If you were stuck at home quarantined, you might have found a few hours to read my longest scroll to date, Swiss Family Ford’s Favorite Trips.
These are all composed of weekend/long weekend/in the rare case week-long trips, but I’m also asked, what are some good daytrips from Geneva?
Gruyeres & Cailler Chocolate Factory:
Quite easily the most popular, and oddly enough, we only went here once with my sister! While the Swiss rail service is one of my absolute favorite parts about living in Switzerland, it’s unfortunately has a really circuitous route to Gruyères. So it’s best to rent a car and drive to both locations (that are really close together.) Gruyères is an adorable tiny town with lots of great restaurants for fondue, and Cailler is the perfect place for sweet teeth (with an incredible tasting room and gift shop!)
Once upon a time, this was best accessed by car as well or Flixbus, but now with a new railway line (the Leman Express), you can take the train here! We went to Annecy only once as well (when it was extremely hot!) but it is a favorite of many folks for a reason – it’s a gorgeous lake and a wonderful place for lunch and a gorgeous stroll to walk it off.
Montreux and Lavaux:
We went here a LOT – in part because it’s beautiful and also because it’s incredibly easy by train! Visit the Christmas Market and Santa in the winter …
take the Lavaux Wine Express in the summer…
visit Freddy Mercury…
and Chateau Chillon all year long!
Such a splendid CGN ferry boat ride from central Geneva (we always took the boat from the Mont-Blanc bridge stop!) enjoyed a great lunch here (the specialty is the lake’s own filet de perche) complete with ice cream and a stunning walk around this car-free medieval town. It is definitely seasonal, and if you manage it, try visiting on a weekday. Weekends are packed and there’s only so much space in this tiny village!
We went here for overnights and of course for Christmas, but at an hour’s drive for Geneva, it’s a very doable daytrip for skiiers and nonskiiers a like – a bustling town with lots of shops and cafes to spend a lovely day.
Last French entry and really more of a “half day” trip! The Salève is known as Geneva’s mountain (even though it’s in France) and on a sunny day you have spectacular views of the lake and city at large. You can take the #8 TPG bus from most of the big stops in Geneva (roughly 20 minutes) and walk over the border (5 mins) to a 10 minute cable car. You can also hike all the way up (3ish hours)- which we did exactly once! You can also take shorter hikes after you get to the top from the cable car – we loved it best in the snow with a post-hike great lunch in the restaurant!
Regarding other Swiss cities – there are some great ones like Luzern, Zurich, Bern, Basel, Lugano. From Geneva, they are all too far for a daytrip – I would recommend at least a night in each. We did Bern in a day once (to make James an American!) but it’s a lovely city and should be explored properly!
As some other Switzerland quick recommendations – if you find yourself in in Bern, a side trip to Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, Jungfraujoch, etc. is a total must. If in Basel – consider a quick trip to Strasbourg and Colmar in France- a delight. If in Zurich – do schedule a few days in Luzern and do Pilatus – amazing. Lots of people hate on Zurich for being a boring banker’s town and it’s not totally clear to me. Look – is it Ibiza? No. But it has a lovely Old Town, great food and generally pretty charming people. And if at all possible, try to get to Lugano, it’s beyond wonderful and just a stone’s throw from Lake Como, Italy!
I hope this is helpful if you find yourself Geneva and looking to spend the day in a nearby fun location!