When we were in Switzerland most of our journeys exploring the most beautiful places in Switzerland winded around Lake Geneva. There is so much to see and plenty of things to do in Lake Geneva. There are so many charming villages and cities on the shores of Lake Geneva. As we were based in Geneva the trains to different places we visited in Switzerland chugged along the Lake Geneva offering breathtaking views of the shimmering lake and the Alps in the backdrop. This post lists the top things to do in and around Lake Geneva.
Lake Geneva is one of the largest lakes in Western Europe and is shared between Switzerland and France. It is known as Lac Leman in French. Some of the top Switzerland cities are located on the shores of Lake Geneva. They are Geneva, Lausanne, Nyon, Montreux, Morges, and Vevey in Switzerland and Thonon-Les-Bains, Evian, and Yvoire in France.
Hike the Lavaux Vineyards
Lavaux Vineyards are the famous Swiss Vineyards spanning from Montreux to Lausanne. The vineyards offer 30 km of hiking trail winding through the vineyard terraces overlooking the shimmering blue Geneva Lake. The vistas are breathtaking. The trails are dotted with many wine cellar where you can stop by to taste the famous wines of the region.
Some of these cellars also offer the tour of the cellar where you can learn about the wine processing and its history. The wine tasting with amazing views of vineyards, Lake Geneva and the Alps is an unparalleled experience.
Montreux Promenade Walk
Montreux is a beautiful resort town popular for the Chillon Castle but there is plenty to see here too. One of the must do things when in Montreux is to take a leisurely walk along its promenade which is adorned with beautiful flower beds, pretty chalets, lush parks and dotted with palaces. The promenade stretches for a couple of miles from Montreux to the nearby town of Vevey. And the views of the Lake Geneva and the towering Alps all along the promenade are absolutely stunning.
The Golden Pass train in Switzerland is a scenic train ride which winds through the stunning landscapes of Switzerland. You can enjoy the views of the beautiful Swiss villages and shimmering lakes through the panoramic windows of the train. The Golden Pass scenic route starts from Montreux and runs up to the lovely city of Lucerne.
If you have more time in Montreux you can also plan day trips of Montreux to Glacier 3000 or Rochers de Naye mountain. While Glacier 3000 offers numerous fun-filled snow activities, Rochers de Naye mountain draws hikers and trekkers to explore the numerous alpine trails. The route up the mountain offers breathtaking vistas of mountains and lakes.
You can also plan a visit Montreux to coincide with world famous Jazz Festival, which happens every year in July, or the International Balloon Festival, which takes place in the month or January, or February every year.
Visit Fairytale Chillon Castle
There is no dearth of fairytale locations or castles in Switzerland. One of the most beautiful castles in Switzerland is the Chillon Castle located on the shores of the Geneva Lake. The castle is one of the popular things to do in Montreux the charming resort town. The castle is about 10 minutes bus ride from the Montreux train station.
The entrance to the castle is ticketed and you are free to explore on your own. Walk through the recreated prisons, courtyards, dungeons, castle rooms adorned with medieval frescoes and the ramparts, which are sure to walk you back in time. The windows offer incredible views of Lake Geneva and the mountains in the backdrop.
Explore Vevey Town
Vevey is a small town located on the shore of Lake Geneva. It was once the home town of the popular artist Charlie Chaplin. You can visit the Chaplin’s World Museum which is housed in the mansion where Charlie Chaplin lived with his family.
The museum has a wonderful collection of artifacts of the film and film sets of Chaplin. One of the top highlights of the museum is the section where the entire scenes of Chaplin’s movie have been recreated. You can get more details here.
You take a picture with the life-size statue of Charlie Chaplin located on the banks of the lake or with the larger than life fork sculpture located in the Lake Geneva close to the shores.
Lake Geneva Cruise
Several cruises run on the Lake Geneva starting from the Geneva City to the Chillon Castle. The cruise offers a unique experience with the stunning views of the pretty towns on the shores on one side and the breathtaking Alps on the other side. The cruise stops on all the important villages and cities on the route. Ferries also go from Lausanne to the French villages of Evian and Thonon-Les-Bains and from Nyon to French Village of Yvoire.
