The Montenvers train from Chamonix
Things to Do

Best day trips from Geneva

September 25, 2019
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If you are visiting Geneva and would like to spend a day outside the city, you may be surprised by the number of interesting destinations that you can visit on a day trip from Geneva.

There is plenty to fill a couple of days in the city itself but if you’d like to see the beautiful countryside around Geneva – Alps included – you have lots of options.

In this article I’ll share the details of some of the most popular Geneva day trips with you so you can decide which one is right for you.

Montreux day trip from Geneva

Just like Geneva, Montreux is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva but its slightly more northerly location is known as the Swiss Riviera. 

The main attraction here is Chateau de Chillon, a 12th century castle that sits on a rocky promontory jutting out into the lake.  It can be reached via a picturesque lakeside promenade or by bus from Montreux.

The same promenade runs the length of Montreux and it’s in the heart of it that you’ll find a statue dedicated to singer Freddie Mercury.  The lakefront Casino Barriere also houses the Queen Studio Experience where you can browse memorabilia of the band including handwritten lyrics.

Lake cruises are popular and you’ll see plenty of boats and paddle steamers plying the waters in front of Montreux.

If you’re a wine lover, Montreux is the perfect spot from which to explore the terraces of the Lavaux wine region and sample a drop or two.

Montreux, Switzerland

Montreux, a beautiful town on the Swiss Riviera, makes a great day trip from Geneva.

 

How to get from Geneva to Montreux 

by car

If you have a car, getting to Montreux is easy. It’s just 93 kilometres (58 miles) from Geneva via the A1 and A9 highway and the trip should take around one hour and 15 minutes.

by train

The city of Montreux is served by direct rail services from key Swiss cities, including Geneva. Services depart every 30 minutes with a journey time of one hour so it’s no wonder that a visit to Montreux is one of the most popular day trips from Geneva, Switzerland. Click here to check timetables and prices

by organised day tour

Explore two beautiful towns on the Swiss Riviera by coach on this popular day trip to Lausanne and Montreux – click here to check prices.

Further reading: Things to do in Montreux, Switzerland

 


Chamonix and Mont Blanc day trip from Geneva

Chamonix is a charming little French town that is located at the foot of Mont Blanc, western Europe’s highest mountain at 4,808 meters above sea level. 

There are plenty of things to see when visiting Chamonix, dominated mostly by natural wonders. 

One natural beauty worth seeing is Mer de Glace (the Sea of Ice), the largest glacier in France. At seven kilometres long and 200 metres deep, it is one of the most popular attractions in the Chamonix Valley.

Mer de Glace can be reached by the Montenvers train Chamonix town centre.

At Brevent, breathtaking panoramic views are on offer and this is, arguably, from where you’ll get the best views of Mont Blanc.  Take the cable car from Chamonix to Plan Praz, then the cable car to Le Brevent.   

Another fun thing to do is to take a ride on the Tramway du Mont Blanc, a rack railway that winds its way up to to the Nid d’Aigle (The Eagle’s Nest) at 2,372m.

Of course there are plenty of walking trails and adventure sports to enjoy at Chamonix, too. 

The Montenvers train from Chamonix

The bright red Montenvers train takes passengers from Chamonix to Mer de Glace.

 

How to get from Geneva to Chamonix 

by car

Driving from Geneva to Chamonix, France will require you to travel via the A40 motorway. The town is located 82 kilometres (51 miles) southeast of Geneva, and the journey takes around one hour. 

by train

Chamonix has a small railway station but for most of the year there are no direct services from Geneva, making it inconvenient to reach by train.

by bus

The best option for those who want to do an independent Chamonix day trip from Geneva is to take a bus.  Direct services depart regularly from central Geneva and take an hour to reach Chamonix. Click here for timetables and prices

By organised day tour

There are numerous Geneva to Mont Blanc day trips available so you can visit Chamonix and see the incredible mountain peak of Mont Blanc.  Here are some popular tours:


Annecy day trip from Geneva

Annecy is probably one of the most-photographed of all French towns so it’s no wonder that many folks plan an Annecy day trip from Geneva.

This charming city has been known for centuries as the Venice of Savoie because of the numerous canals that meander their way through town.

One of the most popular sights in Annecy is the Palais d’Isle, a 12th century palace that was later transformed into a prison. Located on an artificial island with flower-decked houses on each side of the canal, you can see why photographers flock here. 

All through the Old Town, pastel-coloured buildings line the narrow cobbled streets and canals and there are plenty of boutiques and artisan galleries to explore.

