Lake Geneva Overview

One of the largest lakes in Western Europe, Lake Geneva is shared between Switzerland and France. Located on the north side of the Alps, the natural beauty of the lake and its surrounding area, make it a popular tourist attraction.

Shaped like a crescent moon, Lake Geneva is a captivating destination with diverse landscapes, offering a unique experience depending on your location. Approaching from the eastern side, relish the breathtaking view of the Alps, a highlight of your Switzerland trip. On the northern side, delight in vine-covered slopes adorned with charming villages and castles, creating a picturesque setting. The lake is not only a scenic wonder but also a haven for varied wildlife, including the common buzzard and the red kite, enhancing the natural charm of your Switzerland trip.

Covering an area of 7975 square kilometres, Lake Geneva is also popular for a number of water sports. From sailing, windsurfing and boating to rowing and scuba diving, one can enjoy a number of leisurely activities. Swimming events and yacht racing are two of the most popular events at Lake Geneva, and are major crowd pullers. In fact, the yacht racing festival is a much-awaited festival in the area where participants develop high-performance catamarans just to compete.

How To Reach

Lake Geneva is approximately 46 kms from the Geneva Airport in Switzerland. There are multiple ways of travelling from the airport to the lake.

Bus- Regular buses are available at the airport that will take you directly to Lake Geneva. You can also choose to step out of the airport, and then take a bus from the Geneva stop to the lake. Get off at Mottay or Cedres, the closest bus stops to Lake Geneva.

Railways- Geneva airport has its own railway station that serves various destinations in Switzerland. You will easily find trains that will take you to Lake Geneva. Evian-les-Bains is the closest train station.

Taxi- If you don't want to wait for trains or buses, simply hire a taxi at the airport. Enjoy the local beauty and nature as you reach Lake Geneva in comfort.

Best Time To Visit

Summer (June - August) is the best time to visit Lake Geneva. The weather is mild and breezy, with cool evenings. You will get plenty of sun, with occasional rains, that makes it the best time to enjoy water sports. You can also enjoy a cruise in Lake Geneva at this time. If you plan it in advance, you can attend two key festivals of Geneva - Lake Parade in July, and Fetes de Geneve in August.

But if you are a fan of snow-covered mountains then December to April is the time for you to visit. The temperature can dip below -2 degree Celsius, and Alps appears in its full beauty. Skiing is a major event, and tourist attraction at this time of the year.

Other Essential Information

Shared between Switzerland and France

Entry fee: There is no entry fee

Distance from Geneva Airport: Lake Geneva is 46 kms (approx.) from Geneva Airport. It takes almost 60 minutes to reach from the airport to the lake.

Explore the Streets of Lake Geneva

Created in 1991, the Streets of Lake Geneva is the Lake Geneva Business Improvement District. The community aims to increase tourism in downtown Lake Geneva, and maintain the natural beauty of the place. This is a mini city in itself. From row houses to shops to eating joints, you will find everything in one place. With five gorgeous stay options, and a variety of amenities, Streets of Lake Geneva is ideal for family vacations.

You can even bring your pets! For those staying in other destinations, this is worth a drive and a weekend stay. Ample parking is available, which means that you don’t have to rely on public transport. When visiting Streets of Lake Geneva, don’t miss out on these:

1. Go shopping- From clothes to handicrafts, you will find a shop for everything. You just need the patience to look around.

2. Try local cuisine- Whether you want to try local, Swiss delicacies, or just want your fill of good food, Streets of Lake Geneva will not disappoint you.

3. Get entertained- Movies can be seen anywhere. But here you can enjoy magic shows and performances by illusionists. Prior booking is recommended.

4. Relax- Spend quality time with your family and friends in the well-maintained parks. Go for long walks on Lake Geneva Beach. Or treat yourself to a spa-day.

Places to Stay at Lake Geneva

From pocket-friendly to luxury stay, Lake Geneva has a number of options for all kinds of visitors. Here are our picks for places to stay at Lake Geneva.

1. Big Foot Beach State Park- If you love to spend time with nature then Big Foot Beach State Park is the ideal place to stay. You can camp outdoors, and go swimming and fishing. Alcohol is not allowed inside the park, but you can enjoy a bonfire or a barbeque. All the campsites are fitted with showers, toilets, and electrical hook-ups. So, you can enjoy nature while you stay connected with your loved ones back home. Firewood is available for purchase at the campsite itself.

2. French Country Inn- Standing right on the edge of Lake Como, French Country Inn is a place out of the movies. With solid oak hand-carved staircases, and parquet flooring, staying here will transport you back to Denmark of the 1880s. Whether you choose to stay in a cottage room or a luxury suite, you will always wake up to the gorgeous sights of Lake Como.

3. T.C. Smith Historic Bed & Breakfast- One of the most popular bed & breakfasts in Lake Geneva, T.C. Smith was built in 1865. This was once a private home that today welcomes guests with the best facilities possible. Complete with 19th century decorations, and a fireplace in each room, this bed & breakfast will transport you to the Victorian era. If you come here during winter, don’t miss the Winterfest Ice Sculpture Competition.

