Positioned on the shores of its Lake Geneva and close to the French border, Geneva is within easy driving distance of some of Switzerland and France’s most beautiful towns. Guests at Hotel d’Angleterre will be well placed to explore the highlights of the surrounding areas, from the unspoilt romance of Annecy’s Old Town to the Belle Époque elegance of Vevey. Here’s our pick of the most beautiful towns near Geneva.
Located, like Geneva, on a picturesque lake that shares its name, Annecy is the ravishing beauty of the Savoie region. Furthermore, at under 45 minutes drive from Geneva, it’s an ideal day trip destination. Take a walk around Lake Annecy to really appreciate its turquoise waters and majestic, mountainous backdrop, before exploring the stunning Old Town. Intersected with canals, it’s easy to see why Annecy is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the Alps.’ Stop in the Old Town for something to eat at one of the excellent restaurants and a spot of shopping. Visit in the morning on a Tuesday, Friday or Sunday and you’ll be treated to the delights of the Old Town market, where you can sample typical Haute-Savoie delicacies.
An hour and half’s drive around Lake Geneva, Gruyeres offers visitors a beguiling mix of medieval history and architecture, an eclectic selection of museums, and world-renowned gastronomy. Occupying a commanding hilltop position, the town’s 800-year-old castle now houses a museum that showcases Gruyere’s history. The town is also home to two more unconventional museums: One dedicated to H.R.Giger, the Swiss artist heavily involved in the cult classic film, Alien; as well as the Tibet Museum, which houses over 300 Buddhist objects such as sculptures and paintings.
En route from Geneva to Gruyeres, stop off at the charming town of Vevey. A popular destination during the Belle Époque period, this Lake Geneva town was home to Charlie Chaplin for the last two decades of his life and has its own Chaplin’s World, which occupies the star’s former home. In addition, Vevey has also been the location of the Nestle headquarters since 1814 and the company has its own Alimentarium museum here, which is dedicated to food and the history of eating. Younger visitors will particularly enjoy the interactive cooking workshops that are regularly scheduled.
Built as a resort town, Montreux is located at the opposite side of Lake Geneva and combines an idyllic waterside location with a rich musical history. The town is internationally known for its Jazz Festival, which takes place each July and attracts some of the finest performers from around the world. It was also home to Freddie Mercury toward the end of his life, a fact the town commemorates with its statue of the iconic Queen frontman in Place du Marche. Drive five minutes or take a half an hour stroll along the lake to see the famous Chillon Castle, which occupies a rocky outcrop on the shores of Lake Geneva. This breathtaking castle was the property of successive Counts of Savoy from the 12th to 16th centuries, and today over 350,000 visitors stop by to see its intricate 14th century wall paintings, immaculately preserved bedroom, grand parade hall and atmospheric subterranean vaults.
After a day exploring the most beautiful towns near Geneva, return to Hotel d’Angleterre for dinner at Windows Restaurant, where you can enjoy fine dining and fabulous views of the Jet d’Eau.