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Things to do at Lake Geneva

The most beautiful places to visit around Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva (known locally as Lac Léman) is the largest body of water in Switzerland. While it touches the French border, with the French Haute-Savoie region to the south, its shore is home to many renowned Swiss cities, such as Lausanne, Geneva and Montreux, which are exceptionally positioned to enjoy superb views of the Alps. 

Discover one of these vibrant and historic Swiss cities, or explore some more remote areas, in our list of places to see at Lake Geneva. Whether it's a city break you’re after, or a chance to take in the rural charm or a bucolic walk, you will certainly enjoy your holiday around the largest alpine and subalpine lake in Europe. 

Geneva: the city and the fountain

It is impossible to think of Lake Geneva without its Jet d'Eau - the large water fountain is one of Switzerland's most iconic symbols. It is also one of the largest fountains in the world, measuring 140 metres high. While the Geneva water fountain has undeniable aesthetic qualities, unsurprisingly, it also has a practical origin. The original jet, installed in 1886, served as a safety valve for the hydraulic power system. From the shores of Lake Geneva, you can enjoy the view of this somewhat extravagant fountain or make the most of the beach and the docks by going swimming.

Visit for: the culture.  

Stay there for: the Swiss way of life. 

Montreux: the old town and flower promenade

Nestled between the hills and the lake, the city of Montreux seems to be lost among the peaks. However, it takes no more than ten minutes to walk from the shores of Lake Geneva to this picturesque area. At the top, the view from St Vincent's Temple will reward you for your efforts. The Old Town district of Montreux cannot be outdone in terms of dynamism and attractiveness. In addition to its historic architecture, it features several trendy restaurants and a multitude of picturesque shops. If you prefer to stay by the lake, then you will undoubtedly enjoy the Promenade Fleurie de Montreux (Montreux Flower Promenade). This captivating route stretches for 10km along the shore of Lake Geneva, from Vevey to Chillon Castle. The path is lined with palm trees and exotic flowers, as well as endless views of the Alps.

Visit for: the Montreux Jazz Festival. 

Stay there to: discover the old city.   

Château de Chillon

Chillon Castle, built in the early 12th century, is another landmark on Lake Geneva. Its spectacular location on an island south of Montreux is the first thing to attract visitors, along with its atypical oblong shape. Inside, discover a glimpse of what life was like in Switzerland several centuries ago. The House of Savoy occupied and resided at Chillon for more than 400 years, before the Bernese acquired it in 1536. Described as Switzerland's most visited historical monument, the castle also offers tourists spectacular views of Lake Geneva and the surrounding mountainous landscape.  

Visit to: immerse yourself in history. 

Hours: 9am to 6pm (Apr–Oct), 10am to 5pm (Nov–Mar).   

Lavaux's terraced vineyards

Lavaux is home to one of the most spectacular sites on Lake Geneva: vineyards that stretch nearly 30 kilometres along the shores of the lake that have been used since Roman times. In the 12th century, Cistercian monks built the miles of walls and terraces that are still carefully maintained by today's winemakers. This history and the quality of the wine produced from these vines have led them to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Even today, the vineyards produce some of the best wines in Switzerland. Connoisseurs will be delighted to taste the Chasselas, Pinot Noir and other grape varieties certified by three Controlled Designations of Origin.

Visit for: a wine tasting.  

Stay there for: the view of Lake Geneva over the vines. 

The medieval village of Yvoire

Located on the French shores of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman), Yvoire is classified as one of the ‘Most Beautiful Villages’ in France and is locally known as the 'Pearl of Léman'. As you stroll through the cobbled alleyways of the village, you'll find that Yvoire has retained its medieval character, with stone houses and wooden balconies decorated with flowers from spring to autumn. Nestled in the heart of this charming village is also an exceptional private garden with 'Remarkable Garden' classification. This Jardin des Cinq Sens (the Garden of Five Senses) is inspired by the symbolism of medieval mazes and invites visitors to a unique sensory walk where plants reveal their secrets. Lose yourself along the pathways and alleys, or walk along the shores of the lake, which is splendid at sunset.

Visit for: the beautiful garden. 

Stay there for: a romantic weekend.  

Mont Pèlerin: the funicular and Plein Ciel tower

Mont Pèlerin is a mountain situated on the Swiss Plateau, overlooking Lake Geneva in the canton of Vaud. At the top is a television tower that houses a 64-metre-high panoramic platform. From the platform, you can see the beginning of the Fribourg and Vaud Alps and enjoy a view of Lake Geneva up to the Jura. The 11-minute funicular ride will take you away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Once you're at the top, you can choose to drop off your bags at the 5-star Mont-Pèlerin hotel, the Mirador Resort & Spa (which has its own panoramic terrace), or decide to explore one of the many hiking trails around.

Visit to: admire the panoramic views.  

Stay there for: a luxurious retreat.


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