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Switzerland

Best Day trips from Geneva

Scenic summer view of the Old Town architecture of Bern with the bridge Untertorbryukke over Aare river, Berne, Switzerland

Geneva is the second-largest city in Switzerland. It is known for cheerful, welcoming locals, many traditional festivities (like the three-week-long Geneva Music Festival with many free outdoor concerts around town) and world’s largest Flower Clock, located in Geneva’s English Garden.

The city’s major tourist attractions also include the over-hundred-years-old botanical garden and the Tavel House; one of Geneva’s oldest architectural structures, currently hosting a museum dedicated to the local history and the rural lives; from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. With this guide, we want to lead you through amazing day trips from Geneva Switzerland. Leave the urban bustle behind and start exploring!

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Day trip from Geneva to Lake Geneva

Also known as Lac Léman, Lake Geneva is one of the most popular destinations for a getaway from the city. One of the largest lakes in Western Europe, it is located on the Northside of the Alps, right between Switzerland and France. A day trip to Lake Geneva is a getaway into the pristine. You will come closer to Switzerland’s beautiful nature; Lac Léman is rich in wildlife, especially birds. 

If you want to learn more about the local culture and search for some unique souvenirs, a trip to Lake Geneva is on top of our recommendation list too! Some of the best local markets in Switzerland take place in the small towns and villages around the lake. Weekly markets occur in most villages, and in the summer, the town of Vevey hosts the Swiss Folklore Market. In Vevey you will not only be able to shop for souvenirs and knickknacks but also try some of the traditional foods and local Swiss brews!

Lac Léman is best explored by car, the roads are well-maintained and rarely get crowded. Driving on your own will also give you the flexibility to visit local villages. Whereas travelling around the northern shores of Lake Geneva with buses and trains is fairly easy, public transportation on the southern shores is less convenient for tourists. If you do not want to go by car on your own, search for tours online or book a day trip with a tourist agency to secure an English-speaking guide and convenient transportation.

Scenic panorama view of traditional paddle steamer excursion ship with historic Chateau de Chillon at famous Lake Geneva on a sunny day with blue sky and clouds in summer Canton of Vaud Switzerland

Day trip from Geneva to Interlaken

Interlaken is a popular Swiss resort town between Lake Thun (popular among windsurfers and sailors) and Lake Brienz (known for its turquoise tone and spectacular mountain views) in the stunning Bernese Alps. 

Many tourists who visit Interlaken want to see the popular Caves of St Beatus. Beatus, the Irish monk from the 6th century, is claimed to have lived in the caves, and the legend says that to move in, he had to conquer a dragon. Besides the on-site Cave Museum where the wildlife and geology of the caves are explained, you will find a kilometre-long walkway with crypts and chambers, dark grottos and underground waterfalls. 

Last, but not least, Interlaken’s main attraction is the highest railway in Europe that leads up to the Jungfraujoch Mountain, one of the three main peaks of the Bernese Highlands (Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch). The Interlaken cable car line is more than 100 years old, and when you reach the top, you can enter the “Top of Europe” building. From there you will get an amazing view of large parts of the famous Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn region. It is a designated protected natural region, and the most glaciated part of the European Alps listed as a UNESCO world heritage site since 2001.

You can travel to Interlaken with public transportation, but there are no direct railway connections from geneva. Taking the train, you must change in Bern, which makes the journey around 3 hours long. For your convenience and to make sure you do not miss any important tourist attractions, we recommend booking a day trip from Geneva to Interlaken with an agent online or on-site in Geneva.

Day trip from Geneva to Interlaken

Lauterbrunnen valley, village of Lauterbrunnen, waterfalls and the Lauterbrunnen Wall in Swiss Alps, Switzerland.

Day trip from Geneva to Yvoire

Have you heard of the tranquil medieval village of Yvoire? Located on the shore of Lake Geneva, nicknamed the “gem of the lake”, it is often referred to as one of the most beautiful villages in France. The city was built in the early 14th century and is now one of the French cities near Geneva popular among tourist seeking a rural getaway.

Your day trip to Yvoire must include a visit to the Garden of Five Senses, it is a true garden of paradise, inviting you on a sensual journey to discover the plants will all five senses. Another popular tourist attraction is the Yvoire Castle (Château d’Yvoire). Its thick walls and towers with only a few windows make the castle quite distinct. It is a great example of the Savoy design, resembling through other medieval castles in the area of Lac Léman. Last, but not least, do stop by the Church of St Pancras. Parts of the chapel date back to the 11th century, but the church we can admire today has become a mixture of various architectural styles.

