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Lake Geneva

Photo of Lake Geneva

About Lake Geneva

Europe's largest lake, separating some of Switzerland and France, this glittering ocean is more than just an impressive statistic and political boundary. It's spectacularly beautiful, with views of the alps on one side, charming rows of lush vineyards to another, and pretty chateaux and smaller towns dotted all the way around it. These offer wonderful peace and tranquility, but if you want a richer cultural experience some of the best places to stay on Lake Geneva are the lake's main cities, Geneva and Lausanne.

Largely French speaking, the Lake Geneva region has a real European flavour to it - packed with many national, but complimentary flavours. In Geneva itself you shouldn't be surprised to hear conversations taking place in up to four languages.

Geneva was originally settled because of its strategic position, straddling the Rhone at the south west end of the lake, where there's a shallow crossing point. The earliest inhabitants, the Romans, would have hopefully appreciated the spectacular views of the Alps and the Jura that it has as well. The old town is where everything began, at the highest part of the city, and now totally Heritage Listed, and full of small bars, cafes and boutiques lining winding, cobbled streets. The lakeside is pretty too. In fact Geneva is a wealthy cosmopolitan city full of pretty spots, good restaurants and interesting museums.

Lausanne also has a medieval centre, dominated by a Gothic cathedral, and an annual civic calendar dominated by arty festivals and events, but it's not quite as polished at Geneva. Smaller, and possibly trendier, Lausanne is a great place for foodies and students. If you're looking for the best lake views climb the Sauvabelin Tower.

As well as the museums and galleries of Geneva and the cellars of Lausanne, consider the beaches - and palm trees - of Montreux. As well as watersports, Montreux has always been known for its popularity with writers, artists and musicians, and it's also the closest town to the fairytale Chateau de Chillon.

And if you're here for rest and recuperation, the thermal baths of Yverdon-les-Bains will tempt.

There are plenty of challenges for walkers and hikers all around the lake, but the southeastern corner, near Aigle, is closest to the Vaud Alps and the dramatic shadow of the Diablerets glacier.

Most of the cities and towns on the lake are served by boats allowing you an extra scenic exploration route.

For traditional elegance

  • The Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues is the grand dame of Geneva lakeside palaces, with unrivalled lake views from the balconies and rooftop pool. The decor is soft blue and green brocade, toile de jouy, and plenty of marble. And the atmosphere is discreetly welcoming.
  • The Hôtel de la Cigogne is the only Relais et Châteaux member in town, a superbly appointed charmer with beautiful traditional decor with a few clever modern twists.
  • The Hôtel Longemalle is a Belle Epoque beauty, thought of as a little sister to the Cigogne, and rife with elegance. In the heart of old Geneva, this hotel is full of one-offs and the service is personalised too.

    Chic relaxation on Lake Geneva

    • The Eastwest Hotel's elegance is more of the modern variety, giving it a relaxing city break vibe.
    • But for luxurious relaxation one of the best places to stay in Lake Geneva is the Beau Rivage Palace, an oasis of grandeur slightly off the beaten track in sleepy Lausanne. The views are incredible, across the lake to the Alps, the spa is award winning and the restaurant has two Michelin stars.

    For gastronomic perfection

    • The Auberge de Confignon is in a village just outside Geneva - but still only 20minutes by bus from the city centre. People who stay here are here for the peace and the food, both of which are simple and wholesome.
    • Les Armures is a family run hotel and restaurant very well known for its Swiss specialities - raclettes and fondus galore here! The hotel is homely, with oak beams and stone floors and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming in the heart of Geneva's old town.

    Family Friendly Lake Geneva

    • The name says a lot about the Edelweiss Hotel - this wood chalet looks like it's been transported direct from the alps. It also tastes like the alps - think more fondues - and sounds like the alps - think lively folk music, including yodelling and alphorn. But it's lots of fun and very child-friendly.
    • The Hotel Kipling is probably more to the tastes of a slightly older family - modern, airy and full of technological comforts like in suite Nespresso machines and fee wifi.

    Still not sure which to book? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay on Lake Geneva, or contact, one of our friendly gurus for advice. Alternatively take a look at our recommendations in Geneva.

    Best Hotels in Lake Geneva

    • Auberge de Confignon 14 rooms from $139

      Geneva (Confignon)

      A gastronomic auberge tucked away in a village just outside Geneva. The locally renowned restaurant and its secluded setting are its main attractions, not to mention the wonderful mountain views from the terrace. Tranquility and local gourmet treats with easy access to Geneva.

