Geneva Day Trips

Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva © Kosala Bandara

Lake Geneva (Lac Léman)

One of the largest lakes in central Europe and shared by both Switzerland and France, Lake Geneva (Lac Léman to its French-speaking inhabitants) has for decades drawn visitors to its shores. Attracted by the alpine panorama, quaint wooden chalet villages, vineyard-covered slopes and sailboats skimming across the blue waters, many famous writers, musical composers, actors and poets came to settle and the area has become something of an inspiration to the arts. Situated in the westernmost district of Vaud, the region contains a diversity of attractions and activities, from wine-growing villages and mountain ski resorts, picturesque castles, and magnificent cathedrals, to low-key lakeside resorts, boat cruises, and cosy fireside pots of fondue. Sophisticated shopping and cultural life can be found in the cities of Geneva and Lausanne, with sweeping views across the sparkling lake to the Alps and the distinctive pinnacle of Mont Blanc. Among the vineyards and affluent villas clinging to the slopes lie the lakeside towns of Vevey and Montreux, the pearls of the Swiss Riviera. Scenic winding roads stretch along the shores, and train trips offer outstanding views, while below steamers crisscross the waters of Lake Geneva, offering a variety of ways to experience the splendour of its location.

Laussane
Laussane © edwademd

Lausanne

Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, the energetic city of Lausanne is built above the lake on a sequence of tiers connected by a small metro. The upper or Old Town contains the grand Gothic cathedral, Notre-Dame; its turreted towers a well-known symbol of the city. The lower town on the lakeshore was once the small fishing village of Ouchy and is now the prime waterfront area with outdoor dining and cafés, promenades and sporting activities. The gardens around the Quay d'Ouchy are home to the city's foremost attraction, the Olympic Museum, containing a wealth of sporting memories and a collection of unique objects pertaining to the Olympic Games from its beginning until the present. Lausanne relishes its importance as the Olympic World Capital and headquarters of the International Olympic Committee.

Website: www.lausanne-tourisme.ch



Château de Chillon
Château de Chillon © Kosala Bandara

Château de Chillon

One of the best-maintained medieval castles in Europe, the 13th-century Château de Chillon is the most visited historical building in Switzerland. With its stunning lakeside location near the chic town of Montreux, jutting out into the water and framed by mountains, it is one of the most photographed castles in Europe. An important fortress in the Middle Ages, it was positioned to control the narrow passage between mountains and lake, protecting the major north-south route. It was also the favourite summer residence of the Counts of Savoy; while later, it served as a state prison. Visitors can tour the dungeons where the castle's most famous prisoner was chained for four years, the priest François Bonivard: a supporter of the Reformation. The fortress became famous when Lord Byron wrote about Bonivard's fate in an inspired poem entitled Prisoner of Chillon. Besides the dungeons, visitors can wander round the towers and courtyards, discover narrow secret passages, and see the grand knight's halls, frescoed chapel, luxurious bedchambers and rooms containing medieval weapons, furniture and paintings.

Address: Avenue de Chillon 21; Website: www.chillon.ch; Telephone: +41 21 966 8910; Transport: By car, train (Veytaux) or bus (line 201 from Vevey, Montreux and Villeneuve).; Opening time: April to September, 9am-7pm (last entry at 6pm); October, 9:30am-6pm (last entry at 5pm); November to February, 10am-5pm (last entry at 4pm); March, 9:30-6pm (last entry at 5pm) ; Admission: CHF 12.50 adults, CHF 6 for children ages 6-15 years, other concessions available