Your day trip from Geneva to Yvoire can be done… by boat! If you want to add another experience to your day tour, join a pictorial cruise on Lake Geneva. The cruise will take 1 hour 30 minutes, so if you need to mind the time, we recommend renting a car and driving on your own. Geneva and Yvoire are less than 30 kilometres apart, so the drive will take you just about half an hour.

Day trip from Geneva to Yvoire

Yvoire medieval town overlooking the Geneva Lake, France

Day trip from Geneva to Lausanne

Lausanne feels like a laid-back holiday resort, yet the city has a charming commercial bustle to it too! It is the second-largest city on Lake Geneva, known for its great atmosphere and multicultural profile. Surrounded by vineyards, the town was built on three hills, and on the opposite shore of Lake Geneva are the Savoy Alps. Get ready to meander around cosy pedestrian-only alleyways with boutiques and cafés. The atmospheric city centre attracts many tourists around Christmas because of its bustling holiday markets. A getaway to Lausanne is one of the most popular day trips from Geneva in winter!

The main city attractions can be viewed all year round though! Often voted to be the most impressive piece of early Gothic architecture in Switzerland, the majestic Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Lausanne can be found in Lausanne old town. The cathedral is known for its impressive architecture and the magnificent “Great Organ”. Following a design process of more than 10 years, the organ was inaugurated in 2003. It is composed of 7000 pipes and weighs over 40 tonnes!

Lovers of culture will not be disappointed by what Lausanne has to offer either! Head to the Fondation de l’Hermitage or the photographic museum “Musée de l’Elysée” for an artsy visit. Lausanne is also home to the well-known Béjart Ballet. Also, check out the impressive cultural event calendar that includes theatre productions and musical performances, maybe your dates align with a performance you would not want to miss!

A day tour to Lausanne is one of the most popular train trips from Geneva. You only pay around 13 USD for a single one-way ticket. The journey takes less than 45 minutes, and there are many daily departures from Geneva Cornavin train station.

Day trip from Geneva to Lausanne

Lausanne, Switzerland - The Cathedral hill seen from the Bessieres bridge

Day trip from Geneva to Annecy

With serene views of snow-capped mountains and the adjacent Lake Annecy, Annecy in France is one of the top day trip destinations from Geneva. It is known among water sports enthusiasts, and in the summer, the beaches (both sandy and grassy) around Lake Annecy attract both locals and tourists longing for relaxation by the water. 

The Old Town of Annecy is a popular tourist attraction too. The winding cobblestone alleys and small streets with pastel-hued houses brightened up by flower boxes are perfect for a relaxed stroll. They will make a beautiful backdrop for your holiday pictures too! Take a walk around to admire the architecture, and whenever you feel like it, stop at a “boulangerie” (French style of bakery) or try the locally made ice-cream at one of the many “gelaterias”. If you happen to visit the town on a Sunday, make sure not to miss “The Sunday Annecy Market”. It is a local farmers’ market, one of the finest of its kind in France.

Annecy in France was not named the “Venice of the Alps” for no reason! Joining Annecy’s two open gardens: Jardins de l’Europe and Pâquier Esplanade you will find the city’s “Pont des Amours” (“Lovers’ Bridge”). According to the local legend, if two lovers kiss on this beautiful iron bridge, they will stay together forever. Traditionally, padlocks are also attached to the bridge with keys thrown into the water to seal love promises made on the bridge.

The distance between Geneva and Annecy in France is only 33 kilometres, and FlixBus will take you there for as little as 4,5 USD per person for a single, one-way journey. You will be crossing the border between Switzerland and France, so remember to bring your passport, just in case.

Day trip from Geneva to Annecy

Annecy France : Annecy cityscape with Thiou river view bridge and palais de l isle in backgrounda

Day trip from Geneva to Mont Saleve

Only 20 kilometres from Geneva, Mont Saleve attracts both tourists who seek a relaxing escape into the Alpine nature as well as sports lovers looking for an active day trip from Geneva. We recommend checking the possibilities and opening times upfront (as they vary with season), but Mont Saleve is the dream destination for tourists interested in climbing, mountain biking or paragliding and in winter: skiing.

The most popular attraction is the Mont Saleve cable car; it will bring you to the top of the mountain within five minutes! Prepare for breathtaking views, and if the day you visit Mont Saleve the weather is clear, you will be able to see as far as the Mont Blanc (from Mont Saleve’s southern side).

