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Lake Geneva is an absolute paradise that captures the imagination of travelers everywhere. As an English literature buff, I’ve always wanted to escape to Lake Geneva, because the lush mountains and deep waters reminded me of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a horror novel in which most of the action takes place in Switzerland.
Lake Geneva exceeded all of my expectations.
All my expectations.
As a solo traveler, I think this is a wonderful region to explore alone, especially since all the sites are reasonably distanced from one another.
Not to mention, there’s something truly magical about sitting on the shores of Switzerland’s most famous lake, whether you’re sipping wine or coffee, and simply enjoying your surroundings.
Solo Travel Lake Geneva: What to Expect
In Switzerland, most independent travelers immediately head for Lucerne or Zurich. However, I recommend coming to this corner of the country for solo travel in Switzerland.
After all, Lake Geneva region is filled with surprises that will delight any adventurous solo traveler.
First and foremost, Lake Geneva is huge and stretches 224 square miles across Switzerland and France. You’ll have choices on this trip. Even if you only have 5 days in Switzerland, you’ll feel good about the options available to you.
Of course, this also means that you can’t expect to see all of Lake Geneva in one weekend. For example, Geneva and Montreux are over an hour away by train.
As a solo traveler, you will need to research what towns and cities you want to see, as well as public transportation options in those areas.
Furthermore, don’t come to Lake Geneva and expect to see the same timber-style houses and chalets that are far more common in the German-speaking regions of Switzerland.
Instead this area gives you a taste of France, which is clear in the area’s cuisine, architecture, wines, language, and more.
Practical Tips for Solo Travel in Lake Geneva
Let’s dig deep into travel essentials and advice.
Are you nervous about navigating Lake Geneva all alone? Not sure what to pack for your solo adventure?
Don’t worry! I have all the practical tips for travel to Lake Geneva listed right here! Time to take notes.
How to Get Around Lake Geneva Alone
All in all, getting around Lake Geneva isn’t too stressful. I promise.
Like all of Switzerland, Lake Geneva is connected with frequent and comfortable trains that go to most of the towns and attractions that are popular with tourists.
The Swiss Travel Pass covers trains, attractions, boats, and more, and is well worth the cost if you’re staying in the country for multiple days. Not having to fight with ticket machines was a huge blessing for me. For example, if you have 8 days in Switzerland and purchase the 8 day pass, then you have access to attractions and transportation every single day! Awesome, huh?
Arrival in Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva is centrally located in Europe. Therefore, it’s not challenging to get to if you’re coming from overseas.
The closest international airport would be Geneva Airport. This airport has plenty of connections to North America and other parts of Europe. You will clear customs here too.
Now, you’re probably wondering, as a solo traveler, do you need to stay in Geneva itself before venturing onward to the prettier areas? Actually, no! And personally, I feel like other towns and cities offer more for solo travelers than Geneva itself.
Geneva Airport is actually the terminating stop on many of the railways. You can explore the rest of the region once you go through customs without any issues.
Public Transportation in Lake Geneva
You will primarily travel by train and boat in Lake Geneva.
Swiss Federal Railways operate all of the trains around Lake Geneva. You may purchase your tickets at the station, or use the Swiss Travel Pass if you’re staying in the area for a few days.
Meanwhile, boat cruising is another delightful way to see Lake Geneva. Sure, ferries are much slower than the trains, but they are a lot more scenic. I highly recommend taking at least one boat ride in Lake Geneva.
Just make sure to check the schedules ahead of time and arrive early. In summer, the lines form fast, and you want to be near the front of the boat to get the best possible views!
Lake Geneva Packing Essentials
Lake Geneva is lovely to visit any time of the year. As a solo traveler, however, you need to make sure you properly pack everything, especially the essentials.
These are my suggested items for a solo trip to Lake Geneva.
What to Bring to Lake Geneva
- A Sturdy Pair of Walking Shoes: In Lake Geneva, you want stylish shoes that are also great for hiking. These siren traveler shoes by Merrell checks all the boxes that you need for your walks!
- Compact Mirrorless Camera: Lake Geneva is absolutely gorgeous. iPhone photos are great, but you also want a camera that will do a justice to the scenery. The Sony Alpha A6600 Mirrorless camera will snap some lovely photos for lifetime memories.
- French Phrasebook: This part of Switzerland speaks French. Learn some French phrases ahead of time, especially for the smaller villages, to make new friends in Lake Geneva.
- Lonely Planet Switzerland Guide: Always stay up to date on your solo trips with a good guidebook. Lonely Planet’s Switzerland Guidebook will offer great information on sites, food, accommodation, hikes, and more!
- Stylish Day Pack: Whether you’re hopping between towns or hiking in the vineyards, bring a daypack with pickpocket protection to keep your belongings close and safe!
- Sunblock, Sunblock, Sunblock!: In the summer months, especially, the sun is strong in Lake Geneva. It was much warmer here than other parts of Switzerland. Pack some sunblock to keep your skin protected, especially if you’re going to swim in the lake!
- Travel Insurance: Like most of Switzerland, Lake Geneva is very safe, but you still want to buy travel insurance before you leave for your trip. I mean, think about it. If you hurt yourself paddling on the lake, you don’t want to pay through your nose to receive treatment.
