Lake Geneva cruises
Lake Geneva is the largest lake in Switzerland, stretching from Geneva in the south to Villeneuve in the east. Several ferry and cruise services are available to make a wonderful day trip.
The forum allows you to post your questions and discuss your plans.
Layout of Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva is 72 km long, and can roughly be divided in the western part between Geneva and Lausanne, and the eastern part between Lausanne and Villeneuve. About 70% of the southern shore is French territory, the other shores are located in Switzerland.
A well known spot in the western part of the lake is the famous fountain Jet d'Eau in Geneva. In the eastern part, it is the town of Montreux and Chillon Castle that attract most visitors. The river Rhône feeds the lake in the utmost eastern cover near Bouveret.
Several boat services
Many towns along the lake have a dock that allow you to board one of the ships. Geneva actually has four docks, so be sure to check from which one your cruise departs: Pâquis, Mont-Blanc, Jardin-Anglais or Eaux-Vives. All of them are within walking distance of each other. Other larger towns where one can board the boats are Lausanne, Montreux, Nyon, Morges, Vevey and Yvoire (France).
There are several longer boat trips (cruise-like) and ferry services (quick lake crossing). These are the main ones:
- One hour round trips from and to Geneva via Bellevue;
- Round trips from and to Geneva via Hermance (90 minutes or longer);
- Cruises in the western part of the lake between Geneva, Nyon, Yvoire, Morges and Lausanne (3 to 4 hours maximum);
- Cruises in the eastern part of the lake between Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux, Chillon castle, Villeneuve and St-Gingolph (3 to 4 hours maximum);
- Ferries from Nyon to Yvoire in France;
- Ferries from Lausanne to Evian en Thonon in France.
Most boats have 2nd and 1st class areas, where 1st class is usually at the upper deck. Many boats have either a restaurant or a bistro on board.
Combine boat and train
Making a round trip is not required. You can take a boat to one of the towns along the lake, get off there, and go back to your point of origin by train, or vice versa. In many towns, it's just a short walk from the boat dock to the rail station. Examples can be found here.
Sample trips by boat and train or bus
- Take a boat from Vevey to Villeneuve (1 hour), and back by train (15 minutes). Optionally you can visit Montreux and Chillon Castle along the way;
- By boat from Geneva to Lausanne (more than 3 hours), and back by train (40 minutes);
- By boat from Geneva to Hermance (45 - 60 minutes), and back by bus (45 minutes).
Sunny clear weather is best for a boat trip, but it's still worth it if it's cloudy or drizzling. Take along sun glasses and sunscreen. Check the timetable to see which cruise suits you best.