Ready to explore some of the most beautiful corners of Switzerland? We’ve put together a route of the must-see lakes to visit around the country, including:
- Lake Geneva and the Bains des Pâquis
- Lake Neuchâtel (Three Lakes region)
- Lake Murten (Three Lakes region)
- Lake Biel (Three Lakes region)
- Lake Zurich
- Lake Constance
- Lake Lucerne
- Lake Zug
- Lake Brienz and Lake Thun
- Lake Maggiore
1. Lake Geneva and the Bains des Pâquis
As the largest lake in Western Europe, we could not mention Lake Geneva. With one shore in Switzerland and one shore in France, this great lake offers breath-taking views of the Alps and plenty of activities for all. For those who fancy a drip, head to Les Bains des Pâquis, a man-made peninsula and beach that reaches out into the lake. The view of the harbour on one side and Lake Geneva on the other is just spectacular.
Getting there: Lake Geneva is ideally situated just a few minutes’ walk from Geneva Cornavin station, so easily reached by train from many of the major cities around Switzerland. For international travellers, the journey from Paris to Geneva takes just over 3h on a high-speed TGV Lyria train and you’ll arrive directly into the heart of the city.
The Three Lakes region
2. Lake Neuchâtel
Continue your journey around the lakes of Switzerland (the French-speaking part of the country in particular) and venue to Yverdon-les-Bains station at the edge of Lake Neuchâtel. The train journey from Geneva to Yverdon takes around 50m.
Just a short walk from the station, head to Serrière beach to start enjoying views of Lake Neuchâtel straight away. Further along the shore, you’ll find Colombier beach, which offers the largest stretch of sand on the north shore of the lake.
If the beach isn’t for you, why not take a walk through the Grande Caricaie nature reserve – the largest lakeside nature reserve in Switzerland.
3. Lake Murten
Next up it’s Lake Murten, also known as Lake Morat. Make your way to Neuchâtel – about 20 km away from Yverdon-les-Bains – situated on the left bank of the lake. From here you can take an SBB train which takes around 50m to reach the medieval city of Murten, nestled on the shores of the lake of the same name.
Once there, immerse yourself in the calm waters of the small Swiss lake, spend time in the charming city wrapped around its banks or savour the beauty of the surrounding landscapes in the Three Lakes region.
4. Lake Biel
The Three Lakes region is a small territory that covers three distinct areas, each of which has its own lake. These bodies of water all have their own characteristics as well as breath-taking surroundings, clear waters and enticing beaches. After Lake Neuchâtel and Lake Murten, head to Biel to discover Lake Biel.
Getting there: It takes about an hour to travel from Murten to Biel on SBB trains. You’ll pass back through Neuchâtel, so if you’ve not taken the time to stop on the way out, be sure to spend a few hours walking and swimming on the shores of the lake!
5. Lake Zurich
One advantage of travelling by train in Switzerland is that the distances are relatively short! Once you’ve finished exploring the Three Lakes region, take the train from Biel to Zurich to visit its namesake lake – the journey takes around 1h 15m.
You don’t even have to leave the city to swim in Zurich. As in Geneva, bathhouses are popular with both the local population and visitors and welcome you all week long during the summer. Lake Zurich is one of the five largest lakes in Switzerland and is home to four islands that can be reached by boat.
6. Lake Constance
Lake Constance, like Lake Geneva or Lake Maggiore, is a border lake. Except this time on the opposite side, you’ll find Germany. It’s a calm, vast lake, so if you fancy a dip, you’ll experience the illusion of swimming in a still sea.
Known to locals as ‘the city on the water’, Romanshorn is at the end of the rail line. Allow 1h to travel by train from Zurich to Romanshorn. From there, take a boat which crosses the lake in around 40m and docks at Friedrichshafen in Germany – it’s a very romantic way to cross the border between countries!
7. Lake Lucerne
The city of Lucerne is nestled on the shores of Lake Lucerne, which includes the famous Grütli mountain meadow, where the first Confederates created the country. On the 1st August – Swiss National Day – the meadow welcomes many political figures and holds folk events like the throwing of the flag or the Hornuss, a local sport still practised in mountain regions. With its coves and beautiful beaches at the foot of the mountains, Lake Lucerne is the perfect place for a swim during your stay in Switzerland.
Getting there: The journey from Romanshorn to Lucerne takes approximately 2h by train.
8. Lake Zug
Lake Zug stretches over three cantons – Zug, Lucerne and Schwyz (home of the famous Swiss knife). Although it’s a lot smaller than Lake Lucerne, that doesn’t mean it’s any less charming. The city of Zug itself is also a must-visit destination! Stroll along the quays to reach the beach beyond the port.
Getting there: It doesn’t take long to get from Lucerne to Zug by train. In just 24m you can be enjoying views about the beautiful Lake Zug.
9. Lake Brienz and Lake Thun
We’ve listed these next two lakes together as Lake Brienz is almost inseparable from its twin, Lake Thun. These two bodies of turquoise waters are bordered by tranquil coves and beaches, as well as historic castles to spend the day exploring. The quickest way to reach Lake Brienz by train is by heading back to Lucerne, where you can catch a fast train from Lucerne to Brienz in 1h 25m.
A resort in Interlaken
Between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun is the city of Interlaken, whose name means ‘between the lakes’. Interlaken offers a taste of folklore mixed with typically Swiss charm, including well-kept houses with pointed roofs, lakes with emerald waters surrounded by mountains and hotels with old-fashioned charm.
Getting there: The journey from Brienz to Interlaken Ost takes just 20m.
10. Lake Maggiore
Finally, head to the canton of Ticino to end this tour of the Swiss lakes in style in Locarno. Savour la dolce vita whilst exploring the shores of Lake Maggiore, which is full of beaches and suitable swimming spots. If you’re planning to visit in August, remember to book your accommodation well in advance, as the city comes alive to the rhythm of the Locarno Film Festival, and the hotels get booked up quickly.
Getting there: For the final part of your trip, you’ll need to take the train from Lucerne to Locarno, which takes around 2h 8m on the fastest SBB services.
To calmly discover all that Switzerland and Europe have to offer, opt for the train and savour the tranquillity of a safe and relaxing journey. If you’re feeling inspired, why not book your getaway to the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland today! For more information on the Swiss rail network, check out our trains in Switzerland page.