Geneva is Switzerland’s second most populous city, famed for being a diplomatic centre.
But with so many more facets to its appeal – from cuisine and architecture to breath-taking nature – Switzerland is a country of almost unparalleled beauty.
Steep, jagged mountains rise from the ground, dusted in snow in winter, carpeted with green in the summer.
Sprawling, successful cities blend the clean lines of skyscrapers with the intricate architecture of the old world.
Then, of course, there’s the food – notably, some of the best chocolate in the world is sourced in Switzerland.
Geneva is certainly not going to disappoint holidaymakers, whether you stick to the city or venture further afield to explore some more of Switzerland’s highlights.
Here are some great recommendations for the best day trips to be had from Geneva.
Often called the Venice of the Alps, old-town Annecy is a picture-perfect place to explore for the day.
Located just 45-minutes from Geneva, it sits prettily on the River Thiou and has been awarded the Art and History designation by France, cementing its status as a site of cultural importance.
There are plenty of nooks and crannies to seek out, with flea markets and hole in the wall cafes sharing space with historic landmarks.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the surrounding scenery is stunning, with mountains rearing up all around.
Recommended tour: Annecy Half-Day Trip from Geneva
The Alpine resort of Chamonix has long been a favourite spot among tourists, with its chocolate-box looks and easy access to the mountains.
In 1924, the village hosted the first Winter Olympics and its popularity has been ensured ever since.
The nearby valley offers options for both snow sports and mountaineering, while the village itself has plenty to entertain visitors, from excellent shopping to boutique restaurants.
You can hop on a cable car up to the mountains, or simply take in the views while sipping a coffee from a café, as Mount Blanc can be seen right from the village.
Best seller: Chamonix, Mont-Blanc Day Tour from Geneva
Moving away from the mountains, along the river sits Lausanne; a city with the fortuitous position of being located on a beautiful lake with a stunning alpine backdrop.
The spires of the cathedral tower over the cityscape, nestled among the pretty red rooves of its neighbouring buildings.
Visitors can spend many a happy hour wandering the streets; there are plenty of busy restaurants lining the city centre, perfect for a quick stop before you head back to Geneva by boat.
Cruising back along the fresh water of the Leman Lake, you’ll find yourself wishing you didn’t have to leave.
Available tour: Swiss Riviera Tour – Lausanne, Montreux & Chateau Chillon
The fortified village of Yvoire provides a fascinating time capsule of medieval France.
The castle was built in 1036 but still stands strong today, while the village itself has remained hardly changed for over 700 years.
Yvoire is considered one of France’s most beautiful villages – and that’s saying something – so make sure you spend some time soaking in the atmosphere of the place.
The local speciality dish, filet de perche, is served in many of the village’s top restaurants.
If you choose the right spot, you’ll get a lake view as you dine.
Suggested tour: Yvoire & Evian Private Day Trip from Geneva
5. Swiss Riviera: Vevey, Montreaux and Chillon
Packed into this day trip are several cute Swiss villages, each with its own unique charm.
Start out with a drive through the spectacular Vaud countryside, and kick off the trip with a look round Corsier-sur-Vevey.
Then move along to Chillon – where the castle is the most impressive sight – by way of the beautiful lake road from Vevey, lined with palm trees and tropical flowers.
After taking plenty of pictures, head on to the glitz and glamour of Montreux, where you can practically feel the presence of all the stars who have visited in the past, from Ray Charles to Aretha Franklin.
6. Lavey les Bains
For a truly relaxing day trip option, consider a visit to Les Bains de Lavey, a luxurious spa located near Lake Geneva.
Ease your mind and your muscles as you luxuriate in the hottest water in Switzerland – a thermal spring whose temperature reaches 62 degrees.
The spa has plenty of wellness options besides swimming, including massages and beauty treatments.
You can hardly help but leave feeling calmed and ready to take on the rest of your trip.
Book online: Private Trip from Geneva to Lavey Les Bains
The vineyard region of Lavaux is a UNESCO world heritage site, recognised in 2007, and is famed around the world for its wines.
Located in the canton of Vaud in Western Switzerland, it is situated at 500-metres altitude.
