Lake Geneva… What a spectacular place! During our 7-week stay in Thonon-Les-Bains, we were lucky to live really close to its shores and enjoy it every day from our terrace. To this day we remember waking up to the spectacular views and admiring lovely sunsets in the evenings. Lake Geneva’s surroundings are full of amazing places. You’ll find countless breathtaking landscapes and many charming small towns. Stay with us, we’ll show you our subjective ranking of the best places to visit around Lake Geneva in Switzerland and France.
This website uses affiliate links thanks to which we may earn a commission for purchases you made at no additional cost to you. If you like the content, consider using those links to support us. Thank you!
Best Places To Visit Around Lake Geneva In Switzerland & France
About Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva, or Lac Leman in French, is one of the largest lakes in Western Europe, shared between Switzerland (60%) and France (40%). It’s 73km long, 15km wide, 310m at the deepest point, and has 156 kilometers of shoreline.
Lake is also a paradise for water sports enthusiasts – sailing, kayaking, kayak-rafting, paddleboarding, canoeing, water skiing, or just swimming – it’s all there. Even without a license, there’s a possibility to rent a small boat if you would like to try that.
Lake Geneva is located in a really captivating place, offering really spectacular views on both sides. It’s really hard to say which part is the best – both are amazing! We were delighted by both sides, but can’t deny that we find views from Vevey or Lausanne the best.
What could be better than taking a scenic ride around Lake Geneva and stopping wherever you feel like? The whole loop is about 180km long, and you can drive it by car or bike (Tour du Lac Leman). The journey by car without stopping should take about 3 hours, and 6-8h by bike. You can learn more about Tour du Lac Leman on bikemap.net website.
Ok, it’s finally time for us to share with you our ranking of the best places to visit around Lake Geneva in Switzerland & France. Let’s go!
Best places on the northern shore of Lake Geneva in Switzerland
Vevey is a charming little town that stole our hearts and left us speechless. We can say with full conviction that this is our number 1 place around Lake Geneva. Along the waterfront, there is a long promenade perfect for relaxing strolls, doing sports, or just sitting on a bench. All of these with unearthly and unforgettable views of the Alps. Besides that, Vevey also offers a charming old town filled with colorful buildings and streets full of small shops, art galleries, restaurants, and hotels.
Lausanne is another great place to visit around Lake Geneva in Switzerland. It surprised us with its beauty and with one of the most stunning views over the Alps we’ve seen so far. But those amazing views aren’t the only thing that Lausanne has to offer. There’s Old Town full of charming streets with old buildings and many cozy restaurants. There are also museums perfect for art lovers, and an Olympic Museum which is a real treat for sports fans.
You can’t help but visit Geneva while spending time around Lake Geneva. This Swiss city is best known for its wealth, banking, diplomacy, watchmaking, CERN, luxury shops, pretty landscapes, and spectacular water jet. Geneva is recognized as one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in as well as one of the wealthiest cities in the world. The city has a lot to offer to its visitors so you can be sure that you won’t get bored there.
Chillon Castle (fr. Château de Chillon) is a well-preserved island castle located on Lake Geneva shores, on the small island of Chillon. This impressive medieval castle that offers a glimpse into the past, breathtaking landscapes all around, and fascinating history attracts thousands of people every year. If you feel like you would like to be transported back in time to the medieval ages – Chillon Castle is a great place to do that.
Best places on the southern shore of Lake Geneva in France
Evian-Les-Bains, or simply Evian, is a small and elegant spa town. The town undeniably is most famous for its Evian mineral water, which can be bought in stores in most countries around the world. A scenic location, close proximity to the Alps, thermal baths, many water sports opportunities, a long lakeside promenade, and a lovely colorful old town – all of that will guarantee that you’ll have an amazing, relaxing time there. Without a doubt, Evian is one of the best places to visit around Lake Geneva in France.
Learn more: 10+ Things To Do In Evian-Les-Bains, France
Yvoire is a picturesque medieval village that will transport you back in time hundreds of years. Despite the fact that the village is more than 700 years old, it preserved its medieval vibe with stone houses and wooden balconies brightly decorated with colorful flowers. Yvoire is also recognized as one of France’s most beautiful villages (Les Plus Beaux Villages de France). Yvoire village quickly became one of our favorite places around Lake Geneva. We bet it’ll become yours too!
Thonon-Les-Bain, or just Thonon, is another small and delightful spa town on Lake Geneva shores. It was once the capital of the historical district of Chablais and now, thanks to its great lakeside location and close proximity to the Alps, it’s a popular destination both in summer and winter. Thonon Les Bains is also one of the municipalities belonging to the Chablais UNESCO Global Geopark, a remarkable natural area, between Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc.
Learn more: 10+ Things To Do In Thonon-Les-Bains, France
More great places to visit around Lake Geneva
If you are hungry for more spectacular views and lovely towns you can also check out these places around Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Unfortunately, we haven’t got a chance to check them out personally yet but from what we’ve seen during our research these are worth visiting as well.
Montreux is a charming small resort town located on the northeastern shore of Lake Geneva. It became a very popular tourist spot mostly due to the fact that Freddie Mercury lived and recorded six albums with the Queen band there. Montreux is also home to a lovely lakeside promenade with amazing views, beautiful grand Belle Epoque buildings, Montreux Jazz Festival, a few museums and art galleries, as well as spa facilities.
Nyon is a small lakeside town located on the northwestern shores of Lake Geneva, only about 25km from Geneva City. There you’ll find attractions such as the beautiful 12th-century Nyon Castle, Leman Lake Museum, Temple de Nyon, or Nyon Roman Museum. Nyon is also the headquarters of the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations).
Morges is a pretty small and relaxed town located on the northern shores of Lake Geneva, only about 15km from Lausanne. The Morges Castle, a green and peaceful city park hosting the Tulip Festival in the spring, charming Old Town, and of course stunning views over Lake Geneva are waiting for you there.
Gruyeres isn’t located on the Lake Geneva shores, but about 40km inland from it, and we think this village deserves a mention here too. Without a doubt, this medieval town is best known for the production of the world-famous cheese of the same name. There you’ll find a fairytale-like 13th-century hilltop Gruyeres Castle, a charming old town, HR Giger Museum featuring surreal sculptures and paintings created by the artist known for the “Alien” movies, and of course many stunning views over the Gruyeres region.
Best places around Lake Geneva in Switzerland & France – Summary
Amazing landscapes, crystal clear waters, charming towns… There are many beautiful places around Lake Geneva worth visiting. We really enjoyed our time there and hope that you’ll enjoy it too. Have a great time & let us know which places are your favorites in the comments section below.
One more tip for the end: traveling by car, without a doubt, is the best and the fastest way of getting to all places around Lake Geneva. So if you’re not traveling by car, we recommend you rent one.