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5 day trip to Lake Geneva

Hi fellow travellers. Can you help?
Me and my wife are travelling to Switzerland in February for a 5 day short break. We are flying into Geneva late Thursday evening staying close to the airport overnight then want to travel a couple of hours or so by train to a nice pedestrian friendly resort where we can base ourselves travelling back to Geneva late on Monday afternoon.
Our ideal would be then to visit some picturesque places during the remainder of the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
This being our first visit to Switzerland we would welcome your thoughts and ideas.
Thank you in anticipation of your advice.

Posted by
11289 posts

Welcome to the Rick Steves Travel Forum. I see this is your first post.

You will get more responses if you change your thread title to something like "How should I spend four nights on Lake Geneva?" To do this, make sure you are logged in. Next to your name you will see Edit/Delete. Choose Edit and change your thread title.

Lausanne, in the "middle" of the lake (Geneva is on the western end and Montreux is on the eastern end) makes a convenient base, as well as having some nice attractions. I particularly liked the Collection de l'art brut (Museum of Outsider Art) and the Olympic Museum is also interesting. I also went to Audrey Hepburn's grave in nearby Tolochenaz. I didn't like the Chateau de Chillon (near Montreux) as much as most, but if you like castles it's a must. And I enjoyed walking around the Montreux waterfront as well.

Note that Rick's coverage of this area in his Switzerland book is incomplete (he doesn't cover Geneva for instance), so you will want to supplement with other books.

From Geneva through Lausanne to Montreux, there are frequent trains (some making more stops than others), so you can stay in one place and see all the others via day trips. The trains also go right to the Geneva airport, so you don't have to stay in Geneva your last night. There are boats along the lake as well, including some that go to the French side. And while you can certainly walk around the towns, they can be hilly (particularly Lausanne), so you will likely be taking buses and Lausanne's metro. You can buy regional tickets that will cover multiple methods of transit on a single ticket. For instance, to get to Audrey Hepburn's grave I took a train from Lausanne to Morges, then a bus from Morges to Tolochenaz. I had a Swiss Pass, but if I hadn't, I could have bought a single ticket to cover the whole journey (cheaper and easier than separate tickets).

Posted by
31471 posts

I agree with Harold that you might want to edit the title of your post to reflect your question. Many forum members may simply ignore your thread if the question isn't clearly stated.

I also agree that Lausanne is one possibility to explore, although in February the weather may not be the most pleasant, and there are limited sightseeing opportunities. Another city you might consider is Lucerne, which is one of my favourite cities in Switzerland. There are numerous trains from Geneva, and two you could consider are direct departures at 09:12 or 10:12, with a travel time of 2H:48M (there are many other departures, some with one change). There are some good sightseeing possibilities and more importantly some "indoor" activities which will give you something to do in cold weather. I quite enjoyed the awesome Museum of Transport in Lucerne, and spent the better part of a day there. There are lots of nice restaurants along the river, and of course the historic Chapel Bridge. You could also take a local walking tour to learn something of the history. Check at the T.I. office, which as I recall is in the main station.

You may find it helpful to have a look at the RS Switzerland guidebook for other ideas. You should be able to find a copy in your local Library or larger book stores.

Gute Reise!

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you Harold and Ken for your title observation which l have now addressed. Both of your suggestions would appear to be worthwhile of further investigation which both myself and my wife will look at during the course of the day and will advise of our itinery in due course. Thank you and enjoy the remainder of your weekend.

Posted by
11289 posts

Although you refer to this trip as "5 days," note that I referred to it as "4 nights." That's because 4 nights (which is what you have) only gives you only 3 full days on the ground. You said your arrival is late, and much of the day of departure is taken up with getting to the airport in time not to miss the plane. Since you said you're leaving late, you can have a half-day of sightseeing on your last day, but you need to be careful not to plan anything that could interfere with getting to the airport.

Luzern is a good idea, if the Lake Geneva towns are not appealing. It's a very pretty town, and if it's not raining, the views from the boats around Lake Luzern are great.

Posted by
3336 posts

Hi taylorpaul -
When you say "resort" are you talking skiing, spa, tennis??? All of those things can be accommodated within a couple of hours of Lake Geneva. If you share what you are specifically looking for we can help with more specific answers!
Thanks -

Posted by
27756 posts

just curious, apropos of nothing, about the name you chose for yourself here.

Are you by any chance a Peter Wimsey fan, or a campanologist?