Places to visit near Geneva

A while ago, my friends and I booked a cheap flight to Geneva for around 3 and a half days in the first week of October... just to visit, as we are studying abroad. We're really excited, but I'm starting to think it's a bad idea because I heard that there is not much to see/do there.
Does anyone have any suggestions on places to go for a day or two around Geneva or in Geneva? It just has to be relatively cheap as we are college students!

Posted by Jim
Bern, Switzerland
520 posts

Well I've just come back from a trip to a place called Apples, which is a small village in the French speaking part, within easy reach of Geneva. It is among the vines and it's rolling hills and public transport would make it a great area for some autumn hiking... It is also not on the tourist tail if that makes any difference to you. The down side is that very few people who speak English... if that is an issue for you. We had no problem using German as most people learn it at school. It has got one small hotel: Hôtel de Commune rue d'En Haut 32 1143 Apples/VD Phone 021 800 32 34 Fax 021 800 06 01 It is a good basic hotel at a reasonable price by Swiss standards (about 100 CHF for a double room). Thing is that it is run by an Asian couple, so the food is definitely not traditional Swiss! Other than that all I can suggest is look for some youth hotels in the area and base your trip around that. Jim
(an Irishman among the Swiss - for 23 years!)

Posted by Anita
Long Beach, California, USA
1800 posts

I actually love Geneva...was there this summer and almost didn't go because I had heard there wasn't much there! The old city with it's cathedral is very beautiful as is the waterfront. You have, unfortunately, chosen one of the most expensive cities in the world as your destination! Eating out will be very expensive so plan to go to grocery stores as the prices are about the same as anywhere else. Restaurants...not so much. If you're interested in such things, CERN is just north of the main part of Geneva near the airport. The tour is free but book ahead of time on their website or you won't get in. Really interesting! The vineyards that wrap around the north side of Lake Geneva to the eastern end of the lake are beautiful (UNESCO world heritage) and there are trails you can walk through them. They will probably be beautiful in October. If you go around the north side of the lake you can see the beautiful towns of Lausanne, Vevey, and Montreux, all of which have lakefront promenades and weekly markets if you go on the right days. If you like cheese, the town of Gruyere is about 45 minutes from Geneva. The old medieval city is beautiful and free to walk around. The cheese factory is kind of a rip off and touristy but still fun.
Just a few suggestions...have fun!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
13873 posts

Gruyères is a good suggestion, but if you are going to do it from Geneva in 45 minutes you are going to need a personal jetpack. It is over 120 km, 90 minutes in a car at full whack, over 2 hours each way on a train, or actually a series of trains.

Posted by Alex
8 posts

Thank you so much for the very helpful tips! I really appreciate the help. Right now I am planning a one day trip to Lausanne and probably Bern.

Posted by Rosalyn
1776 posts

I posted a reply that seems to have vanished into cyberspace, so I'll try again. One lovely thing to do is to take a lake boat to one of your destinations. Chateau de Chillon is a good one. After touring, you can walk (about a mile?) into Montreux. I'm pretty sure the boats also go between Geneva and Lausanne. Not sure about the transport - - we had a car - - but we also liked Fribourg, which has a small museum of the art of Jean Tingley and Nikki St.Phalle. If you don't know their work, it's contemporary (she might still be alive) and light-hearted. Very entertaining.

Posted by Robert
888 posts

A very very short bus trip from Geneva is Ferney-Voltaire, right at the border. There's not a huge amount to do there, but Voltaire's chateau is worth seeing.

Posted by Alex
8 posts

Thanks so much! I have actually already gone, and we decided to climb Mont Saleve during our second day there. The view was phenomenal and I would recommend it to anyone who is healthy and ready for some adventure.