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travel advice geneva

  • Passports, travel and living abroad
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Switzerland

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Switzerland Travel Advisory

Travel advisory july 26, 2023, switzerland - level 1: exercise normal precautions.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.

Exercise normal precautions in Switzerland.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Switzerland.   

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Geneva   Travel Guide

travel advice geneva

Courtesy of bluejayphoto | Getty Images

travel advice geneva

Why Go To Geneva

Nestled in a valley at the western edge of Switzerland, Geneva is a serene setting for a slow-paced vacation. Its cobblestone streets are lined with outdoor cafes and independent shops, while the more cosmopolitan stretches of the city are brimming with designer brands and elegant restaurants. Plush seating cradles patrons as world-class orchestras perform inside the Victoria Hall. Even the fine dining here is considered an art. But despite all the luxury, Geneva can also make you sweat – sailing on the lake, walking or jogging in the parks and skiing down the nearby slopes of Mont Blanc are all popular activities.

Find Flight and Hotel Deals

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  • # 10 in Best Places to Visit in Switzerland

Best of Geneva

Best hotels in geneva.

  • # 1 in Beau-Rivage Genève
  • # 2 in Hotel d'Angleterre
  • # 3 in The Ritz-Carlton, Hotel de la Paix, Geneva

Beau-Rivage Genève

Best Things to Do in Geneva

  • # 1 in Lake Geneva (Lac Léman)
  • # 2 in Mont Salève
  • # 3 in Jet d'Eau

travel advice geneva

Popular Tours

Chamonix and Mont Blanc Day Trip from Geneva

Chamonix and Mont Blanc Day Trip from Geneva

(1043 reviews)

from $ 123.61

Geneva 3-hour Chocolate Tasting Tour and Old Town Visit

Geneva 3-hour Chocolate Tasting Tour and Old Town Visit

(1699 reviews)

from $ 116.53

Chamonix Mont-Blanc Full Day Guided Tour

Chamonix Mont-Blanc Full Day Guided Tour

(14 reviews)

from $ 117.72

Geneva Travel Tips

Best months to visit.

The best time to visit Geneva is in the small peak season of July and August. Though you'll rub elbows with hordes of tourists and pay extra to visit during these months, Geneva's weather is at its best for outdoor activities like hiking at Mont Salève and sunbathing at the Pâquis Baths . December to April, meanwhile, are prime times for skiing the nearby Swiss Alps, but you'll encounter chilly temperatures and some crowds. Hotel and airfare deals may be possible if you do not visit around Christmas and Easter. If you'd rather avoid winter's cold weather and summer's high prices, consider arriving between September and November or in May or June, Geneva's shoulder seasons.

Weather in Geneva

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

What You Need to Know

Parlez-vous, français? Although English is widely spoken in Geneva, you should pick up a French dictionary to learn at least a few phrases.

Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere The Genevese consider littering to be in very bad taste, so it's best if you sort your clutter into the proper receptacles.

Check for restaurant closures   If you're visiting Geneva in the summer, call restaurants in advance to ensure availability since some dining venues close for parts of July and August.

How to Save Money in Geneva

Walk if off Geneva is a small city, only 6 square miles, and very accessible for pedestrians. Not only is walking free, but you'll get some great exercise.

Buy a Geneva Pass  If you plan on joining multiple city tours or visiting sights like Mont Salève and the Patek Philippe Museum , consider purchasing a one-, two- or three-day Geneva Pass  for 26 to 45 Swiss francs (or $26 to $48).

Book well in advance Because Geneva hosts so many conventions, hotels fill up quickly during major events. It's best to book at least four months in advance when hotels are more willing to drop rates.

Ask for your Geneva Transport Card All hotels, hostels and campgrounds are required to give you this pass at check-in, letting you ride public transportation for free during your stay. If your feet tire from walking, at least you can enjoy complimentary rides on the tramway.

Culture & Customs

Although the headquarters of the United Nations are in New York City , Geneva is where you'll find the Palace of Nations , the second largest U.N. building and institution in the world. As such, the city is hugely international; people that hail from towns and cities all over the world either make Geneva their home or are in the city for numerous conferences throughout the year.

Switzerland has four official languages (French, German, Italian and Rumantsch), but French is the most widely spoken. English is fairly common as well, but it's best to come prepared with a few key French phrases, such as "bonjour"  (hello), "Comment allez-vous?"  (How are you?), "Je ne comprend pas"  (I don't understand), "Parlez-vous anglais?"  (Do you speak English?) and "au revoir"  (goodbye).

Even though one Swiss franc (Switzerland's official currency) equals about one dollar, exact rates can fluctuate, so check the latest exchange rate before visiting. And remember, Geneva is expensive. Restaurants serving up Swiss cuisine tend to charge quite a few more francs than you might be used to paying, but you won't be expected to tip since service charges are included in all published prices.

What to Eat

Geneva is located just miles from the Switzerland-France border, so many of France's highly praised culinary techniques have infiltrated the dining scene. Italy, too, is only about an hour away, so go figure: French and Italian restaurants reign supreme here. For some of the city's best French cuisine, check out Bayview , Le Chat Botte  and Bistrot du Boeuf Rouge . Popular Italian eateries include Il Lago and Luigia .

Iconic Swiss dishes like chocolate and cheese fondue can be found on many restaurant menus. Other local specialties, such as  Älplermagronen  (a gratin, or casserole-like dish, made with potatoes, macaroni, cheese and onions served with stewed apples) and  rösti  (a flat, circular potato dish that's fried in hot butter or fat), are also available at a variety of dining venues. If you're craving Swiss fare, consider sitting down for a meal at highly regarded restaurants like Restaurant Edelweiss , Auberge de Saviese and La Buvette des Bains . Note: Some eateries close for parts of July and August, so call ahead to confirm opening hours.

Geneva is a very safe city, as far as tourists go – though it does see some petty theft and vandalism, especially at train stations, airports and tram and bus stops. However, other cities in Europe (like London and Paris ) have seen a spike in terrorism-related incidents, so it's best to avoid demonstrations and keep an eye on current events while staying in Geneva. To learn more about security concerns and safety tips for Switzerland, check out the U.S. State Department's website .

Getting Around Geneva

The best ways to get around Geneva are on foot and by tram – the city is a small 6 square miles and is easily navigated. In addition to covering tram services, the city's free Geneva Transport Card for tourists can also be used on water taxis, trains and buses, but these services are often slower or less convenient than walking or taking the tram. Taxis can be hailed as well, though you'll pay a premium to use them. Driving in the city center is not necessary and will generally be more of a nuisance than a convenience due to limited parking and rush hour traffic.

If you're getting to Geneva via Genève Aéroport (GVA), plan on grabbing a free 80-minute train ticket from baggage claim's Transports publics genevois (TPG) vending machine. The journey to downtown's Genève train station will take you approximately 10 minutes.

Entry & Exit Requirements

To visit Switzerland, Americans must have a passport that is valid for at least 90 days after staying in the country. Proof of a return airline ticket is also required. A visa is only needed if your visit will last more than 90 days. Visit the U.S. State Department's website for the latest information on entry and exit requirements.

Head to Lake Geneva at sunset to watch an array of colors fill the sky and reflect onto the water.

Explore More of Geneva

Mont Salève

Things To Do

Best hotels.

World Map

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Geneva Travel Guide

Last Updated: August 17, 2023

View of the jet fountain and the waterfront in Geneva, Switzerland on a bright and sunny summer day with mountains in the distance

Surrounded by Alpine Lake, Geneva is an expensive but underrated city in Switzerland that boasts tons of outdoor activities, has a gorgeous lake to swim in, and is surrounded by towering scenic mountains to explore.

Most travelers to Switzerland usually just visit Geneva for a day and then move on since it’s not a budget-friendly city. But I think the city is worth more time than that so stay at least one night so you can take it all in.

Geneva is super cosmopolitan thanks to the number of international organizations here and there is actually a lot to see and do. Visit all the famous international buildings (one of the four major United Nations buildings is here), admire the historic architecture and castles, tour interesting museums, and spend some time on the lake.

Sure, Geneva is one of the country’s most expensive and luxurious destinations but there are ways to visit on a budget so I don’t think you should rush your visit unless you are short on time.

This travel guide to Geneva can help you plan a budget-friendly stay and ensure you make the most out of your time here without going broke!

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Geneva

Top 5 Things to See and Do in Geneva

United Nations building with two rows of flags from around the world in front, in Geneva, Switzerland

1. Visit the museums

Geneva has over 40 museums. You can find museums about natural history, IT, art, glasswork, science, the Olympics, photography, and more. If you’re visiting a lot of museums, get a city pass so you can save money on admissions.

2. Explore the Cathédrale St. Pierre

If you’re interested in Gothic architecture, this 12th-century cathedral is spectacular. Climb the 157 steps in the tower to get a breathtaking view of the city and surrounding countryside. Inside, its stained glass windows date back to a 19th-century restoration. Entry to the cathedral is free and it costs 7 CHF to climb the towers.

3. Walk through the Jardin Anglais

This is a small garden at the lake where people like to spend their lunch break. Here you’ll find the famous Flower Clock, built to honor the watchmaking that’s so famous in Switzerland. Since the Flower Clock was made in 1955, it’s become one of the most visited attractions in Geneva.

4. Tour the United Nations

Originally built to house the League of Nations, the UN can be seen via tours that are given on weekdays (and Saturdays in the summer). You see the magnificent Assembly Hall, the Council Chamber, the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations room, and more. The tour is 1 hour and cost 15 CHF.

5. Visit the Jet d’Eau

This large fountain is the city’s most famous monument. Located where Lake Geneva empties into the Rhône, it is visible throughout the whole city and even when flying overhead. It pumps 500 liters of water per second up 140 meters (460 feet) in the air and is lit up at night in March, April, September, and October.

Other Things to See and Do in Geneva

1. attend the caves ouvertes.

The “Day of Open Wineries” is a fun summer festival where the wineries in the region open their doors and invite everyone to visit and participate in wine tastings. Geneva is the 3rd-largest wine region in Switzerland with around 90 wineries. Satigny has several wineries and is about an hour bus ride from Geneva. There are also wineries along Lake Geneva. You can rent a bike to explore and take part but if you are planning on sampling a lot of wine you may want to take the free shuttles instead!

2. Visit Mont-Salève

Located just outside of the city, Mont-Salève is a mountain known for its wide range of outdoor activities. Spend a day rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, or cross-country skiing in the winter. To get to the top, there is a well-marked trail that takes around two hours. From there, you can continue on to Grand Salève or just stop and admire the view. The cable car costs 8 CHF (12 CHF return). If you crave an adrenaline rush, you can do a tandem paraglide from the mountain for around 180 CHF.

3. See the Reformation Wall

Located on the grounds of the University of Geneva, this monument serves to commemorate the main leaders of the Protestant Reformation in Europe – John Calvin, Guillaume Farel, Théodore de Bèze, and John Knox. Around 22% of the country is Protestant and the university itself was actually founded by Calvin. The wall’s unveiling was timed to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Calvin’s birth. Inaugurated in 1909, it was built into the old fortification walls of Geneva.

4. Explore Carouge

Across the River Arve is the town of Carouge. This town is believed to have been built by King Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia and the Duke of Savoy in the 18th-century. Many of the buildings here have a strong Italian resemblance, and some locals refer to this area as “little Italy.” Stop by Valmandin for a coffee and a quick break from exploring. If you have a sweet tooth, Philippe Pascoët is the place to go for decadent chocolates.

5. Enjoy the summer festivals

Summer offers a wide range of outdoor concerts and festivals in the city. In June, Fête de la Musique is a three-day music festival with free nonstop concerts, parades, activities, and stalls selling tasty snacks. The Geneva Street Food Festival is a must for foodies and happens every summer. From late August to early September, the La Batie-Festival of Geneva is a 16-day contemporary music and theatrical festival. Just book your accommodation in advance if you’re visiting for a festival as places fill up fast.

6. Relax at the Bains de Paquis

This swimming pool was built in the 1930s and is still a popular place to get a massage and unwind. The pool is built beside the lake and includes a diving board. In summer, you can also enjoy the hammam (they have a hammam reserved for women only too). Baths are open daily and cost 10 CHF. In winter, the outdoor pool is closed, but you can still use the sauna, hammam, and Turkish bath for 20 CHF.

7. Visit Temple de St-Gervais

This Protestant church is built on the foundations of a 4th-century sanctuary as well as a 10th-century Romanesque church. In the 16th-century during the Reformation (a religious reform movement that separated from the Roman Catholic Church), it became a Protestant church. During the late 20th-century, excavations revealed the remains of a Gallo-Roman temple and the first proof of human habitation in Geneva. Take time to admire the architecture and the beautiful early 20th-century stained glass windows. Admission is free but dress respectfully as it is a place of worship.

8. Go on a food tour

Food tours are one of the best ways to discover a city and learn more about the local cuisine and its history. Local Flavours offers a chocolate and Old Town history tour. You learn about the origins and history of chocolate in Switzerland, see the historic town center, and sample chocolates by local artisans. The tour lasts 3 hours and tickets cost 95 CHF.

9. Take a free walking tour

I start all my visits to a new city with a free walking tour. It’s the best way to get the lay of the land and see the highlights on a budget. Free Walk Geneva offers a couple of free walking tours of the city. Tours are typically 2-2.5 hours in length and are led by a local guide with a passion for the city, its history, and culture. If you’re more interested in the UN, WHO, and the World Trade Organization, try the International Geneva tour. While these tours are free, always remember to tip the guide at the end.

10. Visit the Botanical Gardens and Conservatory

Geneva’s botanical gardens date back to the early 20th century but its botany traditions are much older. With more than16,000 different species of plants, trees, and shrubs, they take you through various different areas including some greenhouses, a rockery, an arboretum, and a winter garden. They actually track each plant from planting to introduction to a collection. The Herbarium has around 6,000,000 specimens making it one of the world’s largest collections of plants and fungi. Unfortunately, it’s not often to the public often but there are a few open days each year where you can visit.

  For more information on other cities in Switzerland, check out these guides:

  • Basel Travel Guide
  • Bern Travel Guide
  • Interlaken Travel Guide
  • Zurich Travel Guide

Geneva Travel Costs

People walking and biking through a large plaza in Geneva, Switzerland

Hostel prices – Dorm rooms start around 36 CHF per night for a dorm with 6-8 beds. Private rooms start at 70 CHF per night (but expect to pay closer to 90 CHF). Free Wi-Fi is standard and breakfast is usually included as well.

For those traveling with a tent, there are a few campsites on the outskirts of Geneva. Prices start at 9 CHF for a basic plot without electricity.

Budget hotel prices – Budget hotels start around 76 CHF per night. Most hotels offer free breakfast and free Wi-Fi is standard.

On Airbnb, you can find private rooms for 65-85 CHF per night. You can rent entire homes (usually studio apartments) starting around 90 CHF per night, although there’s a lot more inventory starting at 140 CHF and up.

Average cost of food – With strong French, German, and Italian influences, Swiss cuisine is a mix of meat and potato-based dishes along with plenty of local cheeses. Popular dishes include veal and mushrooms, fondue (with bread or potatoes), rösti (fried grated potatoes), and quiche. Naturally, Swiss cheese and chocolate should not be missed either. When it comes to breakfast, muesli is a go-to healthy choice.

One of the greatest things about Geneva is its diverse cuisine since it is such a hub of international activity thanks to the UN and international organizations in the city. Cheaper places can be found near the university and along Boulevard de Saint-Georges. Bars and cafés are the cheapest food option and an inexpensive restaurant should cost 25 CHF.

If you want to splash out, a mid-range restaurant costs about 60 CHF for a 3-course meal.

For traditional Swiss food such as fondue, schnitzel, älpler makkaroni, raclette, and goulasch you can expect to pay anywhere from 20-40 CHF. Auberge de Saviese, or Le Gruyérien are two good spots for traditional food.

Fast food (think McDonald’s) costs around 15 CHF for a combo meal. A large pizza is 15-21 CHF.

Beer is around 7 CHF while a latte/cappuccino is around 5.5 CHF.

If you cook your meals, expect to pay 100-120 CHF per week for groceries. This gets you basic staples like pasta, vegetables, chicken, and other basic foodstuffs. The major supermarkets are Migros, COOP, and Spar. COOP is the most expensive.

Backpacking Geneva Suggested Budgets

If you’re backpacking Geneva, my suggested budget is 95 CHF per day. This covers staying in a hostel dorm, cooking al of your meals, taking public transit, limiting your drinking, and doing most free activities like enjoying nature and taking walking tours.

A mid-range budget of about 205 CHF per day covers a private Airbnb, eating out for a few meals, enjoying a few drinks, taking the occasional taxi to get around, and doing more paid tours and activities like visiting museums and going skiing.

For a “luxury” budget of 410 CHF or more per day, you can stay in a hotel, eat out for all your meals, drink more, rent a car or take more taxis, and do whatever tours and activities you want. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is the limit!

You can use the chart below to get an idea of how much you need to budget daily. Keep in mind these are daily averages — some days you spend more, some days you spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in CHF.

Geneva Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Geneva is probably the most expensive city in the country. This is a town of international organizations and diplomats so you’re going to be hard pressed to find a lot of deals. Here are a few ways to keep your budget intact in Geneva:

  • Get the Geneva Pass – With options for 1-3 days, this pass provides free transportation as well as free entrance into Geneva’s many museums. If you buy it online, you get a 10% discount. A one-day pass is 21 CHF, a two-day pass is 30 CHF, a three-day pass is 36 CHF.
  • Stay with a local – Couchsurfing is a service that lets travelers stay with locals for free. It was a lifesaver that allowed me to keep my costs down the most. Since a lot of travelers use this service, make your requests for hosts early.
  • Use free local transportation – By booking accommodation in Geneva (hotel, youth hostel, or a campsite), you are entitled to receive a Geneva Transport Card for free. This card allows you to use any public transportation (buses, trams, trains, and yellow taxi-boats) for free during the length of your stay. Just ask for it upon arrival at reception.
  • Don’t drink – Alcohol is not cheap here so keep the beers if you’re on a budget. If you must drink, stick to hostel bars where you can enjoy 2-for-1 happy hours and cheap.
  • Cook your own food – It’s not glamorous, but cooking your own meals will save you a fortune here!
  • Ride a bike – You can find bicycles for rent at most hostels. This is a very, very small town with very little traffic. If there’s no snow on the ground, this is the perfect place to cruise around on your bike.
  • Bring a water bottle – The tap water here is safe to drink so bring a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce your plastic use. LifeStraw is my go-to brand as their bottles have built-in filters to ensure your water is always clean and safe.
  • Take a free walking tour – In the warmer months, Free Walk Geneva offers a budget-friendly way to see the main sights and connect with a local who can answer all your questions. Just be sure to tip!

Where To Stay in Geneva

There are only a couple of hostels in Geneva, so consider booking early if you’re visiting during the peak summer months. Here are my suggested places to stay in Geneva:

  • City Hostel
  • Nyon Hostel
  • Geneva Hostel
  • MEININGER Geneve Centre Charmilles

How to Get Around Geneva

Buildings along the waterfront in Geneva, Switzerland

Public Transportation – Bus, train, and boat travel within Geneva are included in the travel card you receive. Otherwise, it is 2 CHF for a 3-stop journey, 3 CHF for a one-hour ticket that covers the tram, bus, boat, and rail, 8 CHF for a pass valid from 9am to midnight, and 10 CHF for a 24-hour pass. If you arrive in Geneva by plane, you can get an 80-minute bus ticket to use from the airport to the city for free.

