All of Switzerland's larger lakes are crisscrossed by elegant steamers, some of them restored paddle steamers. Their café-restaurants serve drinks, snacks, and hot food at standard mealtimes; toilet facilities are provided. Service continues year-round but is greatly reduced in winter. Unlimited travel is free to holders of the Swiss Pass. The Swiss Card and the Flexipass may also be used for boat travel. For some travel such as night cruises, you may have to pay a fee. The Swiss Card doesn't give you any discount on Lake Maggiore.
Tickets can be purchased at ticket booths near the docks before departure; for some shorter boat rides tickets are also sold at a counter on board before departure. Tourism offices usually have the latest schedules, though it may be better to check with the boat companies. Credit cards are generally accepted, as are Swiss francs and euros.
The Compagnie Générale de Navigation offers excursion boat rides on Lake Geneva from around 20 to 100 SF to 100 CHF, depending on the distance covered and the type of excursion. In the Ticino, the Navigazione Lago di Lugano and Navigazione Lago Maggiore-Bacino Svizzero run frequent daily boat trips. In Zürich, boat rides of 1½ to 7 hours are available in summer. In winter, the number of boat rides dwindles.
Compagnie Générale de Navigation (Rhodanie 17, Lausanne, 1000. 0848/811848. www.cgn.ch.)
Navigazione Lago di Lugano (Viale Castagnola 12, Lugano, 6900. 091/9715223. www.lakelugano.ch.)
Navigazione Lago Maggiore-Bacino Svizzero (Via di Motta 1, Locarno, 6600. 0848/811122. www.navigazionelaghi.it.)
Schifffahrtsgesellschaft des Vierwaldstättersees (Werftestr. 5, Luzern, 6002. 041/3676767. www.lakelucerne.ch.)
Zürichsee Schifffahrtsgesellschaft (Mythenquai 333, Zürich, 8038. 044/4871333. www.zsg.ch.)
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