Geneva lies on the southern tip of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), at the foot of the Alps and thanks to its position, this city can be a good starting point for exploring a wide range of popular destinations in Switzerland. Here you can find 5 destinations which can be easily accessed by train from Geneva during a day-trip.
1. Lausanne (Trip duration: 50 minutes – Price: 23 CHF)
Lausanne is the second largest city of the Lake Geneva (after Geneva) and it is built on three hills, with Lake Geneva at its feet. Strolling in the lakeside area (Ouchy district), you can admire the beautiful Château d’Ouchy (“Castle of Ouchy”), which is an old medieval castle that has been converted into a hotel, and you can also enjoy a breathtaking view of Alps on the opposite side of the lake.
In the upper part of Lausanne, there is the old town, which is dominated by the cathedral, considered as Switzerland’s most impressive piece of early Gothic architecture. The area around the cathedral is a pedestrian zone, and also an open-air market every Wednesday and Saturday (here more info about markets in Lausanne).
The overlook in front of the cathedral offers an amazing view of the city, the lake and the mountains.
Lausanne has been the host of the International Olympic Committee since 1914, so if you pass by this city you cannot skip a visit to The Olympic Museum (here my article about it) to learn more about the origin of these games and curiosities about these game and athletes who took part of them. It’s worth mentioning also the “Collection de l’Art Brut”, which is an interesting museum about art by self-taught or naïve art makers (here more info about it).
2. Neuchâtel (Duration: 1h 10 minutes – Price: 42 CHF)
Neuchâtel is located at the junction of the Three-Lakes-Region and Jura. It is a medieval waterfront city, dominated by its castle, as most cities in Switzerland. The small town can be visited in about two hours (here a brochure about the best things to see, which is also available at tourist offices).
If you don’t want to limit your visit to the city, you can do several leisure activities around it. For example, there are amazing trails that you can hike. I can recommend the Path of time (this is the name of the trail), which will bring you from the city to Chaumont. From here, you can enjoy the stunning view of the Neuchâtel Lake surrounded by mountains from the Chaumont Panoramic Tower (the cost to enter the tower is 1 CHF). Can you spot me going up?
If you don’t want to hike, you can reach this viewpoint also using the panoramic funicular (here more info about it).
3. Chillon Castle and Vevey (Duration: 1h 20 min – Price: 29 CHF)
Chillon Castle is the most visited historic building in Switzerland, and it is so beautiful that it’s not difficult to understand why. It’s located near Montreux and it’s certainly a must-see in Switzerland. The entry fee for adults is 12.50 CHF, and I can assure the visit is worth the price.
From this castle, the charming city of Vevey is easily reachable by train. The lakeside offers breathtaking views of the Alpine panorama which surrounds the lake. The reason I particularly love this city, besides the amazing old carousel which is in the main square, is the Läderach Chocolaterie, which is not just a chocolate shop. First, I have to say that Läderach Chocolate is my favourite one, but the peculiarity of the chocolaterie in Vevey is the presence of a small museum area dedicated to the production process of chocolate, and additionally, there is also a chocolate dispenser to sample their delicious chocolate. Basically, a dream come true for all chocolate lovers like me!
4. Bern (Duration: 1h 45 min – Price: 46 CHF)
Bern is the capital of Switzerland and its unique old medieval town, with its many fountains, sandstone facades, narrow streets and historic towers, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Strolling around the city is a delight whatever the weather thanks to arcades which extend throughout the town. More information about this city can be found in the here.
5. Gruyères (Duration: 2 hours)
Before to start talking about this amazing small town, I have to say that it’s not reachable by train, but by bus. However buses are always on time and are quite frequent, so this shouldn’t be a problem. Gruyères is a medieval town famous because it gives its name to the Gruyère cheese. If you are in this city you cannot miss a visit to the cheese factory La Mayson du Gruyère. You can also watch how the cheese is made every day from 9 am to 11 am. Isn’t it amazing?
The other unmissable spot of this city is the castle. This castle is extremely well maintained. The visit lasts about 1 hour and the entry fee is 12 CHF (here more info about this castle). From the castle, you can also enjoy a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains.
All the indicated train prices are full prices. However, the final prices will be lower if you have a Swiss half-fare travelcard.
Can you suggest any other destination reachable from Geneva for a one-day trip?