With its location on one of the prettiest lakes in France, no doubt you’ll spend some time by the water.  Jardins de l’Europe, a park alongside the lake, is a great spot to enjoy the views, join a lake cruise or perhaps hire a boat for some time on the water. 

With such a variety of ways to spend your time in Annecy, it is definitely one of the best day trips from Geneva to France.

Annecy castle

The medieval town of Annecy is known as the Venice of the Alps.

 

How to get from Geneva to Annecy 

by car

If you have a car, the A41 motorway is the best route to take to reach the city of Annecy. It is located 42 kilometres (26 miles) south of Geneva and the drive usually takes forty minutes to an hour, depending on the road conditions.

by train

The fastest train services from Geneva to Annecy require one change of train (usually at Aix-les-Bains) and take just over two hours.  Click here for timetables and prices

by bus

Direct bus services operate between Geneva and Annecy with a journey time of one hour. There are numerous services each day.  Click here for timetables and prices

by organised day tour

Visiting Annecy on an organised day trip is a good way to see the town, especially if you are short on time.  Two options to consider are:


Geneva to Yvoire day trip

One of the prettiest French towns near Geneva is Yvoire, a medieval village that is located in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region, and due to its proximity to Geneva, Yvoire has become a popular day-trip destination. 

Known for its 14th century castle perched on the edge of the lake, Yvoire is recognized as one of the most beautiful villages in France.

Late Spring and Summer are the best seasons to witness its beauty when floral displays spill from the windows of every building in town.  Thanks to the gorgeous floral displays, Yvoire is known as the ‘French Flower Village’.

The Jardin des Cinq Sens (Garden of the Five Senses), which has transformed the Castle’s former kitchen garden into a place of tranquility, is well worth a visit.

Allow time to wander the cobbled streets, admire the medieval buildings and to browse the boutiques and galleries in this picturesque village.

Yvoire, France

Yvoire is known as the French Flower Village thanks to its bright floral displays during the summer.

 

How to get from Geneva to Yvoire 

by car

Yvoire is located just 27 kilometres (18 miles) from Geneva.  It takes about 30 minutes to reach Yvoire.

by train

There are no train services from Geneva to Yvoire.

by ferry

Twice-daily ferries depart Geneva for Yvoire.  Journey time is one hour and 35 minutes.

By organised day trip

Combine your visit to Yvoire with either a cruise of Lake Geneva or the chance to explore Chamonix or Geneva city.  The following tours are popular:


Gruyeres day trip from Geneva

Another medieval town that is popular as a day trip from Geneva is Gruyeres.

Despite its small size, there are numerous attractions in Gruyeres including La Maison du Gruyere, birthplace of the world famous Gruyere cheese where you can watch the cheese-making process.

If you’d like to taste the end product, head to one of the restaurants in town and order fondue. Gruyere cheese is the main ingredient and is a popular dish in town.,

Another tasty treat on offer on a day trip to Gruyeres is chocolate. For a small fee, you can taste all the chocolates manufactured at the Maison Cailler chocolate factory at nearby Broc.

You won’t be able to visit Gruyeres without noticing the 13th century castle perched on a hill. Inside the castle, a museum displays artefacts, tapestries and frescoes that date back hundreds of years.

There are a couple of interesting museums in town and the pretty Old Town is definitely worth exploring.

Gruyeres Castle from above

Gruyeres is famous for its cheese, chocolate and castle!

 

How to get from Geneva to Gruyeres 

by car

If you are driving from Geneva, the quickest way to Gruyeres is to drive along the A1 motorway. You should allow an hour and a half to cover the 120 kilometres (74 miles). 

by train

Regular trains depart Geneva for Gruyeres.  Most services require you to change trains at least twice, and you should expect the journey to take you around two hours. Click here for timetables and prices

by organised day tour

If you don’t have a car and the rail services don’t suit, why not join one of the many day tours from Geneva to Gruyeres?  Popular options include:


Geneva to Zermatt day trip

It’s definitely one of the longer day excursions from Geneva that we cover in this article, but Zermatt is such a beautiful village it is worth the extra travel time.

This car-free village is popular as a ski resort in winter and as the starting point for those who want to see the magnificent Matterhorn.  Whilst you get wonderful views of this iconic peak from the village itself, most folks head higher still.

The Gornergratbahn is a cogwheel train that takes passengers to Gornergrat, 30 minutes above Zermatt, from where you get spectacular views of the Matterhorn and the Gorner Glacier.

At the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, which is reached by cable car, fourteen glaciers and 38 four-thousand-metre peaks spread out in a 360-degree panorama around you.

There are numerous hiking trails around Zermatt where you can breathe in the fresh mountain air and admire the stunning scenery.

