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There are three routes for excursions by train into the hills above Vevey, all leading in different directions, and all with unique attractions.
From the Vevey-Plan station opposite the Nestlé building (at the terminus of bus #1), a funicular rises every twenty minutes through the wine village of Chardonne to a terrace on the slope of Mont-Pèlerin at 800m, where you’ll find two luxury hotels and plenty of places to appreciate the views over a little something to whet the whistle. A twenty-minute hike (or a four-times-daily bus) up to the summit brings you to the TV tower, with its high-speed Plein-Ciel glass lift whisking you up to the even better views at 1100m (April–Oct daily 9am–6pm, July & Aug until 8pm; lift Fr.5; funicular, bus & lift Fr.16).
The Train des Vignes (Wine Train) runs hourly from Vevey’s train station on a short but steep line northwest through the Lavaux vineyards that’s especially scenic during the summer and harvest times. The whole ride is only fifteen minutes, through Corseaux to Chexbres and terminating at the village of Puidoux on the Vaud plateau, itself served by trains between Lausanne and Fribourg.
Much more dramatic is the curving train line from Vevey station up to the vantage point of Les Pléiades, perched in the hills way above the lake at 1364m. The section beyond Blonay village – a junction for the line down to Montreux as well as the old steam railway to Chamby– is rack and pinion to cope with the gradient, but the ride still takes an hour to the top. The penultimate station, LALLY, is situated next to the cosy old-world Hôtel Les Sapins (021/943 1395, fax 943 71 19; b), a peaceful little place set amongst hiking trails with great food and a few simple rooms. From here, it’s a quarter-hour climb (or the last six minutes of the train ride) to the summit, face to face with the mighty Dent de Jaman peak, only 1875m but prominent and pyramidal enough to earn the nickname of the Vaudois Matterhorn. Views yawn out in all directions, as do hiking trails – a long, leg-stretching one leads east across the exposed hill tops above the lake to Les Avants, served by the MOB train line between Montreux and Gstaad.
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