Planning to visit Lake Geneva but you’re not sure where to stay? Then you’re definitely in the right place because this detailed guide will tell you about all the best towns and cities on the shores of Lake Geneva!
From the biggest cities in the region to the prettiest lakeside towns, we’ve included all the best places to stay and visit in the Lake Geneva region. Some are so full of content that you could explore them for a week straight and not discover everything, while others are much more laid back and perfect for day trips from the larger hubs on the lakeshore.
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If you’re a fan of Freddie Mercury and the band Queen, there’s no better place on the shore of Lake Geneva than Montreux. The famous singer lived here and he recorded six albums with the band in Montreux. It’s even possible to stay at the actual apartment where the iconic singer lived, but it will cost you a small fortune.
In addition to all the Queen landmarks and memorabilia, Montreux is also home to quite a few art galleries, museums, public parks, and more. The town is also a great base for further exploration of the region thanks to the excellent train connections to nearby towns.
See the Castle of Chillon at Veytaux, visit Chaplin’s World in Corsier-sur-Vevey, or just take a train ride to Rocher de Neyers, if you want to do some hiking and explore a fabulous mountain summit in the Swiss Alps.
The city is also home to the Montreux Jazz Festival, the second-largest jazz festival in the entire world. It’s an absolute must for all lovers of jazz music.
Situated on the eastern shore of Lake Geneva, the small town of Vevey is a great destination if you’d rather stay in one of the smaller lakeside towns. Charlie Chaplin lived in Corsier-sur-Vevey for more than two decades, and many attractions in the region are centered around the famous actor.
Chaplin’s World is a museum in the former home of the actor with all sorts of memorabilia and several interactive exhibits. It’s one of the best museums near Lake Geneva, and well worth a visit even if you’re not staying in the town of Vevey.
Other attractions in the beautiful town include the Vevey Photography Museum, the lakeside public parks, and the famous fork monument, among others. Alimentarium is an interesting food museum in Vevey worth a visit, and the iconic fork is just one of the museum’s many exhibits.
It’s also worth noting that Vevey’s location is great for day trips to other towns on Lake Geneva. It’s just four minutes away from Montreux and about 20 minutes from Lausanne by train, plus there are plenty of mountains and nature parks to explore in the area.
Lausanne is the largest city in the Lake Geneva region (by area size), and a great place to stay if you’re planning a longer trip in the area. It’s situated on upper Lake Geneva and it’s perfect for travelers who want to be able to easily travel to other cities and towns in the area. Lausanne has a boat connection to every major lakeside town, so you can easily travel to places on opposite sides of the lake.
The city is also connected to other major urban areas by train and exploring other nearby Swiss towns should be fairly easy. But you won’t need to travel anywhere else if you’re looking for interesting museums and famous landmarks.
Sauvabelin Tower, botanical gardens, excellent art and history museums, and a charming old town are just some of the popular tourist attractions in Lausanne.
Nyon is a municipality on the northwestern shore of Lake Geneva. It is part of the Geneva metropolitan area and it has a population of a little more than 21,500. The town’s population has slowly grown over the years, and most residents are foreign nationals. Nyon is situated in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and some 75% of the town’s population speaks the language.
There is evidence of human activity in Nyon since the Bronze Age, but the town was founded between 50 and 44 BC by Romans. It’s got a very rich history and plenty of historical landmarks that prove it.
Some of the most popular attractions in town are the Nyon castle, the Roman Museum, the Roman Columns, and Leman Lake Museum. There are many other historical landmarks in town, as well as a variety of galleries, museums, shops, and restaurants. When it comes to small towns near Lake Geneva, Nyon takes the crown in terms of content.
Geneva is the second largest city in Switzerland by population and a great place to stay if you want to explore an important hub in the region. The city is home to many cultural attractions, important landmarks, and international organizations, so there’s plenty to do even if you’re staying there for several days.
