Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) picture
GlobalVision Communication / GlobalFlyCam/Getty Images

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Natural Wonders, Recreation, Swimming/Pools, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
5.0scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 5.0Atmosphere

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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Type
Time to Spend
#2 Mont Salève

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 a plethora of hiking and mountain biking paths, as well as paragliding and cross-country ski trails. If you don't want to break a sweat while visiting, climb aboard Mont Salève's cable car, which drops visitors off at an observation deck with a restaurant.

Previous visitors praised Mont Salève's hiking trails and views of Geneva. Many also enjoyed watching paragliders jump off the mountain and airplanes taking off and landing at Genève Aéroport. However, the mountain's proximity to Geneva makes it easy to forget that this natural wonder is in another country, so remember to bring your passport (to present at the border) and euros (for purchasing items on-site).

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