Avenches exudes unmistakeable Swiss-French charm. In the centre of the little town, with its arcades and many striking facades in Gothic and Renaissance style, restaurants, cake shops and boulevard cafés invite you to pause for a while.
2000 years ago, Aventicum was the capital of Roman Helvetia. The Emperor Augustus founded the Roman city of Aventicum on the site of the Helvetian capital and it was to be in its heyday in the 2nd century when it had over 20,000 inhabitants.
There is a tour starting from the amphitheatre and including the main Roman sites and excavations. The Roman museum houses a precious Gallo-Roman collection, including a valuable copy of the famous gold bust of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
In the amphitheatre of Avenches there is an opera festival every year, an open-air rock festival and various other cultural events. Not far away, you can visit a museum in one of the finest Renaissance castles of the Vaud, dedicated to pioneers of flying in Switzerland. There is another aeronautical museum in nearby Payerne.
The region by the little River Broye, with its many nature reserves and terraced vineyards, offers many opportunities for walking, cycling and water sports. On the way, it is worth sampling some wine from one of the region's growers of the sparkling white wine from Mont Vully.
The centre of the little town of Payerne includes a former Benedictine abbey which was founded in the 10th century. The impressive abbey church is the largest Romanesque building in Switzerland and, with its decorated columns and early frescoes, is considered one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe.
If you enjoy holidaying in the countryside, then Payerne and the surrounding area is the place for you. The region is famous for its natural beauty and friendliness, its farmhouse accommodation and the opportunity to discover fine local produce. On the Granary Trail ("Chemin des Blés"), 80 km of signposted paths with information boards for hikers and cyclists, you can discover all the charm of this rural area.
- Roman amphitheatre in Avenches – Switzerland's best preserved amphitheatre, with the Museum Aventicum, housing a precious collection of Gallo-Roman antiquities, including the famous gold bust of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
- Abbey church in Payerne – one of the most impressive Romanesque churches in Switzerland, dating from the 11th century, a reminder of the former Cluniac priory which was of European importance.
- IETA National Riding Institute in Avenches – national stud, nationally and internationally recognised centre of excellence in horse-breeding, organising many events to do with horses.
- Neolithic farm at Gletterens – this reconstruction, on the site of a former Neolithic village dating from about 3000 years BC, on the south bank of Lake Neuchâtel, really brings prehistoric times to life for us.
- Menhir in Essertes-Auboranges near Oron – the largest menhir from prehistoric times in Switzerland: 6.7 m high and weighing 25 tonnes.
- Payerneland – entertainment for young and old, including Europe's largest indoor karting track, Switzerland's largest indoor minigolf course and many attractions for young children.
- Murten - 800-year-old medieval Zähringer town in a beautiful location near Lake Murten, with picturesque arcades and virtually fully preserved town walls that you can walk round.
- Time travel by bike – set off in modern Lausanne, pass through the Middle Ages at Payerne (Romanesque abbey), and arrive in the ancient world – at the amphitheatre of Avenches. SwitzerlandMobility
- Carnaval des Brandons in Payerne – largest Shrove Tuesday celebration in western Switzerland (February).
- Slow-up – car-free adventure day around Lake Murten for all kinds of muscle-powered transport (April).
- Avenches Opera Festival – open-air performances in the Roman amphitheatre with artists of international importance (July).
- Cudrefin Steel Band Festival – Caribbean night in the castle grounds, with Latin, pop, jazz & evergreens and fiery calypsos (July).
- Rock Oz'Arènes – Rock festival in the arena, more and more highly well-known artists from all branches of popular music are finding their way to this Roman town (July).
- Aventicum Musical Parade – international military music show, top-quality military orchestras march in the arena (September).