Though Geneva is far inland from sand and sea, thanks to Lake Geneva (called Lac Léman by all of Switzerland except the Genevois) and the rivers Rhône and Arve, it is still host to a bounty of natural waters, beautiful beaches and swimming spots. Visiting a sandy beach in Geneva is a top thing to do during a hot sunny afternoon.
The Bains des Paquis beach is on the right bank (west side) of Geneva Lake, while Baby Plage and Geneva Plage are on the left bank (east side), not far from each other.
TIP: Use a yellow lake boat mouette (part of public transport) available for anybody crossing the lake easing the access to and between the beaches.
Bains des Paquis (2CHF)
Located on the west side of Lake Geneva is a sizeable jetty called Bains des Paquis (Baths of Paquis), open year-round for taking advantage of the lake. Bains des Paquis has a long gravel beach, lined with a wooden platform on which sun-bathers stretch out to absorb the warm rays of the beautiful summer months, while having a spectatural views on Geneva Lake and Jet d’Eau fountain.
There are many services and activities available at Bains des Paquis next to bather such as thermal baths, saunas, and massage (depends on the time of the year) plus all-popular restaurant La Buvette des Bains serving lunch menu (for only CHF 14) or delicious fondue in the winter months. Read more about Bains des Paquis.
Beach of Bains des Paquis
Stepping down from quai to the plage of smooth stones don’t be surprised if you find that your neighbor is a swan! They are not afraid of humans and come begging scraps off the (very popular) lunch plates visitors get from the adjoining restaurant Buvette des Bains (open 7:00-22:30)
White zone (paid until 7pm, free on Sunday) at Quai du Mont-Blanc or Quai Wilson streets (lining the lake).
Winter (from the 12th of September to 10th of May): free,
Summer (from the 11th of May to 11th of September): CHF 2 for adults (16+), CHF 1 reduced price (children), free for children up to 6 years old. Seasonal tickets available (CHF 50).
Beach at Bains des Paquis is open all year long, in summer becoming full of people coming here for leisure, relaxation, sports, swimming or family time.
Admisson to beach is required in summer months (see above) from 10am to 9pm, on Sunday from 9am to 9pm (closure time can change in case of bad weather).
Baby Plage (free)
Baby Beach is lovely cozy beach on the east side of Lake Geneva, just next to La Grange Park. In the past this used to be a beach only for families with small children, today everybody can come here, but still, you will find many parents coming here with kids for swimming and bathing, while people of all ages are chilling and enjoying their afternoon. Green grass lawns around are popular place for picknick and barbeque.
Baby Beach is equipped with tire swings, a jungle gym and a grassy area, making it perfect family beach destination. Baby plage is also the only beach that exists in Geneva with bona fide sand (albeit a conservative quantity of it).
Around the Baby Beach are food and ice cream stands and popular fast food, there is also a carousel a short walk down the lake.
Location: Quai Gustave-Ador 63
Public Transport: Parcs (bus 2, 6) Search Connection >
Parking: Try parking at blue zone for free for up to 89 minutes at nearby Avenue William-Favre street or adjacent streets, then walk to the beach via La Grange Park. With a bit of luck, or coming early, You can find a place directly at Quai Gustave-Ador.
You need a blue parking disk to park at blue zone, Sunday parking is unlimited. Read about parking >
Closest parking garage is Rive-Centre, which is 1km (14 minute) walk through lake promenade.
Genève Plage (7CHF)
Geneva Beach is the biggest beach and swimming area directly on the lake under the chic neighborhood of Cologny. The main attraction here is not the lake beach, though, but the Olympic-sized swimming pool, paddling pools, slides, and high dives. Wide green lawns both with or without the shade of trees grand plenty of space for relax or picnic. There is also an onsite store for all of your typical summer needs, a restaurant, and poolside service.
There are many activities offered at Genève Plage. It also offers a bit of a nightlife, as it is the site for many large parties, both private and public. Call for more information +41 (0)22 736 24 82.
Entrance fees are 7 CHF for adults and 3.50 CHF for children; Free with Geneva Pass. Seasonal passes are available for 100/50 CHF. Entry includes a private changing room.
Directions to Geneva Plage:
GPS: 46.213724, 6.173587
Address: Quai de Cologny 5, (by intersection with Chemin de la Tour-Carrée) Geneva. Open in Google Maps.
Public Transport Stop: 2, 6, E, G; Mouettes Boats: M3, M4.
Parking: Parking Garage "Genève Plage" is directly on the spot. CHF1 per hour during weekdays (after third hour CHF2 per hour), CHF1 per 2 hours during weekends and holidays.
Curiosity: The plans for upcoming future (2017) are talking about joining Baby Beach and Geneva Beach into one continuous sandy beach. Let's get surprised!
Recently opened temporary beach floating on the water in the very center of the city. L'amarr public beach & swimming pool is situated by the Pont de la Machine bridge, opposite the Cite du Temps and opens only for the summer.
A wooden pier to which this beach is attached is all year long popular place for locals to get on the fresh air and have a quick lunch here.
Entry: Adults CHF 2, Children CHF 1.
Season pass: Adults CHF 50, Children CHF 25.
Closed Monday, Tuesday; Wednesday to Sunday: 10:30am - 7:30pm
Pon de la Machine, opposite to Cite du Temps.
GPS: 46.205593, 6.145432
Open in Google Maps
(as the beach is installed here only during he summer, it might not be portrayed in Google Maps.
Public transport stop: Bel Air (200m)
Parking: Max. 1,5 hours in the white zone, difficult to find as this is city center. Preferably head to one of these closest parking garages: Place Grenus (Manor shoppingmall) or Mont Blanc parking.
The magical area of the city where the Arve and Rhône rivers meet together. Heavily populated by trees and a bit away from the center of the city, this is less mainstream beach than previous ones. Swimmers can come here for a more natural experience. You might also catch some students and researchers from Geneva University taking a break on their lunch hour on the banks of the Rhône near Jonction, lending a more home-cooked feel. Albeit forbidden, it is not uncommon to see someone courageous jump off the Sous-Terre Bridge and let the river carry him back to land. An added attraction is a long trail that stretches along the river on the Rhône side, which passes through several areas with park-style barbecue pits. If You make it to the bridge, expect breathtaking view of the 2 rivers joining each other.
More Beaches in Geneva
Except from these official lake access points mentioned above, there are also several other points where it is free and allowed to access the water some at the Rhone and Arve rives, but mostly at the left and right banks of the Geneva lake. These places are easily to be found when just walking, cycling or driving around the lake promenade. Some of them are:
- Small gulf at Quai Wilson (south from Perle du Lac restaurant) - combine visiting Parc Mon Repos and Science Museum with a fresh bath in the lake.
- Big beach and entry point for windsurfers, near Restaurant de la Plage du Reposoir
Route de Lausanne 222 (lot of free parking up to 4 hours)
- Big rocks shore at Quai de Cologny, another place with plenty of free parking and refreshing lake breeze.
Promenade of Geneva Lake in Geneva is a beautiful walk in itself, full of parks, refreshment stalls, ice creams, few restaurants and padle boats rentals, all pedestrial zone without cars..