I find it interesting that many of our guests have the takeaway that from first impression, Lake Geneva appears small.
Image courtesy of Lake Geneva Region Tourism. This map makes it look small too!
The first few times someone mentioned this, it perplexed me……Lake Geneva is so big. In fact, it takes over an hour at top speed on a freeway to drive to the end of it. Driving around the perimeter on good roads takes about 2.5 – 3 hours.
There is not a bad view driving around the lake.
But, looking more thoroughly, I see where someone could come up with this conclusion from the vantage point of the city of Geneva. Geneva rests at the far west end of the lake, at the very end. Not to mention, the city lies in the skinniest alcove of the lake. Thus, at first glance, the body of water appears that it stops soon after Geneva.
How one might think the lake ends over there on the horizon…..
In actuality, the visible part in the picture above is just this portion. Image courtesy of Google Maps.
So, on today’s blog post, just wanted to clear up this issue by providing a few fun facts on Lake Geneva:
1 – It is big! Specifically, the lake takes up 224 square miles.
2 –Driving around it can add time to your European road trip. The Mt Blanc tunnel costs 48 euros (around 75 USD) to travel through one-way. The tunnel takes 20 minutes. The other option is driving around Lake Geneva, which could add 3 hours to your trip.
Mt. Blanc dominates the lake
3 – It is deep! Because it is an Alpine lake, it mimics the Alps, in the inverse. The average depth of Lake Geneva is 507 feet.
4 – It has dual citizenship in two countries. About 60% lies in Switzerland and 40% lies in France. Multiple ferries traverse the water each day and are often used by commuters. In fact, in the below photo taken in Montreux, we are standing in Switzerland but the Alps in the background are French.
5 – It has contributed to science. In 1827, Lake Geneva was the first place for the speed of sound to be tested in fresh water.
6 – Expensive bottled water likes to call it home. Evian comes from several springs near Evian-les-Bains, France, which rests on the shores of Lake Geneva.
There is an Evian museum on Lake Geneva
7 – It contributes to great French wine. The Rhone flows into and out of Lake Geneva, joining the Aarve River, and down to the Mediterranean. The famous French wine in the Côte du Rhône region sits on the banks of the Rhône, of which the river flow is derived directly from Lake Geneva!
La Jonction, where the Rhone & Arve rivers meet
8 –It doesn’t just go by “Lake Geneva”. In French it can be called Lac Léman or Lac de Genève. In German, you might hear it referred to as Genfersee. In Italian, it can be either Lago Lemano or Lago di Ginevra.
Does anyone else know any other neat facts about the lake?