From fairy tale castles to frightening dungeons, Geneva offers plenty of ancient lakeside chateaus to explore. And if it’s lake views you’re after, make sure to stay at our elegant Hotel d’Angleterre – set right on the banks of Lake Geneva, you’ll be ideally located to get out and see the local landmarks. Boasting beautiful views of the lake and the surrounding Alps, these five castles in Geneva offer a fascinating window into this historic Swiss city.
Oenophiles will certainly enjoy a trip to Château d’Aigle, located just minutes from Lake Geneva and surrounded by the rolling hills of the Rhone Valley vineyards. The castle dates back to the end of the 12th century, although much of the current structure was built during the Bernese occupation from 1475 to 1798. Having been used as a prison, government offices, and a courthouse, it’s now home to the Vine and Wine Museum. Explore the heritage of winemaking through the many interactive displays and exhibitions – you can even (digitally) make your own wine, if you’re so inclined.
Château de Chillon
If you only have time to visit one of these lake castles in Geneva, make sure it’s Château de Chillon. One of the most popular historic monuments in Switzerland, the castle is located at the foot of the Alps with amazing views over Lake Geneva. Dating back to medieval times, touring the castle and its grounds will take you over a drawbridge, up a watchtower and down into the eerie dungeons, before wandering into the weapons room to peruse the collection of guns and cannons. Sign the kids up for the Discovery Stroll, which provides young historians with a special treasure map to guide them around the castle’s spookiest corners.
Château de Morges
Don’t be surprised if you run into a real-life soldier at Château de Morges – part of this military fortress is still used by the Swiss Army. Located in the small town of Morges, this is the perfect place for anyone fascinated by ancient weapons, military history, guns and uniforms. The castle dates back to 1286 and is also the home to not just one, but four museums including the Military, Artillery, Historic Tin Figurines and Lake Geneva Region Police Museum.
Château de Nyon
A postcard perfect, whitewashed château overlooking Lake Geneva, Château de Nyon is one of the prettiest castles in Geneva. Following an extensive refurbishment, finally finishing in 2006, the castle is now fully open to visitors and houses the local history museum and an impressive porcelain collection (both antique and contemporary pieces). Set on a small hill, the terrace offers magnificent views of the Alps and Mount Blanc, and on a clear day you can see all the way to the Jet d’Eau fountain.
La Tour-de-Peilz (and The Swiss Museum of Games)
This small military fort dating back to the 13th century is perhaps best know for its tall tower, which offers wonderful views over Lake Geneva and the surrounding mountains. The castle is also famous for being the home of the Swiss Museum of Games, where both adults and kids can enjoy a journey through the history of (mainly) board games, hailing from the farthest corners of the globe.
Header Image: Château de Nyon © Bogdan Lazar/Thinkstock/iStock