In the village centre you’ll find plenty of shopping opportunities, day spas and a friendly vibe.

Matterhorn, Switzerland

The iconic Matterhorn attracts visitors to Zermatt.

 

How to get from Geneva to Zermatt 

by car

If you plan on driving to Zermatt you’ll need to set off early in the day.  It takes about three hours to cover the 234 kilometres (145 miles) via the A1 and A9.

Zermatt is a car-free village so all cars must be parked at Tasch (there are multiple car parks available) and then transfer to Zermatt by shuttle train.  

Undercover parking at the car park located next to Tasch station costs CHF15.50 per day (24 hours). 

Shuttle trains from Tasch to Zermatt (and vice versa) run every 25 to 30 minutes – price CHF16.40 return per adult.  Tickets can be purchased from the machines in the station (English language option available) using a credit card.

by train

It takes three hours and 40 minutes to travel by train from Geneva to Zermatt with a change required at Visp.  Trains depart at least twice-hourly. Click here for timetables and prices


Schilthorn day trip from Geneva

Although it is usually considered a day trip from Interlaken or Lucerne, it is possible to enjoy an excursion to the Schilthorn from Geneva. 

With an altitude of 2,970 meters, the summit of the Schilthorn offers fantastic 360 degree views of the Bernese Alps and beyond.   Maybe famous as the setting for the James Bond movie ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’, the Schilthorn features lots of Bond memorabilia and themed activities but you don’t need to be a Bond fan to enjoy a visit.

The Schilthorn is accessed by either of two routes: the first involves a cable car from Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp and then a connecting train to Murren.  Then it’s a walk through the village of Murren to board the Schilthorn cableway for the two-leg journey (via Birg) to Schilthorn.

The second route involves a cable car ride from Stechelberg (just past Lauterbrunnen) to the Schilthorn via Murren and Birg.

Birg Thrill Walk en route to Schilthorn

The Thrill Walk at Birg, en route to the Schilthorn, offers stunning views.

 

How to get from Geneva to Schilthorn 

by car

If you have a car, you need to head to Lauterbrunnen,  226 kilometres (140 miles) from Geneva. The journey should take you around two and a half hours via the A1 motorway.

There’s a large undercover car park on the left as you enter Lauterbrunnen and you’ll find the Grutschalp cable car station across the street.

Alternatively, if you prefer to take the cable car all the way to the Schilthorn from Stechelberg, drive through Lauterbrunnen and follow the signs to Stechelberg, a further six kilometres (3.75 miles) away.  You’ll find a car park at the cable car station.

by train

Train travelers should take a train from Geneva to Interlaken Ost and then change to a regional train to Lauterbrunnen.  The fastest service to Interlaken Ost is just under three hours (via Bern), and from Interlaken to Ost it takes just 20 minutes.  Click here to check timetables and prices

By organised day tour

Hop aboard a comfortable coach in Geneva for your full day tour to the Schilthorn and enjoy the benefits of having everything organised for you.

A great option is this tour: Schilthorn day trip and Bond World 007 ticket – click here to check details and prices

 


Geneva to Glacier 3000 day trip

Another mountain that you can visit is Glacier 3000, located at Diablerets near Gstaad.

A 15-minute cable car ride whisks visitors from the station on the Col du Pillon to the summit where there are plenty of activities on offer.

Glacier 3000 is home to the Peak Walk by Tissot, the world’s first suspension bridge between two mountain peaks.  Stretching for 107 metres, it offers stunning views of Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and Jungfrau.

Access to the Peak Walk is included with your cable car ticket, as is the Glacier Walk, snow fun park and Ice Express chairlift.  For an additional fee you can ride in a snow bus, go dog sledding or try out the world’s highest bobsleigh track, the Alpine Coaster. (Some activities are only available in summer.)

Peak Walk by Tissot at Glacier 3000

The Peak Walk by Tissot, a 107 metre long suspension bridge, spans two mountain peaks at Glacier 3000.

 

How to get to Glacier 3000 from Geneva

by car

Visitors arriving by car should park at the Glacier 3000 cableway station at Col du Pillon, 130 kilometres (81 miles) from Geneva.  The trip should take you around an hour and a half. Parking is free.

by train

The best way to reach Glacier 3000 by public transport is to take a train from Geneva to Gstaad (2 hours 30 minutes) and then catch a bus from Gstaad station. Click here to check train timetables and prices

by organised tour

Coach travel from Geneva and cable car tickets are included in this full day trip to Glacier 3000 – click here to check details and prices

 


With so many interesting day trips from Geneva available, which one will you choose?

 

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