As mentioned above, when you book into a hostel, hotel, or campsite in Geneva, you are entitled to a travel card that provides free public transportation in the city.

Taxi – Taxis here are expensive, starting at 6 CHF and going up 3 CHF per kilometer. Geneva is small so skip the taxis to save your budget.

Ridesharing – Uber is available in Geneva and, while cheaper than taxis, really isn’t necessary since the city is small and public transportation goes everywhere.

Bike rental – Between April-October you can use bikes from Genève Roule for up to 4 hours for 9 CHF. It’s 14 CHF for a full-day bike rental.

When to Go to Geneva

The best time to visit Geneva is between June-October when the weather is warm enough for exploring on foot, beaches and patios are open, and open-air markets and music festivals are in full swing. During this time, temperatures average of 23°C (72°F). This is the busiest time to visit Geneva, so expect prices to be higher.

In summer, don’t miss the Geneva Street Food Festival, and the Fête de la Musique in June. In July, the Paléo Festival in nearby Nyon is a huge music festival with indie rock bands and performers from around the world. August 1st is Swiss National Day, and the perfect time for watching folklore performances, alphorn blowing, yodeling, fireworks, and more! The Geneva International Film Festival takes place at the end of October, and into November.

Be sure to book your accommodation early if you visit during a festival.

In winter, temperatures in Geneva are usually just below freezing. While the festival and events calendar slows down a bit, there is still plenty to do. In November and December, the Christmas market is open and filled with Swiss treats, handicrafts, and mulled wines. Fête de l’Escalade takes place in December and commemorates the city’s escape from capture in 1602 with a torchlight parade and period clothing.

How to Stay Safe in Geneva

Geneva is quite safe, and the risk of violent crime is very low. That being said, petty theft and pick-pocketing can occur in high-traffic areas. Be vigilant in areas such as Lake Geneva’s promenade, Plainpalais, Mont Blanc Bridge, Cornavin train station, and other crowded areas.

Solo female travelers should feel safe here, though the standard precautions apply (don’t leave your drink unattended at the bar, don’t walk home alone at night if intoxicated, etc.)

While scams here are rare, if you’re worried about getting ripped off you can read about common travel scams to avoid here.

If you plan on hiking or spending some time skiing in the mountains, pay careful attention to weather reports. Heed avalanche warnings, and stay off the trails if you’re told to do so.

If you experience an emergency, dial 117 for assistance.

Always trust your gut instinct. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID. Forward your itinerary along to loved ones so they’ll know where you are.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance protects you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past.

Geneva Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!

Geneva Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on backpacking/traveling Europe and continue planning your trip:

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Jet d'eau

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Like the swans that frolic on its eponymous Alpine lake (Europe's largest), Geneva (Genève) is a rare bird. Constantly perceived as the Swiss capital (it isn't), Switzerland's second-largest city is slick and cosmopolitan, and its people chatter in almost every language among streets paved by gold.

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The Ultimate Geneva Travel Guide

Published: October 16, 2023

Modified: December 28, 2023

by Athena Byler

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Introduction

Welcome to Geneva, the captivating city nestled in the heart of Switzerland! Known as the “City of Peace” and often hailed as the diplomatic capital of the world, Geneva offers a wealth of attractions, cultural experiences, and natural beauty. With its stunning lake, picturesque surroundings, and rich history, this city is a true gem waiting to be discovered.

Situated on the westernmost edge of Switzerland, Geneva offers a unique blend of French and Swiss cultures, creating a cosmopolitan atmosphere that is truly one-of-a-kind. From the charming Old Town with its cobblestone streets and medieval architecture to the vibrant international community and global organizations that call Geneva home, this city has something to offer every visitor.

Geneva’s location on the shores of Lake Geneva provides not only breathtaking views but also a range of outdoor activities throughout the year. Whether you want to sail on the lake, hike in the nearby mountains, or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade, Geneva offers an abundance of opportunities to connect with nature.

But Geneva isn’t just about nature and diplomacy. The city also boasts an impressive array of museums, galleries, and cultural sites that will satisfy even the most discerning art and history enthusiasts. From the renowned International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum to the Palais des Nations, the European headquarters of the United Nations, there is no shortage of thought-provoking and educational experiences to be had.

When it comes to cuisine, Geneva proudly showcases its culinary diversity. From traditional Swiss dishes like fondue and raclette to international cuisines representing every corner of the globe, food lovers will be delighted by the wide range of options available. And after a delicious meal, the city comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene, offering everything from cozy cafes and trendy bars to high-end clubs and live music venues.

Whether you’re visiting Geneva for business, pleasure, or a little bit of both, this comprehensive travel guide will provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your time in this enchanting city. So pack your bags, and get ready to experience the captivating beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality that await you in Geneva!

Getting to Geneva

Geneva is conveniently located in central Europe, making it easily accessible by air, train, or car.

If you’re traveling from overseas, the most convenient option is to fly into Geneva International Airport (GVA), which is well-connected to major cities around the world. The airport is located just 4 kilometers from the city center, and there are various transportation options available to reach your destination. The train station at the airport provides direct connections to Geneva’s main train station, Gare Cornavin, as well as other Swiss cities and neighboring countries.

If you prefer to travel by train, Geneva is well served by the Swiss railway network. The city’s main train station, Gare Cornavin, is a major transportation hub, offering connections to cities throughout Switzerland and Europe. Whether you’re coming from Zurich, Basel, or Lausanne, you can easily reach Geneva by train in just a few hours.

Driving to Geneva is also a viable option, especially if you’re planning to explore the surrounding areas. The city is well-connected to major highways, and there are plenty of rental car services available at the airport and throughout the city. However, it’s worth noting that parking in Geneva can be quite expensive, so it’s advisable to park your car outside the city center and use public transportation to get around.

Once you’ve arrived in Geneva, getting around the city is a breeze. The public transportation system, including buses, trams, and trains, is efficient and reliable. The Geneva Public Transport (TPG) network covers the entire city and surrounding areas, making it easy to navigate and explore all the attractions the city has to offer. You can purchase tickets at vending machines located at most tram and bus stops, or you can opt for a Geneva Transport Card, which provides unlimited travel on public transportation for a specified period of time.

If you prefer to explore the city on foot or by bike, Geneva is a pedestrian and cyclist-friendly city. The compact size of the city makes it easy to walk from one attraction to another, and there are plenty of bike lanes and rental services available for those who prefer to explore on two wheels.

Now that you know how to get to Geneva and navigate the city, it’s time to dive into all the incredible experiences and attractions that await you in this charming Swiss city.

Best Time to Visit Geneva

Geneva is a year-round destination, with each season offering its own unique charm and experiences. The best time to visit Geneva depends on your preferences and the activities you wish to enjoy during your trip.

Summer (June to August) is a popular time to visit Geneva, thanks to the pleasant weather and numerous outdoor festivals and events. The temperatures range from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F), making it perfect for exploring the city’s parks, enjoying a boat ride on Lake Geneva, or attending one of the many music and cultural festivals that take place during this time. Do keep in mind that summer is also the peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher hotel rates.

Fall (September to November) brings mild weather with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F). The city is adorned with beautiful autumn colors, creating a picturesque setting for sightseeing and outdoor activities. It’s a great time to explore Geneva’s museums, indulge in delicious seasonal cuisine, or take advantage of the quieter atmosphere after the summer rush.

Winter (December to February) turns Geneva into a winter wonderland, with snow-capped mountains and festive decorations. The temperatures range from -1°C to 7°C (30°F to 45°F), making it the perfect time to hit the nearby ski resorts such as Verbier, Chamonix, or Gstaad. Winter sports enthusiasts can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating, while those seeking a cozy experience can explore the city’s Christmas markets and indulge in Swiss chocolate and fondue.

Spring (March to May) is a delightful time to visit Geneva as nature awakens, and the city comes alive with blooming flowers and lush greenery. The temperatures range from 7°C to 16°C (45°F to 61°F), making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking or cycling. Spring is also a great time to explore Geneva’s vineyards and taste the local wines during the annual wine festivals in the surrounding areas.

Regardless of the season, Geneva has a wide range of indoor attractions such as museums, galleries, and theaters that can be enjoyed year-round. It’s worth checking the city’s event calendar to see if there are any special exhibitions or performances happening during your visit.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Geneva depends on your personal preferences, whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or a combination of both. No matter when you choose to visit, Geneva is sure to impress with its natural beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality.

Where to Stay in Geneva

When it comes to accommodation, Geneva offers a wide range of options to suit every taste and budget. From luxurious five-star hotels to budget-friendly hostels, there is something for everyone in this cosmopolitan city.

If you’re looking for luxury and elegance, the upscale neighborhoods of Rive Droite and Eaux-Vives are ideal choices. Here, you’ll find renowned hotels overlooking Lake Geneva, offering stunning views and top-notch amenities. These neighborhoods are also well-positioned for exploring the city’s attractions, upscale shopping areas, and fine dining establishments.

For a more central location, the area around Gare Cornavin, Geneva’s main train station, is a convenient option. This area is well-connected to public transportation, making it easy to explore the city and its surroundings. It also offers a diverse range of accommodations, from mid-range hotels to budget-friendly options.

If you prefer a more historic ambiance, consider staying in the charming Old Town (Vieille Ville). This area is known for its narrow medieval streets, historic buildings, and picturesque squares. You’ll find boutique hotels and guesthouses tucked away in this enchanting part of the city, providing a unique and romantic experience.

For budget-conscious travelers, there are several affordable accommodations available throughout Geneva. The area around Les Grottes, just south of Gare Cornavin, offers a range of budget hotels and hostels. This neighborhood is lively and multicultural, with a vibrant atmosphere and easy access to public transportation.

If you’re looking for a more alternative and bohemian vibe, the neighborhood of Plainpalais is a great choice. Known for its youthful energy, this area is home to the University of Geneva, as well as art galleries, cafes, and vintage shops. You’ll find a variety of budget accommodations and guesthouses in this lively neighborhood.

When choosing where to stay in Geneva, it’s important to consider your preferences and the activities you plan to engage in during your visit. Take into account proximity to attractions, public transportation, and the overall ambiance that suits your style.

Regardless of where you choose to stay, Geneva’s compact size and efficient public transportation system make it easy to explore the city and its surrounding areas. So, whether you’re seeking luxury, convenience, history, or budget-friendly options, Geneva has the perfect accommodation to ensure a memorable stay.

Top Attractions in Geneva

Geneva is a city rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, with an abundance of attractions to captivate visitors. Here are some of the top attractions that you shouldn’t miss during your visit to Geneva:

Exploring Geneva’s Old Town

Geneva’s Old Town, or Vieille Ville, is a picturesque neighborhood that transports visitors back in time with its narrow, winding streets, medieval architecture, and charming squares. Exploring the Old Town is like stepping into a living history book, where centuries of stories can be discovered around every corner.

Start your journey in the heart of the Old Town at St. Pierre Cathedral. Climb the towers for panoramic views of Geneva and the surrounding area. Inside the cathedral, marvel at the stunning Gothic architecture and visit the archaeological site underneath, where you can explore the remains of a 4th-century basilica.

As you wander through the labyrinth of streets, you’ll discover beautiful historic buildings, ancient fountains, and hidden courtyards. Allow yourself to get lost in the alleys, where surprises await at every turn. Keep an eye out for Maison Tavel, the oldest house in Geneva, which now serves as a museum showcasing the city’s history.

A visit to Place du Bourg-de-Four is a must. This charming square has been a gathering place since Roman times and is now filled with lively cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops. Take a moment to enjoy a coffee or a glass of local wine while soaking up the vibrant atmosphere.

Just a short walk from Place du Bourg-de-Four, you’ll find Maison de Rousseau et de la Littérature. This museum is dedicated to the life and works of philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who lived in Geneva during the 18th century. Explore the exhibits and gain insights into the intellectual and cultural heritage of the city.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the charming Old Arsenal, known as L’Horloge Fleurie, or the Flower Clock. This unique attraction is a tribute to Geneva’s watchmaking tradition, with a beautiful display of vibrant flowers arranged to resemble a clock.

Another highlight of the Old Town is the Parc des Bastions. Take a leisurely stroll through this peaceful park, and admire the Reformation Wall, a monument celebrating the key figures of the Protestant Reformation. The park is also home to giant chessboards, providing an opportunity for a friendly game in a serene setting.

In addition to its historical and architectural treasures, the Old Town is also renowned for its lively food scene. Explore the area’s charming eateries and cozy wine bars, where you can savor traditional Swiss dishes like cheese fondue, raclette, and Swiss chocolates.

Exploring Geneva’s Old Town is like stepping back in time, offering a glimpse into the city’s rich history and heritage. Whether you’re strolling through its historic streets, visiting its iconic landmarks, or indulging in its culinary delights, the Old Town is a must-visit destination that will leave you enchanted and enthralled.

Geneva’s Museums and Cultural Sites

Geneva is a city that is steeped in culture and boasts a remarkable array of museums and cultural sites. From art and history to science and humanitarianism, there is something to pique the interest of every visitor. Here are some of the top museums and cultural sites in Geneva:

Museum of Art and History: This renowned museum houses an extensive collection of artworks and artifacts from various time periods, including ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman artifacts, medieval and Renaissance art, and 19th-century European paintings. It also features exhibitions on applied arts, numismatics, and archaeology.

Patek Philippe Museum: Watch enthusiasts will delight in this museum dedicated to the art and history of watchmaking. The museum showcases an impressive collection of timepieces, ranging from antique pocket watches to intricate modern wristwatches, providing a fascinating insight into the world of horology.

Museum of Natural History: Discover the natural wonders of our world at this fascinating museum. From dinosaur skeletons and fossils to an extensive collection of minerals and gemstones, the Museum of Natural History offers a captivating journey through the Earth’s history.

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum: Gain a deeper understanding of the humanitarian efforts of the Red Cross and Red Crescent at this thought-provoking museum. Through interactive exhibits and multimedia presentations, the museum explores the challenges faced by those affected by conflict and natural disasters and highlights the work of these global humanitarian organizations.

Ariana Museum: Art enthusiasts will appreciate the stunning collection of decorative arts displayed at the Ariana Museum. With over 20,000 objects ranging from ceramics and glassware to furniture and textiles, the museum offers a comprehensive view of decorative arts from across the world.

Bodmer Foundation: Book lovers will revel in the Bodmer Foundation, home to an extraordinary collection of literary works. The museum displays original manuscripts, rare books, and historical documents, including works from renowned authors such as Goethe, Shakespeare, and Dante.

Palais des Nations: Explore the European headquarters of the United Nations and take a guided tour of this diplomatic hub. Visit the Assembly Hall, the Council Chamber, and other significant rooms where important negotiations and discussions take place.

Carouge: Known for its bohemian charm, Carouge is home to numerous art galleries, boutiques, and lively cafes. Explore this neighborhood and visit the MEG – Geneva Ethnography Museum, showcasing an extensive collection of cultural artifacts from around the world.

Grand Théâtre de Genève: Enjoy a night of culture and entertainment at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, which hosts an array of performances including opera, ballet, theater, and classical concerts. Admire the stunning architecture of the theater and immerse yourself in the world of performing arts.

These are just a few examples of the many museums and cultural sites Geneva has to offer. Whether you’re interested in art, history, science, or global affairs, Geneva’s diverse cultural scene will captivate and educate visitors of all ages.

Outdoor Activities in Geneva

Geneva, with its stunning natural surroundings, offers endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore and enjoy nature. From picturesque lakeside promenades to majestic alpine mountains, there is no shortage of outdoor activities in and around the city. Here are some of the top outdoor activities to experience in Geneva:

Lake Geneva: The beautiful lake that Geneva is named after is a focal point of the city’s outdoor activities. Take a leisurely stroll along the lakeside promenades, rent a paddleboard or kayak to explore the crystal-clear waters, or simply relax on one of the public beaches and soak up the sun. You can also hop on a scenic boat cruise to enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Hikes in the Jura Mountains: Escape the city and venture into the nearby Jura Mountains, a pristine natural paradise. The Jura offers a range of hiking trails suitable for all levels of experience. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery, spot wildlife, and enjoy the tranquility of nature. The Salève, just across the French border, is another popular hiking destination, accessible by cable car.

Skiing and Snowboarding: During the winter months, Geneva becomes a gateway to some of the best ski resorts in Europe. Just a short drive away, you’ll find world-class ski areas such as Verbier, Chamonix, and Portes du Soleil. Hit the slopes and experience thrilling downhill runs, cross-country skiing, or snowboarding amidst stunning alpine landscapes.

Biking: Geneva is a cyclist’s paradise, with a well-developed network of bike paths and routes. Rent a bike and explore the city on two wheels, or venture further into the countryside for longer rides. The Rhône River bike route is a popular choice, offering scenic views along the way.

Picnics in Parks: Geneva is home to numerous parks and green spaces where you can enjoy a relaxing picnic. Parc des Bastions, Parc La Grange, and Parc des Eaux-Vives are just a few examples of parks where you can unwind, read a book, or have a picnic with friends and family.

Golfing: Geneva boasts several beautiful golf courses, both within the city and in its surroundings. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner, enjoy a round of golf surrounded by lush green landscapes and breathtaking views.

Sailing on Lake Geneva: If you’re a sailing enthusiast, Lake Geneva provides ample opportunities to indulge in this exhilarating water sport. You can rent a sailboat, join a sailing school, or even participate in regattas held throughout the year.

Paragliding: For those seeking an adrenaline rush and panoramic views of Geneva, paragliding is a popular option. Take to the skies and soar over the city and its surroundings, enjoying an unforgettable bird’s-eye view.

These outdoor activities in and around Geneva offer a chance to connect with nature, enjoy thrilling adventures, and bask in the beauty of the Swiss landscape. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or an adrenaline-pumping experience, Geneva has it all.

Shopping in Geneva

When it comes to shopping, Geneva is a paradise for both luxury and boutique enthusiasts. The city offers a diverse range of shopping options, from high-end designer brands to unique local boutiques and bustling markets. Whether you’re searching for the latest fashion trends, Swiss watches, or artisanal products, Geneva has something to satisfy every shopper’s desires.

Rue du Rhône: Located in the heart of the city, Rue du Rhône is Geneva’s premier shopping street, lined with prestigious luxury brands. Here, you’ll find iconic names like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Rolex, and many more. Take your time to explore the elegant boutiques and indulge in a world-class shopping experience.

Place du Molard: This charming square is home to a variety of fashion boutiques, offering a blend of international brands and local designers. From clothing and accessories to jewelry and footwear, Place du Molard is the perfect place to discover unique and stylish finds.

Les Halles de l’Île: For a different kind of shopping experience, head to Les Halles de l’Île. Housed in a former market, this vibrant indoor market is now home to a variety of shops and artisanal boutiques. Browse through the stalls to find local products such as gourmet food, chocolates, cheeses, and handcrafted items.

Boutique Shopping in Carouge: Known for its bohemian charm, the neighborhood of Carouge is a treasure trove of independent boutiques, art galleries, and vintage shops. Explore the narrow streets lined with unique shops and discover handmade jewelry, local fashion, art pieces, and quirky home accessories.

Plainpalais Flea Market: If you enjoy hunting for one-of-a-kind treasures, make sure to visit the Plainpalais Flea Market, held every Wednesday and Saturday. Browse through the stalls where you’ll find vintage clothing, antique furniture, vinyl records, books, and much more. It’s a great place to discover hidden gems and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere.

