Lake Geneva is one of the most beautiful places in Europe, nestled below the stunning Alps and often reflecting them in its icy blue waters. Around the lake are several interesting, beautiful and intriguing little-known places visitors should definitely make time for in their itinerary.
photo by Tom Anderson
One of the most beautiful man-made sights on the lake came into being by accident. The Jet d’Eau fountain was originally a hydro-electric pressure release valve but the locals of Geneva decided that its occasional bursts were attractive enough to be made into a permanent feature. The incredible 140 metre high plume of water is visible from many places in the city and is spectacularly illuminated after dark before it is switched off at 23:00. Many visitors are caught out each morning by approaching too close to the fountain for its 10:00 switch-on. They can be seen, often sodden and miserable, traipsing back to their hotel to change out of their wet clothes. If you want to stay dry then keep your distance.
On the Avenue de la Paix in Geneva stands a poignant memorial to past efforts to bring peace to the world in the Palais des Nations, the former home of the League of Nations. Enthusiasts of history and international affairs will be enthralled by the ambience of the place while others can learn of the ill fated efforts of the League to end the march towards world war in the 1930’s There is also a large collection of art housed in the building for anyone depressed by or uninterested in the aura of the building.
Along the lake shore from Geneva lies the pretty Swiss town of Lausanne. This is home to one of the most interesting art galleries in the world, the Collection de l’Art Brut, although you are unlikely to have heard of any of the artists exhibited. Nowadays the art would be considered a therapy for the mentally ill and many of the pieces were created in institutions. Whatever their credence, the art is often challenging, sometimes beautiful and is certainly all worth seeing.
Lausanne, among its other claims to fame, is home to the International Olympic Committee and its attached Olympic Museum. Although it will be most appreciated by connoisseurs of sports and the Olympic movement there is enough trivia and interest among the exhibits to keep most people’s attention for half a day. The sculpture garden is incredibly pretty in spring and the lake views keep their attraction all year long.
Lastly on this list of sights not to be missed around Lake Geneva is the lake itself. This may sound trite but the walks along the lake shore away from towns and villages offer the best views of the lake’s changing moods and emotions. A boat ride on the lake allows you to fully appreciate its size and beauty while, for the intrepid, a swim in the water can be bracing, refreshing and energising.
Hotels in Geneva
Nash Ville Hotel
Average Price: €76
Average Rating: 6.4
Average Price: €87
Average Rating: 8.1
Hotel Des Horlogers
Average Price: €78
Average Rating: 8.5