Lake Geneva is the largest lake in the Alps.

Lake Geneva is the largest lake in the Alps.

Once again we turn our attention to the most beautiful lakes on our planet. This time we will tell you about Lake Geneva, the largest alpine and subalpine lake in Central Europe. It is located on the border of Switzerland and France in the western part of the mountain range of the Alps.

Lake Geneva on the map

  • Geographical coordinates 46.447433, 6.489248
  • Distance from the Swiss capital of Bern city about 100 km
  • There are several airports around the lake. In the northern part there is an airport Lausanne-Bleshered, and in the south-western part is the International Airport of Geneva

Lake Geneva is a beautiful crescent shape skirting the town of Tonon-les-Bains in France, its northern end skirts Lausanne in Switzerland and the westernmost extremity skirts the famous city of Geneva.

Lake Geneva in numbers

Lake Geneva covers an area of 581.3 km2 and is about 73 km long. The width of the lake is about 14 km. The lake lies at an altitude of 372 meters above sea level. The volume of water is estimated at 89 km3 . The average depth of Lake Geneva is 154 meters and the maximum depth is 309 meters.

Lake Geneva is located in the river Rhône. It is commonly divided into the Big Lake (which occupies the whole northern and eastern part of Lake Geneva) and the Small Lake (which occupies the whole southwestern part). The border between them is considered an imaginary straight line connecting the town of Prangins on the Swiss side with the town of Yvoire on the French side of the lake.

Lake Geneva is also called Leman (in the original Lac Leman or Le Leman). Presumably the name is of Celtic origin, derived from the Latin “Lacus Lemanus”. But in the world it is better known as Lake Geneva.

How Lake Geneva appeared

There are two versions of the formation of the lake. According to the first, the water body was formed as a result of the movement of tectonic plates. The second theory explains the appearance of the lake by the impact of glaciers during the last ice age. Scientists who adhere to this version believe that the lake is about 15,000 to 17,000 years old, and it was the result of the retreat of the Rhone Glacier.

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This corner of the planet is extremely interesting with its incredible scenery. Beautiful mountains on the background of an equally beautiful lake – that’s what beckons people here. The northern part of the lake is especially attractive. It is called the “Swiss Riviera”. There is a large concentration of luxury hotels. In addition, on the coast many balneological and health resorts.

The shore of Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva sights

In fact, Lake Geneva is a treasure trove of attractions. In its western part, in the city of Geneva near the promenade Gustave-Adore is the fountain Gé-Do. It is more than 120 years old, and at the time of its construction the fountain was the highest in the world. The stream of water can rise to a height of 147 meters.

Geneva Fountain

Fountain of Gé-Do or Geneva Fountain

On the east coast lies the famous Chillon Castle, built at the dawn of the second millennium. It is not known precisely when it was built, but the first references to it date back to 1160.

Chillon Castle

The Chillon Castle on the shore of Lake Geneva

The castle of the Ripaille of the 15th century in the suburbs of Thonon-les-Bains.

Ripaille Castle

Château de Ripaille

The city of Lausanne is generally considered the capital of the international Olympic movement. The large Olympic Museum and the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee are located here.

In the Montreux-Veve district on the quay of Rouvain stands the statue of the legendary Freddie Mercury

The Freddie Mercury statue

The Freddie Mercury statue by Lake Geneva

The climate around Lake Geneva is very mild and comfortable. Clean Alpine air and dense forests. In summer the water in the lake gets up to +24 ° C, which disposes to a pleasant pastime and a calm and measured bathing.

The whole coast of Lake Geneva is literally a magnet for people with money, among which a lot of very famous personalities. The legendary comedian Charlie Chaplin spent the last years of his life in the town of Vevey on the shores of the lake. At various times, Audrey Hepburn, David Bowie, Phill Collins, Michael Schumacher lived (and some still do) on the shores of Lake Geneva. Even Vladimir Lenin once rented a house here. Now vacation and live here like representatives of the government, the elite, big businessmen, and in general “ordinary” people who have bank accounts with six or seven zeros.

