The spick-and-span little town of Nyon is situated on Lake Geneva, half way between Geneva and Lausanne, amid the vineyards of La Côte. Many excavations and sights from the times of the Celtic Helvetians and the Romans, and from the Middle Ages, bear witness to its eventful history. In summer this is a paradise for lovers of the countryside and water sports.
From the 13th century, the Counts of Savoy began building a mighty castle on top of Roman ruins, dominated by five huge towers. Nowadays this castle, towering over the Old Town, houses the Museum of History and Porcelain, containing valuable items from the former porcelain manufacturing industry in Nyon. From the 16th century onwards, the town was ruled by Berne, and a reminder of this can be seen in the arcades around the market square.
Three Corinthian columns on a little hill in the parkland by the lake recall the Roman era. After Julius Caesar had conquered Gaul, he decided to establish the colony of Iulia Equestris with Noviodunum as its urban centre on the site of the present town of Nyon, as shown by the artefacts from excavations on display in the Roman Museum.
The Museum of Lake Geneva in the district by the lakeside tells you all about Western Europe's largest lake. There are aquariums, large and small models of boats and a restored steamer to tell the story of the natural history and shipping of the lake. Higher than this district, a promenade offers fine views of the lake, Geneva's nearest mountain - the Mont-Salève - and Mont Blanc.
Nyon is surrounded by vineyards. The Route du Vignoble de la Côte from Versoix near Geneva through Nyon to Morges is all about the wines of La Côte and other regional specialities. Local fish from the lake are served with the wines, complementing them perfectly. A little railway line leads into the hinterland of the region, going as far as the Jura resort of Saint-Cergue and the French border in La Cure.
A special place of interest is the Toblerone Trail, which has nothing to do with the famous triangular chocolate, but rather the anti-tank defences, similar in shape, forming the "Promenthouse Line" which stretched from the foot of the Jura to Lake Geneva. Signposts along the footpath help give you a good impression of what the fortifications of the Second World War were like and also point out a number of unspoilt natural features.