There are more mountains close to Geneva than you can shake a Swiss cheese at. Seriously – just check the map. Or, just look up when you emerge from Geneva Airport. The city is hemmed in on all sides by peaks and ridges, some of which glimmer with a constant dusting of snow.
The lake-fringed town is wedged under the French Haute Savoie and the Jura ranges across the border. That’s just on one side. The Regional Park Gruyère Pays-d’Enhaut means there are lush, wooded, pre-Alpine valleys abounding a little to the east, while the higher peaks of the Swiss Vaudland and the iconic Bernese Alps are there if you’re willing to travel just a touch further.
This guide will reveal 9 mountains close to Geneva that are worth considering if you’re coming to the city with the hiking boots and walking poles in tow. It’s got medium-sized options for the less-daring hikers but also glacier-carved peaks for those on a real mission. Ready? Let’s go…
La Para is less than a two-hour drive from Geneva. The drive is actually a bonus, as the scenic route follows the length of Lake Leman and into the Gruyere Pays-d’Enhaut National Park. You’ll see plenty of natural Swiss landscapes before you even reach the start point for hiking La Para.
While La Para is accessible by public transport, we recommend renting a car and using the free parking at Lake Retaud. From the car park, the route is signposted and straightforward. You follow a steep footpath to climb 888 meters to La Para’s summit, so you’ll need a moderate to a high level of fitness. Less experienced hikers and climbers should only attempt La Para in late Spring and Summer, as snow massively alters the technicality of the climb.
Of course, the summit views are well worth your toils. The peak offers 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains, painting that postcard view of natural Swiss landscapes. Even better? On the way down La Para, there is a snack bar called La Marneche, where you can grab a bite and appreciate a terrace viewing platform.
Nearby to La Para, the Tour d’Ai is also less than a two-hour drive from Geneva. For those who’d like to challenge themselves to a couple of days of mountain climbing, it might be traveling from Geneva to the town of Leysin for a short stay. From Leysin, La Para and the Tour d’Ai are doorstep conquests.
However, unlike La Para, the Tour d’Ai is not for the inexperienced or fainthearted. You’ll be scaling near-vertical sections with the aid of ladders and cables – so a fear of heights is a deal-breaker for this mountain. But, if you want a Via Ferrata challenge, the 796m peak is more than happy to give it to you. The summit views are a firm sweetener as well.
Another Leysin-based mountain for you to tackle, Berneuse is one of the best mountains close to Geneva. While most summits in Switzerland lack any facilities, Berneuse has Le Kuklos – a revolving restaurant. As a reward for scaling the mountain, you can indulge in a traditional meal with views of famous peaks such as Mont Blanc as your dining backdrop.
The mountain also has a cable car, so you could opt to take a non-exhaustive round trip or only hike one way. For families or those with poor to moderate fitness, this may be a helpful option to facilitate a Swiss mountain experience. And, for those on a short itinerary, it means that you could take the cable car down in the dark.
At 2,045 meters, Berneuse has quite the elevation, and you should allow approximately four hours for a return climb to the summit from Leysin. It is worth noting that in the winter months, the mountain is used by skiers. So you’ll want to plan a hike in late Spring or Summer. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a paraglider since the mountain is used for hiking and taking to the skies in these seasons.
Rochers de Naye
Rochers de Naye is another firm addition to our list of mountains close to Geneva. The mountain is only an hour and a half drive from Geneva, following the same scenic route along Lake Leman.
At 2,042 meters, you’ll need at least a moderate level of fitness to scale Rochers de Naye. However, those who want to experience the summit without experiencing the hike can opt for the cog railway. In less than an hour, the traditional train takes guests all the way to the summit – a great option for those with children or elderly visitors.
Do you still want to hike the mountain? Good for you. It is best to start your hike from Montreux and follow the steep but relatively untechnical trail to Rochers de Naye’s summit. The main struggle when climbing Rochers de Naye is the hiking time, as you should allow a minimum of eight hours for a return trip. We’d recommend hiking the trail in the late Spring and Summer months, not only for easier track conditions but also for longer daylight hours. You’ll need to set aside a whole day to scale Rochers de Naye, so make sure to set off early and bring plenty of supplies.
Mt Chaumont is an hour and a half north of Geneva and close to the city of Bern. The drive is far from a boring chore, as it passes Lake Leman, Lake de Neuchatel, and arrives at the edge of the Chasseral National Park. Mt Chaumont itself is 1,180 meters high and an excellent mid-level option out of the mountains close to Geneva.