Chocolates and Swiss Souvenirs: No visit to Geneva is complete without indulging in Swiss chocolates and picking up some Swiss souvenirs. Visit renowned chocolatiers such as Sprüngli and Auer for delectable treats or explore Confiserie Teuscher for their famous champagne truffles. You can also find a wide range of Swiss-made souvenirs, such as watches, Swiss army knives, and locally crafted Swiss watches.

Shopping Centers: For a wide selection of shops all under one roof, Geneva has several shopping centers to choose from. The Balexert Shopping Center, located near Geneva Airport, offers a mix of international brands, electronics, and a food court. The Centre Commercial La Praille is another popular shopping destination with a range of stores, a cinema, and various dining options.

From luxury brands to local boutiques and unique markets, shopping in Geneva offers a delightful mix of options to suit every style and taste. So, embrace your inner shopaholic and explore the city’s diverse retail landscape to discover the perfect items to take home as mementos of your time in Geneva.

Dining and Nightlife in Geneva

Geneva offers a vibrant culinary scene and diverse nightlife, making it a haven for food enthusiasts and nightlife seekers alike. From world-class restaurants serving international cuisine to cozy cafes and lively bars, the city has something to satisfy every palate and cater to a range of preferences. Here’s a glimpse into the dining and nightlife scene in Geneva:

Gastronomic Delights: Geneva is home to a myriad of restaurants, many of which have earned prestigious Michelin stars. These culinary establishments offer a culinary journey of exquisite flavors and innovative techniques. Whether you’re craving gourmet French cuisine, traditional Swiss dishes, or international flavors, you’ll find a wealth of options to choose from.

Old Town Eateries: Geneva’s Old Town is peppered with charming cafes and restaurants, offering a cozy and romantic atmosphere for dining. Explore the narrow streets and discover hidden gems serving authentic Swiss fondue, raclette, and other traditional dishes. Don’t forget to indulge in delicious Swiss chocolates for dessert!

International Cuisine: Geneva’s international community has influenced its culinary scene, resulting in a diverse offering of cuisines from around the world. Enjoy delectable Italian pasta, flavorful Indian curries, tantalizing Japanese sushi, or mouthwatering Middle Eastern mezze. You can embark on a gastronomic journey without ever leaving the city.

Local Markets and Cafeterias: For a more casual dining experience, head to Geneva’s local markets. The Plainpalais Market and Carouge Market are popular choices, offering a variety of food stalls serving fresh produce, local specialties, and international street food. The city is also dotted with cafeterias and bakeries where you can enjoy a quick and delicious meal or grab a Swiss-style sandwich to go.

Lively Bars and Nightclubs: Geneva truly comes alive at night with a thriving nightlife scene. Quench your thirst at one of the many stylish cocktail bars, where skilled mixologists will create the perfect concoction for you. Explore the trendy neighborhoods of Eaux-Vives and Les Pâquis, known for their lively bars and music venues. Join in the revelry with live music, DJs, and a variety of dance floors catering to different genres and tastes.

Lakefront Dining: Geneva’s stunning lakefront offers a picturesque setting for dining and enjoying the evening ambiance. You can find a range of lakeside restaurants and bars offering both local and international cuisine. Dine al fresco and savor the stunning views of Lake Geneva while enjoying a delicious meal or a refreshing drink.

Cultural Experiences: Geneva’s cultural venues often incorporate dining experiences alongside their shows and performances. You can enjoy a pre-show dinner at the Grand Théâtre de Genève or indulge in a sumptuous meal during a concert intermission. These unique dining experiences allow you to combine your love for arts and culture with exceptional cuisine.

Whether you prefer fine dining, international flavors, live music, or a casual night out, Geneva’s dining and nightlife scene has something to offer everyone. So, immerse yourself in the culinary delights and vibrant atmosphere of the city and discover why it’s a destination that caters to all gastronomic desires and entertainment preferences.

Day Trips from Geneva

While Geneva offers a wealth of attractions and activities to keep you entertained, the surrounding region is also teeming with fascinating destinations that are perfect for day trips. From stunning natural landscapes to charming towns and cultural sites, here are some top day trip options from Geneva:

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc: Just a short drive from Geneva, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Nestled in the French Alps, this renowned ski resort town offers breathtaking views of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe. Explore the picturesque town, take a cable car to Aiguille du Midi for unparalleled panoramic vistas, or try your hand at skiing or snowboarding during the winter months.

Annecy: Known as the “Venice of the Alps,” Annecy is a charming medieval town located just over the border in France. Stroll along the canals, admire the pastel-colored buildings, and visit the picturesque Lake Annecy. Explore the Old Town, visit the impressive Annecy Castle, and indulge in the local cuisine at one of the many restaurants and cafes.

Lausanne and Montreux: Take a scenic train ride to the Swiss Riviera and explore the cities of Lausanne and Montreux. Lausanne is a vibrant university town with a rich history and a beautiful waterfront. Visit the Olympic Museum, explore the charming Old Town, and enjoy stunning views of Lake Geneva. From there, head to Montreux, famous for its jazz festival and the stunning Chillon Castle. Take a leisurely stroll along the promenade, visit the Freddie Mercury statue, and savor the breathtaking beauty of the lake and mountains.

Gruyères: Cheese and chocolate lovers won’t want to miss a visit to Gruyères, home to the famous Gruyère cheese. Explore the medieval village with its cobblestone streets and visit the Gruyères Castle. Don’t forget to stop by the Maison Cailler chocolate factory to indulge in some Swiss chocolate delights.

Yvoire: Step into a fairytale in the medieval village of Yvoire, located on the shores of Lake Geneva in France. With its flower-filled streets, charming buildings, and a well-preserved castle, Yvoire is a truly enchanting destination. Explore the narrow alleys lined with boutiques, stroll through the beautifully manicured gardens, and enjoy the serene lake views.

Geneva Vineyards: Explore the stunning vineyards and enjoy wine tasting in the nearby countryside. Geneva is surrounded by picturesque wine-growing regions, such as the Lavaux Vineyards, where you can sample local wines and learn about the winemaking process while admiring the terraced vineyards overlooking Lake Geneva.

Geneva Countryside: If you prefer a more relaxed day trip, consider exploring the scenic Geneva countryside. Enjoy a leisurely bike ride or hike along the many trails, visit charming Swiss villages such as Hermance or Nyon, and take in the idyllic Swiss landscapes of rolling hills, vineyards, and panoramic views.

Whether you’re seeking breathtaking natural beauty, fascinating cultural experiences, or culinary delights, these day trips from Geneva offer a perfect break from city life. So, venture beyond the city limits and discover the wonders that await you just a short distance away.

Practical Information for Geneva Travelers

As you plan your trip to Geneva, it’s helpful to have some practical information to ensure a smooth and enjoyable travel experience. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Currency: The official currency of Switzerland is the Swiss Franc (CHF). Credit cards are widely accepted, and ATMs are readily available throughout the city. It’s advisable to carry some cash for smaller establishments or when visiting local markets.

Language: The official languages of Geneva are French and, to a lesser extent, English and German. While most people in the service industry speak English, it’s always helpful to learn a few basic French phrases for interactions with locals.

Transportation: Geneva has an efficient public transportation system, including buses, trams, and trains. The Geneva Public Transport (TPG) network covers the city and surrounding areas. Consider purchasing a Geneva Transport Card, which provides unlimited travel on public transportation during your stay. Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are also available.

Weather: Geneva has a temperate climate, with warm summers and cold winters. Be sure to check the weather forecast before your trip and pack accordingly. Layered clothing is recommended, as temperatures can vary during the day.

Electricity: Switzerland operates on a standard voltage of 230V, and the standard socket type is Type J. If you’re traveling from a country with different voltage or socket types, be sure to bring a suitable adapter for your electronic devices.

Safety: Geneva is generally a safe city for travelers, but it’s always important to take common-sense precautions. Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas and public transportation, and be aware of your surroundings. In case of an emergency, dial the universal emergency number, 112.

Health and Safety: Switzerland has excellent healthcare facilities. Make sure you have travel insurance that covers medical expenses. If you require medication, bring an adequate supply, along with any necessary prescriptions. It’s also recommended to carry a basic first aid kit.

Tourist Information: The Geneva Tourism Office is a useful resource for information on attractions, events, and maps. They offer brochures, guided tours, and other useful services to help you make the most of your visit.

Tipping: In Geneva, a service charge is usually included in the bill. However, leaving a small tip for exceptional service is appreciated. Generally, rounding up to the nearest franc or leaving a 5-10% tip is customary.

Time Zone: Geneva operates on Central European Time (CET, UTC+1), and follows daylight saving time (GMT+2) during the summer months.

Remember to check any travel advisories or entry requirements related to your specific nationality or country of origin before traveling. It’s always wise to plan ahead, have necessary travel documents in order, and leave ample time for airport procedures.

By keeping these practical tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate Geneva and enjoy your time exploring the city’s attractions, cuisine, and cultural offerings.

Geneva, with its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cultural scene, is a truly captivating destination. From the iconic Jet d’Eau to the charming streets of the Old Town, the city offers a wealth of attractions and experiences that cater to a diverse range of interests. Whether you’re exploring the museums and cultural sites, indulging in the local cuisine, or immersing yourself in the beauty of Lake Geneva, Geneva has something for everyone.

Throughout the year, Geneva’s calendar is filled with festivals, concerts, and events that showcase its cosmopolitan spirit and international influence. The city’s proximity to the French Alps provides opportunities for outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, and paragliding. For those looking to venture further, a range of captivating day trips await, from the picturesque town of Annecy to the majestic landscapes of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc.

With practical information in hand, such as currency, language, and transportation details, travelers can navigate the city with ease, making the most of their time in Geneva. Whether you’re strolling along the lakeside promenades, savoring Swiss chocolate, or exploring the cultural sites, Geneva is sure to leave an indelible mark on your travel memories.

So, pack your bags, embrace the charm of Geneva, and embark on a journey that will transport you into a world of breathtaking beauty, cultural richness, and warm hospitality. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, adventure seeker, or simply looking to unwind in a charming Swiss setting, Geneva promises a memorable experience that will capture your heart and leave you yearning to return again and again.

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Visit Geneva: Top 23 Things To Do and Must-See Attractions

Things to do in geneva.

Geneva , a cosmopolitan and international city in Switzerland, is located on the shores of Lake Geneva, close to the French border. Known worldwide for its wealth, it is one of the 5 richest cities in the world. It also has quite much to offer to tourists!

To help you organize your stay in the city, I have made a list of the 23 best things to do in Geneva.

In addition to the must-see attractions, I will also give you my best tips and advices as well as recommended itineraries to visit Geneva and its surroundings in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 days or more.

As you know it, Geneva is one of the most expensive city in the world, so I have prepared for you a selection of the hotels that offers the best bang for your buck at the end of the article.

Let’s plan your trip to Geneva!

1. The Jet d’Eau of Geneva

2. geneva old town, 3. geneva saint peter’s cathedral, 4. treille promenade, 5. bastions park – parc des bastions, 6. the jardin anglais and the flower clock, 7. parc de la grange and parc des eaux-vives, 8. bains des pâquis, 9. visit the united nations office, 10. broken chair sculpture, 11. geneva botanical garden, 12. geneva museums, 13. do a cruise on lake geneva, 14. attend a concert at geneva victoria hall, 15. going to geneva international motor show, the geneva pass, 16. mont salève, 18. visit lavaux vineyard terraces and its typical villages, 20. chamonix and the mont blanc, 21. gruyères medieval town, 22. swiss riviera, 23. glacier 3000, geneva: what to do in 1 day, 2 days in geneva, 3 days in geneva, where to stay in geneva, where to eat in geneva, how to go to geneva, geneva tourist map.

Geneva’s Jet d’Eau fountain (litteraly “water jet”) is the symbol of the city since the creation of its decorative version in 1891. You may not know it, but its first intent wasn’t to be aesthetic.

It was in fact a solution to a technical problem! The first version, 30m high, acted as a safety valve for a water facility located in the city.

The current version, dating from the 1950s, is 140m high . Every second, more than 500 litres of water are expelled at a speed of 200 km/h. In every moment, 7 tons of water form this magnificent water jet!

Located on the Jetée des Eaux Vives (Eaux Vives jetty), the water jet is nowadays a must-see tourist attraction in Geneva.

Jet d'Eau Geneva

Geneva Old Town, the largest historic centre in Switzerland, is where you will find some of the most emblematic places to see during your visit to Geneva. It’s very easy to visit on foot !

Here are the old town highlights:

  • Geneva Saint Peter’s Cathedral and the Chapel of the Maccabees
  • Calvin College (“Collège Calvin” in French), which dates from the 16th century and is the oldest in the city
  • The Bastion Park
  • The Reformation Wall
  • Place du Bourg-de-Four , a square with fountains and numerous cafes and restaurants. The facade of the Museum of Art and History is superb. From there, the famous secret passage “Degrés de poules” leads to the cathedral.
  • Treille Promenade
  • The Tavel House (Maison Tavel), the oldest private house in Geneva, now converted into a museum
  • The Molard Tower : Well, it’s not exactly in the old town, but just at the exit, on Molard Square . It was built in 1591, has a clock and is decorated with arms linked to the history of The Reformation and Geneva.

During your visit to Geneva Old Town, you should also pay attention to the streets names : rue du Purgatoire (Purgatory) and rue d’Enfer (Hell) are next to rue de la Croix d’Or (Golden cross) and rue de Toutes Âmes (Every Souls)!

Some of these tourist attractions definitely deserve a dedicated paragraph, so I will give you more information about them a bit further in this guide.

If you want to learn everything about Geneva , you can opt for a guided vist.

During a 2-hour sightseeing tour, you will discover Geneva’s top attractions such as the Jet D’eau fountain, St. Pierre’s Cathedral, the Flower Clock as well as the international section of the city, including the United Nations Office.

To book your guided visit, you just have to click the button below:

And if you are looking for something really fun , I strongly recommend you to book this Segway tour! In a small group with an experienced guide, you will discover the best tourist attractions of Geneva Old Town.

Molard Tower Geneva

At the heart of the old town, you can find the is the St. Peter’s Cathedral of Geneva (“Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Genève”). Built for the Catholic rite, it then became a Protestant place of worship in 1535.

If you have never seen a Protestant church, you may be surprised once inside : according to Calvinist spiritual codes, the interior is extremely simple: all the ornaments and signs of opulence have been removed.

Things to see during your visit:

  • Climb the 157 steps leading up to the towers , which will give you a nice view of Geneva
  • The chapel of the Maccabees , whose decoration contrasts with the austerity of the cathedral. That’s what I liked best during the visit!
  • Visit the archaeological site in the basement , where you can see the foundations of the old cathedral.

In addition to this, the visit to Geneva St. Peter’s Cathedral is an opportunity to learn more about the history of Protestantism. The International Museum of the Reformation is located right next door, in the Mallet House (“Maison Mallet”).

Another important place in the history of Protestantism, the Auditoire de Calvin (Calvin’s Auditorium) is also close to the Cathedral.

Saint-Pierre Cathedral Geneva

The Treille Promenade (“Promenade de la Treille”) is located on the outskirts of the old town , not far from the town hall. In addition to being the oldest in Geneva, it is especially known for its 2 curiosities:

You can find the longest wooden bench in the world on this promenade: 120m!

This is also where “Geneva official chestnut tree” (le “marronnier officiel” in french) is located. Each year, Its first leaf announce the arrival of spring in Geneva .

You’re going to Geneva?

You probably know it: the hardest part of planning your trip is to find an hotel offering a good value for money!

The closer you get to your travel dates, the harder it will be to get a good deal. Lots of people will be visiting Geneva on the same dates as you , so you can be sure that the best deals are booked extremely quickly!

Hopefully, there is a pretty simple solution to this problem: do like me and book your hotel as early as possible!

So, my best advice is to take 5 minutes (now) to have a look at the list of travelers’ favorite hotels in Geneva.

And if you see a good offer, book it!

Most hotels offer free cancellation, so it’s quick, easy, and you will avoid the the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To check the current best deals for your hotel in Geneva, simply click on the green button below 😎:

Once you’ve booked your hotel, it will be time to continue reading this guide and find out more about the best things to do in Geneva!

Treille Promenade

Located at the foot of the old town, under the Treille Promenade, the Parc des Bastions is particularly appreciated by students, because of its proximity to the university.

There are 2 main attractions to see in this park:

  • The 100m-long Reformation Wall was erected in honour of the men who worked for the Reformation and the creation of Protestantism. In the middle of the wall, you can admire the 5m tall statues of 4 great preachers: Jean Calvin, Guillaume Farel, Théodore de Bèze and John Knox
  • The Giant chess games: The Bastions Park has a playground with 6 giant chess games. This is the opportunity to play (or watch) a game in an original setting during your visit to Geneva!

Every year, the music festival (fête de la musique) takes place in this park.

Reformation Wall

Thanks to its proximity to Lake Geneva and its many shaded areas, the Jardin Anglais (“English Garden” literally) is a popular public garden for tourists and locals. Whether you want to rest for a few minutes or take a short stroll by the lake, it is a must-see when you visit Geneva.

In this garden, you can also find the famous Flower Clock (“Horloge Fleurie”). It’s Geveva’s classic selfie spot, being, with the Jet d’Eau, one of the most photographed places in Geneva! It commemorates in an original way the watchmaking tradition of the city.

In the Jardin Anglais , you will also find the National Monument (“Monument National”), which commemorates Geneva’s attachment to Switzerland in 1814. At the north-western end of the park, you can cross the Mont-Blanc bridge , which crosses Lake Geneva.

If you’re in town during summer, in the evening, you may have the chance to attend a free concert in the old music kiosk.

Flower Clock Geneva

These two parks are located on the banks of Lake Geneva , on the Quai Gustave-Ador (left bank), less than 10 minutes walk from the Jet d’Eau.

For me, these are the 2 most beautiful public gardens in Geneva . Another big advantage: even in the middle of summer, they are never crowded!

The Parc de la Grange , the largest in the city, has some very nice attractions:

  • Its rose garden , the largest in Geneva, is open access.
  • The Théâtre de l’ Orangerie and Théâtre de Verdure
  • The ruins of an ancient Roman villa
  • In summer, you can even find sheeps in the park!

Another good point: it’s possible to picnic and even have barbecues on the specially designed barbecue area. There is also a children’s playground and a paddling pool. Perfect for a family stay in Geneva!

The Parc des Eaux Vives , where the excellent restaurant hotel des Eaux-Vives is located, is also worth a visit. It’s very well laid out, has a large lawn and many large conifers for you to rest in the shades.

The flower beds are very well maintained and there is even a place with a waterfall! Special mention for the small wooden bridges, they are super aesthetic. Geneva is a rich city, and it shows.

Voyage Tips Advice In summer, you can enjoy free concerts at the Théâtre de Verdure in Parc de La Grange , also known as the Ella Fitzgerald stage.

Rose garden of Parc de la Grange Geneva

The Bains des Pâquis (Pâquis Bath) is a very important place in Geneva city life. In addition of being the ideal swimming spot in the heart of the city, it’s also very pleasant for its friendly and joyful atmosphere . Everyone, at every age, is coming here! Very far from the bling-bling Geneva we are used to see!

Admission costs 2 francs and it’s also possible to eat there. It’s simple, tastes good, and the prices are also very reasonable for Geneva.

The site offers other services, such as nautical activities, massages etc… There is enough things to do to spend a whole day there in the summer.

And in winter, it’s Sauna, steam bath and Turkish bath!

