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A trip around Lake Geneva

Posted: 17th January 2017 08:06

Lake Geneva is the largest body of water in Switzerland, and one of the county’s most beautiful natural highlights.  Thanks to its intriguing crescent shape, some visitors remain depressingly ignorant of the true size and scale of this lake, but in actual fact it covers around 220 square miles and is up to 507 feet in depth (and those are handy little facts to remember, should you ever want to impress a cute backpacker or two.)

Another interesting fact about Lake Geneva; the Swiss actually share this natural beauty with the French.  Roughly 40% of the lake lies in France, and across the border it is known as Lac Léman or Lac de Genève.  Its many names may be interchangeable, but one fact remains the same – nowhere else in Europe will you come across such a jaw-droppingly sublime and unbelievably awe-inspiring location. 

It is not simply the clear waters that stretch as far as the eye can see that makes Lake Geneva such a special place; the lake is flanked on its southern and eastern shores by the The Chablais and the western Bernese Alps, providing an outstanding backdrop that is almost too serene to comprehend.  On a clear day, the towering summits of Grand Combin and Mont Blanc are visible, dominating the landscape and providing yet more picture perfect moments (we don’t need to remind you that a camera is an absolute essential!)

Lake Geneva has contributed to the world of science, proving it is more than just a pretty face; in 1827, the lake became the sight for the very first measurement of the speed of sound in fresh water.  The lake has also had a long love affair with celebrity; routinely attracting the rich and famous, from Byron to Freddie Mercury, you’ll probably agree with us when we say that Lake Geneva will never fail to captivate and inspire. 

Things to Do

Lake Geneva provides such a stunning landscape that you won’t be surprised to find out that there are a wealth of activities on offer, to help you explore this beautiful region in all its glory.  Whether you stick to the lake’s shores, or venture up into the surrounding mountains (and we advise that you do, simply for the views) you’ll soon discover that Lake Geneva will satisfy your desire for the great outdoors.

Boating

You weren’t thinking of visiting Lake Geneva and not crossing it by boat, were you? Whether you simply want to get from A to B via taxi-boat, or undertake an in-depth cruise and discover the hidden gems scattered along the shore, enjoying a boat ride is surely as essential in Geneva as changing your underwear every day.  Several reputable companies are on hand to offer a range of cruises that differ in length and price, so whatever your itinerary or budget, you don’t really have an excuse to miss out! Numerous landing stages along the shore allow passengers to hop off and on at their leisure and explore the vastly varying terrains, enjoy the countryside and surrounding towns and take the most exquisite photos of the lake spread out behind you.

Sailing School

Did your boat ride stir up a craving to get back out on that beautiful crystal clear water? Well you’re in luck – simply sign up to one of the many boating schools operating along the coast and test out your skills as a bona fide skipper! From schools that offer a bit of afternoon fun to establishments that offer courses and qualifications, you are sure to find a school that best suits your needs; alongside sailing lessons, many also offer courses in windsurfing and water-skiing, and rent equipment to experts who want to take to the water under their own steam.  If that is a little too adventurous for you, why not simply high a pedalo or a boat and enjoy a relaxing sail across the calm waters? One of the best schools is located in Ouchy, a port and popular lakeside resort just outside of Lausanne. 

Hiking

The paths and trails surrounding Lake Geneva are ideal for hiking fans and ardent ramblers.  The region offers around 3,000km of marked and well maintained trails, providing enough of an itinerary for you to enjoy a full hiking holiday, so pull on your hiking boots, pick up a map from the local tourist information booth and head out into nature.  The paths will take you through the countryside and dense forests, pleasant towns and cities and ancient vineyards – no two days will be the same! If you’re up for a shorter experience, simply take advantage of the excellent public transportation systems and head over to the Junga slopes or the small town of Montreux and enjoy a pleasant stroll back.  There are also many guided tours available, for those that don’t rate their map reading skills... 

Cycling

If hiking is a little too ‘tame’ for you, perhaps you’d prefer to hop on a bike and take to the twisting mountainous trails or the long stretches of lakeside roads instead.  There are a number of quality routes that circumnavigate the lake, and much of this route is marked for cyclists only – you don’t have to worry about being run over and can simply enjoy the sumptuous views instead! A number of hire shops can found in the numerous towns and cities that lie on the lake’s shores, so it is easy for you to gain access to the natural playground that is Lake Geneva.  For a leisurely bike ride, simply stick to the paths around the lakes, but if you’re up for a challenge, why not embark on a gruelling mountain bike ride through The Alps? Your reward will be the gorgeous view of the lake spread out below.