If there’s one destination that’s absolutely ideal for romantic breaks, it’s Lake Geneva. Stunning scenery, cosy accommodation, gorgeous cuisine and countless opportunities for adventures in the great outdoors – what more could you ask for? In this post, we’ll be taking a quick look at some of the things couples staying here really shouldn’t miss.
Visiting Lake Geneva – fast facts
For those of you who don’t know much about Lake Geneva, let’s first talk about some of the basics – like where it is and what it’s famous for. One of the largest lakes in western Europe, Lake Geneva is located in both Switzerland and France, though the bulk of it lies in the former. So, it makes sense to base yourself on the Swiss side.
The lake is around 30 km from Geneva International Airport. You can hire a car from here (visit Auto Europe for details), which is probably a good idea since there is just so much to see and do around the lake – and it covers a large area. Plus, it makes travelling to your accommodation a much simpler affair, which is of course perfect for romantic breaks.
No getaway for two is complete without indulging in some romantic meals, whether these take the form of candlelit dinners in charming restaurants or picnics perched on the water’s edge. Whatever you decide to do, remember that there are certain foods this region is famous for, so it’s worth looking out for these and trying as many of them as possible.
For instance, there are a number of speciality cheeses here with appellation of controlled origin (AOC) status. This means a product can only bear its name if it comes from the right place and is made in a certain way – champagne is a good example, though obviously this comes from Champagne in France, not Lake Geneva!
What is made in Lake Geneva, though, is delicious AOC Gruyere and Alpine Gruyere, as well as raw milk cheeses like Etivaz and Le Marechal (both hard cheese), and the soft cheese Tomme Fleurette.
We also recommend treating yourself to some delicious baked goods, such as Amandine de Sainte-Croix – a famous almond and honey speciality – and gateaux de goumoens, which are leavened cakes filled with cream and sugar.
Switzerland is also famous for its wine, so make sure you select a local vintage to go with your meals. However, there are plenty more ways to enjoy this heritage than simply sipping a splash of wine with dinner – such as visiting local vineyards.
The historic vineyards at Lavaux, for example, have UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Alternatively, why not take a trip to the fabulous Vine and Wine Museum at Aigle Castle? Nestled in acres of vineyards, this wonderful establishment displays all kinds of viticultural artefacts and teaches you all about the winemaking process.
There are some incredibly romantic buildings around Lake Geneva, with Chillon Castle being our favourite. Perched on an islet near Montreux, this fairytale-like building is backed by a lush, forest-covered slope, while its shimmering reflection in the lake is breathtaking.
Dating back to the 13th century, this castle was originally constructed by the House of Savoy to control passage along Lake Geneva. Over the years, it’s become an incredibly popular place to visit – and even inspired Lord Byron to compose a poem.
There’s more to do in Lake Geneva than indulge your taste buds and gaze at pretty castles – though there’s nothing wrong with stopping at this if that’s what you fancy! More active couples, however, should definitely do a little cycling, since there are so many fantastic routes to choose from. And, if you hire a car, you’ll find it really easy to get to different start points and explore further afield than you may have otherwise.
Top trails to try include the Mittelland Route from Romanshorn to Lausanne, which spans 370 km. This long but easy path is broken into seven stages, so you can just pick a section of it to tackle, such as the 36 km route from Romanshorn to Wil.