All information on services, schedules and prices are available on the Bains des Pâquis official website (in French)

Voyage Tips Advice In the evening, they serve a Swiss fondue with fantastic Crémant. It’s not too expensive, so it’s really a good deal! However, I recommend you to make a reservation.

bains des Pâquis

The Palace of Nations (“Palais des Nations”), a superb building from the beginning of the 20th century, is the United Nations headquarters in Geneva.

Considered one of the world’s most important diplomatic centres, it is also home to many international political, economic and scientific institutions.

If I tell you about it in this list of the best things to do in Geneva , it’s because many guided tours are organized there . You will have the choice between the following visits:

  • Palais des Nations visit : Ideal if you would like to learn more about UN activities
  • The history of the Palais des Nations : art and architecture oriented, this guided tour allows you to discover the history of this emblematic building.
  • UN History: In addition to visiting the Palais des Nations, you will also visit the League of Nations Museum , which exhibits the history of the UN through archival documents.
  • Guided tour of the Ariana Park : Find out more about the history and management of the 45-hectares park surrounding the Palais des Nations. Visit possible from April to September.

Palais des Nations Geneva

The Broken Chair sculpture , a giant 12-metre-high wooden chair with a torn foot, stands next to the United Nations headquarters in Nations Square.

Sponsored by Handicap International, it was placed in front of the Geneva Palais des Nation in 1997 and symbolizes the fight against the use of anti-personnel mines.

Broken Chair sculpture

The Botanical Garden of Geneva is located between the Palais des Nations and Lake Geneva . Little known to tourists, it is an oasis of greenery that is worth a look after the visit to the United Nations headquarters.

It is very well laid out, has several greenhouses reproducing various climates (tropical, temperate etc…), a small Japanese garden and much more! And you know what? Admission is free.

Geneva botanical garden

In addition to the ones I mentioned in the previous paragraphs, here are a few other museums that I found interesting in Geneva . They’re all free when you have the Geneva Pass , which I’ll tell you more about a bit later in the article.

  • CERN Particle Universe: An excellent exhibition about the origin of the universe and particle physics, and no need to be a physics engineer to appreciate! It is outside Geneva city centre, but easily accessible by bus number 18. Plus, it’s free for everyone.
  • CERN Microcosm: While you’re at CERN, have a look at the second permanent exhibition! Also free.
  • La Cité du Temps (The City of Time): A small museum, an exhibition space and a restaurant, including a collection of Swatch watches that showcases the design evolution over 30 years. Situated in the middle of the Rhone, it’s accessed via the Machine Bridge.
  • Patek Philippe Museum: As you know, Geneva is one of the most important places in luxury watchmaking and this museum is a fine tribute to the know-how of Swiss watchmakers.
  • Art and History Museum: Located in the heart of the old town, close to Place Bourg-de-Four, it is the largest museum in Geneva. The permanent exhibition is free for everyone.
  • Ariana Museum: It’s the museum of ceramics and glass, it may not seem so exciting at first sight, but the interior architecture alone deserves a look. It’s close to the Palais des Nations.
  • Russian Church of Geneva: This Orthodox church is not strictly speaking a museum, but it is well worth to be included in this list, if only for its remarkable and unorthodox architecture (Ahahahahaha😋) here.

Russian church Geneva

Whether it’s to see the city and the Jet d’Eau from a new angle or to visit the surroundings of Geneva , there are many themed cruises on Lake Geneva. Here are a few of them:

  • “Geneva Tour” Cruise , to visit the Geneva shores in 1 hour
  • Evening cruise: a good meal and a stroll on Lake Geneva. What else could you ask for?
  • Numerous cruises to visit Geneva’s surroundings , such as Nyon, Yvoire, Lausanne or the vineyards on the lake shore
  • Cruise on the Rhone: From Geneva, it is also possible to make a mini cruise on the Rhone, up to Verbois.

It’s also possible to rent private boats (including a pilot) for a family or romantic escapade on Lake Geneva.

All information about the Geneva cruises is available on this website .

Lake Geneva Cruise

Built between 1891 and 1894 as a tribute to Queen Victoria, Geneva Victoria Hall is the most beautiful concert hall in the city, renowned worldwide for its excellent acoustics.

Unfortunately it can’t be visited, but it is really worth to attend a classical concert music , if only to admire its grandiose interior architecture!

It should be noted that the Victoria Hall is not the main concert hall in Geneva. It’s the Grand Theatre, but it is not of great architectural interest.

You can find the Victoria Hall programme on Geneva official website .

Victoria Hall Geneva

Every year in March, the Geneva Motor Show (“Salon de l’Automobile de Genève”in french) , one of the world’s most important car shows, takes place at the Palexpo in Geneva.

If it has such a good reputation, it’s not so much for its exhibition area or the number of visitors (there are bigger car shows in the world), but for its high-end and exclusive positioning.

For the big manufacturers, this is really a not-to-be missed event, a great place to present their most beautiful concept cars. Go have a look if you enjoy exclusive cars!

Geneva Motor Show

The Geneva Pass allows you to enjoy free admission and discounts on 50 attractions and activities in Geneva for 24, 48 or 72 hours. For example:

  • Admission to all museums and sites mentioned in this guide is free of charge
  • Several guided city tours by train, bus and on foot
  • Several cruises on Lake Geneva
  • 1 hour of canoeing or half an hour of pedal boat
  • Discounts on numerous activities and tours , such as Segway city sightseeing, Rafting on the Arve river and several escapades around Geneva

The Geneva Pass also offers free public transport for the duration of its validity.

You can click on the button below to purchase the pass:

Once you will have purchased your pass, you will have to exchange the vouchers at Geneva Tourist Information Center , located at 18 rue du Mont-Blanc, 1211 Genève.

Things to do around Geneva

As I have lived next to Lake Geneva for 4 years, here are my 3 favorite things to do around Geneva.

Sometimes called “the balcony of Geneva”, Mount Salève is the best place to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city and Lake Geneva , all the way to to the Jura. This is a great day trip from Geneva.

You can go there by car, by cable car or even on foot , for the bravest amongst you!

If you wish to do so, you will find the detailed itinerary, as well as a short family walk starting at the top of the cable car in this PDF document . Quick tip: save it on your smartphone, it may be useful the day of your visit!

Once you reach the top of the cable car (1100m above sea level), you will be able to do various activities in addition to a nice walk:

  • Paragliding
  • Biking , bikes are available for rent on Saturday and Sunday
  • And in winter, sledding and initiation to skiing!

Rates of the Mont Salève cable car:

Full price: 11,30€. Details of special rates can be found on their website .

Cable car schedule:

Open every day, from 9:30am to 7pm. Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 11pm.

Take a look at their website before you go, it will give you the latest information you need for your visit.

Mont Salève

The magnificent medieval village of Yvoire , one of the most beautiful villages in France, is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva, about 45 minutes by car or bus from Geneva.

Nicknamed the “Pearl of Lac Leman”, this ancient fishing village is today a famous tourist attraction of Lake Geneva region . This is the perfect destination if you want to escape from Geneva for an afternoon.

What you shouldn’t miss in Yvoire:

  • Yvoire castle
  • The garden of Five Senses , recognized as a “remarkable garden” by the Ministry of Culture
  • Small craft shops
  • “Les Galets” ice cream shop/creperie , which is excellent!

Yvoire

Another superb day trip from Geneva, Lavaux Vineyard Terraces (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and its typical villages. You don’t need to be a wine lover to enjoy the place, the reasons people go there is first and foremost for the magnificent landscapes.

With the terraced vineyards that seem to descend into the lake and the Alps in the background, the Lavaux vineyards simply offers the most beautiful views of Lake Geneva coast.

Here are the 5 typical villages to see during your day:

  • Saint Saphorin

During your trip, you can also make a stop in Montreux, a nice city, well known for its Casino.

If you don’t have a car, you can visit Lavaux vineyard terraces with a private tour.

They will come pick you up at your hotel and you will spend the day in Lavaux to discover the vineyard, the best viewpoints and do some tastings!

As it’s a private tour, it can of course be 100% personalized. The price is per group – The more people you are, the cheaper it is per person.

To book this tour to Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, you just have to click the button below:

You can also choose a cheaper, not private tour that also pass by Lavaux Vineyard, as well as other places in the Swiss Riviera (I give you more details at the #22 of this article).

You can book it there:

Voyage Tips Advice Here is a place not very well known to tourists , that you shouldn’t miss if you visit Lavaux Vineyards:

go down the “chemin de la dame” , to enjoy a plunging view on the vineyards, the village of Rivaz, the lake and the Alps in the background. It is one of the most beautiful views of the region!

Lavaux Vineyard Terraces Switzerland

Nicknamed “ The Venice of the Alps” , Annecy is a beautiful town to visit near Geneva.

You will for sure enjoy to stroll on the lake shore while contemplating the turquoise waters surrounded by the mountains! The old town is also worth a look, with its paved stone alleys and canals.

From Geneva , if you don’t have a car, the best is to book an organized day trip to Annecy . Transportation is included as well as a guided visit on foot + some free time to enjoy the town at your own pace.

To book this tour to Annecy from Geneva , you need to click on the button below:

To know everything about the best things to do in Annecy, you should read my travel guide: Visit Annecy: The definitive guide

Lake Annecy

From Geneva, you can also go on a day trip to Chamonix and the Mont Blanc.

During this organized day trip, you will be lucky to go throught the beautiful Arve Valley , between Geneva and Chamonix, before reaching the foot of the highest summit of the Alps.

You will then take the Aiguille du Midi cable car and will be able to enjoy the incredible view over the Mont Blanc from the panoramic terrace.

Then, you will take the famous “Mer De Glace train” (the “Sea of Ice Train” in English) to visit t he largest French glacier.

Everything is included in the price: The transportation, the Ticket for Aiguille du Midi cable car and the Ticket for the Mer De Glace train

It’s the most impressive day trip you can do from Geneva!

To book it, simply click the button below:

aiguille du Midi

Another great day trip to do from Geneva is the visit of Gruyères medieval town.

This village regroups the 2 most famou food specialities of Switzerland: chocolate and Gruyère cheese!

During this organized day trip, you will visit a chocolate factory and a cheese factory.

In addition, you will also enjoy the most traditionnal swiss dish for lunch: the cheese fondue!

You will also have some free time to visit Gruyères medieval town . At the end of the day, you will come back to Geneva with the Golden Express train , offering a magnificent view over lake Geneva.

To book this day trip to Gruyères, click the button below:

Gruyères Swiss Chocolate

The Swiss Riviera, in the canton of Vaud, is another nice place to visit near Geneva. The famous towns are for sure Vevey and Montreux , located on the shore of the lake!

If you don’t have a car, your best option is to do a guided day trip from Geneva . It includes:

  • Transportation (minibus)
  • Passing by the magnificent Lavaux Vineyards
  • Glass of wine
  • Visit to Vevey town and the Charlie Chaplin museum
  • A cruise on the lake in an authentic steamboat
  • The visit to Chillon Castle , an 11th century castle – the most visited monument in Switzerland
  • Visit to Montreux

It’s simple, during this tour, you will really visit all the best places of the Swiss Riviera!

This tour needs to be booked by clicking the button below:

Chillon Castle

If you want to mix a visit to the Swiss Riviera with a trip to the Swiss mountains , this day trip is made for you!

Here is the plan for the day:

  • Take the cable car to reach the Glacier 3000 .
  • Enjoy a ride on a Snow-bus over the perpetual ice up to the Quille du Diable (the Devil’s Keel in English)
  • Taste local products while enjoying panoramic views at an amazing mountain-top restaurant.
  • Stop by Montreux town for a guided visit on your way back to Geneva.
  • Ride the famous Alpine Coaster, Europe’s highest tracked toboggan run
  • Cross over the Peak Walk, the world’s first suspension bridge connecting two peaks,

It’s fore sure the most complete tour you can do from Geneva to visit this beautiful part of Switzerland!

To book it, simply click on the button below:

Glacier 3000

If you are planning to visit Geneva in one day , the best is to focus on the Old Town and the left bank, with a quick nautical activity on Lake Geneva at the end of the day. You don’t have a lot of time, so let’s see how to optimize your itinerary!

  • Start your visit in the old town, at Place Bourg-de-four.
  • Continue on the Treille Promenade
  • From there, you can go down to Parc des bastions to see the Reformation Wall.
  • Return to the old town and end the morning with a visit to Geneva Cathedral or the Tavel House according to your preferences.
  • Lunch break in the old town
  • Time to head to Lake Geneva and the Jardin Anglais . You can make a mini detour to see the Molard Tower .
  • don’t forget to take a picture in front of the Flower Clock!
  • We continue along the lake with the Jet d’Eau , symbol of Geneva and the Parc de La Grange and Parc des Eaux-Vives.
  • If you are motivated, you can finish your day with a cruise on Lake Geneva (departure across the lake, on the Quai du Mont Blanc), or a short pedal boat ride! (close to the Jet d’Eau, better choice if you stay in Geneva for more than a day).

In 2 days in Geneva , you will have time to discover the must-see attractions on the right bank of the lake. In addition to the previous schedule, I recommend you:

  • Start your day in style with a breakfast on Lake Geneva at Bains des Pâquis
  • It’s also an opportunity to go swim a bit during summer!
  • Going now to Geneva botanical garden , about 30 minutes walk: Walk up the Quai Wilson on foot and then in the magnificent Parc de la Perle du Lac , which, as its name suggests, is at the water’s edge.
  • It’s now time for lunch! For a gastronomic break, I recommend “Le Vieux Bois” restaurant , behind the Palais des Nations . I will tell you more about it in the “Where to eat” section of this article.
  • Then, for your afternoon, you can visit the Ariana Museum , see the Broken Chair and visit the Palais des Nations , in the order that will suit you best depending on where you had your lunch.
  • If you didn’t do it on the first day, take the bus to reach the Quai du Mont Blanc and take a boat trip on Lake Geneva!

Must-see Geneva

If you have 3 days in Geneva , in addition to the itineraries of the previous days, I recommend you one of the 5 excursions around Geneva that I mention in this article, namely:

  • The Mont Salève , perfect if you have taken the Geneva Pass and would like to make a short excursion with your family.
  • The medieval village of Yvoire , a good choice for a quiet day, without running everywhere. Best to see off-season, or at least during the week.
  • Lavaux Vineyard Terraces , the place that offers the most beautiful views of Lake Geneva . There is plenty to see, so it’s easy to avoid tourists there!
  • Visit Annecy with this superb organized day trip .
  • Go to Chamonix and the Mont Blanc with the best day trip from Geneva.
  • Visit Gruyères Medieval village + the chocolate and cheese factories
  • Discover the Swiss Riviera: Vevey, Montreux and Chillon Castle
  • Spend the day at Glacier 3000 , do unique activities and visit Montreux

And if you are lucky enough to spend 4-5 days in Geneva or even a week, you will have the time to do everything I mentioned in this guide!

In order to allow you to move around in Geneva easily, your hotel will provide you with the Geneva Transport Card free of charge . This card allows you to benefit from free public transport during your stay. It is 100% free and offered by all hotels.

  • Geneva Hostel : Youth hostel located in the “Les pâquis” district, at 250 meters from Lake Geneva. Bed in dormitory from 30€ per night, breakfast included. The pluses: the view on the lake from the terrace, quiet, private parking and a good breakfast. Without a doubt, you will not find cheaper in Geneva!
  • Jade Manotel : 5 minutes walk from Lake Geneva and 10 minutes from Geneva train station. A huge room with a meticulous decoration and furnished according to the principles of Feng Shui from 156€ per night, breakfast for an extra 16€. The plus: the geographical location, the serenity of the rooms. It’s our favorite for being the best value for money in Geneva!
  • Hotel Rotary Geneva MGallery by Sofitel : Located in the centre of Geneva, right next to the lake. Classic and elegant room from 230€ per night with breakfast at 30€. The pluses: near the lake, the comfort of the rooms, the friendliness of the staff, breakfast “à la carte”. And all the little additional things that makes a luxury hotel!
  • Hôtel de la Cigogne : 5 stars hotel located in the city centre, close to the Geneva lake. Belle Époque style room starting at 470€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the location, the amazing restaurant and the very helpful staff. It’s my recommendation for a luxury stay in Geneva!
  • Restaurant des Bains des Pâquis : I told you about it in the article, and it’s really a super place to eat well and relatively cheap in Geneva. Great also for a breakfast by the lake!
  • Le Vieux Bois : If you are looking for a gastronomic restaurant, in a magnificent setting, this is my favourite in Geneva! Located in Ariana park behind the Palais des Nations , it’s Geneva Hotel School’s students restaurant. The setting is beautiful and the food delicious! You have to make a reservation.

Geneva

Unless you live nearby, the best way to get to Geneva is by plane . There are a lot of low cost flights going there, especially with Easy Jet.

Geneva Airport is also a small but excellent international airport , from which you can take cheap flights to many destinations!

Once there, you will have to take the train (5 minutes) to reach Cornavin Station , in Geneva city centre.

When you arrive at the airport, next to the baggage pickups carousel, you will find a free public transport tickets dispenser . They are valid for 80 minutes and this includes the train to Geneva station!

To help you plan your visit of the city, I have made a tourist map of Geneva, with all the must-see attractions I talk about in this article. You can display the map legend by clicking on the button with a small arrow, in the the top left corner.

You’re using Pinterest? Here is the picture to pin!

Visit Geneva

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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Discussion 4 comments.

Taara

Hi, I would like to visit Geneva by staying at french border near Lyon. I would like to know about the border restrictions because i planned to visit Geneva by walking from French border.

Vincent

Hello Taara,

Geneva is very far from Lyon, about 150km, almost 2 hours by car, so you will need to take the bus. There isn’t really any border control when you go to Switzerland, especially if you take the bus or cross when walking.

Enjoy your trip to France and Switzerland!

cherry shekle

Driving by car from Nimes, staying Lyon first, then Geneva, need an hotel with car parking, around the old town of Geneva, please. From there up to Interlaken, same car parking and an hotel too. After that onwards to Grindelwald, staying with family in Apartments CARVE. Many thanks.

Hello Cherry,

In order for me to help you find a hotel for your stay in Geneva and another one in Interlaken, can you please give me the following information: – The dates of your stay in each city – Your budget per night

Of course, you can also have a look at the hotels I recommend in my article, to see if they might be of interest to you.

Have a nice day!

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Never Ending Footsteps

15 Enchanting Things to Do in Geneva, Switzerland

travel advice geneva

Seeing Geneva for the first time was an incredible experience. Before my visit, I’d heard many things about this second most populous city in Switzerland – it’s the home to many international organisations such as the United Nations or the Red Cross, it’s one of the financial centres of the world, and it’s where lots of essential global diplomacy takes place.

In other words, it might be a little bit boring for a traveler.

However, nobody had prepared me for how picturesque Geneva is. The city isn’t that big. When you compare it to other European cities like Berlin or Vienna, it’s actually quite small. The population is around 200 000 inhabitants, and the city stretches on for almost 16 square kilometres. As small as Geneva is, it’s an incredible city that has a lot to offer! Geneva is located very close to the Jura mountains which are often covered in snow, creating an amazing backdrop for the old Swiss city. What’s more, Geneva is right on the shore of Lake Geneva, one of the largest lakes in Western Europe. 

All in all, the nature surrounding the urban space is just stunning. If you’re looking to stay in a city that’s located in the midst of beautiful wilderness, Geneva might be perfect for you. And while there are mountains and a lake hugging the city, Geneva itself is also the centre of culture and economy thanks to its international importance. It’s the ideal mix of nature and culture, if you ask me. The buildings in the historical city centre are exactly what you would expect from an old European city – monumental, ancient and gorgeous. When you walk down the streets of Geneva, you definitely feel the fairytale-like European atmosphere that transports you back in time. Especially during Christmas!

