Lake Geneva passenger ferries connect Lausanne with Evian and Thonon while pleasure cruise boats go to Montreux, Nyon, Yvoire, and Genève.
Lausanne is one of the best departure ports for cruises on Lake Geneva. A large number of ferry and pleasure boats depart from Lausanne-Ouchy while the Alpine background on these cruises are more spectacular than on excursions nearer Geneva. Passenger ferries operate year-round from Lausanne-Ouchy in Switzerland to Evian and Thonon in France. Pleasure cruises frequently sail from Lausanne to other Lac Léman destinations including Montreux, Chillon Castle, Vevey, the Lavaux, Yvoire, Nyon, and Geneva. Lunch, dinner, and event cruises also sail frequently from Lausanne on Lake Geneva.
The cruise seasons on Lake Geneva are:
- High Season / Summer – end June to early September
- Shoulder Season / Spring & Fall – mid-April to end June and early September to late October
- Low Season / Winter – late October to mid-April
Ferryboats from Lausanne to Evian and Thonon
Ferryboats cross Lake Geneva year-round from Lausanne-Ouchy in Switzerland to Evian-les-Bains and Thonon-les-Bains in France. The Lausanne-Evian ferry is often the only sensible cruise option during the winter season on Lake Geneva.
Passenger ferryboats operate up to 13 times per day between Lausanne and Evian. The Lausanne-Evian crossing takes around 35 minutes with sailing generally every 90 minutes every day of the year.
The Lausanne-Thonon crossing takes between 27 (Navibus) and 50 (regular boats) minutes. The Thonon-Lausanne route can see up to 14 crossing on a summer weekday but does not operate on Sunday outside the summer season.
CGN boats do not connect Evian and Thonon. No car ferries operate on Lake Geneva.
- For more details see: Passenger Ferryboats from Lausanne.
Pleasure Boat Cruises from Lausanne on Lake Geneva
CGN pleasure boat cruises from Lausanne follow two main routings: either to the Upper Lake / Montreux area with spectacular Alpine scenery or down to Geneva.
Probably the most scenic cruises on Lake Geneva is in the Haute Lac (Upper Lake) area – the part of the lake between Lausanne / Evian and the Montreux / St Gingolph areas. Here the Alps provide a magnificent backdrop to the south while the spectacular UNESCO World Cultural Heritage-listed vineyards of the Lavaux cover the northern banks of the lake. Cruising time from Lausanne is around an hour to Vevey, two hours to Montreux / Chateau de Chillon, and 2h40 to St Gingolph.
In summer, around six cruises are available daily and two during the shoulder season. Further cruises on this route starts from Vevey.
- See Lake Cruises from Vevey and Lausanne for more details on these cruises.
The four-hour Lausanne to Geneva cruise is also very popular, stopping en route at amongst others Nyon and Yvoire. During summer, steamboats connect the two largest Lac Léman towns twice per day in each direction. During the shoulder season, the cruise operates once per day on weekends and national holidays only.
- See Passenger Boats between Geneva and Lausanne for more details.
During the winter season, pleasure boat cruises on Lake Geneva from Lausanne is limited to a lunch cruise to Chateau de Chillon or the passenger ferry services to Evian.
Lunch and Dinner Cruises from Lausanne
Food and drinks are available on almost all boats cruising on Lake Geneva – the Navibus to Thonon is generally the only exception. The first class restaurants on the steamships are particularly pleasant. Food and drink are not included in ticket fares and consumption is not obligatory, except on special cruises.
Reservations for lunch and dinner are generally not essential but highly recommended, as the restaurants can sit only a limited number of passengers. Prices are similar to good quality restaurants on land, i.e. not cheap but the quality of food is good. After the main lunch has been served, it is possible to simply have coffee (and cakes) as seats become available again. Picnicking is allowed on the open decks.
During the shoulder and winter seasons, special dinner cruises depart usually on Thursday and Friday from Lausanne at around 19:30. The food is usually a special theme for the year, e.g. cheese fondue, Asian buffet, or gourmet food and wine. Reservations for these cruises are essential.
Boat Landing at Lausanne-Ouchy
All boats on Lake Geneva depart in Lausanne from the boat landing in Lausanne-Ouchy. This lovely lakeside area is quite a distance from downtown Lausanne and the train station. Very steep inclines make this definitely not an easy hike, although it is a pleasant stroll from the boat landing to the Olympic Museum.
The easiest way to reach Lausanne-Ouchy from central Lausanne is to use the Metro. M2 stop Ouchy is right across the road from the boat landings. The one-way fare is CHF3.70 (steep, but so are the hills when walking) but is included in the price of a train ticket if “Mobilis Zone 11” is printed on the ticket.
Tickets for CGN Lake Geneva Boat Cruises
Tickets for CGN Lake Geneva boats can generally be bought anywhere where train tickets are for sale. The simplest is from ticket windows at the boat landings, or when these are close on the boat itself. The price is always the same. (The exception is the Navibus Autocontrol cruises – mostly Lausanne-Thonon ferries – where tickets must be bought before boarding the boats.)
It is also possible to buy most tickets and make boat restaurant reservations online from CGN.
See Savings Deals on Lake Geneva Cruise Boats for a range of savings options to make cruising in Lac Léman boats cheaper.
More on Lake Geneva Pleasure Boats and Cruises:
- Pleasure Boats and Ferries on Lake Geneva
- Passenger Ferries on Lake Geneva
- Passenger Ferries and Cruises from Lausanne to Evian and Thonon
- Savings Tickets for CGN Lake Geneva Boat Cruises
- Summer Lake Geneva Boat Excursions and Day Cruises
- Spring & Autumn Cruises on Lake Geneva
- Winter Cruises on Lake Geneva
- Pleasure Boat Excursions to Yvoire
- See the Historic Paddle Steamers at the Parade Navale
- New Year’s Eve Dinner Cruises on Lake Geneva