It was the concierge at La Reserve, where I was staying in Geneva for three nights with a friend, who suggested an aquatic adventure. His recommendation could not be faulted; I can’t imagine there is a better guide to Lake Geneva than the charming and chatty Balthazar Witzig. Our two-hour excursion aboard a zippy Formula 310 bowrider (SFr700, about £555 per hour; 10 passengers maximum) took in endless spectacular views, but it was our captain’s running commentary that made the sights sparkle. From Swiss CEOs to trout fishing, the majestic Alps in the distance to the lakeside Lavaux vineyards via the starry residents past and present, Witzig wowed us with his local knowledge.
Witzig is the owner of small luxury craft charter Genevaboats, which operates a fleet of 15 boats that cater to serious sailors, watersports enthusiasts and those who simply want to watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand. The options for both charters and rentals include a 7.3m semi-rigid tender (about £420 per hour; maximum 11 people) that’s ideal for sunbathing, a Beneteau First 20 sailboat (about £143 per hour; four passengers) and a classic lake cruiser (price on request) that can hold 25 people, making it a perfect party vessel.
Most of the boats are also geared up for fishing, a passion of Witzig’s. His expert guides will take guests – up to seven at a time (about £198 per hour; minimum two hours) – to catch char, whitefish and lake trout throughout the seasons. There are bounteous food options too, including on-board sushi picnics or a stop for lunch at the Hôtel du Port in Yvoire. We opted to keep moving and spot castles in the surrounding villages. My favourite was the dramatic Château de Chillon between Montreux and Villeneuve, but my top tip would be to ask for Witzig as your skipper.