      Restaurant  -  The hotel bistro and restaurant are locally-renowned and serve traditional dishes, using fresh local products.
      Sights nearby  -  Conveniently close to Geneva and the Selève mountain.
      Secluded setting  -  Located in a small village on the outskirts of Geneva.
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    • La Rouvenaz 17 rooms from $163


      With a fabulous location on Lake Geneva, La Rouvenaz is a classy establishment. Its rooms are modern and spacious with some boasting fantastic views of the lake from adjoining balconies. Perfect for exploring the local area. A must for jazz lovers in July.

      Local exploring  -  Twenty minutes from Lake Geneva with unspoilt views, right from your bed
      Value chic  -  Great value for this area
      Great walks  -  Take a walk along the 10km Montreux Promenade and enjoy its fantastic views of Lake Geneva.
      Sights nearby  -  Marvel at the 1000 year-old Chillon Castle less than two miles away.
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    • Edelweiss Hotel 42 rooms from $185


      A quintessentially Swiss hotel and restaurant with authentic mountain chalet décor. Wood-lined rooms with cosy furnishings and fireplaces. The restaurant offers traditional cuisine and live folk music. A great place for families with children.

      Families  -  A charming chalet with family rooms, babysitting and cose proximity to both the lake and the city centre.
      Great walks  -  Great walks around the stunning lake, followed by Fondue and Raclette by the fire!
      Sights nearby  -  Just a few steps from the city centre, within easy access of all the sights.
      Full of character  -  Swiss chalet setting, with traditional décor.
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    • Hotel Kipling 62 rooms from $185


      A pleasure to walk into - a bright, modern and airy hotel with exotic influences. Impeccable rooms, decorated in warm saffron and pepper colours. Some hotel suites have fully fitted kitchenettes and Nespresso machines - perfect for groups or families.

      Families  -  Free kids breakfast, family rooms, fully-fitted kitchenettes, babysitting and video games to your room- an ideal family break.
      City Style  -  Indies-inspired furniture, with rooms decorated in warm saffron and pepper colours.
      Sights nearby  -  The hotel will provide you with a card for free use of public transport, the perfect way to get around.
      Great walks  -  The hotel is just an eight minute walk from the beach of Lake Geneva.
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    • Chateau de Divonne 33 rooms from $169

      Divonne les Bains (115 Rue des Bains)

      A classic 19th century chateau nestled between Lake Geneva and the Alps. Elegant rooms with period furnishings, pretty wallpaper and rich drapes. Le Vendome serves fresh local cuisine either in the suave dining room, or on the terrace overlooking Mont Blanc. A chic and sophisticated choice.

      Country Escape  -  Located in the heart of a park, between Lake Geneva and the Jura, with breathtaking views of the Mont Blanc and the Lake.
      Great walks  -  There are several walking trails around the property. Book with the hotel.
      Swimming Pool  -  An outdoor pool for guests
      Full of character
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    • Au Fil de L'eau 7 rooms from $171

      Clarens, Lake Geneva

      A delightful little restaurant hotel where the menu is taken as seriously as the hospitality. The individually decorated rooms feature private balconies (some with lake views) and large bathrooms. Perfectly place for exploring Lake Geneva and Montreux, it is an ideal spot for a gastronomic getaway.

      Foodies  -  The restaurant attracts diners from far and wide with its gastronomic and seasonal menu.
      Local exploring  -  Two minutes walk from the beach yet within easy reach of Montreux's attractions.
      Sights nearby  -  The nearby Chillon Castle is well worth a visit for anyone with an interest in history.
      Great walks  -  Perambulate Montreux's scenic Promenade and soak up the sights and sounds of the city.
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    • Villa Cecile 15 rooms from $183

      Yvoire, Lake Geneva

      Pretty hotel close to Lake Geneva. Contemporary rooms feature stone floors, crisp white furnishings and balconies. Outdoor pool, spa, sauna and gardens. Excellent restaurant serving regional, healthy cuisine. Great for a family holiday.

      Country Escape  -  With views of Lake Geneva, splendid spa and outdoor pool, find real peace in this historic and idyllic town
      Sailing  -  Cruise aboard the lake’s sightseeing “Hippo” boat
      Great walks  -  Walks along the lakeside footpaths
      Views  -  Great views from hotel
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    • Eastwest Hotel 41 rooms from $215


      A little oasis of tranquil chic close to Lake Geneva. Elegant contemporary rooms with rich colours, dark wood floors, mood lighting, and all the high-techery. Delicious fusion cuisine and a small gym and sauna. A charming city destination.

