Around Geneva - fabulous places to visit
Staying in western Switzerland for a few days? Great! The surroundings of Geneva, especially the impressive Lake Geneva are - nomen omen - filled with attractions that’ll provide an unforgettable experience. Not only Geneva - you will also find interesting places outside the city!
What to see near Geneva?
Geneva Lake - a substitute for the sea
The picturesque shore of the Geneva Lake is the largest freshwater reservoir in Western Europe, which has been attracting artists, the political elite and increasing numbers of tourists for many decades. No wonder, because this intense blue surface, with the majestic snow-capped peaks of the Alps, is a truly beautiful sight. Since the reservoir is for the Swiss a substitute for the sea, its coastline is commonly referred to as the Swiss Riviera. It’s full of elegant villas and hotels from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, representing the belle époque style, medieval castles and Mediterranean vegetation overflowing from everywhere, as well as plenty of vineyards terraced down from the hills almost to the water. Do visit one of such vineyards, admire the views and enjoy the refreshing taste of local white wine.
Take a side-wheeler cruise
The ideas for what to do by Lake Geneva are truly hard to count. Why not take a cruise? Like in the old days, to feel like a film hero? You can choose from one of many historic side-wheelers belonging to the local shipping association. There are eight of them, which reflects the largest fleet of its kind in Europe, and they have been cruising like this for nearly a century and a half. Just step up to the upper deck, take a sun lounger and indulge in blissful laziness in an exceptionally beautiful setting. There are also small ferries on the lake, maintaining regular connections between smaller and larger coastal towns.
Montreux - cultural capital of Switzerland
Empress Sisi, who loved the Geneva area, used to come to Montreux often, same as Gogol, Dostoyevsky, Nabokov, Andersen, and Hemingway. You must come here if you love the band Queen - you’ll discover the statue of Freddie Mercury on the quayside, and you can visit the very interesting exhibition at Mountain Studios, where the band recorded for several years. In addition to Queen, such artists and bands as David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Chris Rea, Led Zeppelin and Yes also recorded their discs there, and Deep Purple even recorded a song based on real events, “Smoke on the Water”. The town also attracts lovers of other sounds. Since 1967, it holds Festival de Jazz de Montreux, the second-largest event of its kind in the world.
Chillon - castle on the water
Chillon Castle not only has a fairy-tale exterior, it's also beautifully situated, with waters of the lake flowing around it on three sides. The place where this fortress was built has always been distinguished by its great defensive qualities and its strategic position to control the narrow isthmus between Lake Geneva and the Alps. It was also a watchtower on the trade route leading from Italy through the Great St Bernard Pass.
Gilon i Caux - view from the above
What to do by Lake Geneva at sunset? Take a look at it from above! Leave Montreux and head to the much higher located villages of Glion and Caux. Both were small villages only two centuries ago, but from the second half of the 19th century they began to develop as popular resorts with elegant, stylish hotels. The first is located at 700 m above sea level and the second at 1054 m above sea level. Because of the location, it’s sometimes called the “balcony of Lake Geneva”. Maybe you can even stay here for the night?
Lausanne - in search of Polish traces
If you’re not in a hurry, then at the end spend some time in Lausanne. It cannot boast a beautiful old town, but it does have some interesting buildings. You may also be interested in the fact that Polish Romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz lived here for some time and wrote here his “Lausanne Lyrics” (with the famous words “my tears flowed clean and strong”). Lausanne was also the first seat of the International Olympic Committee, established here in 1894, and, during World War I, of the Polish National Committee.
There are many attractions on Lake Geneva. Lausanne, Montreaux, Chillon and Geneva - attractions pop up everywhere, just keep your eyes and ears open. Then book flights to Geneva and discover a new way of beauty!