The Lake Geneva region is a rich, adventurous destination for thrill seekers – and it’s just a short drive from Geneva airport. Try these adrenaline-fuelled activities in the area this summer.
The Lake Geneva region’s varied terrain makes it excellent for climbers of all levels to try vie ferrate – protected rock-climbing routes marked out by fixed metal rails and rungs. Beginners should head to the village of Rougemont to try the easiest route from the top of the Videmanette cable car, while those with more experience will love the exhilarating climb to the summit of Rochers-de-Naye. As an added bonus, both are accessed via stunning train rides on the GoldenPass railway from Montreux.
An easy train ride from the airport, the Lake Geneva region naturally lends itself to hiking over a long weekend. The Tour des Muverans is a multi-day, non-technical Alpine trek that involves hikers staying the night in high-altitude cabins along the way. Fully catered, with comfy dorm beds and the most spectacular views, these cabins are a real experience. There’s no need to carry a heavy sleeping bag either – just bring a sheet sleep sack (since duvets are provided) – and don’t forget to book ahead.
Leysin is internationally renowned for mountain biking, and with more than 100 kilometres (62 miles) of marked trails through picturesque countryside, it’s not hard to see why. Sample undulating cross-country trails, technical enduro routes through rugged terrain and steep descents from the top of the Berneuse cable car to the village. Leysin is a cheaper and less crowded resort, so you’ll get plenty of bang for your buck.
Water is in the DNA of this region. In Geneva, make a splash at the biggest wakeboard centre in Switzerland, or take a nail-biting whitewater rafting trip on the River Arve, negotiating rapids within touching distance of the city centre. After all that fun, chill out at the new lakeside beach at Eaux-Vives in Central Geneva.
Every August, paragliders from around the world come to the region to battle it out in a series of acrobatic flights as part of the Acro Show. With plenty of nearby peaks to launch from and a brilliant view of Lake Geneva on the descent, it goes to show why paragliding is such a popular sport here. Try it for yourself by taking a tandem flight with a local club.
Situated in a beautiful Alpine valley, the village of Château-d’Oex has a unique microclimate that’s ideal for flying hot-air balloons. Every January, thousands of people descend on the village for an international balloon festival – but you don’t have to wait until then. Daily flights run throughout the summer, taking visitors on a dreamy hour-long drift over the mountains, with views stretching from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc.
The Jura Mountains are a less touristy – but no less beautiful – alternative to the Alps. A short drive northwest of Lake Geneva, it’s where the local people go to cross-country ski, run, cycle and swim. Join them in the Joux Valley, where you can hire a bike and tackle the area’s three mountain passes before swooping downhill to end the day with a dip in the high-altitude Lake Joux, the largest lake in the Jura Mountains.
Inspired to discover the Lake Geneva region? SWISS offers over 60 weekly flights from London to Geneva. For more information, visit SWISS.com.