Aosta Valley, Italy
If you’ve got a car you can take the Mont Blanc tunnel through to Northern Italy. One of the best places is perhaps the Aosta Valley which is about a two-hour drive from Geneva. Once there, you’ll find there is no shortage of awesome things to do. You can wander for hours through the vast expanse of the Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso or take yourself to Breuil-Cervinia, one of Italy’s top ski resorts. You may well wish you had more than just a weekend here.
A short distance away from Geneva is the lovely French town of Annecy. Its medieval feel, complete with cobbled streets and canals, will instantly charm you. Lake Annecy is also renowned as one of the cleanest in all of Europe and you’ll see why when you look into its super clear waters. In summer, Annecy is the perfect place to enjoy a trip to the beach or go for a leisurely stroll in the surrounding mountains. Whether you’re there to keep active or just relax, Annecy certainly won’t disappoint.
Jump on to a train to the Alpine village of Grindelwald, which sits in the shadow of the mighty Eiger mountain. The setting for this little village, which is famous for its skiing, could hardly be better. In summer, Grindelwald’s valley is bursting with colour and in winter when the snow descends, a white carpet turns it into the quintessential Swiss Alpine experience. Visit Grindelwald and you’ll understand why it is one of Switzerland’s most charming villages.
The French resort of Chamonix is easily reached from Geneva. Most people will go to Chamonix to admire Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps, and to ski. That may already sound like a packed weekend to some, but in case you’re not convinced there’s plenty more to keep you occupied. For instance, you can be chilled in the presence of the Mer de Glace – or sea of ice – glacier which is one of the largest in Europe, or snap on your snow shoes or hiking boots (depending on the season) and take advantage of 350km of trails in the surrounding area.
At the opposite end of Lac Léman, or Lake Geneva, is the resort town of Montreux. Some of the world’s finest musicians found their inspiration here. Walking through the town’s streets you’ll see busts of legends such as Freddie Mercury, Ray Charles and B.B King. Undoubtedly the best time to visit Montreux is during the Montreux Jazz Festival, which in truth is much more inclusive than just jazz music. But if music isn’t your thing then you can spend time walking around the lake, visiting the beautiful Chillon Castle or hiking in the nearby foothills.