Yverdon-Les-Bains; where history meets wellness

Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe Renauld | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Yverdon-Les-Bains is a charming town at the south end of Lake Neuchâtel, in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. The town has a lovely historical centre and straight access to Lake Neuchâtel. As the name suggests (“Bains” means baths in French), Yverdon-les-Bains is also a famous thermal destination.

Roman castrum and sulphuric springs

With a history of approximately 6000 years, Yverdon-Les-Bains is one of the oldest cities in Switzerland. The oldest landmark still visible in the city is a complex of 45 menhirs dating back to the Neolithic (between 4500 and 4000 BCE).

© Wikimedia/Adrian Michael

It was mainly during the Roman era that the city became an important geographical and cultural crossroads. The city that was called Eburodunum by the Romans was located in an area between two wetlands, Lake Neuchâtel on one side and the swamps of the Orbe plain on the other. Navigation and river trade drove the development of the Roman city. Eburodunum was indeed a military naval base aiming to dominate these waterways.

The castrum of Yverdon-les-Bains, a fortified camp typical of the Roman Empire, dates back to 325 CE. It was a wide complex of over two hectares built during the reign of Emperor Constantine the Great. Remains of the Roman Eburodunum are still visible today, but most of the greatest monuments such as gates, towers, and public buildings disappeared over the centuries.

The sulphuric springs of Yverdon-Les-Bains were already used by the Romans for worship and probably to supply with water the nearby thermal baths built during the first century CE. Later, the springs were progressively abandoned. Only during the 18th century, the town decided to rehabilitate and expand thermal installations. Some of these buildings are still visible today as they are now part of the Grand Hôtel des Bains.

What to do in Yverdon

If you plan to stay a day or more in Yverdon-les-Bains, you should definitely spend a moment in the spa: you can enjoy the naturally warm (29°C) sulphuric waters in a relaxing and peaceful environment. The spa is open all year round: it counts several pools, a wellness centre, a private spa, fitness facilities, as well as eating and accommodation services.

Do not forget the centre of Yverdon-Les-Bains! Charming, colourful houses and historical monuments, such as the castle, make up a lovely historical centre. This well-preserved and imposing medieval castle was built for Peter II Count of Savoy during the 13th century. It played a strategic role in defending the town and the surrounding region. The castle is open to visitors and hosts the museum of Yverdon and its Region.

© Wikimedia/Jean-Pierre Bössiger

Right next to the castle, at Pestalozzi square, stands the reformed temple of Yverdon-Les-Bains. This 18th-century monument has a remarkable ornamented front and hosts wooden engraved stalls from the 16th century.

© iStock/fotoember

Lake Neuchâtel is at a walking distance from the town; a stroll near the small marina and beaches is truly worth to enjoy the Lake and the Swiss Midlands.

© iStock/gdefilip

Yverdon-les-Bains is a small town, but it surely has plenty to offer to one-day (or more) visitors. Larger Swiss cities such as Lausanne, Fribourg, or Neuchâtel can be found in less than an hour's drive distance.

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