Are you confused about deciding whether to choose Geneva or Vevey for your next trip to Switzerland? Both are charming destinations on Lake Geneva. These two towns boast picturesque settings, providing awe-inspiring mountain panoramas and convenient lakefront access, further enhancing their enchanting allure.
Both are beautiful on their terms. So which place is better to visit if you had to choose one: Geneva or Vevey?
No matter which city you choose to travel both Geneva and Vevey are very convenient and scenic. The choice would depend on your preferences. Vevey is better for those who want a quiet and relaxing space to enjoy the scenery. Geneva is better for those who seek a variety of activities, hang out with young people, and visit historical buildings in the city.
Both cities give you all the reasons to plan a getaway at your convenience.
Overview: Geneva and Vevey
Due to their proximity, Geneva and Vevey share more similarities than differences. The following is a quick overview of both locations:
|Population: approx. 200,000
|Population: approx. 26,000
|Area: 15 km²
|Area: 2.38 km²
|Elevation: 375 m (1,230 ft)
|Elevation: 383 m (1,257 ft)
|Highlights: Cathedral St-Pierre, Notre-Dame Church, Ariana Museum, Bains des Paquis, Maison Tavel
|Highlights: Alimentarium, Chaplin’s World, Lavaux Vineyards, Mont Pèlerin
|Lake: Geneva (or Lac Léman)
|Lake: Geneva (or Lac Léman)
The Highlights: Geneva or Vevey
Geneva is a global city in every sense, and soon after arriving here, you’ll hear people speaking languages from all over the world. On the shores of Lake Geneva, it is the second-most populous city in Switzerland and the most populous in the French-speaking part.
Thanks to its many international organizations, Geneva is a global city, a financial center, and a diplomatic hub. As home to the United Nations, Red Cross, World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, and many more, Geneva truly is an important city for diplomacy, international cooperation, and humanitarian engagement.
As a major financial center, Geneva ranks fifth in Europe after London, Zurich, Frankfurt, and Luxembourg. The Pictet Group, Bank Lombard Odier & Co., Union Bancaire Privée, Mirabaud Group, Bordier & Cie, Edmond de Rothschild Group, and One Swiss Bank are just a few banks with headquarters in Geneva.
Vevey is a charming town on the northeastern shores of Lake Geneva near Mont Pèlerin and the Lavaux Vineyards. Located in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland, Vevey boasts several notable cultural institutions and events that contribute to its rich heritage such as the Alimentarium, Chaplin’s World, the Vevey Historical Museum, Vevey International Photography Award, and the Fête des Vignerons.
Vevey’s scenic waterfront promenade offers breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. One of the most iconic landmarks along the promenade is the large fork sculpture called Le Fourchette, a tall, stainless steel fork created by Jean-Pierre Zaugg for the Alimentarium. The large fork sculpture has since been an emblematic symbol of the town.
Vevey has a relaxed, touristy feel, likely even more so than Geneva. It offers a tranquil and laid-back atmosphere and picturesque setting. You will find a lot of people hanging out near the lake on a bright and sunny day.
Things To Do: Geneva or Vevey
Things To Do in Geneva
While there are many things to do and places to visit in Geneva, we have provided some of the highlights of this city below:
- Geneva’s Old Town – Geneva’s Old Town is its historic center. In addition to Saint Peter’s Cathedral, you’ll find Bastion Park, the Reformation Wall, the Place du Bourg-de-Four, the Treille Promenade, and more.
- United Nations Building – If you want to see one of the world’s most important diplomatic centers, the Palace of Nations is a must. There are tours available upon request.
- Jet d’Eau – Check out Geneva’s water jet, the Jet d’Eau. Bains des Pâquis is also nearby.
- St. Pierre Cathedral – The Cathedral was built between 1160 and 1252. It was used by John Calvin, one of the key figures of the Protestant Reformation. St. Pierre Cathedral is one of the most important landmarks in Geneva.
- Visit the museums – Geneva also has its fair share of museums.
- Lake Geneva – On top of all of that, you can stroll along Lake Geneva or cruise on it – the largest lake in Switzerland is indeed a place where you can swim in summer, cruise in a boat, or just stroll around.
