Lake Geneva is the largest inland lake in Europe and is located on the border with France (in the canton of Haute-Savoie) and Switzerland (in the cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Valais). In France, Lake Geneva is known as Lac Leman, which comes from the Celtic "great water".
The lake, with a length of 70km, a width of 13km, a depth of 310m and an area of 584 km2, mainly gets its water from the Rhône, which flows into the lake in the southeast and flows in the southwest direction till it reaches Geneva and then finally ends up in the Mediterranean Sea via Lyon and Avignon.
Lake Geneva is surrounded by two impressive mountain ranges: the Jura and the Alps. The lake is therefore surrounded by high mountain peaks, green forests and beautiful cities and villages. The rough Chablaise Alps are located on the south side of Lake Geneva and the Bernese Alps, an area overgrown with climbing plants and many villages and castles , is located on the east side of the lake. The River Rhône flows through the two Alpine regions and has its origins in the Rhône glacier.
Jet d'Eau in Lake Geneva
One of the most famous tourist sites near Lake Geneva is the fountain of Geneva, the Jet d'Eau. This fountain is the most recognizable site of Lake Geneva and is seen as the symbol of Geneva. This huge fountain is located at the spot where the Rhône flows out of the lake. The water in the fountain has a speed of 200 km/h and is sprayed up about 140 meters. Every second 500 liters of water goes up into the air. In the evening the fountain is beautifully lit. You can reach the fountain via a landscaped pier, but be sure to dress appropriately or bring an umbrella with you because if the wind changes direction you could become soaking wet...
Water Sports on Lake Geneva
The lake is a tourist attraction and a must visit in both the summer and winter. Both seasons have a vast amount of activities on offer. The summer is perfect for water sports enthusiasts seen as loads of activities are possible on the vast lake during this time, such as:
- SUP (Stand Up Paddling)
- Water skiing
- Boat trips
- Going on a pedalo
At the edges of the lake there are numerous beaches perfect for sunbathing. These beaches are also great for families with young children seen as they are nice for children to play on and enjoy the water.
Cruises on Lake Geneva
Do you want to take it easy but still enjoy Lake Geneva to its full capacity? If this is the case the following is perfect for you, either take a cruise in a passenger boat or book a culinary cruise. You can choose from different types of boats. There are ordinary tour boats, historic paddleboats and small ferries. The CGN (Compagnie Générale de Navigation sur le Lac Léman) has eight paddle steamers in service, the largest fleet of this type of boat in Europe. There are also scheduled boats which connect the numerous villages and towns located on the edges of the lake. Small ferries, known as "Mouettes", quickly take passengers in Geneva from one bank to the other.
There are many villages and towns along the lake where you can board a boat. Geneva has four moorings: Pâquis, Mont-Blanc, Jardin-Anglais and Eaux-Vives. Other larger places where you can board a boat are Lausanne, Montreux, Nyon, Morges, Vevey and Yvoire (France).
There are both boat trips on Lake Geneva where you are brought back to your boarding point after your trip or ferry services where you are brought from one place to another. Listed are some of the ferry options:
- one-hour cruises from Geneva, via Bellevue;
- cruises from Geneva via Hermance (90 minutes or more);
- boat trips in the western part of the lake between Geneva, Nyon, Yvoire, Morges and Lausanne (up to 3 to 4 hours);
- boat trips in the eastern part of the lake between Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux, Château de Chillon,Villeneuve and St-Gingolph (maximum 3 to 4 hours);
- ferries from Nyon to Yvoire in France;
- ferries from Lausanne to Evian and Thonon in France.
The surroundings of Lake Geneva
The lake is surrounded by beautiful cities such as Lausanne, Geneva and Montreux. On the French side of the lake there are stunning places such as Thonon-les-Bains, Evian-les-Bains and the medieval town of Yvoire. These places have beautiful harbors and cozy boulevards and terraces. Chateau de Chillon, an intriguing castle, is also a must visit when in the area. The castle gives you a beautiful view over the lake.
This is also a very popular area among hikers. There are hiking trails along the banks of the lake and there are more challenging tours that go up into the mountains.