4. Grand Geneva Resort & Spa- If you are looking to stay in luxury, there’s no better place than the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa. Situated away from the busy city crowds, in the heart of the woodlands, Grand Geneva Resort & Spa is surrounded by hills, and offers a number of activities to enjoy.

You can choose to stay in rooms facing the hills, or rooms facing a private lake. Go skiing with family and friends, or get your first skiing lesson. With a wide array of dining options and spa facilities, this is the ideal getaway for honeymoon couples, or for those looking for a romantic destination.

5. Maxwell Mansion- Living in style doesn’t get any better than this. Maxwell Mansion was the first mansion to be built in Lake Geneva, and has ever since hosted both national & international dignitaries, and tourists. This upscale, bespoke hotel offers the best of modern amenities, while keeping its historic roots intact.

If looking for the old-world charm, book one of the six traditional rooms with en-suite bath. But if looking for something a little more modern, take a look at their carriage house and stable suites. Complete with a world-class terrace lounge and a bar, Maxwell Mansion is also the ideal setting for an event or celebration.

Food & Drink at Lake Geneva

Whether you want to enjoy hamburgers and cold beer with friends, or luxury dining with family, Lake Geneva is sure to have something for you. Try these places when visiting Lake Geneva.

1. Oakfire- Craving Pizza? Head to Oakfire. Famous for their Neapolitan pizza, here you can grab fresh pizzas with unobstructed views of Lake Geneva. This two-floor building provides an open patio where you can relax with friends as you sip one of the house cocktails.

2. Sopra Bistro- When looking for seasonal delicacies, there is no place better than Sopra Bistro. This upscale bistro maintains a casual atmosphere so that you can relax and spend some quality time with friends and loved ones. Their shrimp pasta and Scottish trout are must-try.

3. Hunt Club Steakhouse- A 100-year old farmhouse, Hunt Club Steakhouse is ideal for large groups. Situated at the entrance to Geneva National Resort and Club, the old wood panelling is enough to remind you of any good, old American steakhouse. But there are also large windows that allow a lot of light inside, and give you a breath-taking view of Lake Como. Although a steakhouse, they also offer a large variety of fish dishes. Seared tuna and crab cakes will disappear from the table as soon as they are served.

4. Lake Geneva School of Cooking- You can cook your meals and eat it too! Lake Geneva School of Cooking, and the instructor, Chef John Bogan, will take you through the entire process. Starting from a visit to the farmer’s market to pick up fresh produce, to cooking some popular dishes like gnocchi and brisket, this is a food lover’s paradise.

5. Studio Winery- She is a painter, he is a musician, together they are wine makers! Wineries in urban settings are mostly unheard of. But Studio Winery welcomes guests to not only taste and purchase wine, but also to make wine with them. You can also join one of the painting or jam classes with the owners.

6. Kilwins Chocolate & Ice Cream- If you look through the window, and see the chef making warm fudge, there is no way you will not step inside. This family business is popular for their Mackinac Island fudge, which is their own recipe. You must also try their peanut brittle, another local favourite that is made right there at the store.

Tips for visiting Lake Geneva

If this is your first time to Lake Geneva, here are some quick tips to get you ready for the trip.

1. Get the Geneva Transport Card to travel in and around Lake Geneva. This will allow you to use all forms of public transport at concessional rates.

2. Boat taxis are the best, and unique mode of transport in Lake Geneva. Avail boat taxis, wherever possible.

3. Walking is the best way to explore Lake Geneva. With so much natural beauty on all sides, walking on foot is the best way to enjoy the place.

4. Don’t miss Geneva Old Town, complete with winding, cobblestone streets. This is where the city actually comes alive.

5. You must explore the city at night. The way the city lights up after sunset is worth a walk

6. As soon as you reach Lake Geneva, hire a bike. And by bikes, they mean scooters. These are an interesting way to experience the city on your own.
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Lake Geneva FAQs

Can you swim in Lake Geneva?

Yes, swimming is allowed in Lake Geneva. In fact, it is one of the most popular activities to engage in, both for locals and tourists. But we recommend checking with local authorities about the right time and temperature to swim.

Is Lake Geneva a man-made lake?

No, Lake Geneva is not a man-made lake. It is the largest shared source of freshwater between Switzerland and France. It was formed by a withdrawing glacier, and River Rhone is its main source of water.

How long is Lake Geneva?

Lake Geneva is 73 kms long, with a width of 14 kms, and a depth of 154.4 meters, making it one of the largest lakes of Western Europe that is shared by Switzerland and France.

How far is Lake Geneva from Chicago?

Lake Geneva is 83 miles (approx.) from Chicago. You can drive from Chicago to Lake Geneva that will take you close to 1 hour 30 minutes to reach. Or you can fly to Geneva and then avail local transport.

What is Lake Geneva known for?

Lake Geneva is mostly known as one of the largest freshwater lakes in Europe. It is popular as a tourist destination. Due to its clear water and natural beauty, it is a preferred spot for swimming, surfing, and other water adventure activities.

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