- Enjoy a walk in one of the parks – The two parks worth mentioning are Parc de la Grange and Parc des Eaux-Vives. These parks have well-tended flower beds, and it’s always a pleasure to walk through them. Come see the flowers when they are blooming.
Things To Do in Vevey
- Alimentarium – Visitors of all ages can explore the cultural, social, and scientific aspects of food in this museum. Supported by the Nestlé Foundation, you will learn more about machines used in the food industry, the human body, how food affects your health and the human diet.
- Chaplin’s World – A museum in Corsier-sur-Vevey that honors the legendary silent film actor Charlie Chaplin who lived here until the end of his life. He left a wealth of works and his life behind in his manor, which is preserved for visitors to see.
- Mont Pèlerin – On the way up to Mont Pélerin, you will get a glimpse of this UNESCO World Heritage Site via Chardonne. These are the Lavaux, Vineyard Terraces. Up in Mont-Pèlerin, the view of the Savoy Alps and Lac Leman is excellent. You will see Moléson, Rochers de Naye, and Diablerets, among others.
- Musée Jenisch – The museum showcases a diverse collection of fine arts and prints.
- Vevey Photography Museum – At the heart of Vevey, this Swiss Camera museum is dedicated to the art of photography featuring inspiring exhibitions featuring cameras and movie projectors.
- Swiss Museum of Games – Located in La Tour-de-Peilz between Vevey and Montreux, this museum features board games from ancient times to modern ones. You can try out several games yourself if you wish.
- Vevey History Museum – The historical museum features interesting exhibitions about life in the region as well as the famous winegrowers’ festival Fête des Vignerons.
- Place du Marché – The marketplace is a huge open space in front of Lake Geneva with more than 10,000 m2. It is one of the largest open spaces in Europe. Although it houses a car park, the space does allow various events such as markets, circus, Saint-Martin fair, and other one-off events.
- Fête des Vignerons – You are unlikely to catch it because it only takes place 4 times per century but this traditional festival of winegrowers is a huge festival. The performances take place in Place du Marché. Since 2016, Fête des Vignerons has been included in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage.
- Vevey’s Churches – Among the churches in Vevey are the Eastern Orthodox Church, Swiss Reformed Church of Saint-Martin
- Saint-Jean Tower and Fountain – An ancient clock tower whose roots can be traced to the medieval era. It was named after St. John the Baptist (Saint Jean Baptiste). At its foot, you can see a fountain built in the 18th century.
Hotels: Geneva or Vevey
While Geneva has a greater variety of hotel options, Vevey also offers a variety of hotels with stunning lake views, suitable for a variety of budgets. Check out our Geneva and Vevey hotel recommendations below.
Recommended Hotels in Geneva
- Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva (5-star) – Set in a historic building from 1834, Four Seasons is one of the best hotels in Geneva. You can’t go wrong with this hotel with its elegant interiors, fine dining restaurant, indoor infinity pool, spa, business services, and multi-lingual concierge.
- Beau-Rivage Genève (5-star) – With its panoramic views of the lake and Mont Blanc, this elegant 5-star hotel is right on Lake Geneva. Cornavin Train Station is just a five-minute walk away. This hotel has a highly-rated French restaurant called Le Chat Botté. There is a 24-hour front desk, fitness center, concierge service, a business center, and more.
- Hotel Bristol (4-star superior) – Between Geneva’s train station and the lake, this 4-star superior hotel Hotel Bristol makes a great choice for tourists. This hotel has a wonderful spa area with saunas, a hot tub, and a hammam. Besides that, it’s got a great restaurant called Côté Square.
- citizenM Geneva (4-star) – citizenM Geneva is close to some main attractions, including St. Pierre Cathedral, Jet d’Eau, the Flower Clock, and Geneva Town Hall. The hotel has air-conditioned rooms, a restaurant, and a bar, too.
- Hotel Bernina Geneva (3-star) – Located opposite Geneva’s train station, the Hotel Bernina Geneva is a convenient 3-star superior hotel with clean, modern rooms.
- MEININGER Geneve Centre Charmilles (Hostel) – Although this hostel isn’t in the center of the city, it’s well connected, so you can easily get to all the sights. With 24-hour reception, free WiFi, luggage storage, a washing machine, a dryer, a kitchen, a bar, and a game zone, you’ve got everything you need for your stay in Geneva.
