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A few free days in Geneva...what to see?

I'll be traveling for a work trip to Geneva next week, but will have a few days once I arrive before my meeting starts to sightsee on my own. I'm fine driving, but wonder about the winter weather and driving to places I'd really like to see again, like Chamonix or Annecy.

Do any of you have advice on day trips from Geneva either by train or by car? How possible is it to spend a day in Annecy from Geneva via train?

As for interests, I'm an amateur photographer, so I love going places to take photos. I also enjoy walking through towns and villages, taking in the scenery, having a coffee, and window shopping. No hiking in my future as I injured my knee recently (which doesn't hinder my walking, but serious hiking would not be fun).


Posted by
21086 posts

You'll need to take a bus to Annecy; it has no train service (at least not that I can find online). Edited: Per Laura, I am wrong; there is train service. Altibus runs frequent buses, and there are other possibilities as well, including Swiss Postbuses. If you Google "Bus Geneva to Annecy" you should be able to locate schedules fairly easily, but be sure you're seeing the winter schedule, and pay attention to the day of the week.

I haven't been to Geneva recently enough to provide current info about day trips, but I know Lausanne has an Olympic museum, and of course there's the Castle of Chillon near Montreux. Bern is less than 2 hours away, and it's a good city for a winter visit because so many of the streets in the historic district are arcaded. The Bern train goes through Fribourg, which I vaguely remember enjoying on a quick stop 30 or so years ago.

You might check with the Geneva tourist office on recommended scenic excursions for this time of year. Be cautious about paying in advance for a high-mountain experience since views are so weather-dependent.

Posted by
262 posts

Have you spent time in Switzerland before? Is that the reason to see Annecy? Although Annecy is a nice visit if it's easy, if you need to drive or take the bus, I wouldn't put it before some other places. Chamonix is within reach by train and is worth seeing if you have the time. Public transport in Switzerland is the way to travel here. If you start your day early, you can see quite a lot. Easy jet also flies out of Geneva and offers the option to visit another county with a quick flight. If you want to stay local, I agree with the other commenter that a visit to the tourist office in Geneva is worth a visit.

Posted by
252 posts

From Geneva, take the train and then short bus ride to Chillon castle and walk the small town center of Montreux. Another day, you can take the train to Lausanne for gorgeous scenery. Very picturesque. Olympic museum is there, if that interests you.

Posted by
16883 posts

Annecy and Chamonix are both served by train, reflected on the DB link at How to Look Up Train Schedules and Routes Online, but require one or more connections from Geneve. Buses are more direct. Any destination within Switzerland will generally have more frequent and direct train service.

Posted by
341 posts

Thanks, everyone! Annecy and Chamonix are both favorites, although I've only been there once to each place. Would love to revisit either. So, if Chamonix is easy to access by train, I might just do that. Thanks for the tips!