Nyon, Switzerland

Nyon is small – about 20,000 residents – and rarely mentioned as a top Swiss destination. Most tourists miss it while rushing towards nearby Geneva. That is perfect! You can savor this former Roman town in relative solitude.

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1 Castle and Fortified Wall in Nyon, Switzerland

Perched high on a hill with a majestic view of Lake Geneva is Château de Nyon. Since it was built in the 13th century, it has had several functions: the fortified home of nobles, the Counts of Savoy, Bernese administrators, a court house, a municipal council meeting hall, and it finally became a museum in 1860. It was also used as a prison. The dungy cells in the attic recently became available for tour.

Nyon Castle Place du Château 5, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland
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2 Château de Nyon and Terrace in Nyon, Switzerland

This castle in Nyon, Switzerland, was first built in 1272 by Cossonay Prangins who was part of the Cossonay family, nobility from the Canton of Vaud. It has experienced several expansions and renovations over more than 700 years. It is now a history museum that includes an extensive collection of porcelain dating back to the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Nyon Castle Place du Château 5, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland
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3 Historic Shoreline Promenade in Nyon, Switzerland

Around 44 BC, Julius Caesar founded a colony called Colonia luia Equestris with the city of Noviodunum at its center. It is now the quaint town of Nyon, Switzerland. A short distance from this shore are three Corinthian columns from that era. A museum also displays artifacts found during archeological digs of a local Roman amphitheater, basilica and forum.

Quai des Alpes 4 1260 Nyon, Switzerland
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4 Knight Statue with Coat of Arms in Nyon, Switzerland

The heart of Nyon, Switzerland, is a series of uphill alleys and narrow streets that are fun to explore until you reach the castle at the summit. Along the way you’ll see delightful reminders of its history like this statue of an armored knight in front of the Le Maître Jaques restaurant. He is holding the city’s red and blue coat of arms with a fish in the center, a perfect symbol for a fishing village that dates back to the Neolithic Era thousands of years ago.

Rlle des Moulins 2 1260 Nyon, Switzerland
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5 Large Face Looking Out Window Mural in Nyon, Switzerland

This giant face with its one eye peering out a window with red shutters is a colorful mural overlooking a courtyard in an alley called Ruelle des Moulins in Nyon, Switzerland. Whether you think the trompe l’oeil street art is creepy, comical or attractive, it sure gets your attention.

Rlle des Moulins 2, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland
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6 Restaurants Along Rue de Rive in Nyon, Switzerland

Nyon, Switzerland, is a delightful small town on Lake Geneva’s northern coast. It makes a perfect stop for some uncrowded sightseeing, a glimpse into Roman Empire history and then an outdoor lunch or dinner in one of the restaurants along Rue de Rive. The coastal scenery offers great views of the Alps and Mont Blanc while enjoying delicious cuisine.

Rue de Rive 28 1260 Nyon, Switzerland
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7 Terraced Garden, Harbor, and Lake Geneva in Nyon, Switzerland

Take time when visiting Nyon, Switzerland, to wander along the old town walls, particularly the Promenade des Vieilles Murailles and the Esplanade des Marronniers for spectacular, panoramic views of the town below, terraced gardens, the harbor and Lake Geneva. On a clear day you can see the Alps, nearby Geneva and the French coastline.

Rue Maupertuis 4 1260 Nyon, Switzerland
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