-le-Lac.

Harbour-Estavayer-le-Lac. © Marion Landon & Vincent Bovey
Take a weekend break on the shores of Lake Neuchâtel and be swept off your feet by its dolce vita.

After a week with your nose to the grindstone, what could be better than two relaxing days without the need to look at a clock – unless it’s to check if it’s time for an aperitif. Enjoy a coffee in the sunshine on a bustling terrace, drink in the aromas of spices in the market, admire the brightly coloured façades, be bold and dive into the lake, and then leave your cares behind in the warmth of an evening full of promise. 

Arrive the evening before and step back into the Middle Ages with dinner at l’Arboulastre in Grandson, a restaurant specialising in medieval cuisine. The village, which has been admitted to the select group of “Switzerland’s most beautiful villages”, is dominated by a magnificent castle. Stay the night in the village, visit the castle in the morning and then take the train to Yverdon-les Bains, just 5 minutes away.

Relax over a coffee in the vibrant and welcoming Place Pestalozzi in the heart of the Old Town, and then tour the town in a tuk-tuk. Green, original and fun! At lunchtime, try the delicious homemade burgers and other culinary creations made from fresh local produce at the Double R.

Take a leap into the world of the bizarre and science fiction by visiting the Maison d’Ailleurs, a museum with its own unique character which blends popular culture, science fiction and art.

Make the most of the end of the day with a swim in the waters of Lake Neuchâtel followed by an aperitif at La Dérivée, a space dedicated to relaxation and changing culture on the lakeshore.

Dine at the Restaurant de La Place, and for the night owls, a visit to L’Amalgame, a music club, or to L’Echandole, a small theatre in the heart of the city, will be unforgettable.

Leave Yverdon on foot

Once breakfast is over, set out on foot to the Centre Pro Natura at Champs-Pittet, which is about a 40-minute walk from the centre of Yverdon-les-Bains. Don’t miss the wetland footpath and boardwalk which crosses the marsh and introduces you to the beauties and unique features of the Grande-Cariçaie, the vast nature reserve bordering Lake Neuchâtel. When it’s time for lunch, enjoy the cool airiness of the restaurant’s magnificent terrace.

To let your lunch settle, retrace your steps as far as the sandy beaches of Yvonand (about 1h20 walk).

After drying off in the sun following your swim, jump on a train (10 minutes) to Estavayer-le-Lac to round off the weekend by following the Arti’Choke urban art trail through the city and marvel at the giant artworks created by artists invited to display their talents.

If it’s the beach that attracts you, Estavayer-le-Lac will not disappoint with its wide range of water-based activities – (cable) water skiing, pedal boats, paddle boards or just swimming and lazing around!

Maison d’Ailleurs
Pro Natura Centre Champ-Pittet
Doubs de nature
ArtiChoke-Itinerary of urban art
Estavayer-le-Lac / Payerne
Complete list