How to get to Mont Saleve from Geneva? This trip is easily done with public transportation. From Geneva’s Cornavin Train Station jump on the bus no. 8 (going towards Veyrier-Douane). Get off at “Veyrier-Douane” form where you can walk to the cable car station. The cable car leaves approximately every 15 minutes and it operates daily, between 9:30 AM and 7 PM from April to October. To save over 30% or your ticket price, buy the combined return tickets for the cable car.

Paragliding in the blue sky in summer

Day trip from Geneva to a Swiss Chocolate Factory

Who would not want to join this trip? Switzerland is known for its high-quality chocolate, and there are several places around the country where you can visit a real chocolate factory, and learn all about the complicated yet fascinating journey from cacao beans to the neatly wrapped pieces of choco-heaven, we all know and love. Chocolate production is an art, and in a chocolate factory, you will be led through a series of educational exhibitions and have a sneak peek into the live production too. Optionally, you can join a chocolate making workshop; it is a great idea for travelling families! 

If you want to organize the trip on your own, the closest from Geneva is the chocolate factory of Cailler in Broc near Gruyères, Switzerland. Your trip to Gruyères can be done with public transportation, but it is a journey of around 2 hours and you have to interchange twice. There are other chocolate factories in Zurich and Lucerne, but the train journey would be even longer. Therefore we recommend booking a guided day trip from Geneva to Gruyères, it will secure comfortable transportation and a knowledgeable guide! 

Day trip from Geneva to a Swiss Chocolate Factory

Lindt Chocolate Shop in Jungfraujoch Station. Lindt is a Swiss chocolatier founded in 1845.

Day Trip from Geneva to Gruyères

Gruyères is a Swiss medieval town, well known not only for its chocolate factory but also for the impressive medieval castle from the 13th century. The castle features abundantly decorated rooms and stunning collections of various historical and cultural artefacts. Gruyères is not only about the local Swiss culture though! The Tibet Museum gives you a sneak peek into the Buddhist tradition, showcasing religious and ritual items alongside sculptures, drawings and paintings.

If your inner foodie starts calling on you when you hear “Gruyères”, it is the right call! The town gave the name to the famous Gruyères cheese, and it probably does not come as a surprise that the city is a paradise for food connoisseurs. When you are there, make sure to try the cheese fondue or raclette – the local speciality where a big piece of cheese is melted in front of an open fire and eaten with spiced potatoes, meats and pickled onions.

As mentioned, you can travel to Gruyères with public transportation, however, booking an organized guided tour would be more convenient. One of our top recommendations is a day trip to Gruyères including Golden Panoramic Express Train! You will travel to Gruyères by coach, and from there embark on the Panoramic Golden Express train, which is like a sightseeing platform in motion! Get ready for breathtaking views of Lake Geneva and the pristine Swiss countryside.

Day Trip from Geneva to Gruyères

Beautiful view of the medieval town of Gruyeres home to the world-famous Le Gruyere cheese canton of Fribourg Switzerland

Day trip from Geneva to Montreux and Château de Chillon

Appearing to float on Lake Geneva, Château de Chillon (or the Chillon Castle), is the most visited historical site in Switzerland. Surrounded by the most beautiful, pristine scenery, the castle has stood proudly since the 12th century, and it is now home to regular exhibitions as well as a wide array of cultural events. The castle was a source of inspiration for many artists, among them Jean-Jacques Rousseau who, in the 18th century, unveiled parts of his novel “Julie” (also known as “The New Heloise”) in Château de Chillon.

Every Sunday in the castle there is a guided tour available in English, German and French (free with the purchase of your entry ticket). The castle program also offers visits combined with creative workshops and special kids’ program if you want to make your tour around Château de Chillon a more interactive experience. 

Trips to the Chillon Castle are often combined with a visit to Montreux, a small, cosy town offering a wide range of cultural attractions and sport activities. It is home to the world-famous annual Montreux Jazz festival, known for its diverse musical performances, that include much more than jazz jamming. 

With the famous Montreux Noël, Montreux is one of the top destinations for day trips from Geneva in winter. “Montreux Noël” essentially means “Montreux Christmas” and brings to town medieval markets and a fairytale festival hosted at Château de Chillon.

How to get to Montreux from Geneva? Jump on one of the direct trains that leave approximately every 30 minutes. The direct train journey will take less than one hour, and the fees for a one-way ticket start at around 9 USD. For convenient transportation between Montreux and Château de Chillon and to secure an English-speaking guide, you can book a combined day trip to Montreux and Château de Chillon with an agency.