Recommended Hotels in Vevey
Summary: Geneva or Vevey
Generally speaking, Geneva and Vevey both have very beautiful scenery and are pleasant to visit. I don’t think you could go wrong with either choice.
Despite this, I have listed below some of the main advantages of choosing each location. I hope the list will assist you in making your decision.
Advantages of Choosing Geneva
- Panoramic Views and Cityscape: The city of Geneva has stunning views along the shores of Lake Geneva with the iconic Jet d’Eau fountain and a mix of modern and historical architecture. The cityscape blends the flat terrain around the lake with the backdrop of the Alps and Jura Mountains.
- Hotels and Amenities: Geneva, as the largest city in French Switzerland, offers a broader selection of hotels, restaurants, and shops compared to Vevey, catering to a larger resident population. It’s an ideal destination for those seeking a vibrant urban experience, drawing diverse visitors attracted to its cultural events, lakeside attractions, and international conferences. The city’s global status provides language accessibility, diverse cultural encounters, and networking opportunities, making it a hub for global services and amenities.
- Visitors: Geneva attracts a diverse range of visitors due to its international organizations, conferences, and diplomatic activities. It appeals to business travelers, diplomats, tourists interested in cultural attractions, and those seeking a cosmopolitan experience.
- Accessibility: Geneva serves as a major transportation hub with an international airport and excellent train connections, providing easy access to other Swiss cities and neighboring countries like France. The city’s central location allows for convenient travel within Switzerland.
Advantages of Choosing Vevey
- Panoramic Views and Cityscape: Situated on Lake Geneva’s northeastern shore, Vevey boasts picturesque vistas of the lake and the Alps. The cityscape features a charming old town with narrow streets, historical buildings, and a beautiful lakeside promenade.
- Hotels and Amenities: Comparatively, Vevey is slightly less touristy than Geneva. Their hotels and restaurants are fewer, and they seem to have more local residents. It is better for those who want a more relaxing, scenic place.
- Visitors: Vevey appeals to those who want a more relaxed and scenic experience. It is closer to Montreux, Mont Pèlerin, Chaplin’s World, and Alimentarium. It is also closer to the Lavaux Vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its terraced vineyards and wine production. Vevey is better if you like wine and culture. Vevey hosts the Vevey International Photography Award and the Fête des Vignerons.
- Accessibility: Vevey has good access to regional transportation networks, making it easy to explore nearby towns along Lake Geneva. However, it does not have the same volume of connections as Geneva. Usually, if you’re taking the train to reach many other cities in Switzerland, you’ll likely need to pass through Lausanne along the way.
Both Geneva and Vevey offer unique experiences: Geneva for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, international appeal, and diverse attractions, while Vevey provides a more relaxed, scenic, and charming Swiss town experience. The choice between the two might depend on travelers’ preferences for city life, scenery, and the type of experience they seek during their visit to Switzerland.
My personal preference is to stay in Geneva over Vevey. Geneva offers more activities, restaurants, museums, and a wider selection of hotels. Still, I can see the charm and appeal of Vevey too.
Related Posts: Geneva
- Zurich to Geneva Train: All You Need to Know
- How to Spend 1 Day in Geneva, Switzerland
- 10 Best Day Trips from Geneva
- Discover St. Pierre Cathedral in Geneva, Switzerland
- Musée Ariana, Geneva: 8 Things That Make You Love It
- Beautiful Towns Near Geneva, Switzerland
- Closest Mountains To Geneva in Switzerland
- Ultimate List of Steamboats in Switzerland’s Lakes
- 8 Best Things to Do in Geneva on a Rainy Day
Related Posts: Vevey
- Geneva To Vevey Train: All You Need To Know
- How to Spend 1 Day in Vevey, Switzerland
- 10 Best Day Trips from Vevey
- Chaplin’s World: The Inspiring Charlie Chaplin Museum In Corsier-sur-Vevey
- 8 Beautiful Towns Near Vevey, Switzerland
- 8 Best Places on Lake Geneva
- Mont-Pèlerin Switzerland: 7 Best Things to Do
Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.