BEST SWISS THINGS TO DO NEAR GENEVA THIS SUMMER
by Laura from Let’s Explore
Summer in Switzerland! It’s time to jump in lakes, go hiking and eat outdoors! Laura shares her top 5 outings and getaways within a fair driving distance from Geneva, which include some typical Swiss summer experiences!
If you live in Switzerland and would like to see more of the country or you have out-of-town visitors whom you’d like to show around some of the best spots the country has to offer – then, you’ll love these ideas:
CHEESE FONDUE IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS – Gstaad
The Swiss love eating outdoors, and we understand why… With such stunning mountain scenery as a backdrop, who would not want to eat a delicious cheese fondue sitting in a giant fondue pot? There are several fondue pots on the hiking trails in Gstaad. You can pre-order your totally Swiss Style fondue backpack from the dairies in Gstaad and Saanen and aim for one of the fondue picnic pots! Easy as that… If the fondue pot is taken, don’t worry, you can settle down wherever you like and just eat your fondue in nature. We have even eaten a fondue in winter in a forest by night once, so do not let anything stop you. To know all about eating a fondue in Gstaad, and about your chance to stay at a 5-star location in a funky pop-up hotel for a good price, check out this article on Gstaad on Let’s Explore:
Driving distance from Geneva to Gstaad: 2 hours.
From Geneva to Gstaad by public transport: 2.5 hours by train.
KANDERSTEG – Grill sausages on the shores of the beautiful Oeschinen Lake
This is where all four of our family members agree… Oeschinensee is the most beautiful place we have seen in Switzerland so far… and that means a lot, because actually 3 out of 4 of us are Swiss!
Oeschinensee lies above Kandersteg. You take the cable car up and then you have two choices. You either head straight to the Grill Shop by the picturesque mountain lake and get your ready-to-go grill kit to grill sausages by the lake as the Swiss like to do.
Or, you first take a hike in this amazing area. We took the panoramic hike which was really breathtaking but definitely not suitable for people afraid of depths as the hiking trail is narrow and along cliffs. It will lead you to a beautiful meadow in the end with the cutest mountain hut restaurants, before the trail takes you back to the shores of Oeschinensee.
To read all our tips on this trip to Oeschinensee, which can be combined with suspension bridges or a visit to the Instafamous lake Blausee, check out the full details of our trip here.
Driving distance from Geneva to Kandersteg: 2 and a half hours
From Geneva to Kandersteg by public transport: 3 hours by train
THE ALETSCH GLACIER – seen from the Belalp Mountain
The Aletsch Glacier is the biggest glacier in Switzerland. We went to see the glacier from the viewpoint of the beautiful Belalp mountain in Blatten. The Belalp mountain guarantees a typical Swiss scenery and a lovely and easy hike. Either on a walking path, or through the mountain meadow with small rivers, you can choose which path you would like to lead you to the viewpoint. A beautiful historic hotel is located at the viewpoint where you could eat or drink something on their terrace with relaxing sun loungers, see the decorations with Edelweiss flowers and the typical small mountain church with views on the Glacier.
Once you go back down to Blatten with its historic center of sun burnt houses (raccards), you can either go back down by cable car, or you can rent a scooter for a bit more adventure and enjoy your ride down!
To stay with the theme of eating outdoors, you can of course pack your home-made Bircher müesli like we did for this walk, and which was mentioned in our article on 9 must-try Swiss Foods.
To see all our recommendations on Blatten Belalp, check our article here.
ZERMATT – the must-see Matterhorn and lunch with a view
You cannot live in Switzerland and never go to Zermatt… The famous Matterhorn mountain is so iconic for the Swiss, that once you make it there, you will probably stay as speechless as we were in front of this majestic mountain. Zermatt is of course the best place to see the Matterhorn. The arrival in the car-free town is organised smoothly by the Swiss. A parking area outside of the town, with a modern train terminal easily leads the way to the center of Zermatt.
There are different hikes in summer, or winter walks that can be taken in Zermatt. There is the famous train journey to the Gornergrat, or, you can take the Sunnegga mountain metro to take you to some of the finest restaurants.
We loved walking from Sunnegga to the historic part of Zermatt with the typical and picturesque ‘raccards’ of Findeln. Just below Findeln you will find some great restaurants like Chez Vrony, or Findlerhof, with probably the best view in the world from their terraces…
Believe us, you will take the dessert… even if you are not hungry anymore… but just because you don’t want to leave.
To see our full article on Zermatt – click here.
Distance by car from Geneva to Zermatt: about 3 hours, depending on the last transfer by train
Geneva to Zermatt by public transport: about 4 hours by train.
GRUYÈRES – and the thermal baths
Ok, everyone who has been living in Geneva long enough has at some point made it to Gruyères on a day trip, right? But if you have out of town visitors and you are going to Gruyères for multiple times… then you should know about areas around Gruyères to make it more fun for yourself!
Gruyères is nice, and the castle is worth a visit. Of course, you can go and buy cheese, or visit the chocolate factory in Broc, but what you could also do is combine your visit with a few hours of relaxing in thermal baths with some great views on the mountains!
The Bains de la Gruyère, are quite modern thermal baths with an indoor and an outdoor area, and this relaxing Swiss activity could be a life saver if you have visitors on days when the weather is less certain! When I recently had friends over from home, we have visited the castle of Gruyères and enjoyed the thermal baths on a rainy day and it was just perfect!
If you would like to know all about how to make the most out of your visit to Gruyères, then check out this article
Distance by car from Geneva to Gruyères: 1 hours and 20 minutes
Geneva to Gruyères by public transport: about 2 hours, by train and bus
WHO IS LAURA?
Our guest blogger Laura writes her own blog – Let’s Explore, where she shares her tips and ideas for travelling with children, and hiking and skiing around Geneva. Originally from the Netherlands, she now lives in Switzerland with her French-Swiss husband and two boys. Passionate about cultures – whether they be far away or closer to home, she sees moving around as a ‘school of life’. When she is not moving around, she still discovers cultures by cooking recipes with locals from multiple countries! If you would like to find out more about Let’s Explore’s travel tips or recipes, you can visit her blog, or follow her Facebook Page.