Geneva is the most populous city of Romandy, which is the French-speaking part of Switzerland. It’s time to brush up on your French language skills! Personally, I loved speaking in French during my stay in Geneva – I was surprised at how similar Swiss French is to French from France! Except for a couple of exceptions, it should be very easy for you to understand what people are saying.

And if you can’t speak French, don’t worry. Geneva is an international city for a reason! With so many global organisations, worldwide trading and tourists from all over the planet, it should be easy enough for you to get by using English. Or maybe even German and Italian would do since these languages are spoken in the other parts of Switzerland!

My favourite thing about Geneva is probably how it combines picturesque elements with classiness. There are so many museums, grand buildings and wisdom-related attractions, which brings out the spirit of knowledge and European intellectual culture. At the same time, though, the streets of Geneva can truly enchant you with how picturesque they are. Geneva mixes the small-town vibe with the European grandness of the past really well, and exploring the city makes for an incredible experience thanks to that.

When you visit Geneva, be prepared to see many museums, statues and buildings that date back centuries. All of this lives in harmony with peaceful nature that’s just a throw of a stone away. Because of this, visiting Geneva is a great idea for a weekend getaway or a leisurely holiday full of discovering new knowledge in beautiful museums as well as hiking in the mountains.

Here are 15 best things to do in Geneva!

travel advice geneva

See the Geneva Water Fountain

The first thing I saw when I hopped off the bus was a large water fountain in Lake Geneva. It sprayed so high I actually gasped! I swear I’d never seen a water fountain this big. That was the day I realised water can rain on you no matter how far away from the source you are… as long as it’s high enough.

The Geneva Water Fountain (Jet d’Eau in French) is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Five hundred litres of water per second (!) are sprayed as high as 140 metres by two pumps, creating an immense water jet that’s truly impressive to look at. 

The current Jet d’Eau was installed in 1951, however, the history of water jets in Geneva dates all the way back to 1886. The water used during the performance comes from the lake, therefore no water is being wasted.

When you come closer to have a look at the water fountain, make sure to stay cautious, though. The wind can change at any second, and you might end up completely drenched! This doesn’t sound like the best idea, especially if you’re visiting during winter. 

Beware of the water jet. That’s all I’m saying.

travel advice geneva

Explore the Palace of Nations

One of the most vital places in Geneva is the Palace of Nations (Palais des Nations in French), which is the home of the United Nations Office at Geneva. The building was built back in the 20 th century to serve as the headquarters of the League of Nations, the first global organisation to try to maintain global peace. The place has been the seat of the United Nations Office since 1946.

One of the most striking features about the palace are all the different flags that mark the entrance. When I found myself standing in front of the building, seeing all the various colours representing countries from all over the world made me think of how much beauty there is in diversity and collaboration. 

If you want to explore the Palace of Nations from inside, you can book a group tour and discover much more about the UN. You’ll be able to see where thousands of international meetings take place and where politicians collaborate together in the pursuit of keeping peace between nations! 

Just so you know, the tours aren’t running during the Coronavirus crisis. 

travel advice geneva

Soak Up the Atmosphere of Vieille Ville

Vieille Ville, or Geneva Old Town, is the historical city centre of Geneva. It’s the place to go if you want to walk down picturesque streets, stop at small cafés and experience the ancient European atmosphere. 

Ancient streets, small squares, museums, statues and historical landmarks – that’s what you can expect from Vieille Ville. The oldest place you can find there is Place du Bourg-de-Four, a square located in the very heart of Geneva Old Town. The square is so old that it used to serve as the Roman marketplace! It’s a great meeting point for groups and it’s lined with incredible restaurants, cafés and medieval fountains. And if you visit during Christmas… well, let’s just say you’re bound to enter a fairytale.

And that’s not all. There are many other amazing places to see in Geneva Old Town, including St. Pierre Cathedral, Maison Tavel – the museum of history of Geneva – or the famous Hotel de Ville. 

Personally, soaking up the atmosphere of Vieille Ville is a great experience in and of itself, no matter how many historical landmarks you explore. Vieille Ville isn’t that big, so you’ll be able to walk it all on foot and properly enjoy the maze of old streets and medieval squares. 

I highly recommend you stop at a café and enjoy a cup of coffee while you’re taking in the beautiful historical city centre. It’s one of the best ways to enjoy Geneva Old Town if I do say so myself.

travel advice geneva

Climb the Towers of St. Pierre Cathedral

While you’re in Geneva Old Town, there’s one building you definitely can’t miss, and that’s St. Pierre Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Pierre in French). This magnificent cathedral is extremely close to Place du Bourg-de-Four, making it an easy destination when you’re exploring Vielle Ville. 

St. Pierre Cathedral used to be a Roman Catholic church, however, it turned into a Reformed Protestant church during the Reformation. The cathedral is actually associated with John Calvin (Jean Calvin in French) himself! There’s a wooden chair inside the church that was used by this leader of the Protestant Reformation when he was still alive. Before my visit to the cathedral, I’d never seen a chair this old!

The cathedral was rebuilt throughout the centuries, which means there are many architectural styles that add to the beauty of the building, such as the Gothic style and the Neoclassical style. 

Nowadays, you can enter the cathedral for free and marvel at the beauty of its interior. If you’d like to see an amazing view of Geneva and the Water Fountain on Geneva Lake, you can climb up the North and South towers to get a 360-degree panorama view.

travel advice geneva

Check Out the Flower Clock

I’ve seen many strange clocks in my life, however, nobody prepared me for a clock made out of flowers. If there’s one city that could display something so strange and beautiful, though, it would definitely be Geneva – after all, Geneva is famous for its amazing watchmaking tradition! And that’s why I wasn’t all that surprised when I saw The Flower Clock (L’horloge fleurie in French), an outdoor clock made out of over 6 500 flowers, in the Jardin Anglais park. 

The plants on the clock change depending on the seasons, and therefore The Flower Clock always blooms in beautiful colours no matter what time of year you visit. It was created in 1955 to honour nature as well as watchmakers from Geneva, and it’s one of the largest flower clocks in the world!

I loved looking at The Flower Clock because it reminded me of the beauty people are capable of creating. The flowers are gorgeous, the colours striking and the whole message behind the clock is beautiful as well. Plus, it makes for great pictures! 

So why not take a photo with a clock made out of flowers? 

travel advice geneva

Discover the Reformation Wall

The Reformation Wall (Monument international de la Réformation in French) is a very interesting landmark to explore no matter if you’re a history enthusiast, a protestant or simply someone who would like to find out more about the Reformation. Located on the grounds of the University of Geneva, the wall displays many statues and reliefs that represent important figures from the times of the Reformation.

Since Geneva was the centre of Calvinism and the University of Geneva was founded by Calvin himself, it only makes sense for the fortification walls to be made into an important monument commemorating this period of time. The Reformation Wall is beautiful, and the sculptures are so well-made that it still blows my mind when I remember the sight. They were created by the French sculptors Paul Landowski and Henri Bouchard, and the monument was then inaugurated in 1909 to celebrate 400 years since Calvin’s birth. 

Some of the notable people displayed there include John Calvin, John Knox, Oliver Cromwell, Theodore Beza and many more. If you look closer, you’ll be able to see the motto of Geneva as well as the Reformation engraved on the wall – Post Tenebras Lux, which means “After darkness, light” in Latin. 

The Reformation Wall is an important monument for Geneva as well as protestants, and it’s definitely one of the places you should visit when you’re in Geneva. It speaks of the city’s past, and it’s a beautiful monument to behold.

travel advice geneva

Hike of Mont Salève and Enjoy the View

While you’re in Geneva, it would be a shame not to go explore the nearby mountain range, especially if you love hiking. Mont Salève is a great place for that! It’s actually called “Balcony of Geneva” – you get an incredible view of the whole city once you get high enough. 

What’s more, Mont Salève isn’t just a place to hike. You can go mountain biking, paragliding, trekking, or even skiing when there’s enough snow (usually in the winter months). You might even get lucky and be able to see Mont Blanc when the sky is clear! 

The place isn’t too far from Geneva, therefore visiting Mont Salève makes for an excellent one-day trip in nature. If you’re not too keen on hiking, you can get in the cable car that will take you up in under five minutes! The price for the cable car is usually 13.3 CHF per adult. If you have the Geneva City Pass, it’s for free.

Be aware of one thing, though – due to renovation works, the cable car is closed until 2023.  

travel advice geneva

Visit the Museum of Art and History

Like many European cities, Geneva is full of interesting museums. One of the most vital ones is the Museum of Art and History (Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in French). It’s actually the largest art museum in Geneva, and it’s the home of many vast art collections that focus on various subjects, such as archaeology, graphic arts, fine arts, applied arts, or even watchmaking! 

The official website of the museum says this about their watchmaking collection:

“The Watchmaking, Enamelling, Jewellery and Miniatures section honours Geneva watchmaking (enamel watches, complicated masterpieces) and Swiss specialities (small or fancy jewellery watches, music and automaton mechanisms). French clock-making, with its great watchmakers (Breguet, Leroy, Lépine, etc.), also has a prominent place, while miniatures on enamel, ivory or vellum underline the dexterity of Geneva and European artists.”

Many notable artists have their work displayed here, which is why visiting the museum is a must for any art enthusiast who finds themselves in Geneva! During your visit, you can get an audio guide that will explain everything there is to know about the works of art in your target language, making your experience all the more educational and enriching. As you walk through the museum, you’ll learn plenty of new information not only about Geneva but also about art in general.

The entrance fee is 5CHF per adult. You can enter for free if you’re a holder of the Geneva City Pass.

travel advice geneva

Head to the International Red Cross Museum

Speaking of museums, did you know there’s an International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in Geneva? It opened in 1988 and it strives to educate its visitors about history, humanitarian action and all the challenges that come with it. 

The International Red Cross museum is probably one of the most interesting museums I’ve ever been to because it manages to display a very specific topic in an incredibly creative way. The exhibitions are just as artistic as they are educational, and the museum does a great job at making you reflect on how humanitarian action affects you and everyone else. 

There are always interesting exhibitions running at the museum, often displaying contemporary art that basically invites you to a warm and open debate about social and cultural issues. The International Red Cross museum really makes you think about what’s important in life and what humanitarian action truly involves.

If this sounds enticing, don’t hesitate to visit the museum! It was one of my favourite stops in Geneva. The entrance fee is usually 15 CHF per adult, and you can enter for free when you have the Geneva City Pass.

travel advice geneva

Take a Selfie With the Statue of Frankenstein

Everyone knows of the novel Frankenstein. However, not everybody is aware of the fact that Mary Shelley actually wrote Frankenstein near Lake Geneva, at the village of Cologny. 

This was where she spent the summer with her friends, including her husband and the famous poet Lord Byron. One evening, they decided that each of them would write a ghost story… and the rest is history. Shelley wrote Frankenstein, managed to turn the short story into a novel and became the author of an absolute classic.

In memory of her novel, you can nowadays find a statue of Frankenstein in Geneva – it stands near the Skatepark de la plaine de Plainpalais and it looks as if it’s walking forward, a tortured look in its eyes. The statue has been standing there since 2014.

If you’re a fan of horror books, why not snap a selfie with the statue? You don’t see Frankenstein wandering the streets every day, after all. It could also make for an excellent artistic shot at sunset, in my opinion.

travel advice geneva

Enjoy a Day of Self-Care at Bains de Pâquis

If there’s one thing Geneva does excellently, it’s using its lake to its full potential. Not only is there a large water jet but the lake is also the home of Bains de Pâquis, a spa designed to make you relax and take care of yourself. It’s the perfect place to go if you want to enjoy a slow and pleasant day swimming, having a massage, going to a sauna and more.

At Bains de Pâquis, you can enjoy everything a spa usually offers – a sauna, a Turkish bath, a hammam and different kinds of massages. And you can also learn Taï-chi there! 

What’s more, Bains de Pâquis is where you can find a beach to relax at during the summer. There are swimming lessons available, or you can just swim on your own and enjoy the hot summer weather. There’s also a restaurant on the premises where you can have a delicious meal and a cup of coffee.

Honestly, I’d go to Bains de Pâquis every single day if I lived in Geneva. It’s the most relaxing place ever. The price varies based on what experience you’re going for. For example, the admission fee to the beach is 2 CHF per adult (older than 16 years) and 1 CHF per child. Children under the age of 6 can go to the beach for free.

travel advice geneva

Enjoy a 1-Hour Cruise on Lake Geneva

Going on a boat cruise is a great idea if you want to relax, be near the water and see Geneva from a brand-new angle. With Get Your Guide, you can book your ticket for a Lake Geneva Cruise that will show you various sights of the city as well as the Swiss Alps.

The cruise starts at the Pierres du Niton and it goes toward Pointe à la Bise. Along the way, you’ll get to see the Geneva Water Fountain from up close, all the different gardens that bloom along the shore, manicured and clean, important buildings such as the Palace of the Nations, and if you’re lucky, you might even catch a sight of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in all of Europe!

The price of the ticket is 9 CHF per person. It doesn’t include any food or drinks, so make sure to be prepared for that. Before you depart from port, you’ll be able to download an app with an audio guide in an area with free Wi-Fi. The guide will tell you everything you need to know about the sights you pass by while you sit back, relax and enjoy the view!

A boat cruise is a lovely way to explore a city from a completely new perspective, especially in the spring or summer months when being near the water makes for such a refreshing experience. 

And remember – always stay hydrated!

travel advice geneva

Have an Amazing Dining Experience at Café du Soleil

You’ve just walked all over Geneva, you’ve filled your brain with a tremendous amount of new information, you’ve taken it all in, and now you’re exhausted. On top of exhaustion, you feel like hunger has literally become the core of your personality – food is all you can think about.

Been there, done that.

Well, I have great news for you. Geneva is full of amazing restaurants that offer delicious Swiss meals and a dining experience you won’t forget. And one of those is definitely Café du Soleil, a restaurant located at Place du Petit-Saconnex. Café du Soleil is the perfect place to go if you want to sit down, enjoy a lovely evening with your family and friends, and most of all… have a great Swiss meal.

The restaurant serves various delicious meals, for example oriental-marinated chicken skewers, cured beef platters from Valais, or the famous cheese fondue. Omelettes, grilled meat, salads and homemade desserts are also on the menu, featuring desserts such as meringue and double cream from Gruyère. Honestly, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

What’s interesting about the café is that it’s actually over 400 years old! Yes, you’ve heard me right. What’s more European than dining in a restaurant that was already open back in the 17 th century? Not many things, I’ll tell you that.

The official website of the restaurant describes the vibe thus:

“A kind of poetry emerges from this authentic Genevan “bistrot” where the time seems to have stopped. The terrace is as gracious as one from a provençal village and bring some peace at the shadow of its wonderful plane tree.”

So why not book a table at Café du Soleil? You can taste the famous fondue from Switzerland, have a delicious meal, enjoy the Genevan atmosphere and have a fun evening with your close ones. 

Nothing can beat that.

travel advice geneva

Take a Day Trip to Annecy

Geneva is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and small towns that will impress you with their picturesque vibe. Thanks to the city’s proximity to the French borders, it’s really easy to go to France for a short trip and make your travel experience even more exciting!

One of the most beautiful towns I have ever set my foot in is Annecy. This stunning town is located at the shore of a lake (Lac d’Annecy) that’s so clear it takes your breath away, and the lake is connected to a bright blue river that goes through the ancient streets of Annecy and turns the town into what is often called “the Venice of the Alps”. 

With Get Your Guide, you can book a guided half-day trip to this gorgeous town where you can soak up the lively atmosphere brought alive by various markets, vendors and busy restaurants with a view of the river. 

There are also mountains perching high above the lake, making for an even better view when you go swimming. I’ve got many photos from my travels, but the photos I took in Annecy belong to the most breath-taking ones.

Since Annecy is just 45-minutes from Geneva, it makes for an excellent trip during your holiday. A guide will tell you everything you need to know about Annecy during your visit, and then you’ll also have plenty of time to explore one of the most picturesque towns in France on your own. 

If you want a guide, make sure to book the morning tour. The afternoon tours are usually self-guided. When you book this trip with Get Your Guide, you will pay 69 CHF per person. The bus ride and the walking tour are included in the price, however, food and drinks aren’t. It’s up to you which café you stop at in Annecy, so make sure to choose a seat with a lovely view of the river! 

It’s honestly quite hard to express how beautiful Annecy is. So why not see it for yourself? Once you’re there, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say Annecy looks like paradise on Earth. 

travel advice geneva

Wander Around the Botanical Garden Greenhouse

Almost every European capital has a botanical garden. I find that botanical gardens are a great place to go to escape the hustle of the city and enjoy a peaceful walk in nature. What’s special about the botanical garden in Geneva, though, is its stunning greenhouse. 

Officially called the Conservatory and Botanical Garden of the city of Geneva (Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève in French), the botanical garden has over 14 000 species from all over the world, and many of them can be found in the main greenhouse! 

If you’re interested in plants or if you’re just looking for a moment of peace and quiet, walking through the garden and exploring the lovely greenhouse is a great idea. You’ll immediately feel much more relaxed.

travel advice geneva

And That’s Geneva!

Geneva is probably one of my favourite European cities because of how picturesque it is. With its incredible landscape, a large lake, ancient monuments and educational museums, Geneva is a jewel among cities. 

Plus, it’s so close to the Alps and the French borders that many travel opportunities open up to you while just being there! You can visit Annecy, go see the highest mountain in Europe, take a boat cruise on the lake and much more. 

No matter what time of year you go to Geneva, you’re bound to have an amazing time.

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Lauren Juliff

Lauren Juliff is a published author and travel expert who founded Never Ending Footsteps in 2011. She has spent over 12 years travelling the world, sharing in-depth advice from more than 100 countries across six continents. Lauren's travel advice has been featured in publications like the BBC, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Cosmopolitan, and her work is read by 200,000 readers each month. Her travel memoir can be found in bookstores across the planet.

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Geneva is an anomaly — the nearest thing the world has to an international city, yet far quieter than that description suggests. As anyone who's viewed it from Mont Salève can testify, Geneva is little more than town-sized, but in the most beautiful of locations. Plan your trip to Geneva with our guide to Geneva — based on The Rough Guide to Switzerland , your travel guide for Switzerland .

What to expect when visiting Geneva — your Geneva travel guide

Top attractions and things to do in geneva, which areas should you visit in geneva, best places to stay in geneva, eating and drinking in geneva - best restaurants, cafés and bars, nightlife and entertainment in geneva, how to get around geneva, excursions and day trips from geneva.

Geneva skyline © Benny Marty/Shutterstock

Geneva's skyline with the Jet d’Eau in the background — a top feature of any Geneva travel guide © Benny Marty/Shutterstock

Tailor-made travel itineraries for Switzerland, created by local experts

Special Golden Round Trip to Switzerland (small group or private)

8 days  / from 2725 USD

Special Golden Round Trip to Switzerland (small group or private)

Stay active on Switzerland's mountains with hikes and cable cars before indulging in delicious Swiss cheese and wines around Lausanne and Geneva. Is there a better way to get a taste of Switzerland than to actually taste it? Pricing is based on a small group tour, enquire for a private tour!

Unforgettable Switzerland

11 days  / from 3597 USD

Unforgettable Switzerland

Discover Switzerland's real natural paradise. Enjoy 11 relaxed days of picturesque scenery, breathtaking views, romantic towns, eternal ice and snow, rural villages and historic buildings. Visit Zurich, Lucerne, Interlaken, Geneva and many other highlights.