Lake Geneva – “a big mirror” in the Swiss Alps

The majestic Alps keep many mysteries to be solved by travelers from all over the world. One of these mysteries is Lake Geneva, Switzerland. Crystal clear water of this reservoir fascinate by its serenity, and surrounding his bright green hills, behind which hides the snow-white cap of the Alpine Mountains, have a special magic.

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Lake Geneva

The lake is often compared to a giant mirror: its surface is so calm that it is able to reflect the surrounding buildings and trees with high precision. No wonder this place has become one of the most visited in Europe, and it is ready to offer its guests resorts and entertainment for all tastes.


Lake Geneva on the map

Lake Geneva, or Léman as the French call it, is the largest body of water in the Alps and the second largest lake in Central Europe. Its northern shore is in Switzerland, while the southern coast belongs to French waters. The area of Lake Geneva is 582.4 sq km, of which 348.4 sq km belongs to the Swiss State. If you look at a map, you can see that the body of water has the shape of a crescent, with the tips facing south.

The length of Lake Leman is 72 km, and the width in some places reaches 13 km. The deepest point of the lake is fixed between Evian-les-Bains and Lausanne: its value is 310 meters. The lake is of glacier origin, so it is quite cold and suitable for swimming only in the summer months, when the sun warms the water to 21 – 23 ° C.

Boat routes on Lake Geneva

The lake is the main transport artery linking the towns around it, between which the ships run daily. To ensure navigation around Lake Leman 22 lighthouses were installed, which also give signals to fishermen and sportsmen about the approach of inclement weather.

Nature, flora and fauna

When looking at Lake Geneva in Switzerland, the amazing nature of the region grabs the eye even in photos. There are many parks and nature reserves, as well as botanical gardens, which can be found both in urban resorts and in the mountains.

La Pierrez Mountain Goat

The largest nature center in Switzerland is La Pierreuse Nature Reserve, whose landscapes alternate one after the other like a kaleidoscope. The park covers an area of 34 square kilometers and is a mixture of valleys, cliffs, meadows and gorges. Mountain goats, chamois, bears, lynxes and marmots live here, while golden eagles, partridges and falcons, owls and woodpeckers can be found among the birds.

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Leman is a real treasure trove for the fisherman, in the depths of which hides a rich underwater world. Among the inhabitants of Lake Geneva you can find pike, perch, trout, crayfish, whitefish and many other fish species.

Note! The laws of Switzerland allow the use of the reservoir for fishing with a single hook without a license. However, fishing with a troll requires a special permit.

Vineyards at Lake Geneva Le Mans

Because Leman is shielded from the northern winds by a chain of Alpine mountains, the region has a peculiar climate. And if in winter Lake Geneva may still give you a dry cold wind, in summer it will reward you only a soft warm breeze. In July and August the temperature may warm up to 30 ° C in the area of Lake Leman, which allows the local population to safely grow grapes. Subalpine vegetation predominates in the region, and palm trees are often found at local resorts.

Cities on the shores of Lake Geneva

Lake Leman is not called the Swiss Riviera by chance. Several picturesque resort towns are concentrated on its shores, each with its own entertainments and attractions.

City of Geneva

At the south-western tip of Lake Leman is located Geneva – one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland with a population of 200 thousand people. Its peculiar symbol is a majestic fountain Geo-Do, bursting directly from the reservoir jet 140 meters in height. Steeped in flowers and greenery, Geneva abounds with parks and squares, cultural monuments and historical sights, among which it is worth a visit:

This city of Switzerland can rightly be called a cultural center: because it has about 30 various museums. Geneva is valuable to the international community because many international organizations such as the Red Cross, the WTO and the UN have their headquarters here.

Details about the city’s attractions are collected in this article.

Montreux, surrounded by the Alps and Lake Geneva

Once a small settlement of fishermen and winemakers today has grown into a luxury resort city, which is considered one of the best not only in Switzerland, but also in the whole Europe. Montreux with population of only 26 thousand people is located in the easternmost point of Lehman.

Photos and description of this resort on Lake Geneva make it clear that this place is not for those who are used to saving money: luxurious hotels, elite clinics, high-class restaurants, expensive boutiques meet tourists at every step.

