Things to do in Nyon, Switzerland
Nyon is a beautiful small town on the shores of Lac Léman, between Geneva and Lausanne, in the Canton Vaud. Nyon has a castle which overlooks the town and the lake, nice museums, cute small streets, and a beach. Tintin comicbook lovers may also recognize some spots from the well-known story ‘The Calculus Affair’.
Here are our favorite things to do in Nyon:
The Castle of Nyon
The Castle of Nyon towers over the city and offers stunning views over the lake. You can just enjoy the view from the castle terrace which is free of access, but it is definitely worth it to visit the castle itself as well! Most intriguing part of the castle to visit are the prison cells on the top floor. There are quite a few cells, writings on the wall, and objects of the guards. The more you go up the castle stairs, the better the view of course.
Nyon was a very important settlement in Roman times. A lot of Roman treasures were found in the city, but not all is accessible to the public. Some objects that were found can now be seen in the small Roman museum in Nyon. It doesn’t take long to visit this museum, but it is very interesting, and a short video will explain you this part of the history of Nyon.
Musée du Léman, a museum about the history and life of the lake
Has there once been a Tsunami on Lake Geneva? What kind of fish live in the lake? All this, and more, can be found in the very cute, and kid friendly Musée du Léman, which was one of our favorite museums when our kids were younger. There are aquariums where the fish can be seen, there are old boats, there is a submarine and a rescue boat simulator that kids will be able to get into for some fun! The top floor is mainly educational for kids to learn about the lake and the environment. The Musée du Léman often has temporary art exhibitions which are usually very good, and they organize a lot of activities for kids in summer.
One ticket for 3 museums:
If you buy your ticket in one of the 3 museums, the other 2 are for free! No need to do them all in the same day though, as the ticket for the other 2 museums will remain valid for 12 months. The first Sunday of the month, all 3 museums are for free.
Tintin in Nyon, the Calculus Affair
In the footsteps of Tintin. If you are a comic book lover, and you have the classic ‘The Calculus Affair’ on your bookshelf, then have a good look at some of the spots which you will recognize in Nyon. The green benches by the lake side, or the ‘Fontaine du Maitre-Jacques’ in Rue de Rive.
Where to eat in Nyon with kids
In the Rue du Rive, which is the old town street just behind the lake front, you will find a pancake restaurant where you could easily enjoy lunch with kids. The street is a limited traffic zone. Tac-oh Creperie, Rue du Rive 54.
Then, just a few steps further, a nice Italian Gelateria called Venezia (Rue du Rive 44) with plenty of choice in flavors, and you can then just enjoy your ice-cream by the lake.
Auberge du Chateau, Italian Restaurant
Behind the castle in Nyon, on the Place du Chateau, there is also a restaurant with a nice big terrace on a wide town square. This is also a limited traffic zone, and so we had our kids play on the square where we could see them when they were smaller.
Plage de Nyon, let’s go to the beach
We like the small public beach in Nyon, but parking close by is very limited. There is a beach restaurant, a small paddling pool, toilets and a public shower.
Playgrounds in Nyon
On both sides of the Musée du Léman there are parks and playgrounds. There is also another one on the side of the lake a bit further down.
Puces de Nyon, the flea market
We used to love walking around on the flea market along the lake in Nyon which is held every last Sunday of the month. In 2020, due to the extraordinary situation, some editions of this monthly market have been cancelled, and normally the next market is held on the last Sunday of the month of September.
Take a boat to Yvoire, France
Right from the center of Nyon, you can take a boat across the lake to the French medieval town Yvoire. The trip to cross takes about 20 minutes.
Parking in Nyon
We usually park in the main parking along the lake in Nyon called Parking de la Duche (rue de Rive 72). The advantage is that you are immediately in the center and the old town. You can walk up to the castle, or take the elevator up, which will almost get you at the level of the castle.
Geneva to Nyon by train
Trains from Geneva to Nyon run frequently (about every half hour) and the trip lasts for about 15 minutes.