Switzerland is a country that is bordered by Italy, France, Germany and Austria. It is one of the most developed countries in the world, while it has the highest average wealth per adult and is in the top ten for per capita gross domestic product. In terms of quality of life, Zurich, Geneva and Basel have consistently been ranked among the top 10 cities in the world. Although there are numerous ways to spend a summer holiday in Switzerland, this is the best way to spend it by a Swiss lake!
Even though Switzerland isn't a big country in terms of area (it's only 41,285 square kilometers), it is known to be extremely beautiful because of its geography and natural wonders. Switzerland is home to the famous Alps, Jura Mountains and the Swiss Plateau. What's more, there are 7000+ lakes covering the country that hold around 6% of Europe's whole stock of fresh water.
Although mainly thought of as a winter destination, summer in Switzerland is beyond beautiful as well. Is there a better way to spend a summer around a Swiss lake!?
Most lakes in Switzerland can be easily accessed by public transportation with the Swiss Transportation Network and with the app of SBB, it is even easier. However, for those who want to drive, trips to the lakes make a fantastic road trip and car rentals are easy in Switzerland!
There are plenty of Swiss lakes to visit. Some of our favorites include Lake Geneva, Lake Constance and Lake Zurich. All of these lakes provide something unique, and have numerous activities to do around them as well! There is plenty to do around a lake, beyond just swimming and water activities such as camping, barbecuing, water and land activities. Besides, it is very different swimming in a lake than in an beach. Try it for yourself to see the difference!
**A piece of advice before you go jumping into any lake that you see: There are typically rules beside the lake you must follow before you go in. If not, you can be fined. The usage of sunbeds before or after a swim will typically cost you around 5 euros.**
Lake Geneva is located on the north side of the Alps, at the borders of Switzerland and France, stretching over 580 square kilometers in area. Lake Geneva is known as one of the largest lakes in Western Europe and also for its unique crescent shape. The lake is divided into three parts because of the different forms of its formation, known as Haut Lac (Upper Lake), Grand Lac (Large Lake) and Petit Lac (Small Lake). Many boating activities such as sailing, wind surfing, water skiing, wake boarding and scuba diving are available for purchase/rental on the lake. After spending a day at the lake, there are plenty of tiny, quaint towns to visit nearby such as the Canton of Valais, Le Bouveret and Clarens where delicious Swiss foods are waiting for you to try!
Lake Constance is a lake located at the bottom of the Alps along the Rhine is one of three bodies of water that are connected to Spain. It is the third largest lake in Central Europe. It has been split into 2 parts, a main east section called Obersee (Upper Lake) Untersee (Lower Lake), connected by a small river called Seerhein (Lake Rhine). Because of its stunning landscape and food surrounding the area, Constance Lake is a fantastic vacation destination. In Lake Constance, there are 10 smaller islands on it.
Lake Zurich is probably the most popular lake out of all, and was formed from the Linth river. Lake Zurich, similar to Lake Constance are split into upper and lower lakes, as well, has two minor lakes within it.There are three population and transportation centers nearby called Zurich, Pfaffikon SZ and Rapperswil. One distinguishing feature of Lake Zurich is the clean water it has. Historically, the best time to visit the lake is in late August because of the comfortable weather.
Things to do:
The best way to get the most out of the natural wonders and comfortable climates of Switzerland is to go camping by the lake! As a well-loved summer activity, camping is suitable for any kind of traveler, from the extreme adventurer to the glamping (glamour camping) queen. Most lakes have spaces for cars/RVs to park, and tent and equipment are easy to rent.
A classic idea is to have a lake side barbecue. For the barbecue lovers, Switzerland is the perfect place for you! There are plenty of barbecue pits near both hiking trails and near lakes. It is very common for visitors to grab meat, veggies and sweets on their way to the lake/campsite to prepare for a waterside feast!
One of the best ways to get active is to go hiking or go on a bike ride along the trails that travel around the lakes. When camping, make sure to stay for the sunrise/set and go stargazing! The stars are always much clearer away from the direct city and you will be amazed at the beauty of the world.
There are plenty of activities to do near a lake. And after a tiring morning or afternoon of exercise, the best way to cool off is to take a dip in the crystal clear waters. Plenty of lakes have beach side amenities available for purchase, such as water sport equipment and sunbeds and umbrellas. If physical activity isn't your thing, we suggest taking a boat cruise that would be more relaxing, or a boat raft tour for the more adventurous. You can rent inflatable boats, paddles, pumps, life jackets and dry bags at any local water sports location.
What to Eat
When you are in Switzerland, make sure to indulge in classic Swiss cuisine, including their famous unique cheeses and chocolates. Furthermore, Switzerland is home to many vineyards that produce some of the best red, white and sweet wines! We recommend eating cheese fondue, as it can be easily shared between groups of friends or family, and is the signature dish in Switzerland!