Which Countries Share Lake Geneva?

Vineyards in Switzerland's Lavaux region on the shore of Lake Geneva.

Lake Geneva is found between the two European countries of France and Switzerland. It is a glacial lake which is crescent in shape with its horns facing south. The northern and southern shores are 59 and 45 miles long respectively with the whole lake covering a total area of 224 square miles. The largest part of the lake is found in Switzerland covering approximately 133.32 square miles, and other parts covering 90.62 miles is found in France. Lake Geneva lies at an elevation of 1,220 feet with a maximum length of 45 miles and 8.7 miles in width. The maximum depth of the lake is approximately 1,020 feet. Lake Geneva is the biggest freshwater body in both France and Switzerland.

Source and Tributaries

The main source of Lake Geneva is river Rhone which enters the lake between Le Bouveret and Villeneuve, Switzerland and leaves it at the west through Geneva city. La Veveyse, La Morges, La Dranse, La Vuachere, L’Aubonne, and La Venoge are tributaries that also feed the lake. 

Geography of Lake Geneva

The lake is split into three parts considering how they were formed. Haut Lac was formed through sedimentation and is located in the eastern section of the lake from Meillerie-Rivaz to Rhone estuary. Grand Lac was formed through tectonic folds, and it is the deepest and biggest basin. The Petit Lac which is also known as Small Lake is of glacial origin and is situated in the southwestern part of the lake. It is steeper and narrower compared to the other parts.

Valais and Savoy mountains border the lake from the northern side and are generally rugged in nature. Vine-covered gentle slopes dotted with old castles and villages are found on the northern coast. The region between Villeneuve and Vevey has a typical Alpine character and is found on the eastern shore. Because of its flat nature, the shore in Lausanne and Nyon is named La Cote. The section found between Vevey and Lausanne is known as Lavaux, it is covered mostly by vineyards, and it is hilly. On the southern side, the lake is bordered by Chablais Alps.

Tourism and Sports in Lake Geneva

The main economic activity in Lake Geneva region is tourism with the main attraction sites being museums, castles, archeological sites, and the beautiful view of the mountains and shores. Apart from the popular yacht racing, there are other sports such as cycling and hiking around the shores of the lake.

Cities and Towns

Lake Geneva’s biggest cities are Lausanne and Geneva with an approximate population of 128,302 and 185,526 respectively. About 8.7% of Switzerland populations live in the Lake Geneva region. Yvoire, Vevey, Nyon, Morges, Thonon-Les-Bains, and Montreux are towns found on Lake Geneva as well.

Treats and Conservation

The lake was rendered unsafe for swimming in the 1960s because of pollution, and in 1980s the aquatic life in the lake was nearly destroyed due to the effects of pollution. In the present day, the lake is safe for swimming, rowing, bathing, windsurfing, sailing, scuba diving, and boating. The lake serves as a breeding place of the red kites and buzzard. It is also a home of many species of birds and wildlife.


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