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Mont Salève: Easy Mountain Day Trip from Geneva to France

Mont Salève is a mountain not far from the Swiss town of Geneva, making it an easy day trip from the city by bus or car. Technically the mountain is actually in France.

However, it really didn’t feel like we were travelling into another country when we went through as although I was warned to bring my passport, the border control isn’t open on a Sunday and so my passport wasn’t even checked!

You know what else isn’t open on Sundays? Supermarkets! Typical me, I completely overlooked this fact when I was eagerly packing my camera and chocolate snacks!

I therefore completely forgot to bring water! As water is a must when hiking in hot weather, it was very fortunate that you can actually buy water in a shop at the bottom of Mont Salève. The shop accepts most currencies (the vendor saying that ‘money is money’ and boasting that she accepts everything from pounds to yen!).

The mountain is 1379m high and it is possible to hike up in a couple of hours (or less if you don’t stop every five seconds to take photos/ avoid ex-boyfriends- long story…).

First impressions of the mountain (the little bird shapes in the right-hand upper corner are actually paragliders!):


Hiking Mont Salève, Geneva

Although I hiked up the mountain, it is worth noting that it is possible to get the cable car up and down the mountain for a few euros each way, meaning that it’s still possible to enjoy the view without hiking! The hike up the mountain is clearly signed and along the way, there are many incredible views and interesting paths to follow!

The one difference I would say that I noticed between Switzerland and home (UK) is that there were a lot less health and safety fences etc as we were climbing up the mountain! For a lot of the journey, you are completely alone with the forest and it is quite nice not to be bumping into other people every 2 minutes/ and being one with nature bla bla bla!


Once we had reached what I presumed was the top, my friend informed me that we were actually only at the first plateau and had at least another half hour walk ahead of us if we wanted to see some truly incredible views.

At the first plateau, there is a restaurant and a café where you can buy snacks/ soft drinks and beers for 4 euro! I don’t know what the restaurant is like but I’ve been informed that it’s good. These too, take swiss franc as well as euros.

The view from the first Mont Salève plateau wasn’t so bad either…


After a cold beer and unhealthy snack, it was time to climb up the rest of the mountain to reach the proper summit. Once you are nearly at the actual summit, there is a really beautiful Buddhist Temple- you have to take off your shoes to enter. It is very peaceful and calm, exuberating the perfect amount of tranquillity for a mountainous atmosphere.

At the very top, there is an amazing view and there are many trails you can follow off into the sunset. Nope, hold on- not so fast! If you want to get the cable car (Téléphérique du Salève) down you have to be back for the last car by 7 pm during the week/ 11 pm Thursday- Saturday if you’re a night owl 😉 !

France Travel Information

France uses the Euro (€)

The main language spoken in France is French. Though you can get by with English is more touristic places, it’s always a good idea to learn some of the local language. Bring along a simple phrasebook like this one to help make your travels easier.

The capital of France is Paris. For more information and inspiration, check out our best Paris travel tips.

France uses plug types, types C and E. As such, if you’re travelling from the UK, USA, Canada, and many other destinations, you’ll need to buy an adapter. I recommend buying a universal travel adapter that you can use for multiple destinations (rather than buying a new adaptor for each place you visit).

As one of the most popular destinations in the world, you should always consider booking your accommodation well ahead of time. Check out this website for price comparison details and detailed reviews.

Be careful with your belongings. I also highly advise to avoid wearing a backpack and to instead opt for a crossbody bag like these ones. I personally use a crossbody bag by this brand and love its shape, size, and versatility.

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Mont Salève Day trip from Geneva to the mountains in France

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Tuesday 25th of September 2018

I have a flight to catch on Saturday, around 3:30, so wish to be back at my hotel latest 12:30. Do you think I can make a rountrip to Mt Saleve if I can reach the cable car early in the morning?

Alternatively, can I make this round trip on Friday night, if I reach the cable car around 7pm?

Also - worse case, if the cable car is closed, how long is trek up and down the first plateau?

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