Lavaux is an area of stunning natural beauty, so make sure you allow enough time to meander through the vineyards with their spectacular views of the lake and the Alps.
Be prepared to sample some excellent wines accompanied by local produce as a last-minute treat on your trip; Lavaux wines are well known for being an excellent companion to raclette and fondue.
This ski resort is world-renowned, and a hugely popular day trip to take from Geneva, due to its easy accessibility.
It’s perfect for some easy day skiing, and even for beginners there’s plenty of options on offer, with wide sweeping runs cascading down the mountain.
If you don’t fancy skiing, there are other snow sport options, including snow skating, tobogganing and air boarding.
The après is pretty good too, with multiple bars on offer, and the town itself has some excellent restaurants to hang out in.
Interlaken is a photographer’s dream, with the vivid greens of the hills delicately contrasting with the cerulean blues of the lake, leaving no need for post-production on pictures.
It’s hard to believe this place is real and hasn’t simply sprung into existence from a postcard.
Interlaken is also a great jumping off point for further excursions, such as riding the cable cars around the mountains and visiting the place where the Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was filmed.
There’s also the nearby lake, which you can take a boat trip around.
Cheese fans rejoice; Gruyeres is everything you have dreamed of.
Foodies will love this fun day trip, involving plenty of cheese and chocolate, two of the things that the Swiss do best.
You will learn about the history and process of making these foods, with tours of the food making facilities led by experts on the subject.
And don’t worry, there’s plenty of opportunities to taste test throughout the day.
The village itself is also, unsurprisingly, very picturesque, and a pleasant place to wander around as you let your food digest.
Available tour: Gruyeres Basic Tour to Medieval Village
11. Europa theme park
If you’re a bit bored of spectacular scenery, exquisite food and cultural history, then this is the day trip for you.
Europa Park is Geneva’s best theme park, complete with loop-the-looping roller coasters, hours of fun shows, wild-water rapids and plenty more.
The theme is, as the name suggests, the continent of Europe, and there are fifteen different areas reflecting varying countries and cultures.
This is a superb place to take the kids for the day, so consider it as an option when planning your holiday.
Transfer & Tickets: Europa Park Theme Park
12. Glacier 3000
Where better to take in views of Alpine peaks than from a glacier at 3000-metres? On this day trip from Geneva, you’ll drive along the lake before passing the Col du Pillon and boarding a cable car for your steep ascent.
Once you’re at the top, you can choose a leisurely walk across the frozen land, or opt for the excitement of a husky dog sled-ride if you’re visiting in summer.
Either way, the views are spectacular.
You can also choose to have your lunch on high at a restaurant designed by architect Mario Botta.
Suggested tour: Gold Tour at the Glacier 3000 and Montreux
You’ve heard of the bottled water brand, but here you have the chance to visit the place from which it takes its name: the charming lakeside village of Evian.
The crystal-clear waters of the lake and nearby springs help you understand why it rose to fame for this very reason.
Take a walk along the water for a tranquil afternoon, with the views across the lake providing a picturesque setting for a picnic.
Suggested tour: Yvoire & Evian Private Day Trip from Geneva
Switzerland’s capital certainly deserves a mention on this list, and of course, the place is pristinely clean and full of sharp, well-engineered buildings alongside historic architecture.
Since 1983, the city has been recognised by UNESCO for its picturesque properties.
Ascend the Bern Cathedral for the best views from the highest point in the city, stretching out to the shores of Aare River.
Visit the Clock Tower in the city centre – one of the oldest in Switzerland – and stop off along the way for a quick coffee in one of many excellent cafes.
Culture is easy to find too, in the Einstein Museum or the Museum of Art, among many other top spots.
Yet another pretty ski village can be found in Veysonnaz, located slap bang in the middle of the Four Valleys, and a great place to visit for the day tripper.
That’s just the winter, though – hiking is plentiful in the summer months and the views of the valley are splendid, with verdant grass and wildflowers carpeting the slopes of the Rhone valley.
Veysonnaz is an authentic pocket of Alpine culture with the advantage of a modern infrastructure, making it easy and pleasant for visitors to get an insight into its charms.
An excellent day trip option.