Lake Geneva

Lake Leman

Lake Geneva is the largest lake in western Central Europe, located on the border of Switzerland and France. The lake has a semi-circle shape and an area of about 580 square kilometers. Its length is about 72 kilometers and maximum depth is more than 300 meters. Lake Lehman is famous for its beauty and is popular as a tourist destination. Along the banks of the lake are many cities and resorts such as Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux, Evian-les-Bains, Tonon-les-Bains and others. Lake Leman is also famous for its numerous fish species, including trout and lavarella, which are the main ingredients in the local cuisine.


Lake Geneva is the largest lake in the Alps and the second largest in Europe (after Lake Balaton). Its surface area is 582 km2 and volume of water is 89 km3. It is located at an altitude of 372 m above sea level, only 70 km from the highest peak of the Alps – Mont Blanc. Rivers and streams flow into the lake from all sides. The largest of the rivers, the Rhône, falls into it, then recovers its course and flows on. In the winter there are strong winds, especially unpleasant is the so-called biz – cold northeasterly wind. Genevaers assure that it may cause mental instability of citizens, and judges even take it into account when passing sentences on offenders.

The central part of Lake Geneva never freezes, so shipping does not stop even in winter. In the past, the lake was used to transport timber and other goods, but today it is mainly used by passengers.

The Lake Geneva Navigation Company has 16 large comfortable ships, including vintage ships, which operate regular voyages between cities in Switzerland and France, or carry out themed cruises lasting several hours. In addition, Lake Leman is a great place for sailing, windsurfing and water skiing.

The largest lake in the Alps

Switzerland is in our minds inseparable from the Alps. However, it is unimaginable without its two great lakes, Lake Geneva on the border with France and Lake Constance on the border with Germany.

The area around Lake Geneva (Le Mans) was home to celebrities from business, art and sport – people from all corners of the globe. And not just to avoid paying taxes.

The Swiss Riviera has for centuries attracted the richest people and the most incorrigible romantics from all over the world. Lord Byron, the Austrian empress Sissi, Ernest Hemingway, Vladimir Nabokov, Igor Stravinsky, Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Freddie Mercury and others have all lived here. Representatives of the creative bohemia and science, the so-called cream of society, preferred the most sophisticated and fashionable coastal towns – Vevey (where Charlie Chaplin and Henrik Senkevich lived and died) and Montreux (where Vladimir Nabokov spent his last years and was buried).

The mesmerizing beauty of Lake Geneva, proximity of the Alps, splendor of subtropical nature and healthy air make these places truly magical. Flowering mountains with vineyards descend in terraces to the shores. But these places are famous not only for their magnificent scenery.

The cantons around the lake (Geneva, Vaud and Valais) are truly a tax haven for foreigners. The lands near the coast remain inaccessible to locals – they are bought by wealthy sheikhs, owners of oil fields. However, the Geneva authorities remain aloof from this issue.

Geneva only joined the Swiss Confederation in 1815 and does not feel particularly strong in terms of its position in the community. Most of the wealthy inhabitants of the canton are thinking about the possibility of uniting Geneva and Vaud into one canton, whose position would be much more secure.

General Information

  • Area: 582 km3. (Big lake – 503 km2. Small lake – 79 km2).
  • French part: 239 km2.
  • Swiss part: 343 km2.
  • Maximum width: 13.8 km.
  • Length: 73 km.
  • Maximum depth: 310 m (Small Lake – 78 m), average depth: 157 m.
  • Catchment area: 7,395 km2.
  • Volume: 89 km3.
  • Average temperature (at water surface): +20ºC in summer and + 4ºC in winter.


  • Tourism.
  • Agriculture: winegrowing.
  • Fishing.
  • Industries: manufacture of wine, mineral water, chocolate, baby food, cosmetics, tobacco, equipment for motorboats and gliders.

Climate and weather

  • The region is influenced by three types of climate: Atlantic, Mediterranean and temperate continental.
  • Winters are cold and dry and summers are warm, with frequent winds usually blowing from the southwest.


  • Geneva: Museum of Art and History, Red Cross Museum, water fountain, Flower Clock, UN building;
  • Chillon Castle.
  • Vineyards around the lake.
  • The resort of Evian (healing springs).

Fun Facts

  • In Evian-les-Bains, on the French shore of the lake, the agreements between France and Algeria were signed in 1962 to end the war and give Algeria independence.
  • The lake became especially popular after the Deep Purple band’s hit Smoke On The Water, dedicated to the events of December 1971 in Montreux, when a casino caught fire during Frank Zappa’s concert and smoke actually wafted over the waters of Le Mans.
  • Fishing on the lake is increasingly losing importance. Now it’s mainly pike, trout and pike that are being caught here. But it is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts.
    Twenty-two lighthouses around the lake warn fishermen and sports enthusiasts of approaching thunderstorms.
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