      City Style  -  Contemporary décor, influenced by eastern and western traditions within the heart of Geneva.
      Sights nearby  -  Located in the heart of the city, close to Lake Geneva.
      Recommended by  -  Tablet, Small Luxury Hotels
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    • La Musardiere 5 rooms from $227

      Lake Geneva

      A charming, quaint B&B set between the Jura Mountains and Lake Geneva. The ensuite rooms focus on comfort and simplicity, decorated tastefully with a different colour for each. This is a place from which to enjoy the beautiful scenery with golf courses, mountains and lakes all within easy reach.

      Local exploring  -  A great place from which to explore Lake Geneva, Jura Mountains and the village of Essertines-sur-Rolle.
      Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
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    • Le Coq Chantant 4 rooms from $241

      Saint-Livres, Lake Geneva

      A charming boutique B&B with a picturesque setting looking out over Lake Geneva. Le Coq Chantant offers four intimate suites, each stylishly appointed with minimalist furnishings to optimise space and comfort. The perfect launchpad for exploring the region's rich natural beauty. A rural gem.

      Romantic Break  -  A perfect escape for two with stylish decor, chic suites, private balconies, lake views and yummy breakfasts.
      Sailing  -  Nearby Lake Geneva is a great place for sailing, charter a boat or rent your own.
      Romantic  -  Good for couples.
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    • Hotel Des Trois Couronnes 71 rooms from $244


      Luxurious lakeside hotel and destination spa in the smart Montreux Riviera town of Vevey with 170-plus years of tradition behind it. Stately presence on Lake Geneva commands stunning Alpine views, combined with extreme comfort and classic Swiss five-star service ethos

      5* Luxury  -  Everyone from Russian princesses to Saudi Sheikhs to Hollywood film stars has found it to their tastes
      Restaurant  -  Michelin-starred restaurant Les Trois Couronnes for fine dining, H3C restaurant is more casual
      Views  -  Views to die from the terrace overlooking Lake Geneva onto the towering Alps beyond
      Spa breaks  -  Puressens Destination Spa is one of the best in Switzerland
      Recommended by  -  Fodors
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    • La Maison d'Igor 7 rooms from $233


      A plush hotel in the former home of Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. Its chic, individually furnished rooms feature large windows that open out onto private terraces. Polished parquet flooring, manicured lawns and roll-top baths give it an air of luxury. Within minutes drive of Lake Geneva.

      Local exploring  -  A stylish stay within easy reach of Lake Geneva
      Sights nearby  -  Explore the romance of Nyon's picturesque Old Town.
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    • Hôtel Longemalle 58 rooms from $277


      Comfort and peace in this beautiful Belle Epoque inspired building. Baroque interiors - high ceilings, chandeliers, private lounges, huge mirrors, beautifully painted bedrooms. The triplex suite is outstanding with its private roof top terrace. Elegant and charming.

      City Style  -  A charming and refined hotel, decked out with mahogany woodwork, period furniture, high ceilings and chandeliers.
      Great walks  -  Only a few minutes walk to the English Garden and Lake Geneva's shores.
      Sights nearby  -  Under five minutes walking will lead you to St. Pierre Cathedral.
      Views  -  Great views from hotel
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    • Grand Hotel du Lac 50 rooms from $293

      Vevey (Rue d'Italie 1)

      A grand hotel facing Lake Geneva and the Alps. Elegant rooms blending traditional style décor with all modern comforts. Enjoy gourmet cuisine at Les Saisons, a Michelin starred restaurant or local dishes at La Véranda with an outdoor seating. A lovely spa and an outdoor pool. Super luxurious.

      Local markets  -  The Vevey - The Pleiades line leads you to a site full of tourist attractions in less than an hour
      Swimming Pool  -  An outdoor seasonal pool
      Views  -  Great views from hotel
      Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
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    • Lausanne Palace 138 rooms from $336


      Full of opulence and heritage, Lausanne Palace is a sparkling five-star hotel. No expense is spared with its palatial rooms, state-of-the-art spa centre and four featured restaurants. A wondrous Swiss marvel.

      Romantic Break  -  An ideal getaway for two in the historic down of Lausanne, with fine dining, spa treatments and luxorious suites.
      Sights nearby  -  Visit the incredible Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
      Sailing  -  Lake Geneva is a great place for sailing, rent a boat or charter your own.
      Lively  -  Hip and happening.
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    • Chateau d'Ouchy 50 rooms from $354

      Lausanne (Place du Port)

      A historic 12th century castle, turned chic hotel on Lake Geneva. The elegant rooms exude understated luxury, and a certain tranquil charm. Large windows offer plenty of natural light, and views of the Alps. The spa, outdoor pool, gourmet restaurant and sleek bar complete the picture.

