Looking up from the valley the old village of Leysin, nestling at an altitude of 1263 metres, is all but invisible. Before 1875 ascent, whether on foot or on the back of a donkey, proves both difficult and demanding for a stretch of over 4km. The terrain is steep and slippery. Nowadays it's easy to understand how this place, with its dark and dense forests, was an ideal refuge against the looters and plunderers from the Rhône Valley during the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 5th century.
The name "Leissin" appeared for the first time in a document dating back to 1276 belonging to the Dukes of Savoy, sovereigns of the Chablais region for more than 250 years. From the time of the Reformation, the Bernese government took over the region and ruled until the Canton's independence in 1803. Its cultural heritage can still be seen today in the beautiful sculpted and decorated wooden buildings in Village Street and also in Veyges and in Crettaz.
Once there, the main attraction of Leysin - which boasts generous open and panoramic landscapes along with fertile south facing terraces - is without doubt its climate. The sun shines here more often than anywhere else. The air is pure, fresh and dry and is sheltered from the wind. This heaven-sent fusion of nature’s riches will be the main reason for the unique development of this tiny mountain village into a veritable international small town.
From the end of the 19th Century, Leysin will distinguish itself for ever from its neighbouring villages. During the next 60 years, this destination will become known throughout the world as one of the most important Swiss centres for the treatment of tuberculosis. You have to wait until 1956 for the resort to reinvent itself as a tourist and sporting destination aimed particularly at families. From the 1960s, the former sanitoriums with their huge sun-drenched balconies, are transformed into international schools and apartments.
Today, the resort continues to develop, offering more and more sporting and educational opportunities all year round. Its current population, of around 4'000 inhabitants, is made up of 110 different nationalities, 34% of which are under 19 years of age. The Leysin Commune is today the youngest in the whole of Vaud county.