Exploring Lake Geneva by boat


From a leisure taxi to the boats used by locals for the daily commute, one of the best ways to experience Geneva is by boat.


Spanning an impressive 580km2, Lake Geneva—or Lac Léman—is among the largest lakes in Europe. Its glassy surface is ideal for boating, be that a speedy sprint on a wakeboard or a slow, scenic glide along the sparkling Swiss Riviera. For purely practical purposes, an efficient flotilla of taxi boats and paddle steamers operate a roaring trade throughout the day. Hotel d’Angleterre, perched right next to the harbour, offers not only spectacular views of the lake, but also easy access to its many aquatic activities. Here’s how best to enjoy a boat trip on Lake Geneva.

Lake Geneva Boat

Kick back on a cruise

Trade the bustle of the Swiss capital for the serenest spot in the city on a CGN cruise. Glide across crystalline waters and toast Mont Blanc’s snow-capped massif in the distance. The tour travels past Geneva’s famous monuments, including the United Nations Office, and takes in the verdant vineyards of the surrounding Lavaux wine region. Some cruises stop off at further-flung attractions, such as the charming French town of Yvoire, which was built in the Middle Ages, and others offer local gastronomic experiences. Hold off until the weekend if you can—Friday’s Fondue Festival cruise is a firm favourite.

Zip around the city

For a speedy zip across Geneva, hop on one of the cheery public shuttle boats, also known as mouettes. They operate between four of the city’s main harbours and are by far the most convenient way to navigate the lake. Steer clear of morning and evening rush hours, though—mouettes are the select mode of transport for many daily commuters.

Lake Geneva Boat

Sail away

One of the best ways to boat on Lake Geneva is by yacht. Charter a private sailing boat for unbridled freedom to explore the lake at your leisure. If your navigation skills need a bit of work, Geneva Boats’ yachts come with an optional seasoned skipper at the helm. Sail all the way to picturesque Montreux—the lake’s northernmost tip and home to a lively summer jazz festival—or visit Évian-les-Bains of pure mineral water fame.

Enjoy the aqua sports

With acres of space and refreshingly clear water, Lake Geneva is perfect for water sports. From wakeboarding, jet skiing and parasailing adventures to a more sedate round of pedal boating and kayaking, there’s plenty of activity to sate adrenaline seekers as well as those less keen on action. In peak summer, do as the locals do and seek out a quiet patch on one of the public beaches for a cool splash in the lake.

Lake Geneva Boat

Go fishing

With the help of a license-holder, anglers can take a boat out on Lake Geneva to throw out a line. Depending on the season, expect to reel in perch, pike or trout. Essential equipment is available to hire, including a supply of cold drinks. Bring your catch of the day back to the hotel for our kitchen to prepare something delicious for you.

Stay at Red Carnation Hotels’ Hotel d’Angleterre for easy access to Lake Geneva’s excellent boating facilities.

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