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Lake Geneva picture in Geneva
GlobalVision Communication / GlobalFlyCam / Getty Images

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  • Natural Wonders, Recreation, Swimming/Pools Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
5.0
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    5.0
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    5.0

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Straddling the Franco-Swiss border is Lake Geneva, a 224-square-mile lake formed by the Rhône River. It has been a popular vacation spot for years, drawing such memorable names as Audrey Hepburn, Charlie Chaplin and Sophia Loren. In fact, many of Lake Geneva's visitors (including Hepburn and Chaplin) were so smitten with the area that they became permanent residents.

If you're looking to spend some time away from the city, there are plenty of attractions located along the lake's shores. Explore the vineyards and wineries in Lausanne on the lake's northern shore, or head to Montreux for belle epoque architecture. Back in Geneva (at the lake's southernmost shore), you can go swimming at the Pâquis Baths and watch the Jet d'Eau.

According to previous visitors, one of the best ways to see the lake is to go on a boat tour. Cruises are offered by CGN, a local ferry operator, and start at 102 Swiss francs per person (about $107). Should you desire a more affordable way to get out on the water, Mouettes genevoises offers water taxi services that are free for Geneva Transport Card holders.

You can walk to Lake Geneva from most areas in the city center. The Nos. 12, 14, 15 and 18 tram lines also have stops by the waterfront. The lake itself is free to visit 24 hours a day.

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Hotels Nearby

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Beau-Rivage Genève

Beau-Rivage Genève ...

  • 0.2 Miles Away
  • 5.0-star Hotel Class
Hotel Metropole Geneva

Hotel Metropole Geneva ...

  • 0.2 Miles Away
  • 5.0-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in Geneva »

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Lake Geneva picture in Geneva
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#1 Lake Geneva (Lac Leman) Straddling the Franco-Swiss border is Lake Geneva, a 224-square-mile lake formed by the Rhône River. It has been a popular vacation spot for years, drawing such memorable names as Audrey ... Read more » GlobalVision Communication / GlobalFlyCam / Getty Images

#2 Mont Saleve No matter how physically fit you are, odds are you'll enjoy checking out Mont Salève. Situated about 12 miles southeast of Geneva across the Franco-Swiss border, this mountain offers ... Read more » Victor / Flickr

#3 Jet d'Eau No visit to Geneva would be complete without seeing one of its most iconic sights: the Jet d'Eau. Built in 1886 to help control a nearby hydraulic plant's ... Read more » bluejayphoto / Getty Images

#4 The Grange Park (Parc La Grange) Overlooking Lake Geneva by the Jet d'Eau, this park features a nearly 130,000-square-foot manicured garden filled with pools, pergolas and 200-plus kinds of roses. Additionally, an 18th-century villa ... Read more » Rich Jacques / Flickr

Courtesy of Bains des Pâquis

#6 Conservatory and Botanical Garden Geneva (Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques Geneve) Nestled alongside Geneva's northern border between the Palace of Nations and Lake Geneva, the Conservatory and Botanical Garden Geneva offers a serene setting for relaxing. This living museum features ... Read more » stevegeer / Getty Images

#7 St-Pierre Cathedral Geneva (Cathedrale St-Pierre Geneve) This cathedral – often described as a mash-up of Roman, Gothic and neoclassic stylistic elements – has survived centuries of turmoil. Its most notable chapter occurred in the mid-16th century when it ... Read more » Grzegorz_Pakula / Getty Images

#8 Museum of Natural History (Museum d'histoire naturelle) If you're traveling with one or more budding naturalists, then a visit to Geneva's Museum of Natural History is a must. Situated in the southeastern part of the ... Read more » adrigu / Flickr

#9 Palace of Nations (Palais des Nations) Occupying an impressive amount of land near the Conservatory and Botanical Garden Geneva, the Palace of Nations was constructed at the end of the 1920s as the headquarters for the ... Read more » United States Mission Geneva / Flickr

#10 Patek Philippe Museum One thing Switzerland is known for is watchmaking and enameling, and one of the best collections of timepieces can be found in the Patek Philippe Museum. There are two exhibits ... Read more » DutchScenery / Getty Images

Lake Geneva picture in Geneva
Mont Salève picture in Geneva
Jet d'Eau picture in Geneva
The Grange Park picture in Geneva
Pâquis Baths picture in Geneva
Conservatory and Botanical Garden Geneva picture in Geneva
St-Pierre Cathedral Geneva picture in Geneva
Museum of Natural History picture in Geneva
Palace of Nations picture in Geneva
Patek Philippe Museum picture in Geneva
Lake Geneva picture in Geneva
Mont Salève picture in Geneva
Jet d'Eau picture in Geneva
The Grange Park picture in Geneva
Pâquis Baths picture in Geneva
Conservatory and Botanical Garden Geneva picture in Geneva
St-Pierre Cathedral Geneva picture in Geneva
Museum of Natural History picture in Geneva
Palace of Nations picture in Geneva
Patek Philippe Museum picture in Geneva

It's hard to miss Lake Geneva, Switzerland's largest body of water. GlobalVision Communication / GlobalFlyCam / Getty Images

One of the easiest and most scenic ways to reach the top of Mont Salève is to climb aboard the mountain's cable car. Victor / Flickr

One of the city's most recognizable features is the Jet d'Eau, a large water fountain in the middle of Lake Geneva. bluejayphoto / Getty Images

The Grange Park, with its immaculately manicured gardens and 18th-century villa, is one of Geneva's most relaxing and picturesque locales. Rich Jacques / Flickr

One of the city's most popular spots to sunbathe during the warmer months is the Pâquis Baths, which overlooks Lake Geneva. Courtesy of Bains des Pâquis

For picturesque views of Lake Geneva and serene gardens, wander around the Conservatory and Botanical Garden Geneva. stevegeer / Getty Images

Architecture buffs and religious travelers will love checking out St-Pierre Cathedral Geneva in the city's historic center. Grzegorz_Pakula / Getty Images

Taxidermy critters like bats, tigers and weasels can be seen at Geneva's Museum of Natural History. adrigu / Flickr

As you approach the Palace of Nations, you'll notice the 193 flags, which represent each of the U.N.'s members, situated outside the main structure. United States Mission Geneva / Flickr

Though the Patek Philippe Museum is named for its impressive collection of Patek Philippe watches, you'll also find an array of antique pocket watches on display. DutchScenery / Getty Images

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