Vaud is the 3rd largest canton and occupies the extreme west of Switzerland, north of Lac Leman. After some Roman occupation and invasion by various tribes, the area became part of the Frankish Carolingian empire. It became part of the Duchy of Savoy, who established the Barony of Vaud. Until the reformation, the area was French speaking, but the German speaking Lutherans from Bern converted the population. Under Napoleon, it was occupied and became part of the Helvetic republic, becoming part of the Swiss federation in 1803. The area extends from the Jura in the north to the Alps in the south, but the area around the lakes is hilly green and forested.

Interesting Places in Vaud

Romainmôtier Abbey (Commune de Romainmôtier-Envy)

The Cluniac priory was bult in 450, making it one of the earliest monasteries. Since then it has been rebuilt several times and is now a priory church dating from medieval times with a surrounding monastic complex. It has 14th C frescoes and a restored priory house.

Lausanne and Lac Leman

Lausanne is a Large Swiss city and cantonal capital on lake Geneva’s north shore. It was founded by the Romans and has a Gothic cathedral of 12th C. The city is a meeting place for pilgrims bound for both Rome and Santiago.

Cotes de Lavaux

The Cistercian monks planted vineyards here in the 12th C and they are now a UNESCO world heritage site. The route runs amongst the vines.


On Lac leman, this town was the final home of Charlie Chaplin and is still the headquarters of Nestle. In fact, milk chocolate was invented here and there is a food museum as well as wine and photographic museums. It has a popular food and crafts market on summer Saturdays.

Montreux and Chateau de Chillon

Montreux, famous as a music venue and with the Swiss national audiovisual museum, hosts a famous jaz festival. Although there is a covered market and other listed buildings, much of th town consists of high-rise blocks. The chateau, set on the lake, just 2km past Montreux is walled and turreted.

Aigle (Aigle Région)

Aigle Castle is a fortified castle, with a curtain wall studded with round towers. It was built before 1180, but much improved in the 13th and 15th C. It was used as a jail until 1976, but since then has become a museum of the vine and wines.

Saint Maurice

Saint Maurice is at the entrance to a pass to the upper Rhone valley, so has a fortress which controlled the road. The Abbey of St Maurice is over 1500 yrs old and is now home to a famous school as well as monks. It is a pilgrimage place in its own right as well as providing a refuge for pilgrims on the VF. A temple to Mercury has been found under the Abbey.

Cascade de pissevache

A 116 m waterfall alongside the route which sprays passing walkers. Long a natural curiosity and viewpoint, it has been painted or photographed frequently. An early hydroelectric station was constructed above it, lessening the dramatic flow.


The stages of the Via Francigena in Vaud are described on the website with altitude profiles and transport and accommodation information. Check here

Stages 70.1 to 70.11 are in Vaud; The main page offers links to accommodation, guides, maps, and transport. (French) is the site for the club maintaining all the routes in Vaud. They have group walks, one-week programmes and a form for reporting waymarking problems.


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