Nyon in Switzerland is a lovely little town romantically located on the northwestern shores of Lake Geneva. The top sight in town is the small, white Chateau de Nyon castle from where pleasant views of Lac Léman, the Alps and Mont Blanc can he enjoyed. The old town has narrow streets and small shops to explore while parks provide a relaxing atmosphere and further panorama viewing points. Children will enjoy the numerous playing areas and fountains spouting potable water. Pleasure boat excursions depart from Nyon to other Swiss and French ports while pedal boats can also be rented in Nyon. Excellent transportation links make Nyon a popular day-trip destination from Genève and Lausanne while tourists may enjoy the cheaper hotels in Nyon for overnight stays.
Explore the Old Town and Chateau de Nyon in Switzerland
Nyon can trace its written history back to the time of Roman leader Julius Ceasar. A Roman Museum and a few Roman ruins (and reconstructions) in the old town remind of the Roman heritage but these sights are frankly rather small.
The Chateau de Nyon is far more impressive and interesting. This small, white castle is perched on a promontory with fantastic views of Lake Geneva and the Alps. On a clear day, Mt Blanc and even the Jet d’Eau water spout in Geneva can be seen from the castle’s terrace.
The castle rests on eleventh-century foundations but most of the building has a sixteenth-century appearance. The small local history museum is housed in the castle – entry from the basement. The rest of the castle grounds and courtyard are freely accessible. The castle is on the same level as the old town allowing for wheelchair access to the viewing terrace.
From Nyon castle, it is possible to walk straight down to the waterfront via staircases and steep alleys or use the elevator via a parking garage. More interesting is to take the Promenade des vieilles Murailles walk to the west for more panoramic views and the Roman pillars that are with the château the most emblematic symbols of Nyon. From here, it is a pleasant downhill walk through a well-designed, colorful park to the marina.
Explore the Marina and Lakeside Area of Nyon, Switzerland
The waterfront area of Nyon is also worth exploring. The lakeside promenade is wide with shady trees and numerous benches. Many restaurants, outdoor cafés, ice-cream stands and kiosks provide refreshments. Nyon’s limited number of hotels is also mostly located in this area. Children can enjoy several play areas as well as the ducks and swans on the lake.
A large flea market, where both professional antique dealers and amateurs trade, is spread out on the lakeside promenade and part of the waterfront area most final Sundays of the month. (A traditional outdoor fresh produce is held Saturday mornings in the old town.)
Day pleasure cruises depart from Nyon to many other lake ports both in Switzerland and France. Pedal boats (pedalos) can be rented near the departure jetty for lake excursions. Swimming is possible in Lake Geneva – Nyon’s very pleasant beach and swimming pools are on the western end of town past the yacht marina.
Transportation to Nyon in Switzerland
Nyon has excellent transportation links to the rest of Switzerland. The Autoroute A1 passes just to the north of Nyon with driving times from Geneva as fast as 20 minutes and 30 minutes from Lausanne.
Nyon also has excellent rail connections. Up to four trains per hour run in 15 minutes to Genève-Cornavin main station (with many continuing in six minutes more to Geneva Airport (GVA) and in the opposite direction in half an hour from Nyon to Lausanne.