Passenger ferry boats from Lausanne cruise year-round on Lake Geneva to Evian and Thonon-les-Bains in France.
Passenger ferries cross Lake Geneva daily from Lausanne in Switzerland to Evian and Thonon in France. Up to 14 boats operate daily on each route in both directions. Ferryboats often provide the easiest public transportation to Evian (Ferry N1) and Thonon (Ferry N2). In winter, the ferries from Lausanne to Evian are often the only option for tourists keen to enjoy a cruise on Lac Léman. No car ferries operate on Lake Geneva.
The passenger ferries, like all CGN lake boats, depart from Lausanne-Ouchy, which is quite a distance from downtown Lausanne and the train station. It is not a simple walk – use the metro (CHF3.70), which stops across the road from the boat landings in Ouchy. (The Olympic Museum is just down the road from the boat landing.)
Passenger Ferries from Lausanne in Switzerland
Two passenger ferryboat routes have departures daily from Lausanne in Switzerland to French cities on the southern side of the lake: Route N1 to Evian-les-Bains and Route N2 to Thonon-les-Bains. These ferry boats operate year-round making them the best option for cruising on Lac Léman in winter when other boat services are severely limited.
The passenger ferries on Lake Geneva are mostly public transportation for local residents to cross the lake to the excellent railway system running along the Swiss side of Lac Léman. However, the ferries are also excellent for leisure travelers.
The ferries do not connect the French cities Thonon and Evian with each other – each ferry route directly cross the lake to Lausanne.
Tickets must be bought from the vending machines or ticket windows before boarding the ferry boats. In contrast to the pleasure boats, tickets are not sold on the purely commuter ferry boats.
Note that the last two boats of the day on the Lausanne-Evian route and many of the boats on the Lausanne-Thonon crossing are usually on the Navibus. Tickets for the Navibus cruises must be bought before boarding and no bicycles are transported.
As the ferries cross the border, customs checks may be made, which is usually not a problem for tourists but no exceptions are made by Swiss customs officials. Also, travel restrictions in either France or Switzerland will both apply on the ferries.
All regular Swiss transportation discounts may be applied on tickets used on the Lake Geneva ferries — see Savings Deals on Lake Geneva Cruises for details.
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
Lake Geneva Ferry Route N1 – Lausanne to Evian-les-Bains
Route N1 connects Lausanne and Evian up to 13 times per day in each direction in around 35 minutes but as fast as 20 minutes on the late-night Navibus boats. The first boats depart on working days from Lausanne before 5 am (before 6 am from Evian) and on Sundays at 9:25 (10:05 from Evian). The exact times vary from season to season.
The final boats of the day are on weekdays (and every day during the summer season) from Lausanne at 22:30 (from Evian at 22:50). During the rest of the year, the last boats on weekends are usually 20:00 from Lausanne (20:45 from Evian).
Lausanne to Evian cruises are CHF21 one way (CHF30 in first class) or for same-day return CHF36 (CHF51 in first class).
Lake Geneva Ferry Route N2 – Lausanne to Thonon-les-Bains
Route N2 connects Lausanne and Thonon up to 14 times per day but mostly on weekdays only. Crossings may be as fast as 27 minutes on the Navibus but more commonly around 50 minutes on regular boats. Note that route N2 does not operate on weekends during the winter season and during the shoulder seasons with a reduced number of sailing on Saturdays and none on Sundays.
The first sailings on ferryboat route N2 from Lausanne are at 4:40 on weekdays (6:40 on Saturday) and the final boats at 22:30 (17:30 on Saturday except during the high season). On summer Sundays, the first boat leaves Lausanne at 10:00. During the shoulder and winter seasons ferries do not operate on Sundays on route N2.
The first / final departures from Thonon are around an hour later than from Lausanne.
Lausanne to Thonon cruises are CHF29 one way (CHF41 in first class) and CHF50 (CHF70 in first class) for a same-day return. The previous surcharge to use the Navibus has been dropped.
The passenger ferries are referred to as CGN Mobilité while the regular pleasure cruise boats are currently referred to as CGN Horizons. In addition, the ferryboats are dark blue while the pleasure boats are all white. In practice, the difference between ferries and pleasure boats are irrelevant – prices and conditions are the same – but tickets for the blue boats must be bought prior to boarding.
On almost all sailings between Lausanne and Evian, or Lausanne and Thonon, tickets must be bought prior to boarding.
Most ferries to Thonon do not carry bicycles at all.
The opening of the Léman Express train service made transportation from Evian and Thonon to Geneva significantly easier from 2020. However, to Lausanne and other destinations to the north of Lake Geneva crossing by ferry to Lausanne remains the faster and cheaper option.
More on Lake Geneva Pleasure Boats and Cruises:
- Pleasure Boats and Ferries on Lake Geneva
- Lake Geneva Boat Cruises in Spring
- 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