      Total relaxation  -  Unwind in style with an extensive list of massages, a sauna and a full service spa available to guests.
      Back to Nature  -  Well positioned on the shores of Lake Geneva and with priviledged views of the Alps.
      Sights nearby  -  The Lausanne Opera, the Vidy - Lausanne Theatre are both near the hotel.
      Swimming Pool  -  An outdoor pool for guests
      Recommended by  -  Small Luxury Hotels
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    • Hôtel de la Cigogne 52 rooms from $494

      Geneva (Genève)

      Family-owned and beautifully appointed hotel in Geneva's heart. Spacious rooms with carefully-chosen antiques, fireplaces, four poster beds, killim rugs, paintings, and soft colour schemes. A romantic mahogany panelled restaurant with exquisite cuisine. Understated elegance and supreme comfort.

      City Style  -  An elegant hotel located on Longemalle square next to the Old Town and the lake.
      Sights nearby  -  Visit the impressive Saint Pierre Cathedral, a must for any visit to the city.
      Sailing  -  For a memorable and romantic day trip take a cruise on Geneva Lake.
      Lively  -  Hip and happening.
      Recommended by  -  Frommers, Relais & Chateaux
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    • Les Armures 32 rooms from $447


      Housed in a 17th-century building in the heart of the old town. The restaurant is a local landmark serving quintessentially Swiss cuisine - raclettes and fondues galore. Traditional rooms with oak beams and stone floors. Small and discreet - a really lovely, homely setting.

      Foodies  -  The hotels restaurant, Vieille Ville, has become a buzzing Genevan institution, famed for its fondue, raclette and Schübling.
      City Style  -  Luxurorious furnishings, within a refined 17th century setting, all right in the centre of the old town.
      Great walks  -  Just down the road is the lovely lake-front promenade, perfect for an afternoon stroll.
      Sights nearby  -  Across the road from the iconic St. Pierre Cathedral.
      Recommended by  -  Frommers, Fodors
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    • Beau Rivage Palace 161 rooms from $454


      Superb hotel offering an oasis of grandeur, hospitality and unashamed luxury. Acres of private gardens and unrivalled views over Lake Geneva and the Alps. Award-winning spa, fantastic restaurants, tennis courts, and opulent rooms.

      City Style  -  A traditional grand palace hotel on Lake Geneva, sitting in 10 acres of stunning grounds.
      Views  -  Fantastic views over the lake and the Alps.
      Spa breaks  -  Renowned and utterly spoiling spa
      Sailing  -  Take a boat trip on Lake Geneva
      Recommended by  -  Tablet
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    • Grand Hotel Kempinski 368 rooms from $458


      Kempinski hotels deliver and this one is no exception. No fuss, top quality, stylish and supremely comfortable. Curtain glass walls, stunning views of the lake, minimalist-chic interiors. Fantastic business facilities and indulgent pleasures - hip cocktail bar, delicious cuisine, and fab spa.

      Business Centre
      City Style
      Swimming Pool  -  Indoor Pool
      Recommended by  -  Frommers, Kiwi Collection
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    • Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues 115 rooms from $589


      The grande dame of the Geneva lakeside palaces. Unrivalled views of the lake from private balconies and the roof-top pool. Exquisitely decorated rooms: brocade, toile de jouy in soft blues and greens, and marble bathrooms. Stunning spa, including a double suite with private hammam. Truly luxurious.

      Spa  -  A range of signature and locally inspired therapies in each of the seven spa treatment rooms. A luxury rooftop retreat.
      Suites  -  Nearly a quarter of the rooms are spacious suites, most with step-out balconies and views of Lake Geneva.
      Restaurant  -  Serving Northern Italian cuisine, using the freshest regional products.
      Sauna/Steam  -  Seven spa treatment rooms, including a sauna and private hammam.
      Recommended by  -  Fodors, Frommers, Kiwi Collection
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    • La Réserve 102 rooms from $647

      Geneva (Bellevue)

      An ultra-luxurious but family-friendly hotel in a beautifully landscaped park. Rooms and suites in African safari style - rich terracotta colours, dark wooden flooring, and imaginative touches. Plenty of activities - a heavenly spa, great pools, tennis courts and a kids games lodge.

      City Style  -  Luxurious and stylish resort hotel, with decadent interiors and lively atmosphere, only three miles from Geneva.
      Spa breaks  -  One of the best spas in Europe, with cutting-edge medical treatments, a hammam, saunas and steam baths.
      Great walks  -  Set on ten stunning acres fronting Lake Geneva, there are plenty of walks through the grounds.
      Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor and indoor pools.
      Recommended by  -  Kiwi Collection, Tablet
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    More Hotels in Lake Geneva