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Lake Geneva, known in French as Lac Léman, is one of the largest lakes in western Europe. It lies on the course of the Rhone river on the frontier between France and Switzerland.

Aside from the city and canton of Geneva most destinations in the Lake Geneva region are in either the Swiss canton of Vaud or the French department of Haute Savoie. For its part Vaud is the largest canton in the French speaking part of Switzerland, and the third largest in the country as a whole. The geography is varied, with the Jura mountains in the north, a hilly plain in the center and in the southwest the Alps. The main attractions of the region are the cities and towns surrounding the lake, the opportunities for skiing and hiking in both mountain ranges, and of course the lake itself.

Cities[edit]

Water fountain Jet d'Eau on Lake Geneva in the city of Geneva
  • Aigle - a jumping off point for the Vaud Alps, with a very cool castle
  • Château d'Oex - the city of hot air balloons and Swiss scissor cuts
  • Coppet - medieval charm on the lake, very close to Geneva
  • Geneva - the largest City on the lake
  • Hermance
  • Lausanne - like San Francisco, but more Swiss
  • Les Diablerets - ski/hiking resort town in the Vaud Alps
  • Leysin - hiking, skiing and international schools in the Vaud Alps
  • Meyrin - with the CERN research facility
  • Montreux - the jewel of the Swiss Riviera
  • Nyon - a pleasant lake town with a high quote of expats
  • Palézieux
  • Pompaples
  • Vevey - Small city in the midst of the Swiss Riviera, headquarter of Nestlé
  • Villars-sur-Ollon - good ski resort for beginners and families
  • Saint-Cergue - ski resort. Narrow gauge train from Nyon.

Other destinations[edit]

  • Lavaux - A terraced wine growing region

Understand[edit]

Talk[edit]

The shores of Lake Geneva are entirely French speaking, though you will also hear Swiss German, Italian, and English. In Geneva and Lausanne, it is not uncommon for people around you to be having conversations in four different languages.

Get in[edit]

By air[edit]

The only airport in this region is in Geneva (Genève-Cointrin). It is smaller than the airport in Zürich, but very heavily internationally connected due to the UN's presence in Geneva. You can also easily fly into Zürich and catch an express train south.

By train[edit]

The TGV from France and the Cisalpino from Italy stop in Geneva, Lausanne, Vevey, and Montreux. From Germany or Austria you will have to change in Basel or Zürich.

Get around[edit]

Most towns on Lake Geneva are served by the boats of the Compagnie Génerale de navigation (CGN). As well as modern boats, CGN operates five heritage paddle steamers build at the beginning of the 20th century. On some routes, boats are the fastest mean of transport (between Lausanne and Evian, for example). On most other routes though, boats are much slower than trains, but they often offer more scenic views.

Private boat tours and transfers from Geneva to any port on the lake is by Léman Transfers. Groups of up to 6 passengers can be privately chauffeured around the lake. - Léman Transfers.

See[edit]

Do[edit]

Eat[edit]

  • Chocolaterie Tristan. In Bougy-Villars, a cute little village half-way between Lausanne and Geneva, one shouldn't miss this little artisanal chocolate factory. Unique chocolates with all sort of original flavours such as spice, tea, olive oil, and many more, are prepared here. You can get there by bus from Allaman (IKEA train stop). On the way, you will enjoy a beautiful view of the mountains and the surrounding vineyards. Once in the village, let the scent guide you to the shop. And by the way, why not stop in Féchy (the neighbouring village) to taste some famous local wine.

Drink[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • Geneva and Lausanne is well connected to Bern and other major Swiss cities by train, bus and road. From Montreux you can ride the Golden Pass train to Lucerne and the Bernese Highlands.
  • The region of Rhône-Alpes, France is both physically and culturally close to the Lake Geneva district.
  • You can drive to Aosta Valley, the northwesternmost part of Italy in 2-3 hours from anywhere in the region. Train and bus connections usually take a little longer as you need travel via France.


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