Swiss Vacations
Lake Geneva Region

Vineyards on the Swiss shores of Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva Region (French: Région lémanique) is the common name of this Swiss region encompassing the Cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Valais that are bordering Lake Geneva. Gently sloping vineyards border the Swiss shores of Lake Geneva, and lively towns and small wine-growing villages appear scattered at random. The Jura mountains with the quiet Vallée de Joux lie to the north, and the Vaud Alps to the east with lush pastures, chalet villages, mountain peaks and glaciers - as well as sunny ledges ready-made for a relaxed vacation and sporting adventures.

Glacier 3000 in the Vaud Alps offering panoramic views of the peaks of the Swiss Alps
Few regions offer as wide a variety of holiday pursuits as does the area surrounding Lake Geneva. A vast diversity of landscapes - Alpine glaciers, remote mountain valleys and hamlets, ancient cities and towns with historic quarters and museums, mediterranean feel at the Lake Geneva Riviera. And equally diverse the activities: city life, sophisticated dining, an active cultural life and outstanding shopping in the cities, and a wide range of summer and winter sports in the mountain resorts of the Vaudois Alps and the Jura mountain range - 3,000 km (1,900 miles) of marked hiking and biking trails, 500 km (300 miles) of ski slopes, more than 200 different modes of transport and special highlights such as hot-air balloon rides or igloo adventures! All worlds come together in the Lake Geneva region to make for a perfect holiday.

As a source of flourishing exchanges, the lakeshores play host to many towns that have been built around them. They are a natural focus of cultural and commercial offers and are attractive destinations for city trips as well as congress and seminar venues.
Geneva, Switzerland -  the world’s smallest metropolis and Capital of PeaceGeneva, Switzerland's most international city, is embedded between nearby Alpine peaks and the hilly terrain of the Jura and lies in the bay where the Rhone leaves Lake Geneva. With its humanitarian tradition and cosmopolitan flair, the European seat of the UNO and headquarters of the Red Cross, Geneva is known as the “Capital of Peace”. The symbol of the "world’s smallest metropolis" is the “Jet d’eau” – a fountain with a 140-meter-high (460 ft) water jet at the periphery of Lake Geneva. The old town, the heart of Geneva with the shopping and business quarter is dominated by St. Peter’s Cathedral. Quays, lakeside promenades, countless parks, lively side streets in the old town and elegant shops invite visitors to stroll. The "Horloge Fleuri", the large flower clock in the "Jardin Anglais" (English Garden), is a world-renowned symbol of the Geneva watch industry.  Besides being a congress city, Geneva also is a center for culture and history, for trade fairs and exhibitions.

Lausanne, Switzerland - the Olympic Capital situated on the shores of Lake Geneva with fantastic views of the Swiss and French Alps
Lausanne, the second largest city on the shores of Lake Geneva, combines the dynamics of a business town with its ideal location as a holiday resort. Sport and culture are a golden rule in the Olympic Capital. Considered as one of the greenest towns in Europe, Lausanne gives preference to soft mobility: bikes are available for free, and hikers can explore the Lavaux Vineyards - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As one of the leading gastronomic regions throughout the world, Lausanne is the home of plenty of star-studded chefs, tables d’hôte and typical inns. Culinary and cultural diversity: over twenty museums, theatres, concerts and the Lausanne Béjart Ballet - not to forget the Old Town with an impressive medieval cathedral and excellent pedestrian-only shopping areas.

Montreux, Switzerland - gateway for excursions on Lake Geneva and scenic train rides in the mountains of the Swiss AlpsMontreux, nestled between Lake Geneva and steep mountains, enjoys a Mediterranean microclimate. In July it lives to the rhythm of the Montreux Jazz Festival: 20 days of concerts and some 250,000 visitors. At a close distance, the Chillon Castle, located on a rocky isle, proposes an enchanting journey through time. This medieval fortress on the mountainside and princely residence on the lakeside is one of the most visited monuments in Switzerland. From Montreux station, a cogwheel train takes visitors up to the Rochers-de-Naye where they can enjoy a 360° view of Lake Geneva and the Alps; the Chocolate Train with its deluxe Belle Epoque or panoramic carriages stops at the cheese dairy in Gruyère and takes visitors to the Chocolate Factory in Broc; and the Golden Pass scenic train starts its journey to Central Switzerland climbing through vineyards, passing mountain resorts of the Alps Vaudois and the Bernese Oberland, down the Simmental Valley to the Lakes of Thun and Brienz, including the well known Interlaken, and finally via the Bruenig Pass to Lucerne.

Les Diablerets - authentic village and mountain resort of the Vaud Alps, SwitzerlandAlps:

The Alps of the Lake Geneva Region are the home of authentic villages with their wooden chalets and varied sports infrastructure. Several mountain resorts such as Villars, Leysin or Les Diablerets, situated at an altitude between 1,000 and 2,500 meters (3,300 - 8,200 ft), offer gentle slopes for skiers and snowboarders in winter and unforgettable hiking and biking experiences during summer. Glacier 3000 above Les Diablerets has become a world-famous destination for tourists, both in summer and in winter. You will be amazed by the breathtaking, 360-degree panorama of the Vaudois, the Bernese and the Valaisan Alps and great views of twenty-four 4,000 meters-peaks (13,120 ft) including the Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.

Lac de Joux and the Joux Valley - a popular destination for nordic skiing and known as the craddle of Swiss watchmaking located in the Jura mountains, SwitzerlandWith an altitude of less than 1,600 m (5,250 ft), the Jura has all the attributes of the Far North: sumptuous pine forests, long winters, lakes that freeze over. A wild natural environment with vast valleys alternates with forests and pastures. Although there's some downhill skiing, the Jura has the ideal relief for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. In summer, these landscapes can be explored on hiking and cycling trails leading to impressive vantage points of Lake Geneva and the Alps. Windsurfers love the wind on Lake Joux, where budding fishermen and swimmers cohabitate. During cold winters the lake transforms into a gigantic natural skating rink. The Jura and in particular La Vallée de Joux (the Joux Valley) is the cradle of the Swiss luxury watchmaking industry, with reputed names such as Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Jaeger-LeCoultre or Breguet, all reputed for their grande complication watches.

the Charlie Chaplin statue in Vevey, Switzerland - one of many celebrities attracted by the Alpine panorama and the mediterranean feel of the Lake Geneva Region

Many outstanding personalities come from the Lake Geneva Region: Henri Nestlé, the inventor of baby powder milk and François-Louis Cailler, the inventor of milk chocolate, writer Charles Ferdinand Ramuz, filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, aerostier Bertrand Piccard and astronaut Claude Nicollier. Many celebrities have chosen the Lake Geneva Region as their residence, such as Napoleon the Third, Igor Stravinsky, Ernest Hemingway, Coco Chanel, Charlie Chaplin, Audrey Hepburn, Georges Simenon, Barbara Hendricks, and Michael Schumacher, attracted, no doubt, by the Alpine panorama and almost Mediterranean vegetation.


For more detailed descriptions of the destinations in the Lake Geneva Region, including a section with attractions and activities, and a list of recommended hotels, click on the respective destination:
Geneva  /  Lausanne  /  Montreux