Olympic Museum at Lausanne
The Olympic Museum in Lausanne City is a unique and one of its kind of museum. There is also a lakeshore Olympic Park located at Ouchy adorned with numerous amazing sculptures representing the Olympic Spirit. The Olympic Museum displays over 10,000 artifacts relating to Olympics Games. The city of Lausanne is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva and offers beautiful views of the lake, vineyards terraces of Lavaux and the Alps.
The Ouchy Lake promenade opposite the Olympic Museum is perfect for a leisurely stroll. Also must visit is the Old Town of Lausanne which has well preserved historic buildings including the magnificent 12th-century Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame.
Tulip Festival in Morges
The tulip festival of Holland is world famous no doubt. But very fewer people know about the tulip festival that takes places in the small pretty town of Morges in Switzerland. Morges is just 30 minutes train ride from Geneva. The festival takes place in Parc de l’Indépendance on the shores of Lake Geneva. Over 120,000 tulips of 300 varieties are displayed at the festival in numerous bright colors. Though small in size the tulip garden is beautiful enough to leave you spellbound. The entrance to the park is free. Several cultural shows and musical performances are also held as a part of the festival.
Medieval Town of Yvoire
Yvoire is a beautiful medieval French village located on the shores of Lake Geneva in southern France. The village is amongst the Most Beautiful Villages in France. Yvoire is one of the popular day trips from Geneva. Geneva to Nyon is a, a 15 minutes train ride and then another 15 minutes ferry ride from Nyon will take you to Yvoire.
A walk through the village is a time warp. The alleys wind through the stone houses with colorful windows and doors are overflowing with bright colored flowers. The historic church of St Pancras which dates back to the 11th-century is something not to miss. The ‘Garden of the Five Senses’ is a fun-filled and educational visit for the kids as well as adults. The town also has a historic castle which is unfortunately not open to the public. There are numerous restaurants and cafes in Yvoire where you can buy something to eat or drink.
Stay in Lake Geneva Hotels
There are numerous magnificent hotels and resorts dotting the shores of Lake Geneva. The stay in one of these hotels offers a unique experience with world-class comforts and unparalleled views of Lake Geneva and the Alps.
Unwind and get pampered or spend a relaxed day at the spas. Some of the hotels are ancient, they are palaces turned into hotels and have a classic architecture which will walk you back in time with a royal pampering.
Walk Back in Time at Hermance Village
The 13th century Hermance village has some well-preserved architecture. A walk through the village is sure to walk you back in time. The houses have colorful doors and windows and are covered in colorful flowers and ivy plants. Some of the historical buildings in the village are a magnificent church and medieval watchtower and a beautiful cemetery next to the church. The cemetery was decorated with flower beds and sculptures.
The alleys of the village sloped down to the shores of the Lake Geneva which made for a perfect picnic spot for a family with ample space for kids to play and frolic around. To reach this village, take the bus number ‘E’ from Rive in Geneva. It takes about 30 minutes to reach Hermance from Geneva.
Jet d’Eau and English Garden
One of the largest cities on the shores of Lake Geneva is the Geneva City. The city is home to several international organizations like the United Nations, Red Cross, and WHO. There are plenty of things to do in Geneva including the historic Geneva Old Town, over 30 museums, flea markets, and parks. Amongst the top Geneva landmarks are the Jet d’Eau and the English Garden. The English garden is home to the popular ‘flower clock’ and the ‘National Monument’.
The park is located along Lake Geneva and offers wonderful views of the iconic Jet D’Eau. A quay at the end of the park leads to the fountain where visitors can get really close to the fountain and get all drenched. There are yellow which run on Lake Geneva between four different areas of Geneva on the shore of Geneva Lake – Molard, Paquis, Eaux-Vives, and Geneve-Plage/Port Noir. There is a ticket for the ride but it’s absolutely free with the Geneva public transport pass or free transport card. MOre details here. If you are on a budget this is one of the free things to do in Geneva as every hotel in Geneva provides with the free transport card.
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