Day trip from Geneva to Montreux and Château de Chillon

Classic view of famous Chateau de Chillon at beautiful Lake Geneva one of Switzerland's major tourist attractions and most visited castles in Europe Canton of Vaud Switzerland

Day trip from Geneva to Riviera Col du Pillon and Glacier 3000

The town of Montreux is also a frequent stop on day trips to Riviera Col du Pillon and Glacier 3000. Col du Pillon is the starting point of a famous hiking route towards Scex Rouge that usually takes around 4 hours 30 minutes. From the mountain station Scex Rouge you can enjoy the spectacular panorama and refuel at the restaurant on the peak. If you do not feel like hiking down all the way, there is a cable car down to the valley station that departs every 20 minutes. 

Not into hiking and would rather explore the pristine region by bike? Cycling enthusiasts can look into bike rentals and discover hidden gems of the Col du Pillon area on two wheels. You will find great biking trails there!

Probably the biggest attraction of the region is Glacier 3000 and the famous “Peak Walk by Tissot”, which is the world’s first suspension bridge connecting two peaks. Prepare for stunning views, and if you are up for a fun activity, try a sledge run in winter or Europe’s highest tracked toboggan run in summer!

It is possible to make this day trip with public transportation, but the combined train and bus trip to Col du Pillon would take almost 4 hours. We, therefore, recommend booking a guided day trip from Geneva, either with an on-site yours agency or online.

Day trip from Geneva to Riviera Col du Pillon and Glacier 3000

Tourist attraction in the Swiss Alps. Glacier des Diablerets.

Day trip from Geneva to the Chamonix Mont-Blanc Valley

Chamonix is a picturesque town in the French Alps. It is mostly known for the impressive peaks it is surrounded by, like “L’Aiguille du Midi” (which directly translates to “The Needle of the Midday”), known as the highest mountain peak served by a cable car system and, of course, Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps. Tourists coming to Mont Blanc can be looking forward to taking the cable car to the summit as well as exploring the Mont Blanc tunnel, the deepest operational tunnel in the world; 2480 meters beneath the surface!

If this is all too adventurous for you, you can also stay around Chamonix and explore the city. Do not miss the “Musee des Cristaux” with an impressive collection of rocks and minerals from Mont Blanc and the surrounding areas and, as the name suggests, crystals which will be presented in a gallery-like setting. Travelling families will surely have a great time visiting Chamonix Luge Alpine Coaster, which is a ski resort very close to Chamonix centre. Note that the luge is only open three days a week for a few hours each day, so make sure to double-check opening hours before you go!

From Geneva’s bus station, you can take the FlixBus towards Verona, Italy. After approximately 1 hour 20 minutes, hop off at the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc station. The fee for a single, one-way ticket is around 17 USD. If you feel unsure about planning this trip on your own, there are plenty of guided day trips from Geneva you can book online or with the local tourist agencies!

Day trip from Geneva to the Chamonix Mont-Blanc Valley

Trekking around the Mont Blanc in Aosta Valley, Courmayeur

Day trip from Geneva: outlet shopping in Italy

Last, but not least, for everyone interested in shopping designer items at very affordable prices, we recommend one of the most fun day trips from Geneva to Italy: The Luxury Outlet Shopping Day Trip! Including sightseeing of Turin, the Italian city known for its impressive array of museums like the Egyptian Museum or Italy’s National Cinema Museum and magnificent historical sites like the Royal Palace of Turin, this tour brings you to the Torino Outlet Village – a paradise for every shopper. Visit as many of the 90 different designer stores, as you can, and enjoy the amazing discounts!

You can travel to Torino Outlet Village on your own, but we recommend you book this trip with a tour agency. You will still get plenty of time and freedom to do the shopping, but you are also guaranteed comfortable transportation and a tour around Turin city!

Day trip from Geneva: outlet shopping in Italy

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - Bicycle on Rue de la Croix-dOr shopping street in Geneva early in the morning

Recommended day tours from Geneva

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Best Day trips from Geneva

Best Day trips from Geneva

Best Day trips from Geneva

Article written by:

Hi, my name is Samantha, Finance Managing Guru by day, Travel Blogging Enthusiast by... well... day too! Haha! Travelling King is the destination hotspot for the wannabe traveller! Showcasing affordable, luxurious getaways for the budget conscious! With the combination of my financial knowledge and travelling experiences I aim to show you, with a little planning, the right budget and a realistic goal you can fulfil your travel fantasies and explore the world whatever your budget or desires may be!