Lakes and mountains for the whole family in Italy & Switzerland

7 days  / from 2725 USD

Lakes and mountains for the whole family in Italy & Switzerland

Spend your first 3 nights at Lake Como in Italy, discovering the area by boat or foot, before heading to Zermatt in Switzerland. Zermatt with its peaceful nature is the ideal backdrop for strolls, hikes and other activities with the whole family.

Grand Circle of Switzerland

10 days  / from 3543 USD

Grand Circle of Switzerland

Switzerland may be small but is full of unique experiences. Take the scenic Glacier Express, visit the beautiful car-free village of Zermatt, visit the Matterhorn, the famous St Moritz and more on this Swiss highlight trip.

Scenic Trains, Mountains, Lakes and Chocolate

12 days  / from 5832 USD

Scenic Trains, Mountains, Lakes and Chocolate

A Swiss adventure, exploring the panoramic trains, majestic mountains, and serene lakes. Savor chocolate delights and immerse yourself in the charm of Zermatt, St. Moritz, Grindelwald, and Montreux, discovering the diverse beauty of Switzerland at every stop.

Medieval Towns & Outdoor Fun - Switzerland and Italy Combo

14 days  / from 8666 USD

Medieval Towns & Outdoor Fun - Switzerland and Italy Combo

Paraglide over Switzerland's landscape, join a night watchman on a mythical tour through Lucerne, explore Lake Como and Lake Maggiore, as well as cosmopolitan Zurich and Milan. This trip leaves nothing to be desired!

Taste of Three - Belgium, France and Switzerland

10 days  / from 5668 USD

Taste of Three - Belgium, France and Switzerland

Start your journey in Belgium and explore Brussels, Ghent and Bruges. A high-speed train will then take you to Strasbourg, from where you'll discover the Alsace. Proceed to Basel as your base, from where you'll see plenty of Switzerland: Zermatt, Matterhorn, Mount Pilatus and much more.

Centred at the point the River Rhône flows from Lake Geneva , Geneva is only nominally within Switzerland’s borders. It's squeezed into a bulge of land that shares just 4km of internal border with its neighbouring Swiss canton, but 108km with France.

Small it may be, but Geneva is one of the most demographically diverse cities in Europe — 39 percent of the resident population is non-Swiss.

Contributing to the fluid nature of the population are the thirty thousand French frontaliers who commute to Geneva from just over the border, benefiting from a high Swiss salary and relatively low French living expenses.

Geneva is home to dozens of international organizations. Two of them — the United Nations’ European headquarters and the International Committee of the Red Cross — allow visitors a glimpse of the unseen lifeblood of the city. Namely, the diplomatic and administrative flair that has made Geneva world capital of bureaucracy.

Geneva is also one of the reasons you voted Switzerland one of the most beautiful countries in the world . What's more, Geneva gets glowing mentions in our run-down of things to do in Switzerland this summer .

For more detail on the wider region, read our Lake Geneva travel guide .

1. Cathédrale St-Pierre

Geneva’s Calvinist heritage is laid bare in the stark interior of this historic church. The Cathédrale St-Pierre is a mishmash of architectural elements, from twelfth century Gothic to a Neoclassical portico that’s more reminiscent of a museum than a church.

Be sure to spend time in the delightful Chapelle des Macchabées. Added in 1397, it's last on the left before you leave.

2. Jet d’Eau

The origins of Geneva's iconic lakeside fountain lie in an attempt to solve a problem with the city’s water-pumping system.

By the time the reservoir was in operation and the fountain had become unnecessary, a few wily Genevois had caught onto its power as a tourist attraction. As such, it's a must-see during your Geneva vacation.

Today it spurts a single jet of water an incredible 140m into the air, with 500 litres of water forced out of the nozzle every second at about 200kph.

geneva-switzerland-shutterstock_319406843

Jet d’Eau, an icon of Geneva © Shutterstock

Artists' workshops and Italianate architecture lend a Mediterranean ambience to this lively suburb. In 1754 the King of Sardinia envisioned Carouge as a trading competitor to Geneva and turned it into a refuge for Catholics, Protestant, and Jews.

Today Carouge is still something of a refuge from the city. Its quiet, attractive streets are packed with artists’ workshops and old-style cafés, making it a highlight of any Geneva travel experience.

4. Les Pâquis

Engaging street life abounds in the multi-ethnic district of Les Pâquis that spreads east of Rue du Mont-Blanc.

This cosmopolitan area is centred on the long Rue de Berne, and crammed with restaurants and cafés devoted to every conceivable cuisine, from Senegalese to Filipino.

5. Musée de la Croix-Rouge

Housed within the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Musée International de la Croix-Rouge chronicles the history of modern conflict.

The museum-with-a-conscience also features interactive displays revealing the role the Red Cross has played in providing aid to combatants and civilians caught up in war and natural disasters.

Tours of the UN building are packed with star quality for those who want to hobnob with history. This is the world’s single largest conference centre for top-level international politicking — when the news reports on “negotiations in Geneva”, they mean here.

To learn more, take an expert-guided United Nations tour of Geneva.

United Nations Building and the flags in Geneva © nexus7/Shutterstock

Taking a tour of the United Nations Building is one of the best things to do in Geneva, Switzerland © nexus7/Shutterstock

CERN , the European Organization for Nuclear Research, was established in 1954 as an international physics research centre. In 1989, CERN was the birthplace of the World Wide Web.

Today scientifically curious visitors head to the site to gain insights to a place where 2500 scientists seek answers to fundamental questions about the universe.

To see a host of the city's modern and old world attractions, book a guided tour of Geneva's international quarters and Old Town , or combine a city tour with a boat cruise .

Travelling with kids? A self-guided scavenger hunt and city tour might just keep the whole family entertained.

Genevois orient the city centre around the Rhône, which flows west into France from the Rade. The narrow lake harbour is flanked by grand facades.

The Rive Gauche, on the south bank, takes in a grid of waterfront streets which comprise the main shopping district (Les Rues-Basses) and the adjacent high ground of the Old Town. Just south is the university, spilling over into Plainpalais.

Beyond this is lively Carouge, characterized by artisans’ workshops.

Six bridges, including the main Pont du Mont-Blanc, link the Rive Gauche to the Rive Droite waterfront, where most of Geneva’s grand hotels sit.

Behind them lies the Gare de Cornavin, the main train station, alongside the cosmopolitan and occasionally rough Les Pâquis district.

The international area, 1.5km north and centred on Place des Nations, is home to the European headquarters of the UN, set amid a clutch of world bodies – not least the International Committee of the Red Cross.

At first sight, Geneva’s accommodation scene can appear to consist solely of grandiose palace hotels catering to diplomats and the international glitterati.

That said, more affordable accommodation is available if you know where to look, though booking ahead is essential, since all affordable rooms can easily get snapped up by delegates to the continuous round of conferences and international events.

Vacant rooms in Geneva’s two hostels are likewise at a premium, though thankfully both are comparatively large, sleeping hundreds of people between them.

Geneva, Switzerland

Book early to secure lakeside views in the best places to stay in Geneva © Shutterstock

Best hotels in Geneva

  • Best for couples: Beau Rivage . This dreamy classical-style palace is characterized by the refined luxury of its 1865 foundation.
  • Best for families: Hotel Central . This quiet, affordable hotel occupies the top floors of a building below the Old Town, with excellent-value rooms for three, four and five people.
  • Best for Old Town elegance: Les Armures . This quiet seventeenth-century building in the heart of the Old Town is the height of tasteful, understated luxury.

Best hostels in Geneva

  • Best for affordable buzziness: Auberge de Jeunesse/Geneva Hostel . This big, bustling independent hostel has 12-bed dorms and en-suite doubles.
  • Best for budget basics: City Hostel Geneva . This functional backpackers' place boasts good facilities, with 3-4-bed dorms and doubles with separate WC

With more than a thousand restaurants in the city, you could eat and drink your way around the world in Geneva.

While the many French restaurants mainly draw on influences from haute cuisine Lyon , authentic Swiss eating can be had in the Old Town, particularly around the Place du Bourg-de-Four.

Carouge has a number of upmarket choices while Eaux-Vives is more down-to-earth. Meanwhile, Les Pâquis has dozens of low-priced eateries serving Arabic, East Asian and African food.

If you're travelling with kids, or have a sweet tooth, you might want to take a chocolate-themed walking tour of Geneva .

Prefer cheese? Try a walking tour of the city that includes a fun fondue cookery class .

Swiss traditional cheese dish fondue © Shulevskyy Volodymyr/Shutterstock

Swiss cheese fondue is offered by many of the best restaurants in Geneva © Shulevskyy Volodymyr/Shutterstock

Best restaurants in Geneva

  • Les Armures : this traditional stone-floored Old Town institution serves perfectly prepared fondues, plus pizzas and pastas.
  • La Bourse : this celebrated nineteenth-century brasserie in the heart of Carouge offers quality meat and fish dishes, with a pizzeria in the cellar.
  • Jeck’s Place : an excellent Thai/Singaporean restaurant, with nice wood-and-rattan decor and affordable authentic food.

Best cafés in Geneva

  • Café Gallay : this friendly neighbourhood café-bar attracts an arty crowd of students and theatre people.
  • Chocolaterie du Rhône : this outlet for fine handmade chocolates has a small tearoom at the back serving heavenly cakes, pastries and savouries.
  • Martel Tea Room : the perfect place to punctuate a walk around Carouge, this was founded in 1818 and serves exquisite chocolates and pastries, plus inexpensive salads and and light meals.

Best bars in Geneva

  • Chat Noir : this bar and cellar venue features diverse live performances — chanson, drum’n’bass, acid jazz, world music, improv theatre and acoustic blues.
  • La Bretelle : a tiny kitsch tavern that attracts alternative young-at-hearts, especially for the live accordion and drag cabaret shows.

Geneva aerial © Swiss Tourism

Bird's eye view of Geneva © Swiss Tourism

It has to be said that Geneva’s nightlife is unlikely to set your pulse racing, given that many venues cater to visiting businesspeople.

That said, clubbers looking for entertainment in Geneva usually head for Carouge.

In addition, lovers of live music will find a fair few places to be entertained. Free classical concerts are staged in many of Geneva’s churches year-round, and many bars host regular jazz and improv nights.

Best entertainment venues in Geneva

  • AMR/Sud des Alpes : founded by musicians in 1973, this centre for jazz and improvised African-American music offers lectures, concerts, and jam sessions.
  • L’Usine Arts Complex Volontaires : this alternative arts venue hosts live bands, experimental dance and drama, and non-commercial movies.
  • Bâtiments des Forces-Motrices : located in in a former pumping station, this is the place to come for innovative opera, plus some rock and dance events.
  • Grand Théâtre : head to Geneva's grandest venue for classical concerts, chamber music recitals and ballet performances..

Geneva night view © Boxun Liu/Shutterstock

Geneva at night © Boxun Liu/Shutterstock

Travel passes

Any Geneva travel guide worth its salt will recommend travellers get hold of a Swiss Travel Pass, or a Geneva Pass, which allows you to travel free on Geneva’s trams, buses and boats.

To save time as well as money, sort your Geneva pass or Swiss Travel pass before you travel.

Getting around Geneva by bus and tram

Geneva’s bus and tram network is extensive, integrated, very straightforward to use, and relatively inexpensive. Trams predominate in the centre, with routes threading off into the suburbs, where they connect with a myriad of bus routes.

Getting around Geneva on foot

Walking is feasible for the heart of Geneva. Even getting to further-flung attractions such as Carouge or the UN only takes 20 or 30min.

Getting around Geneva by ferry

Little ferries (mouettes) run by SMGN carry passengers across the mouth of the lake on four routes, labelled M1–M4. All citywide tickets and passes are valid.

Geneva harbour basin © Swiss Tourism

Geneva's harbour basin © Swiss Tourism

Getting around Geneva by train

From the Cornavin station and from the Eaux-Vives station, the Léman Express L1–L6 commuter lines link the transborder agglomeration of Greater Geneva with the French Alps’ towns, including Evian, Thonon, Annemasse and Annecy.

Getting around Geneva by bike

Behind the station, you’ll find the usual bike-rental facilities. Alternatively, take advantage of the Genèveroule scheme, which offers mountain bikes and child seats. In summer, they're free, with just a small deposit.

You could also book an E-bike tour of Geneva's top sights.

Many cruises depart from the Mont-Blanc jetty, including Les Belles Rives Genevoises – an hour-long circular tour of both lakeshores (4–6 daily) – and dozens of eat-aboard brunch, lunch and evening cruises.

Alternatively, book yourself on a Swiss Riviera tour from Geneva to sample fine wine and local culture, with the option to travel aboard an old steamer boat.

Mont Salève

The first ridge of the Alps rising southeast of Geneva is Mont Salève. Even though it lies across the border in France, this is the Genevois’ principal retreat into nature.

A cable car whisks you to the summit, where there are footpaths galore. In winter, these become cross-country skiing trails.

Situated on the southern lakeshore against the French border, the quiet village of Hermance is a delight of narrow lanes lined with sixteenth-century dwellings overlooked by a fourteenth-century tower.

Artists’ studios and galleries provide interesting diversions, but the main reason to visit is to sample the famed culinary delights of the restaurant in the Auberge d’Hermance and, for those who travel by boat, the gorgeous journey across the lake from Geneva.

Hermance © Leeloona/Shutterstock

Taking an trip to handsome Hermance is one of the best excursions from Geneva © Leeloona/Shutterstock

Located 6km northeast of the Geneva, Cologny has long been known as an exclusive suburb. With country lanes weaving between woods, and large detached houses set back behind walls, the contrast with Geneva is striking.

It's easy to see why the tourist office has dubbed Cologny the “Beverly Hills of Geneva”.

Canoeing and rafting trips

Rafting Genève runs canoeing, rafting and kayaking trips daily on the Arve’s 8km of rapids, as well as whitewater trips on the Dranse and elsewhere.

You can also rent canoes and kayaks and make tandem paragliding jumps off Mont Salève.

If you're into exhilerating activities, read up on the  best outdoor experiences in Switzerland .

Intrepid female travellers might also want to explore  women only outdoor activities in Switzerland  — all created by and for women.

Whatever kind of trip you're looking for,  The Rough Guide to Switzerland  and our run-down of  things not to miss in Switzerland  will help you plan — think of them as your personal travel guide to Switzerland.

Not a fan of planning? You could book a hassle-free tailor-made trip to Switzerland, with customisable itineraries curated by local experts covering everything from  unforgettable highlights of Switzerland , to  touring the Grand Circle .

We may earn commission when you click on links in this article, but this doesn’t influence our editorial standards. We only recommend services we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

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CITY GUIDES , EUROPE , SWITZERLAND · August 25, 2023 Last Updated on December 22, 2023

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

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Geneva is a gorgeous city in Switzerland on the southern end of Lake Geneva, surrounded by the majestic Swiss Alps and the Jura Mountains. The city offers stunning views of the striking Mont Blanc – the highest mountain in Western Europe.

Geneva is the second largest city in Switzerland. It’s a global hub for diplomacy and banking and is known for its scenic position near the Swiss Alps, stunning architecture, French influence and unforgettable charm!

Geneva has world-class restaurants, an array of great hotels and and a lot to do and see. Here’s my ultimate guide to Geneva to help you make the most of your visit to this stunning city.

Top 10 Things To Do In Geneva

Have you been compelled to the wonders of Geneva? Whether your trip is booked or just in your imagination, here are ten things you can do to explore Geneva’s refined character and captivating history!

1) Clamber Up The Cathedral Towers

The grand St Peters Cathedral sits in the heart of Geneva’s old town. The Cathedral’s combination of architectural styles ranging from Gothic to medieval boasts a unique look! 

You can admire the divine stained glass windows and quaint chapel decor inside. Undoubtedly, the star feature of St Peters Cathedral is that, for just 7 CHF per person, you can wander up the winding tower steps! All 157 of them.

It sounds like quite the leg work out – because it is – but the astonishing views from the top of the towers make it all worth it! 

Feast upon the fantastic birds-eye view of Geneva. Look down at the buildings all huddled together and see the icy mountains blending into the blue sky in the distance. It’s a breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime sight and worth the climb!

On a sunny day, the open structure of the south tower is beautiful, but on a not-so-sunny day, the enclosed northern tower may be better suited! You can still take in the views from up above whilst being protected from any bad weather.

2) Explore Geneva’s Classic Old Town

Geneva’s old town is an ancient maze of small, cobblestone streets for you to get lost in.

Travelling back to medieval times is like wandering through this classically beautiful town. Enjoy the picturesque squares, twisting tunnels, homely cafes, restaurants, galleries, historical sights and buildings.

There are several great and informative audio tours for you to plug into if you require guidance on seeing the old town’s star features.

Despite the convenience of an audio tour, the way I’d prefer to explore this charming town is to wander around aimlessly simply. 

Strolling blindly through exciting new streets lets you pick up on the small quirky things you otherwise might’ve missed. 

Stop for a coffee and a bite to eat or do some local shopping – just experience this fantastic town in the most authentic way! 

3) The Delicious Choco Pass

If you have a sweet tooth, this one is for you!

The Geneva choco pass is a beautiful way to explore the city while discovering local chocolate makers’ unique insight! Geneva is well known for its delicious chocolate and does not disappoint! A three-hour walking tour of Geneva is also a great option.

Your day choco pass will activate as soon as you enter the first chocolate shop of your choosing, entitling you to a sample plate of what the chocolate masters offer. 

Jump from one chocolate shop to the next, exploring Geneva whilst getting in on that tasty chocolate action!

Find out more on Geneva’s choco pass website!

4) Grab A Coffee At Valmandin

Rumour has it that this coffee shop serves some of the best brews in Geneva! 

Take your coffee experience to a new level in this quaint, welcoming coffee shop.

Delight in a fresh, artisanally roasted coffee whilst taking a break from exploring the city.

And there’s no need to get sad when you finish your coffee! Valmandin also sells personalised coffee bean mixtures that you can order online to enjoy the exquisite, unique taste long after your trip to Geneva.

5) Water Activities In Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva is magnificent! The lake is the largest body of water in Europe and Geneva sits beside it. 

The crystal-clear waters are a playground of fun in the summer, perfect for a casual swim or paddle boarding! 

Dive in solo or join in some organised group activities. Group activities are excellent when you don’t have much experience or just want to meet new people and new possible friends; you can take a one-hour Lake Geneva cruise .

If you don’t visit Lake Geneva for the lake itself, then catch a look; you won’t miss it at the impressive Jet D’Eau – literally translating to ‘water jet’. 

The tallest fountain in Europe, one of the tallest in the world, hits impressive heights of 140m that you can spot from a mile away. The fountain is a firm staple of Geneva and has been going strong since 1886.

That means your great great great great grandpa could’ve been looking at the Jet D’Eau if he was in Geneva, of course.

6) Bastions Park – Nature In The City

This peaceful park will have you reconnecting with nature in no time.

Lined with luscious trees, Bastions Park is ideal for taking a pause from the booming city. Take some time to chill on the grassy banks, grab a drink, read a book – relax! This lovely display of nature is refreshing to see in the city!

Bastions Park isn’t only a beautiful botanical garden; it also holds the grand Reformation wall, where the four leaders of the Reformation stand proudly as giant stone statues. If you are interested in Geneva’s history, then this is definitely something to check out!

To my surprise, there are giant checkers and chess games on the other end of the park! Chess enthusiasts unite because when I say giant, I mean human-sized pieces! 

