Home UK Travel The tranquil luxury of Lake Geneva

The tranquil luxury of Lake Geneva


Nestled in the Alps between France and Switzerland lies a crescent-shaped lake – one of the largest in Western Europe. Wide, deep and breathtakingly beautiful, it is an overlooked resort; too often a nearby ski resort in winter or a smaller lake resort in Annecy, France in summer.

That’s what I thought when I landed in Geneva this September and saw the lake whizzing past my cab window and the Alps looming dangerously over me. The region holds countless untouched delicacies waiting to be explored. From Evian-les-Bains in France – where I’m going – to other chic places on the North Shore, Geneva has endless outdoor activities and charming lakeside towns with a Belle Époque feel, the unsung beauty of a Geneva city break, known as the Swiss of the Riviera.


How to get there…

Given its vast size, spanning two countries, Lake Geneva has several entry points. One of the easiest routes is to fly to Geneva itself. This route is covered by most major airlines, including Swissair, and the average flight time from London is 1 hour 42 minutes. From there, most places along the lake can be reached by car or train. There is a regular route from Geneva to Lausanne, as well as the premium Golden Pass line that passes through some of the most impressive scenery of Lake Geneva, which can be booked as part of a longer train holiday throughout the Swiss Alps. Occasionally, you may be lucky enough to catch a ride on an old Art Nouveau train that is still in use. An unexpected slice of Orient Express luxury with breathtaking views ……

Why go?

The simple answer is: why not? Starting with Geneva, this region has a lot to offer. The city is often downplayed as merely a spotless financial center (or a great place to buy a watch). Both of these things are true, of course, but Geneva is more than just spotless streets and watches. Take a boat ride from Geneva’s Mont Blanc marina and enjoy the coastal wonders (and Geneva’s “Jet D’Eau” fountain) as well as tree-lined promenades and turn-of-the-century townhouses. Stroll through Geneva’s beautiful parks, Eaux-Vives, Jardin Anglais, Perle du Lac or Mon Repos, visit the iconic United Nations Palais des Nations or tour the treasures of the historic city center, including St. Pierre Cathedral’s narrow winding streets scattered with charming cafes and restaurants.


There’s also the natural beauty of the lakes embraced by the Swiss and French Alps. From boat trips to more active activities such as water skiing and kayaking, the natural beauty of the region is worth exploring. Hiking, biking and paragliding are the most popular summer sports, while skiing still dominates these mountains once the snow falls.

Close to the coastline, you can spend a fascinating journey to appreciate the charm of the region’s Riviera. Évian-les-Bains is full of history and the atmosphere of a Belle Epoque resort, or the culturally rich towns of Lausanne, Vevey and Montreux, or the charming medieval town of Yvoire. Around every corner is a new, beautiful village, made even more quiet and luxurious by how untourist-friendly it is.


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