Solo Travel Accommodation for Lake Geneva
Switzerland isn’t cheap. Ugh, I know I know. Totally bummer, right?
Switzerland’s high prices aren’t a secret, but rather a well-known fact in the travel world. A lot of solo travelers on a budget tend to skip Switzerland entirely in favor of France and Germany.
However, it’s not impossible to see Lake Geneva on a budget!
If you’re a solo traveler who wants to connect with other people and keep the price of your trip lower, you should check out one of the three hostels listed in this post.
- Geneva Hostel: Centrally located in historic Geneva, this hostel is super close to the water, which is great! See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Montreux Youth Hostel: This affordable youth hostel is located near Montreux-Territet Train and Funicular Station. You will also have easy access to Montreux’s famous promenade. See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Nyon Hostel: This laid back and highly ranked hostel is located in the adorable town of Nyon. You have easy access to both Geneva and Lausanne. See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
Why Take a Solo Trip to Lake Geneva
Whew! Now for the fun part!
I fell in love with Lake Geneva, you guys. Absolutely fell in love. I don’t ever remember seeing water that was so pristine and clear, and relaxing near the shores all day gave me a deep sense of peace.
If you’re nervous about traveling alone to Lake Geneva, please, please, please drop all your anxiety at the door, and just go for it. I promise you will have a delightful time.
Without further ado, here are all the wonderful things to do on a solo trip to Lake Geneva.
Discover Peace at an Iconic Lake
Okay, I’m sure this first idea isn’t that surprising. You come to Lake Geneva to spend time at the … duh, lake!
Lake Geneva’s towns have beautiful waterfronts with public chairs perched directly on the rocks. If you are surefooted, then feel free to climb to these chairs with a book or refreshing drink, and simply enjoy the scenery.
For solo travelers who are more athletic, Lake Geneva has a ton of water sports available to summertime visitors, such as paddle boarding and kayaking. You can even dive into the lake for a swim!
All in all, it’s the lake itself that add magic to this region.
Loads of Scenic (and Easy) Walks
Lake Geneva is a wonderful place to do some basic hikes alone.
What’s especially great for solo travelers is that your phone is constantly linked to service unlike some of the more remote areas of Switzerland. You’re always able to reach someone in case of an emergency.
As for the hikes themselves, I especially loved walking through Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The views of spectacular.
For “flat” walks, solo travelers will love Promenade de Montreux Rivera for its bright modern art, fun cafes, and street performers. You feel like part of the crowd here, which means any pesky loneliness will disappear!
Without a doubt, Lake Geneva is a walkers paradise that is easily explored alone.
Home to Famous Swiss Attractions
Did you know Lake Geneva is home to one of Switzerland’s most popular attractions?
Solo travelers will absolutely love Chillon Castle in Veytaux.
This stunning lakeside castle is the most visited historical building in all of Switzerland. I recommend hopping on the first ferry and seeing the castle grounds in the morning before the crowds are too hectic. You’ll want the peace and quiet, believe me.
In addition to being a medieval fortress, Chillon Castle was a huge inspiration for Romantic author Lord Byron. Roaming the castle dungeons definitely urged me to open a notebook and write something new and exciting.
If you’re traveling alone in Lake Geneva, take some quiet time on the shores near Chillon Castle to write in a small notebook.
English is Widely Spoken
Are you nervous about potential language barriers in Lake Geneva? Don’t be!
Anyone who works in Lake Geneva’s tourism industry speaks excellent English.
Of course, you shouldn’t make assumptions or act demanding if someone doesn’t speak English, but more likely than not, you’ll able to find someone who speaks English fluently and is able to help you. This is especially true in bigger cities and towns, such as Geneva, Lausanne, and Montreux.
However, if you visit some of the smaller towns like Cully (which I highly highly recommend that you do), then you’ll probably encounter people who only speak French. Like I said, make sure to learn a couple of French phrases to make your life easier.
A few words of French will open many doors.
Fantastic Tourist Infrastructure
You don’t need to worry about tourist infrastructure at all in Lake Geneva. Like I said earlier, the trains and boats run on a regular schedule and stop at all the most interesting attractions on Lake Geneva.
Solo travelers don’t need to rent a car, which, honestly, would just be an expensive hassle, especially when it comes to parking in the smaller towns and villages.
Ultimately, this is a tourist region, and therefore, all the Lake’s prettiest areas are super accessible to all visitors.
Solo Travel Friendly Dining Options
A lot of solo travelers are nervous eating alone for a variety of reasons. I completely understand the anxiety of asking for a table “for one” due to fear of judgement. Is it rational? Maybe not, but I get it.
However, Lake Geneva’s many cafes are perfect for a single diner looking for a place to savor local cuisine. I saw a ton of people go alone to cafes and sit for hours, reading a newspaper, sipping a coffee, and watching the ebb and flow of visitors.
Furthermore, Lake Geneva has many beautifully locally-run delis with meats, cheeses, and breads. Solo travelers will love packing a picnic lunch, especially during the vineyard strolls, and enjoying an affordable lunch with a million dollar view.
I hope you had a great time reading about solo travel in Lake Geneva. What would you like to do most in Lake Geneva? Feel free to reach out and share!