Attracting players and spectators alike, getting involved is a way to have fun with new people or just watch as the thrilling games unfold. 

7) The Famous Flower Clock

A Geneva classic selfie spot – the flower clock. 

This massive clock tells the real-time and is made entirely of – you guessed it – flowers! This remarkable feature commemorates Geneva’s watchmaking origins and skills and is pretty cool to see!

Built in 1955, the flower clocks fame grew quickly and became one of Geneva’s star features. Interestingly, the clock constantly changes, looking slightly different as varied amounts of flowers bloom and grow throughout the year! 

Located in the Jardin Anglais (English gardens), this spot continues to be popular with tourists and locals and is a must-see attraction in Geneva!

8) Joining An Organised Boat Tour

Feel the wind in your hair as you set sail to explore Geneva’s shores.

There are multiple boat tours, exploring Geneva Bay, an entire  lake tour , a wine cruise and more! 

Boat tours are a fantastic option to explore past Geneva on the calm waters and view the city from afar.

An organised tour is another fun option to meet new people or have a great time.

9) Head Into The Mountains

An admirable feature of Geneva, and a key reason many tourists visit the city, is the sight of the mountains, peaking through behind the buildings. Chamonix Mont Blanc is one of the best places to stay with a cable car to the top of the mountain and a great quaint town to explore and enjoy – you can even take an organised tour.

Geneva is the perfect place to go pre or post-trip into the mountains, only being around a two-hour journey from the city. With easily accessible public transport, you can head out for a day’s adventure and return by evening!

Plenty of routes range in difficulty levels for hiking and mountain biking. One for the genuine thrill seekers, you could partake in paragliding down the mountains – now that is one for the bucket list.

10) Splash The Cash On The High Street

Despite Geneva’s smaller size, the city rivals London and Paris as major shopping destinations. 

Packed with over 53 luxury shops and cafes, this is a high street for true shopping addicts. With a mix of wildly exclusive boutiques, high-end brands and exceptionally skilled watchmakers, there is something for everyone’s taste! 

Whether you want to splash the cash or casually window shop, this riveting high street is the place to do it!

The Geneva Pass

The Geneva Pass is a must when coming to Geneva for sightseeing and touristy ventures! 

It’s a no-brainer, with free admission or discounts on over 50 attractions and activities around Geneva for 24,48 or 72 hours.

Here are some of the things that are included in the Geneva Pass:

  • Free admission to all museums and sites.
  • Several guides tours through Geneva by train, bus or foot.
  • Several Lake Geneva tours.
  • One hour of canoeing or half an hour of pedal boating
  • Discounts on activities such as segway sightseeing, rafting and other escapades around Geneva.

This pass saves you money while opening exciting new possibilities; it’s an excellent investment for your time spent in Geneva, ensuring you don’t miss out on the best bits!

Secure your Geneva pass here!

Top 10 Best Places To Stay In Geneva 

Unwinding after a long day of sightseeing and exploring the city is necessary; you deserve to do it in style.

With flashing hotel signs screaming at you around every corner, choosing your perfect accommodation can be overwhelming! So here is a list of 10 outstanding hotels in Geneva, with differing prices and styles; you will surely find your dream hotel here!

1) Suisse Hotel

Hotel Suisse is a small hotel sitting across from the train station may not sound the most appealing, but don’t judge a book by its cover!

This budget-friendly hotel has an ideal central location, only a 5-minute walk from Lake Geneva and a quick walk to public transportation.

The rooms are slightly on the smaller side but are known for their impeccable cleanliness. Suisse Hotel is an excellent option for those on a budget.

Book Your Stay: Hotel Suisse

2) Hotel Bernina Geneve

Hotel Bernina Geneve is a recently renovated hotel that has elevated into a brand-new modern and artsy style!

The low, slanted ceiling in the simple but stylish rooms creates a homely feel, keeping you comfortable with a splash of well-appointed artistic taste.

Benefit from the ideal central location, close to the train station and adjacent to a large shopping centre.

Book Your Stay: Hotel Bernina Geneve

3) Hotel Edelweiss

Immerse yourself in the welcoming warmth of an authentic Swiss chalet at Hotel Edelweiss !

The attention to detail in the hotel’s decor is outstanding, curated to look like a traditional Swiss log cabin. If you are drawn to that classic Switz aesthetic, then Hotel Edelweiss may be the one for you.

Book Your Stay: Hotel Edelweiss

4) Hotel Jade

Peace and tranquillity are what Hotel Jade does best.

Inspired by the principles of Feng Shui, an ancestral Chinese scientist striving to optimise energy flow, this hotel offers a calming, aspirational oasis in the city’s heart.

Soothe yourself in the atmospheric zen garden after an active day exploring Geneva.

Book Your Stay: Hotel Jade

5) Hotel De La Cigogne

Hotel De La Cigogne is dripping with elegance and refined taste.

Every room is spacious and uniquely decorated with classic period furniture. This 5-star hotel’s timeless design is carried throughout all aspects, including the mahogany-panelled restaurant that serves exquisite cuisine.

Book Your Stay: Hotel De La Cigogne

6) Beau-Rivage Palace

This boutique hotel is a little more expensive but will have you living like royalty!

Sip your morning coffee on the balcony before the famous Jet D’Eau and the Swiss Alps before unwinding in the hotel’s spectacular private spa. The Beau-Rivage palace is drenched in remarkable style and centrally located to Geneva’s best bits.

Book Your Stay: Beau-Rivage Palace

7) Tiffany Hotel

Tiffany Hotel is a budget-friendly but luxurious boutique hotel. Enjoy modern art nouveau-styled decor, a classic ambience that gives a homely feel to your stay. Those in Geneva for business may reap the benefits of the hotel’s living spaces, like the cosy library.

Book Your Stay: Tiffany Hotel

8) Eastwest Geneva

Eastwest Geneva screams chic with its fashionably minimalistic style and a proper understanding of luxury. Each room is a cocoon of contemporary luxury and art with a lively atmosphere.

Eastwest Geneva strives to give its customers that warm and welcoming feel, with features like a fitness centre, relaxing sauna, an intelligent little courtyard and a patio.

Book Your Stay: Eastwest Geneva

9) Royal Manotel

Affordable elegance at its finest – this upmarket hotel gets it.

Rooms feature rich fabrics, classic period furnishings, collected art, and stylish, marble-swirled bathrooms.

Royal Manotel strives to give you an experience as unforgettable as is comfortable in the spirit of a 19th-century mansion with 21st-century equipment.

Book Your Stay: Royal Manotel

10) Hotel N’vy

Hotel N’vy displays a bright, bold interior filled with unique art and stunning sculptures. The Boho-chic-inspired style and individual eye-to-detail stand out from the crowd for sure. Hotel N’vy is located in downtown Geneva, a 20-minute walk from the city centre.

Book Your Stay: Hotel N’vy

  • Hôtel Les Armures
  • Hotel Metropole Geneve
  • Hôtel De La Cigogne

Approved hotels and accommodations in Geneva go out of their way to welcome visitors by offering a transport pass that entitles you to free use of public transportation for the duration of your stay! Buses, trams and boats are free of charge with unlimited usage!

10 Amazing Places To Eat In Geneva

1) les armures.

Sat in the heart of the old town, Les Armures is a fantastic place to enjoy some traditional Swiss fare. Holding the title of Geneva’s oldest cafe, Les Armures knows good Swiss cuisine, especially the deliciously classic fondue! 

A glamorous rooftop oasis is known for its modern fusion food and innovative Japanese cuisine. Izumi’s exciting menu features things like ‘lobster tacos’, ‘sea urchins’, ‘wagyu’ and more. Though it’s rather pricey, dining outside with the breathtaking views of Geneva sounds like a dream!

3) Buvette des Bains

Buvette des Bains is a lakeside restaurant with a rich and varied menu, offering options such as vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose-free and a cheesy fondue that’s to die for. The restaurant’s communal tables create a relaxed and friendly ambience so you can dine comfortably with excellent food and stunning views.

4) Nero’s Pizza

Street food stands in the heart of the city centre, Nero’s Pizza is the ideal break after a heavy shopping trip. The airy yet crispy roman style pizza dough paired with deliciously fresh and handpicked ingredients separate this pizza stand from the rest. Nero’s Pizza also served a range of Italian coffees, the perfect fuel for you to continue splashing the cash on the high street!

5) Cafe Des Banques

This French-style restaurant takes great pride in its exquisite plating. Each dish is brilliantly displayed, using complex sauces and dressing to create a culinary art experience for its guests. If a fancy dining experience is what you are after, then Cafe Des Banques is precisely where you need to be.

6) Living Room Bar and Kitchen

The Living Room Bar and Kitchen has gorgeous views of Lake Geneva and mountain views paired with a rich menu hosting seasonally inspired dishes, a Living Room Bar and a Kitchen known as gourmet. Simple yet elegant and bursting with creative concepts. 

7) Chez Philippe

Chez Philippe is a steakhouse that cooks its astringent steaks over coals to give it the luscious taste it’s known for while offering the perfect wine selection. The lively New York style creates a thrilling atmosphere whilst attentive staff provide exceptional service as you dine.

8) Cafe du Centre

Cafe du Centre is an old-style bistro in the heart of the city centre that focuses primarily on seafood but does offer other classic meat options. They host a Saturday brunch that’s a feast for all senses, serving dishes such as oysters, shrimp, traditional benedict eggs and french toast selections. All whilst giving you an authentic view of the ever-moving city centre.

Don’t be fooled by the simple name; at Windows , you are guaranteed a divine experience.

As one of Geneva’s most highly acclaimed and awarded restaurants, your dining experience is designed precisely to impress. Their varied menu serves international cuisine, and floor-to-ceiling windows show magical views of the beautiful lake and Mount Blanc. 

10) Cafe de la Paix

There isn’t a better date night location than Cafe De La Paix , low light, oversized windows and cosy, warm decor – romance is in the air!

A French and European menu is presented in well-thought-out, delectable courses with truly original flavours and a rather interesting wine menu.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Geneva?

During the summer months (June-August), Geneva is a joy to be in. Switzerland’s summers boast plenty of sunshine; the streets are lively with many fun things to do. Summer is when Lake Geneva is at its finest; the sparkling waters invite swimmers, fun water activities and exciting boat tours.

The up in tourism and events taking place during the summer will raise the general prices, so if a cheaper Geneva trip is what you are after, I’d recommend visiting between September and November. The crowds dispersing bring the all-around prices down a bit and the quiet city could make your trip more peaceful.

I suppose that’s down to you to experience the hustle and bustle of sweet Switzerland summer or the calm afterwards.

How To Get To Geneva

By train .

Train travel is the most common way to enter Geneva. The city is well connected and the train station is ideally located in the city centre. The Euro-star is favoured by travellers departing from various locations and is rather reasonably priced. You can get from London to Geneva for under £100.

Flying is a very convenient way to reach Geneva. The journey will be considerably shorter, and tickets are relatively cheap, depending on the departure location. Geneva’s airport is easily accessible by public transport and it’s only a 20-minute car ride from the airport into the city centre.

Geneva’s central bus station Gare Routiere has arrivals and departures for local and international routes daily. You can travel to Geneva by bus from France, Spain, Italy, Maroco, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Poland, Bosnia, Serbia, Russia, Holland, Belgium and the UK. Buses are an inexpensive way to reach Geneva though the journey may be long.

Geneva is well connected to the rest of Europe by a network of motorways. Motorists can follow the ‘route blanche’ to the outskirts of Geneva. Swiss roads are generally good, but be cautious that mountain routes are windy and narrow. Traffic in Geneva drives on the righthand side.

How To Get Around Geneva

Public transport.

The most convenient and cheapest way to travel through Geneva would be by Tram. The tramways are the main form of public transport in Geneva; they are linked throughout the city, making it super quick and stress-free to get to your destination. Those staying in Geneva accommodation can use their travel passes to use the trams free of charge!

The trams run from 6.00 am to 11.00 pm, depending on the service, and tram stops are scattered throughout Geneva at all the important places. Each visit has a detailed timetable and maps to make navigation easier, and trams come through regularly.

Here’s a map of the tram lines if you want to plan your transport!

Geneva is a city full of vibrant life and funny quirks. Friendly locals welcome visitors with open arms and offer plenty to ensure you a great experience during your trip! 

A thrilling city and a convenient base for nature adventures, a trip to Geneva should be on your bucket list if it’s not already.

We hope that this article has inspired you to want to visit Geneva. If you have any questions or advice to share with our readers, please leave these in the comments below.

Want to write for We Are Travel Girls? Visit our Contribute Page for guidelines and to submit your article.

Subscribe to get access to our FREE eBook with tips for saving money when you travel!

Read More About Switzerland

  • Hiking For Cheese in Switzerland
  • Things To Do In Zermatt Besides Ski
  • See The Best Of Switzerland With These Five Walks

We Are Travel Girls Contributor Charlotte Phillips Connect with Charlotte Website | Instagram  

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COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers

Switzerland travel advice

Latest updates: Editorial change

Last updated: January 9, 2024 09:21 ET

On this page

Safety and security, entry and exit requirements, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate, switzerland - take normal security precautions.

Take normal security precautions in Switzerland

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Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs in most public places and particularly in major cities such as:

Thieves are particularly active in airports, railway stations and trains. They often work in teams, one distracting the victim while the other steals the valuables.

Car break-ins occur at gas stations and highway service areas, as well as in parking lots.

  • Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Never leave bags containing money, airline tickets, credit cards or passports in the trunk of a parked car and do not leave anything on car seats
  • Don't put any valuables or identification in the overhead storage compartments of trains
  • Exercise caution on trains, especially on overnight trips

Spiked food and drinks

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery, particularly in bars and nightclubs.

Credit card and ATM fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. When using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention if other people are handling your cards
  • use ATMs located in public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Cybercrime occurs in Switzerland. Perpetrators may compromise public Wi-Fi networks to steal credit card or personal information.

  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks
  • Avoid making purchases on unsecured websites
  • Use judgment when posting information on social media
  • Be especially careful if you are meeting people you have met online
  • Never click a suspicious link in an email or text message asking for your credit card details

Romance scams

If you’re travelling to Switzerland to meet someone you’ve otherwise only met online, be aware that you may be the victim of a scam.

Be wary of attempts at fraud by persons who profess friendship or romantic interest over the internet.

Never send money.

Useful links

  • More about overseas fraud
  • Internet crime - Swiss Crime Prevention (in French)
  • Skimming - Swiss Crime Prevention (in French)

There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorists have carried out attacks in several European cities. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time.

Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Be particularly vigilant if attending:

  • sporting events
  • religious holidays
  • public celebrations

Terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations take place from time to time, particularly in Bern, Geneva and Zurich. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Mountain activities

Mountain activities, such as hiking, can be dangerous, especially if they are not well-organized.

Weather conditions can change rapidly, even in summer. In winter, heavy snowfall can make it difficult to reach some villages and ski centres. Roads may become impassable. There is also a risk of avalanches, some of which can be fatal, even with light snow accumulations.

If you intend to go hiking, mountaineering or skiing:

  • never do so alone and do not part with your hiking companions
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • do not venture off marked trails or slopes
  • ensure that you’re adequately equipped
  • carry an avalanche beacon
  • stay informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary
  • know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
  • obtain detailed information on your activity and on the environment in which you will be doing it before setting out
  • Avalanche bulletin and snow situation - Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research
  • Current natural hazards situation in Switzerland - Natural Hazards Portal
  • AlertSwiss App - Federal Office for Civil Protection
  • Avalanche forecasting and warnings - European Avalanche Warning Services
  • Forecast for Switzerland - Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology

Road safety

Road conditions and safety are very good throughout the country.

Many roads are mountainous and winding. Traffic jams are common, especially in major cities and during rush hour.

Priority to the right

The “priority to the right” system is in effect in Switzerland.

Drivers must give way to vehicles approaching from the right at intersections, even on secondary roads. This is often a surprise to foreign drivers and results in accidents.

Familiarize yourself with the “priority to the right” system.

Latest traffic information - Touring Club Switzerland (in French)

Public transportation

Switzerland has an extensive, reliable and safe public transport network. Train and bus services provide easy access between the country's different regions and cities.

Rail traffic information - Swiss Federal Railways

Taxis are generally safe. Ride-sharing services are also available.

Use only officially marked taxis or use a trusted ride-sharing app.

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Swiss authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the  Foreign Representatives in Canada .

  • Schengen area

Switzerland is a Schengen area country. Canadian citizens do not need a visa for travel to countries within the Schengen area. However, visa-free travel only applies to stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Stays are cumulative and include visits to any Schengen area country.

If you plan to stay in the Schengen area for a longer period of time, you will need a visa. You must contact the high commission or embassy of the country or countries you are travelling to and obtain the appropriate visa(s) prior to travel.

  • Foreign Representatives in Canada

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave the Schengen area.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

  • Foreign Representatives in Canada
  • Canadian passports

Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period Business visa: not required for stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period Student visa: not required for stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period Work visa: required

Other entry requirements

Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket and proof of sufficient funds for your stay.

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children .

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Relevant Travel Health Notices

  • Global Measles Notice - 31 August, 2023
  • COVID-19 and International Travel - 31 August, 2023

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your  routine vaccinations , as per your province or territory , are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a risk in some areas of this destination. It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or occasionally when unpasteurized milk products are consumed.

Travellers to areas where TBE is found may be at higher risk  during April to November, and the risk is highest for people who hike or camp in forested areas.

Protect yourself from tick bites . The vaccine is not available in Canada. It may be available in the destination you are travelling to.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

  Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

In this destination, rabies  may be present in some wildlife species, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. 

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who will be working directly with wildlife. 

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette , which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •   washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) , HIV , and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Medical services and facilities

Health care is excellent. It is available throughout the country.

Medical and hospital costs are much higher than in Canada. Immediate payment is usually required.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a   travel health kit , especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad .

Transfer to a Canadian prison

Canada and Switzerland are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Switzerland to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Switzerland authorities.

This process can take a long time, and there is no guarantee that the transfer will be approved by either or both sides.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences or heavy fines.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

Concealing your face in public places

It is illegal to cover your face in public places. This ban is already in force in several cantons and is expected to be implemented nationwide in 2022.

There is no exemption for tourists or for religious reasons.

Offenders risk a fine.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Switzerland .

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Switzerland , our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements .

Travellers with dual citizenship

Compulsory military service

Swiss male citizens must perform military service, or alternative civilian service.

A man with dual Canadian and Swiss citizenship or who is eligible for Swiss citizenship may also be required to do so.

In peacetime, the Swiss authorities do not generally call up their nationals living abroad for compulsory military service as long as they remain abroad.

Consult a Swiss embassy or consulate before your trip.

  • Military service - Information Portal of the Swiss Authorities
  • Military service - Swiss Armed forces
  • The Swiss abroad - Swiss Armed forces (in French)

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Switzerland.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Switzerland, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Swiss court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Switzerland to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

  • List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
  • International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
  • Travelling with children
  • The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
  • Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
  • Emergency Watch and Response Centre

You must be at least 18 years old to drive in Switzerland.

You can drive with your Canadian licence for up to 12 months. If you stay in Switzerland, you will have to exchange your Canadian licence for a Swiss licence.

To drive on the motorways, you must obtain a vignette and affix it to the windshield of your vehicle.

Valid for one year, this vignette can be purchased:

  • at most border crossings
  • at tourist offices
  • at petrol stations
  • at post offices
  • online at the Swiss Post website

Drivers who do not display the vignette are liable to heavy fines levied on the spot.

