Where to view Swiss Alpine Sunsets on Lake of Geneva
[Images courtesy of Sonja Holverson]
There is universal awe for all living creatures when experiencing a glorious sunset in every part of the world. A primal connection seems to be made at that moment linking us into something bigger than we are as individuals. Being fortunate to have lived in Honolulu, Carmel and San Francisco, I was forever amazed as the sun disappeared into the Pacific Ocean with a difference performance every night.
Now that I live on a lake in Switzerland, I am the happy spectator of another type of end of day experience which has opened up new ways of viewing nature.
This is not just any lake, but Western Europe’s largest lake bordered by the Jura Mountains, the French Alps and the Swiss Alps. Of course, I mean the Lake of Geneva, the usually very placid lake called Lac Leman which has inspired legendary writers, artists, and philosophers for centuries. There is something mystical that happens when the sun sets in the Lac Leman region and you will never forget it, ever.
Sunsets everywhere are impacted many factors. In this region the view of the Swiss Alpine sunset changes by season, temperature, altitude, amount of snow in the Alps and all of the other atmospheric conditions which determine the aesthetic outcomes.
For me, my favorite season for sunsets is late Autumn and all of Winter when the temperatures become crisp along with more clarity in the atmosphere and the clouds are more dramatic and willing to participate in the spectacle. We have the more fire red versions in Autumn and late Autumn. But the most moving for me are the winter Alpine pastels which transforms the clouds, the snow, the lake water and even the white swans floating along the shore into a soft magical pink.
There are an unlimited number of excellent viewing spots to experience this phenomena. Basically the shorelines that are facing southwest are the best which includes anywhere from Lausanne to Montreux and then those regions facing west such as Villeneuve and Le Bouveret at the mouth of the Rhone River that flows into Lac Leman from the South Eastern Alps.
But Geneva is not without its own variety of breathtaking beauty at sunset with the Winter pastels reflecting off of Europe’s highest and permanently snow and glacier covered Mt. Blanc forever omnipresent in Geneva.
The Lausanoise region is situated on hills so there’s always a good vantage point most everywhere for celebrating the end of the day. Any where along the lake promenade is also excellent and many locals turn out for the moment.
In the Lausanne city center there is a large open esplanade behind the Casino de Montbelon (restaurant, concert hall and small vintage film theatre) and the Tribunal de district de Lausanne Palais de Justice de Montbenon just next to the Lausanne Palace Hotel & Spa.
If you prefer a romantic or just an aesthetic sunset dinner (depending on the season and time of sunset), the restaurant and terrace at the MYO sushi restaurant is the perfect vantage point and the cuisine is good. For something more elegant you could dine or have an aperitif in the garden at Le Cote Jardin with a superb view or invite some friends to sip champagne in the private dining room, the Krug Room which is connected to the terrace overlooking the lake and Alps.
Going higher up enables you to enjoy a larger view of the lake and a longer sunset! Some of the best views are from Belmont-Sur-Lausanne, just a 15 minute bus ride (bus 45) from the center of Lausanne. If it’s summer you can view the event from the terrace of the Hotel Belmont. If it’s winter, you could request the inside terraced area at the Relais de la Post restaurant in Grand Vaux (Lavaux Vineyards and UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Actually the very best Swiss Alpine sunsets are from my own balcony looking through the forest across the Lake of Geneva towards Evian and the French Alps, but I don’t think that you will all fit!
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[Images courtesy of Sonja Holverson]