Geneva, Switzerland is a great city to visit. There are many things to see in Geneva, but sometimes people are fortunate to be able to spend more time in Geneva and would like to see some other places around the city. I was able to visit Geneva several times and I learned about a few beautiful places right around Geneva. Each is within easy driving distance and makes for a great day trip.
1. Perouges, France
Perouges, France is one of those beautiful places that make me want to come back to Europe and visit as often as I can. A small medieval village perched up on top of a hill, Perouges is a perfectly preserved medieval jewel. You would never find anything like Perouges in America.
Located only about one hour and a half driving from Geneva, Perouges is situated in the mountain region of Rhone-Alpes in France.
Beautiful old stone building in the main village square at Perouges, France
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The road from Geneva to Perouges was also beautiful, winding its way through the Jura mountains between Switzerland and France. Everything is green and beautiful. Once you come close to Perouges, the landscape turns from mountainous to gentle rolling hills filled with wheat fields. This is beautiful French countryside.
Read more about my experience visiting Perouges, France.
If you are planning your trip to Perouges, France you can find the best hotel prices in the Rhone-Alpes area. You can also stay at the charming and affordable The Resid for Calixte right in Perouges.
2. Annecy, France
Annecy is only about 45 minutes driving distance from Geneva, Switzerland and it makes for a great day trip. We loved this old town and we happened to visit on the largest Farmer’s Market of the entire year. Annecy has the most amazing location we’ve seen. It’s nestled in the mountains and the Annecy Lake is just gorgeous.
The drive from Geneva, Switzerland to Annecy, France is very pleasant especially when getting closer to Annecy on the A41 motorway from Geneva. It’s a beautiful and short drive, so it’s worth all your time.
The old town of Annecy is right by the beautiful lake.
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The best way to get to the lake and the old town is to look for signs pointing you to City Hall (Hotel de Ville). Once you get in the area try finding some parking and then just walk around the lake area and start walking up the canal.
Read more about my experience visiting Annecy, France.
If you’re coming from Geneva, the easiest way to get to Annecy is by taking a half-day bus tour of Annecy from Geneva.
3. Chamonix, France
Another very cool day trip from Geneva, Switzerland is the small mountain village of Chamonix in France. Chamonix is located one hour away from Geneva on the A40 freeway. The drive from Geneva to Chamonix is just amazing! The French Alps line up the freeway and are looming right in front of you. It’s just really cool to see.
The village of Chamonix is charming in the summer.
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The village of Chamonix is the gateway to the French Alps and the Mont Blanc peak which is the tallest peak in Europe. While the Alps are the main attraction at Chamonix, the village itself is a really quiet retreat from the busy life in Geneva.
Read more about my visit to Chamonix, France.
If you are planning a trip to the Chamonix Mont Blanc area of France you can stay at the beautiful La Tanière de Groumff (lots of charm, free breakfast and free parking), the excellent and convenient Hôtel L’Heliopic Sweet and Spa (excellent location and charm) or at the very affordable Fleur des Neiges. You can also find other great hotels in the Chamonix area or you can book a day trip from Geneva to Chamonix and Mont-Blanc.
4. Yvoire, France
Continuing with the short drives from Geneva, Yvoire is just across the border with France. Yvoire is only about 30 minutes driving distance from Geneva, but a visit to this small village will take you way back during medieval times. Yes, Yvoire is very touristy but for a good reason…it makes for a great tourist destination. Old cottages, city walls and cute restaurants will make your visit worthwhile.
Old chateau in Yvoire, next to Lake Geneva.
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You can reach Yvoire, France two ways: across Lake Geneva by boat or by car when you drive around Lake Geneva and enter the French area of Rhone-Alpes. Using a car is faster and beautiful but the most scenic way is by boat from Geneva or Montreaux.
Read more about in my visit to Yvoire, France.
Resources for planning your trip to Yvoire, France: find the best prices for hotels in the Rhone-Alpes area or book a beautiful day tour of Geneva and Yvoire.