Like many mountains on our list, hiking is not compulsory at Mt Chaumont. Visitors can choose to take the thirteen-minute funicular railway to the summit, where families will particularly enjoy the children’s playground and recreational facilities. Not only are there views of The Three Lakes Region and The Alps, but there is also a panoramic tower should you want to climb even higher.
The ‘Sentier du Temps’ trail is around a two-hour return walk for those wanting to hike. The trail is well-suited to beginners and gentle enough for those nervous about their fitness levels or even families. The track also remains open throughout winter, so it is a good mountain to visit across the winter months. Aside from scenic views and potential wildlife spotting, you’ll be well entertained by the sculptures that tell the story of the earth and humanity along the way. Out of all the mountains close to Geneva, hiking Chaumont provides the best artistic and cultural experience.
Mont Tendre is one of the most impressive mountains close to Geneva. At 1,679 meters, it is the highest peak in the Swiss Jura range and is less than an hour and a half drive from Geneva.
The most popular route starts from Col du Mollendruz and ends at Col du Marchairuz. While the trail itself is not technical and is well-suited to beginners, you will need a moderate fitness level to complete the 16km route. Typically, this path takes around five hours to hike. However, you could easily space the climb out over a day to allow plenty of breaks and time to appreciate the views. You’ll pass through the Jura Vaudois Nature Park, so keep an eye out for native Swiss animals – especially these dangerous ones! Conservation enthusiasts and animal lovers will most appreciate hiking Mont Tendre, although everyone can enjoy 360-degree views of multiple Alp ranges at the summit.
When planning a hike of Mont Tendre, aim for the summer months and remember to pack plenty of supplies. It is also essential to check the weather forecast before beginning a hike, regardless of the season and particularly before embarking on longer hikes.
Only an hour and fifteen minutes drive from the city, Mont Pelerin is one of the most convenient mountains close to Geneva. The mountain stands at an altitude of 1,080 meters and is recognizable by the television tower at its summit.
Mont Pelerin is a great option if you want to combine a touristy activity with some physical exercise and a feeling of accomplishment. Visitors can enter the television tower at the summit and take in the views from an even higher viewing platform. You can also dine at one of the summit restaurants for some rewarding refreshments.
Okay, you could take the funicular railway to the top of Mont Pelerin. But where is the achievement in that? The route starts at the Chemin de la Maison Jean, winding up the mountain on a moderate slope. You should allow approximately three hours for a return hike, although you may wish to add in a few breaks and make the climb more leisurely. The vineyards of Lavaux at Mont Pelerin’s base should provide you with plenty of rewards after your hike.
Cret du Midi
While a little longer to drive, Cret du Midi is well worth visiting. The mountain is a two-hour and fifteen-minute drive from Geneva, so it is best incorporated into a full day or overnight trip.
Be warned, Cret du Midi is widely considered a difficult trail to hike. However, those who aren’t confident hiking to the summit can enjoy the scenic cable car from either Chalais or Vercorin. So, anyone can experience a Pennine Alp summit with a bit of assistance and pre-planning.
If you’ve not been put off the climb, you can hike the 2,332 meters of elevation throughout late spring and summer. You’ll start the hike at the village of Vercorin and walk the difficult 5.8km trail to Cret du Midi’s summit. As a nearly 12km return hike, we’d recommend allowing at least four hours to complete the trip.
It is best to check with locals on arrival about the condition and suitability of the trail, as there is limited information available online. Like with the other mountains on our list, keep in mind that seasons dramatically impact the technicality of hikes.
What would a list of mountains close to Geneva be without Mont Blanc? The beast of a mountain stands at an elevation of 4,810 meters and is one of the tallest peaks in Europe.
While Mont Blanc is not for the unprepared or inexperienced, it is definitely a bucket list mountain just to see – never mind to climb. Those not climbing can take the Aiguille du Midi cable car across the Mont Blanc Massif to enjoy mountain views from a unique yet accessible vantage point. And, at only an hour’s drive from Geneva, Mont Blanc is too close to miss out on.
Should you want to scale Mont Blanc the traditional way, it will require some pre-departure planning. You should have a good fitness level, be dedicated to training in the lead-up to the climb, and have enough savings to book a guided climb well in advance. While the odd fitness-crazed hiker will run Mont Blanc in a day, it is fair to assume you will need to pace the hike over at least a few days. Most summit tours run over three days, although some are spread over an entire week or longer.
If you want to experience Mont Blanc from the cable car, we’d recommend taking a day trip from Geneva. While, if you’re going to climb to the summit, Geneva is an excellent city to arrive and depart from, as it is a convenient drive from the mountain.