From Geneva to boozy waterside oblivion?
February 27, 2008 2:19 AM   Subscribe

Going for quick stop at FENS meeting in Geneva early July and thinking about doing some vacation time after that. Where should I go?

Thinking of booking the return ticket from different city, take train or bus from Geneva and hang out at some reasonably quiet place.

A good vacation day would be walking around/hiking interrupted by beer drinking and book reading. Taking a swim once and then would be nice and that maybe rules out the alps as a destination.

I won't rent a car. Essentially I'm backpacking but I have money.
posted by uandt to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
Montreaux and Lucerne are both nice. Montreaux is on Lake Leman (same as Geneva), at the other end of the lake from Geneva, about 90 minute train ride away. The Montreaux Jazz Festival is huge, this year its from July 4-19th, artists released in April. The hotels and town will fill up if you're there during the festival. I was there last year just before it though, and it was managable. If you're into music, the festival may be worth it.

Another tip for your trip to Geneva in July - book your hotel ASAP, it was very hard to find rooms during the summer anywhere near the city.

Lucerne/Luzern, near Zurich is another neat town to visit. Its also on a lake you can likely swim in. The train service is great in Switzerland, so from Geneva or Lucerne/Zurich you can get up into the mountains and take a day hike or swim with no problem. Train schedules are here. You will be fine without a car.

Basically anywhere you go you'll find beer to drink and hikes to take.... its a great country, easy to get around, really friendly people. But crowded in the summer, so don't wait to book hotel rooms.
posted by reckman at 4:59 AM on February 27, 2008

If you're using only public transport then Interlaken could be good bet. There are camp sites in town and trains up to the Jungfrau and the mountain villages of Grindelwald and Wengen. Montreux is a pretty town but frankly there isn't much to do outside of the Jazz Festival. Worth a stop though - The Golden Pass scenic train to Lucerne and Interlaken goes from Montreux.

If water is a must, you might also want to look at the Spas around the Lake Geneva area. There is a nice on at Lavey-les-Bains and another one at Yverdon. Both about 90 mins from Geneva by train.

Geneva itself you can have a day hiking / walking on the Salève which is a 20 minute bus ride from the centre, despite being in France. You can either walk up it or get the cable car. After all that exercise, back in the centre there are plenty of outside bars by the lake in summer, which are just lovely places to people watch. And you can of course swim in the lake itself. Or have a sauna.
posted by jontyjago at 5:16 AM on February 27, 2008

Oh, and another option for a day's walking close to Geneva would be St Cergue in the Jura. Can be reached by a train from Nyon. More big hills that mountains, but some fantastic views over the lake and towards the Alps on a clear day.
posted by jontyjago at 5:25 AM on February 27, 2008

Seconding recommendations for Montreaux, Lucerne and Lausanne.

I would like to add three cities to your list:

Lyon is about 90 minutes away by train. Not much for hiking and swimming but walking and beer are in great abundance. It really is a stellar city. I think Lyon is France's Florence. More nerdily, Paris:Lyon::Rome:Florence

Annecy is closer to Geneva than Lyon, about 40 minutes to the south and may have some swimming going on. There were windsurfers when I was there last February during a particularly mild winter. Check out Annecy's Wikipedia page for some ideas.

Aix-les-Bains is still farther south but probably has better swimming. It's a smaller city, a little more posh and a little less historic. I enjoyed passing through.

FWIW, as a Canadian with a student-work visa I didn't have any trouble taking trains from Geneva to France or vice-versa.
posted by KevCed at 6:30 AM on February 27, 2008

Depending upon how far you'd like to adventure away from Geneva, you could take an overnight train down to Barcelona. (Actually, with a multi-country Europass and a passport you could go many places as Geneva is obviously very central.) If you do go to Spain, be ready to switch trains at the border town of Port Bou. Priorato or Penedes are great wine regions to check out, although you will need extra transportation to get to the multiple bodegas in these regions.
posted by priested at 7:46 AM on February 27, 2008

Response by poster: Great suggestions. I've considered Lyon and the surrounding areas as there seems like there will be lots of interesting things to do there. I'd like some more input on cities a bit further away though. Like how feasible will going in for instance the direction of Genoa be?

I have time, some money and basically an open ticket from anywhere in southern Europe. I just have to start in Geneva and I have already have a few days to spend there. I don't need detailed suggestions on what to do because I'm not planning to do anything particular.

The Barcelona suggestion was more in the line of answers I was looking for.
posted by uandt at 8:22 AM on February 27, 2008

« Older Vista scanner problem   |   How do you attack a sailing ship with a fast... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.