5. Gruyeres, Switzerland
Gruyeres is a Swiss medieval village which makes for a great day trip from Geneva. Yes, Gruyeres is very touristy but there are good reasons why the medieval village of Gruyeres is so popular. The old village of Gruyeres is perched on the hill and an old cobblestone road winds its way through the middle of the village. At the end of the road you will find an imposing medieval castle.
The castle in Gruyeres sits on a hilltop overlooking the mountains.
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Gruyeres is located about one hour and twenty minutes driving from Geneva. Once you get off the motorway, the country roads are simply beautiful, with the postcard-perfect green lawns and snow-capped Swiss Alps mountains in the distance.
When you are planning your trip to Gruyeres, Switzerland find the best prices on hotels in the Gruyere region of Switzerland or you can book a day trip to Gruyeres from Geneva.
Read more about my visit to Gruyeres, Switzerland.
6. Estavayer le Lac, Switzerland
Suggested by a long time reader of my site, Estavayer is a small town near the shores of Lake Neuchatel in the Fribourg Canton.
Estavayer le Lac, Switzerland – Beautiful flowers covering a stone wall and buildings with the tower of Saint-Laurent church in the background.
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If you are planning a trip to the area you can find great hotel prices around Lake Neuchatel.
7. Romainmotier-Envy, Switzerland
Romaimotier Envy is a tiny old village located about an hour and a half drive from Geneva in the Vaud canton. It is well known for its beautiful old Romanesque church. Suggested by a reader, Romaimotier is another tiny place I plan to visit on my next trip to Geneva.
Old water fountain and cobbled stone alleyway at Romainmotier-Envy, Switzerland.
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If you’re planning a trip in this area you can find discounted hotel prices in the Lake Geneva/Vaud area.
Montreux is the jewel of Lake Geneva. World famous for its rock and jazz concerts, Montreaux is also known by its nearby Chateau do Chillon which served as inspiration for Lord Byron’s work. If you are in Geneva, it is worth your time coming to visit Montreux even it if it’s only for the amazing views of the lake.
Montreux, Switzerland – Beautiful view of a tour boat on Lake Geneva as storm clouds start to gather.
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Unfortunately, you have to change two trains in order to get to Montreux by train. The easiest and cheapest way to get to Montreux from Geneva is with a local tour bus company. If you want to include more places, you can join a local tour of the Swiss Riviera for a beautiful day trip. If you want to visit Chateau de Chillon, you can purchase a discounted ticket here.
9. Ovronnaz, Switzerland
Ovronnaz is a thermal springs town and ski resort in the winter. This alpine town is high up in the mountains above the Rhone Valley area and provides access to the Swiss Alps both in the summer for hiking and mountaineering and in the winter for all the winter sports thanks to the beautiful slopes available in the area.
Tourists enjoying the hot springs at Ovronnaz
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The drive from Geneva to Ovronnaz takes about 2 hours and it is a beautiful drive on the road that hugs Lake Geneva as it enters the beautiful Rhone Valley area. Once you arrive in Ovronnaz, you can look for signs for the ski lift which is available in the summer as well. The panorama from the top of the ski lift is simply awesome.
When you plan trip your next trip to Ovronnaz, Switzerland find the best prices for hotels in the Valais area of Switzerland.
10. Thonon les Bains, France
If you are in Yvoire, just drive a little further up the road and visit the beautiful marina at Thonon-les-Bains. The town itself is not very interesting with the exception of the old Chateaux de Ripaille. However, the marina on Lake Geneva at Thonon is superb. To reach the marina you just drive down the hill and follow the signs.
Beautiful view of small boats anchored in the marina at Thonon les Bains
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Thonon-les-Bains, France is located about 10 minutes drive north from the village of Yvoire, France. The marina area in Thonon is peaceful and beautiful and it is worth your time to drive a few extra miles to get there.
For planning your trip to the area you can find great hotel prices in the Rhone-Alpes area.
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