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Montreux Jazz Festival

Every year a jazz festival is held here where famous musicians from all over the world come. Among the notable places in Montreux is Chillon Castle, which is located in the suburbs, and a monument to Freddie Mercury, installed on the embankment of Lake Leman. A detailed description of Chillon Castle can be found here.

Spread out on scenic hills and framed by vineyards, Lausanne lies on the northeastern shore of Lake Léman in Switzerland. This well-kept, plant-decorated city of 128,000 people is rich in historical sites and museums, and its many parks have become a favorite place for leisurely strolls. To get to know Lausanne, it is important to visit its unique attractions:

Travelers love to stroll through the medieval quarter of Ville-Marche and explore the treasured exhibits on display in Lausanne’s art galleries. More information about Lausanne with photos can be found on this page.

Vevey, Switzerland

The small town of Vevey in Switzerland with a population of 19.5 thousand people is located on the northeastern shore of the lake. Famous all over the world for its fertile vineyards, this eco-friendly resort is quiet and comfortable.

Statue of Charlie Chaplin

Monument to Charlie Chaplin

If you find yourself in Vevey, be sure to stroll through the Grand-Place, visit the old cafe de La Clef, and climb to the summit of Mount Pelerin. This is a renowned destination for celebrities, and the talented actor Charlie Chaplin spent his last years here, for which a monument has been erected in the town square. Like other Swiss cities, Vevey boasts some unique museums, among which the Museum of Viticulture, the Museum of Photography, and the Museum of Nutrition are worthy of particular attention.

One of the oldest European thermal spas Evian-les-Bains is located on the southern shore of Lake Geneva in France. This cozy little place with a population of only 8,600 people is famous for its first-class balneotherapy, for which the British monarchs and aristocracy have long come here for treatment. Today, these procedures can afford any traveler glancing in Evian-les-Bains.

Evian-les-Bains, France

There are surprisingly few tourists, so the atmosphere in the city has a quiet and measured rest. Evian-les-Bains has excellent water links with all cities on the Swiss Riviera so getting here for a spa visit is easy.

Tonon-les-Bains – the largest resort town located on the southern shores of Lake Leman in France. It is very popular among tourists due to its numerous thermal springs. Unique Savoyard architecture of Tonon-les-Bains with its stores and souvenir shops stands out among the other cities of Lake Geneva.

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Tonon-les-Bains resort city in France

There are several interesting sights, among which are of particular value:

Tonon-les-Bains is located directly at the foot of Mont Blanc and the mountain massif of Chablais, where you can go up by cable car and enjoy the magnificent views of the surroundings.

Things to do

In addition to walking around the main resorts of Lake Geneva, where there are many attractions, tourists have a great opportunity to visit local events and have a real attraction of water activities.

Kayaking in the Alpine Mountains

  1. Food and wine fairs. Sophisticated travelers who know a lot about gourmet food and good booze will appreciate the gastronomic tours, where everyone has the opportunity to visit the cheese, chocolate, wine and beer fairs and buy your favorite product.
  2. Diving. Lake Geneva is a real find for divers. At the bottom of a seemingly peaceful body of water lurks a world of sunken ships, near which the outstanding representatives of marine flora and fauna scurry.
  3. Boating and kayaking. A boat trip on a body of water among the Alpine mountains is a dream for every tourist, which is realized here on Lake Leman.
  4. Walks on mountain bikes. Swiss resorts are ideal for cycling trips, during which you can immerse yourself in the pristine beauty of nature and enjoy the mountain scenery.
  5. Festivals. Swiss cities often organize a variety of cultural events (jazz festival, tulip festival, grape harvest, carnivals of all kinds), visiting which will be a perfect complement to your vacation in Lake Leman.


If you love the outdoors, but are not ready to give up the benefits of civilization, go to Lake Geneva, Switzerland. Its nature, resorts with its parks and cultural monuments, developed tourism infrastructure and a lot of entertainment will help you fill your vacation with pleasant impressions and spend a first-class vacation.

Video: aerial view of Lake Leman and its shores.

Author: Catherine Unal

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