Geneva is also surrounded by mountains, which means that outdoor lovers will be spoiled for choice when it comes to exploring hiking trails and climbing Alpine summits. Mont Blanc, Mont Tendre, and Rocher de Naye are just some of the mountains that are easily accessible on a day trip from Geneva.
When it comes to the city’s most famous landmarks, few are as well-known as Jet d’Eau. The iconic water fountain has become a symbol of the city and it is one of the most recognizable Geneva landmarks. Jardin Anglais, St Pierre Cathedral, Bains des Pâquis, and Palais de Nations are all very popular attractions and they’re certainly not the only places worth visiting in the city.
Morges is a municipality situated at the Grand Lac/Large Lake basin, on Lake Geneva’s northern shore. It is a lovely little town with a beautiful castle, charming cobblestone street, gardens, and a variety of excellent restaurants.
This is truly one of the prettiest towns on the shore of Lake Geneva, and it’s absolutely worth visiting. It’s got a very rich history that dates back to the Bronze Age, and many of the landmarks and buildings in town were constructed during medieval times.
The Morges Castle is the most recognizable landmark in town, closely followed by the charming old town. There’s also the beautiful tulip garden that’s best experienced in late spring, as well as museums, galleries, shops, and restaurants that can keep you busy for days.
Gruyères is a medieval town in the Freiburg canton and a great place for travelers who want to explore the wider area around Lake Geneva. It’s not situated directly on the shore of Lake Geneva, but it’s an amazing place and it’s only a 30-minute drive away from the lake.
The lovely town of Gruyères is best known for the namesake cheese, which happens to be the most popular type of Swiss cheese in Switzerland and most of western Europe. But the lovely town isn’t only about the cheese – it’s home to some stunning medieval structures, including the impressive 13th-century Gruyères Castle.
The HR Giger Museum and bar are also famous attractions in town. The famous Swiss artist is best known for his work in the Alien franchise, which inspired the design of both the museum and the bar.
Situated immediately next to Nyon in the Small Lake/Petit Lac region of Lake Geneva, Prangins is a charming little town best known for its 18th-century castle. This is by far the most popular attraction in the town and it is worth visiting if you’re ever in the area.
Prangings is more of a suburb in the Nyon district, so it’s not exactly packed with features. The castle with the museum is absolutely the highlight of Prangings and apart from some beautiful stone houses in the old town, there is really not much else to do here.
If you’re looking for a place to stay near Lake Geneva, Nyon is a much better option than Prangins because it’s got more content to keep the visitors busy.
Évian-les-Bains is one of the French towns on the southern shore of Lake Geneva/Lac Leman. It’s pretty much an elite spa town popular for its many spa facilities and known around the world for Évian water.
Évian-les-Bains is an interesting town because it’s very charming at first glance, but the more you discover the less you are impressed. The buildings that line the main road in the town are quite impressive, but the further up the hills you go, the more run-down buildings and houses you see. There’s also a stark contrast between the old and brand-new buildings, and it’s certainly interesting to observe.
Lutry is a small town in Lavaux-Oron, close to Lausanne. The area includes the Lavaux wine region, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’re interested in tasting some delicious local wines, this is one of the best towns near Lake Geneva to visit.
It’s also an incredibly charming town with beautiful buildings that line its cobblestone alleys. Lutry even has a castle, which is one of the more popular tourist attractions in the town. However, the town isn’t exactly abundant with tourist attractions, so unless you’re actually fine sipping rosé all day, you might get bored quickly.
Sure, there are a few interesting landmarks and museums, but the majority of the cultural attractions can be explored in a single afternoon. It’s a great town to visit on a day trip, but not the best place to stay near Lake Geneva if you want to be in a town full of content.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which French town is closest to Geneva?
Annemasse is the closest large French town to Geneva. It is approximately 4km away from the city.
Which Swiss city is beside Lake Geneva?
The two Swiss cities that sit beside Lake Geneva are Lausanne and Geneva. There are also some well-known towns such as Nyon, Vevey, and Montreux.