All vehicles must be equipped with a safety kit and a warning triangle for use in the event of a breakdown.

In winter, winter tires are mandatory and snow chains may be required in some mountainous areas.

  • Driving in Switzerland on a foreign licence - Embassy of Switzerland to Canada
  • Driving in Switzerland - European Commission
  • Motorway windscreen stickers - Swiss Post

The currency of Switzerland is the Swiss franc (CHF).

If you are carrying CHF 10,000 or more in cash, you may be subject to a customs check when entering or leaving Switzerland.

Cash, foreign currencies, securities - Federal Office for Customs and Border Security

Flooding and landslides

Heavy rains, particularly in spring and summer, can cause severe flooding and landslides. Roads may become impassable and infrastructure damaged.

  • Exercise caution, particularly in areas around major rivers
  • Stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
  • Download the AlertSwiss app to receive important alerts from the Swiss authorities
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders

There is a risk of avalanches in mountainous regions, especially following heavy snowfalls. Some may be fatal.

Monitor the avalanche forecasts, particularly if you plan on skiing or practicing mountain activities.

  • Current avalanche danger - Natural Hazards Portal

Forest fires may occur, particularly during summer.

The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.

In case of a major fire:

  • stay away from affected areas, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
  • monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
  • follow the instructions of local authorities

Current forest fire danger - Natural Hazards Portal

Local services

In case of emergency, dial:

  • for all emergencies: 112
  • police: 117
  • medical assistance: 144
  • firefighters: 118
  • REGA Swiss Air Rescue: 1414
  • Roadside assistance: 140

Consular assistance

Liechtenstein

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Switzerland, in Bern, or if you are in the canton of Geneva, the Permanent Mission of Canada in Geneva, Switzerland, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services .

Risk Levels

  take normal security precautions.

Take similar precautions to those you would take in Canada.

  Exercise a high degree of caution

There are certain safety and security concerns or the situation could change quickly. Be very cautious at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.

IMPORTANT: The two levels below are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are issued when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country or region may be at risk.

  Avoid non-essential travel

Your safety and security could be at risk. You should think about your need to travel to this country, territory or region based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with the region, and other factors. If you are already there, think about whether you really need to be there. If you do not need to be there, you should think about leaving.

  Avoid all travel

You should not travel to this country, territory or region. Your personal safety and security are at great risk. If you are already there, you should think about leaving if it is safe to do so.

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12 Fantastic Things To Do In Geneva, Switzerland

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (9)

Geneva is a gorgeous city, one that’s filled with mountains of chocolate, some incredible history and a water jet that’ll put any fireman’s hose to shame. Surrounded by the Alps to the south, the city is a perfect place to begin your adventure in Switzerland .

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (4)

After many years of itching to visit, we finally made it to Geneva not too long ago… and boy it didn’t disappoint!

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (24)

This was our first-ever visit to Switzerland (a travesty that I’m very well aware of), with the closest we’d previously got was scoffing a Toblerone on a lazy Saturday night.

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (1)

This trip had been a long time coming, and with our excitement already piqued, we couldn’t wait to get ‘on the ground’ to discover our own piece of Geneva.

As you might remember from our vlog where we paraglided from France into Switzerland (Yes, I did make those pretty awful faces when we did the free-falling acrobatics).

Also, if you want to try an epic paragliding flight from Geneva , then book this tour that’s so much fun. You’ll get the chance to go paragliding over the Swiss Alps, spot the beautiful Jungfrau and explore Interlaken.

Just be sure to book in advance, spots on these tours fill up fast. 

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (9)

We can’t wait to share more of our pics on what to see, do and eat – but we wanted to run-down our the very best places that every traveller should see when visiting this unique Swiss city.

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1.) Climb the towers of St. Pierre Cathedral

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (13)

One of the best ways to see a new city is by seeing it from above, heading across to St. Pierre Cathedral and climbing the two tall towers that offer some pretty epic views across the city and Lake Geneva itself.

One of the best things to remember is that the south tower is best to view in glorious sunny weather – its open-air balcony makes it pretty special. On the other hand, if you’ve arrived on a pretty chilly (or wet) day, make sure to climb the north tower.

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (5)

Top tip: Check out the seating inside the cathedral itself, the pews were carved especially for each person, with each seat being of different sizes to accommodate the different sized derrieres.

That’s a whole new level of body-shaming right there.

Finally, be sure to check out our favourite tours of Geneva that depart from the city (see below). They’re well worth booking in advance, especially if you’re wanting to book tickets that sell out or day trips into the beautiful Alps.

2.) Paraglide from France to Switzerland

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This is one high-octane activity that’ll get your blood pumping! Head to the top of Mont Salève where you will literally run off the cliff edge (with a parachute behind).

As terrifying as it might sound, it’s actually a whole heap of fun and the perfect way to see this incredible region…

…plus, it’s not every day you can actually paraglide from one country to the next. You can book this similar paragliding tour that’s so much fun. Plus, you’ll get to glide over the Swiss Alps.  

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (34)

Top tip: Be prepared for changes in weather, even the slightest change will mean you might need to reschedule your jump off the mountain.

Book: Paragliding tour from Geneva

3.) Walk the cobbled streets of the old town 

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (32)

The old town of Geneva is a pretty special place, filled with centuries of beautiful buildings, history, and culture that’s well worth a gander at!

Make sure to plan your visit around lunchtime – there are many little cafes and restaurants that are well worth popping in.

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (7)

Oh, don’t forget to take a little r&r on the longest bench in the world too!

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Top Tip: Take comfy shoes, cobbled streets are pretty but not always your feet or ankles best friend.

4.) Indulge with a cheese fondue 

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There’s no way you can visit Switzerland without treating yourself to delicious cheese fondue.

Grab yourself some dipping bread, and a piping hot cheesy pot and enjoy this gorge-fest of a treat.

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (6)

Top tip: Make sure to try a goat’s cheese fondue, it’s insanely delicious.

5.) Paddleboard across Lake Geneva 

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (3)

Lake Geneva is a very special place, its stunning scenery and clean waters are the perfect places to go paddleboarding in the warmer months.

Grab yourself a wetsuit, paddleboard and a healthy dose of enthusiasm for an incredible experience.

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (28)

Top tip: Head around mid-afternoon and follow up with a bite to eat at Tropical Corner too.

6.) Watch the sunset at Tropical Corner

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (8)

After a fun afternoon of paddleboarding on Lake Geneva, make sure to pop into Tropical Corner.

With live DJs and a wicked atmosphere, this place is the perfect place to start your evening and a favourite of locals.

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (30)

Top tip: Head here around sunset and watch the lake transform with orangey hues.

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Oh, and don’t forget to book this Lake Geneva cruise that’s just so beautiful; especially around sunset. We loved it and it’s a great family-friendly and chilled way to explore. 

Just be sure to book your tickets in advance; they can fill up fast at peak times. 

Book: Lake Geneva cruise

8.) Discover the Italian Quarter

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (17)

Carouge is a picturesque area that has now been incorporated into the city limits of Geneva itself.

Carouge has a long history with Italian and Sardinian residents, with their influence still evident in this pretty little district that’s perfect for a weekend stroll.

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Top tip: Visit the fresh produce market to pick up some freshly baked treats.

9.) See where the rivers meet! 

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A fun little quirk of Geneva is La Pointe de la Jonction where two, very different rivers meet! One rather muddy and one crystal clear.

This meeting point has become famous for actually seeing the merging of the rivers themselves. In the warmer months, you can even float down the rivers (as the locals do).

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Top tip : La Pointe de la Jonction is a great place to enjoy in the summer months!

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10.) Drink black gold at Valmandin 

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If you’re looking for one of the best coffee shops in Geneva, then take a hop, skip and a jump to Valmandin.

This independent coffee house serves some of the best varieties of coffee in the city – they even sell personalised mixtures for you to take home too.

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (10)

Top tip: If you’re not sure what coffee to have, make sure to ask… the amazing gang at Valmandin truly has a nose for good and extra special blends!

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (16)

11.) Brunch at Birdie

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If you’re looking for the city’s best brunch spot, then head to Birdie Food & Coffee. This gorgeous hideout makes the best eggs that’ll set you right for the day.

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (14)

Top tip: Try some of their freshly created juices that are made (and different) every day!

12.) Dine at Grand Bottle Brothers

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (12)

Grand Bottle Brothers is one of Geneva’s hippest restaurants (is it hip to say hip?).

Head over here and try some of the expertly crafted meals that showcase some of the very best in regional cuisine from around Geneva.

The whole ethos of Grand Bottle Brothers is very cool, with the food being some of the best we’ve tasted!

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (33)

Top tip: If you’re visiting on a weekend, make sure to book ahead – tables fill up very fast!

Ohhhhh, and don’t forget…

See Jet d’Eau (it sounds so sophisticated in French… Water jet just doesn’t have the same ring to it, eh).

Make sure to pop along and see this incredible fountain in all its glory.

12 Cool Things You Need To Experience In Geneva, Switzerland (39)

Top tip:  Jet d’Eau is easily spotted from the shores of Lake Geneva, or from the very top of the cathedral too… just take an umbrella in case the winds change.

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Ultimate guide to geneva – where to stay and what to do.

Ultimate Guide To Geneva

Thanks to its International Airport and proximity to the French border, Geneva in Switzerland is a hub for many skiers and snowboarders visiting the French Alps.

Some people simply pass through Geneva, but others want or have to stay for a few nights. So, in this article, we’ll give you our top tips for spending time in Geneva so you can make the most of it.

Where To Stay In Geneva

Geneva is located on the banks of Lac Leman, also known as Lake Geneva. There are many places to stay, as it is one of Europe’s business and political centres.

We have experienced Geneva multiple times and believe the old town is best for short stopovers. The old part of Geneva is a picturesque district dominated by St. Peter’s Cathedral, the centre of the Reformation.

Here, you can expect cobblestone streets, secret passages, fantastic shopping opportunities, and cultural and culinary experiences.

What To Do In Geneva’s Old Town

Retail therapy in the heart of geneva.

If you’re a shopping enthusiast, you’ll find the old town the perfect place to flex your credit cards. It offers a fantastic mix of boutiques, shops, and markets. Whether you’re looking for luxury items or unique souvenirs, you’ll have plenty of options, especially as Geneva is known for its high-end watchmakers. Head to Rue du Rhone and Rue de La Croix d’Or for the best shopping in Geneva.

Museums, Galleries, and Landmarks

Geneva’s old town isn’t just about cobblestone streets and shopping; there’s also a lot of culture and history to learn about. For example, you can visit the Gothic architecture of the St. Pierre Cathedral. The old town is also home to several museums and galleries where you can enjoy art and learn about the city’s history.

Culinary Experiences

After a day of wandering around Geneva, you’ll want to refuel. The old town’s cosy restaurants and cafes offer a variety of delicacies. From delicious chocolates to traditional dishes like fondue and raclette, you can get an authentic taste of Switzerland.  

Head To The Lake

Lac Leman is one of the largest lakes in Western Europe, and it’s worth visiting while you’re in Geneva. You will see all kinds of boats skimming across its surface, from yachts to ancient paddle steamers. You can also get great views of the Jet d’Eau, the huge fountain dominating the skyline, shooting water 140m into the air.

Visit The Red Cross And Red Crescent Museum

Switzerland is famed for its neutrality, and Geneva is the home of many international organisations, such as the Red Cross and Red Crescent. A great way to understand the organisation’s humanitarian work is to visit the   International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum . You can also take a guided tour of the   Palais des Nations , the European headquarters of the United Nations, to see how the most significant issues facing the world are tackled.  

Our Recommended Hotels In Geneva

You will find some great close to the Cornavin train station, such as the   Novotel Centre   and the   Warwick . These hotels are good value for Geneva and offer convenience.

We like to stay at the   Hotel Rotary Geneve M Gallery . This 4-star hotel is close to the main bridge and just a short distance from the train station.

Alternatively, you may want to stay at the   Hotel des Armures , a 5-star hotel in Geneva’s old town. This boutique hotel has a laid-back, family feel with a relaxing ambience and has arguably one of the best locations in the old town.

Night aerial view of beautiful Geneva old city

Night aerial view of beautiful Geneva old city

Things You Need To Know About Geneva To Enhance Your Stay

When you’re passing through Geneva during your trip to the Alps, there are a few things to know that will make your time there more straightforward and enjoyable. Here are our top tips:

Consider Your Pick Up Time

You can make your trip from Geneva to your chosen ski resort seamless by booking your private transfer pick-up time wisely. Geneva hotels generally have a 12 p.m. check-out time. Your ski resort accommodation check-in time will usually be 4 or 5 p.m.

With this in mind, we recommend a 2 p.m. pick-up. This will give you time for a nice lunch in Geneva before heading into the mountains. You can leave your luggage at the hotel, so you don’t have to drag it around the city.

Your choice of resort will affect how long it takes you to get to it from Geneva. Additionally, driving into the Alps on Saturday will mean there’s a good chance of traffic, especially if it has snowed recently. Therefore, your transfer time could be as much as 3 hours.

How To Get From Geneva Airport To The City

Geneva Airport is located about 4 km from the city. It is easily reachable by public transport: train and bus, taxi or shuttle. The train journey between the Airport and the Gare Cornavin takes just 6 minutes, and the bus to downtown takes about 20 minutes. Gare Cornavin is then a hub for public transport, from where you can catch a tram or train anywhere.  

You can rent a car from one of the many car rental companies operating at the Airport. There’s a main motorway that connects the Airport with the city.

It’s worth noting that Geneva has a lot of traffic, especially on the roads close to the lake. Therefore, we advise you to stick with public transport or take a taxi or limousine from the Airport unless you intend on driving to the ski resort.

Free Transport Around Geneva

If you stay in approved accommodation in Geneva, you are entitled to a free transport card. This digital card on your phone enables you to use Geneva’s public transport free of charge during your stay.

Three days before you arrive in Geneva, you will receive a link by email to get your Geneva Transport Card on your smartphone. You will then be able to use it to reach your accommodation from the Airport.

Geneva Airport

Geneva Airport (GVA) and Geneva Cornavin train station provide easy access to Geneva City center and Old Town

Geneva Airport Has A French Side And A Swiss Side

Geneva airport has two sides, a French and a Swiss side. It’s worth knowing this as it has implications on a few aspects of travelling through Geneva.  

For example, if you rent a car, you must return it to the appropriate side. By this, we mean you cannot take a Swiss rental car to the French side of the Airport and vice versa. In addition, if you need to get cash for your trip to the French Alps, use the ATMs on the French side of the Airport, or you’ll get Swiss francs instead of Euros. Businesses in French ski resorts do not accept Swiss Francs.

Bring Swiss Francs If You Have Any

You can pay for things in Euros at Geneva Airport, but if you have some spare Swiss Francs (CHFs), bring them. It’ll make buying things much easier, as you can pay in Euros but your change will be given in Swiss Francs. This can be frustrating if you buy a € 3 croissant with a € 20 note and then head over the border into France.

Take Advantage Of Geneva Airport’s Airside

When you fly out of Geneva Airport and go through security, you will be “airside,” where you’ll find the Airport’s duty-free shops. These shops offer all sorts of goodies, from electronics to clothing and Swiss chocolate. There’s even a small duty-free shop where you can buy discounted alcohol.

There are also a few places to eat before your flight. You can expect anything from simple sandwiches to a platter of oysters accompanied by Champagne.

If you’re travelling with young kids, you may want to head up to the creche on the mezzanine level. Here, they can enjoy books, games, and slides. There’s even a rest area and a kitchen.

The mezzanine area is also an excellent place for a quiet sit down before you board your plane. Its comfortable seating area is tucked away from the creche, restaurants and bars.

Relax In One Of Geneva Airport’s Luxury Lounges

Geneva Airport has several lounges that extend your holiday until the last minute. These lounges remove you from the busyness of the Airport and put you into a tranquil space.

For example, Premium Geneva can offer you a VIP experience in the luxurious Skyview lounge and even drive you in a limo to your plane. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the Swissport lounge, which boasts a wide selection of complimentary food and drinks. You can use this lounge irrespective of which airline you use, and it is ideal for catching up on emails before your flight.

You may want to check if your chosen airline has a lounge at Geneva Airport. Swiss Air, British Airways, Air France, Dnata, Swissport, and Lufthansa offer lounges for first-class and business passengers.

Leave Plenty Of Time To Board Your Plane

Some of Geneva Airport’s departure gates can be about 10 to 15 minutes walk away from the main departure lounge. So make sure you have enough time to get to your gate. There are toilets and a cafe near to the gates, so you can get there even earlier if you like.

Geneva Airport offers all passengers 120 minutes of free Wi-Fi access. You just need to find the network ‘ Free Wi-Fi GVA ’ , enter your mobile phone number and then use the code sent to your phone. Alternatively, you can scan your boarding card into a machine that prints the access code onto a ticket.

Security at Geneva Airport  

When flying out of Geneva Airport, you must go through Airport security. The strict EU security rules can mean lengthy queues at peak times, so it’s best to allow extra time for this on your way home.  

You can pay for Priority Lane at security, which costs around 8CHF. This service can be booked online from the   Geneva Airport e-services hub page .

As with all airports, Geneva follows strict guidelines regarding restrictions to hand luggage, so make sure your bags are the correct size.

Keep Track Of Your Flight

Geneva Airport has live departure and arrival boards on its website. You can also download an app that alerts you on individual flights to keep you informed.

Geneva, Switzerland

Make The Most Of Your Ski Trip With A Visit To Geneva

If you have some spare time, visiting Geneva provides extra experiences to tag onto your trip to the French Alps. By using this information and our tips, flying to and from and spending time in Geneva will be much more enjoyable. However, our travel experts will ensure everything is in place to ensure you have the best holiday possible.

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A local’s guide: Things to do in Geneva, Switzerland

A local’s guide: Things to do in Geneva, Switzerland

Welcome to my new travel series where local’s share their tips and advice about their hometowns. In this guide, you’ll learn what to see, where to eat and drink, what to buy and all the information needed to make your holidays unforgettable.

On this post, Rashmi and Chalukya share their top things to do in Geneva, Switzerland

Table of Contents

We moved to Geneva, Switzerland on onsite work with our 6-month-old daughter and stayed there for more than a year. Geneva and the people there are very friendly, and they make you feel at home as soon as you land there. We had learned some basic French words which made our stay, even more, easier and comfortable.

Top 5 things to do in Geneva

The global city of Geneva is home to international organisations like UN and Red Cross. A visit to United Nations and the broken chair symbolising the fight against anti-personnel mines should be on top of the list. UN also organises guided tour for interested visitors.

A local’s guide: Things to do in Geneva, Switzerland

The old town of Geneva with its cobbled stone alleys winding through historical buildings, cafes and squares dotted with fountains are sure to transport you into the bygone era. Do not miss the 850 years old St. Peter’s Cathedral located in the old town.

Geneva hosts several flea markets selling interesting items. Plainpalais flea market open on Wednesday and Sunday sells unique items from antiques, paintings, furniture and second-hand items. The farmers market sells locally produces like flowers, cheese, vegetables and fruits.

A local’s guide: Things to do in Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva has several parks spread across the city and is often known as the city of parks. Visit the Botanical garden and explore the unique species of plants and trees. The Jardin Anglais located on the Geneva lakeside has wonderful views over the lake, the iconic huge fountain of   Jet d’Eau and the flower clock.

A local’s guide: Things to do in Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva has some excellent museums; there are around 30 museums in Geneva. The Natural History Museum exhibiting life size models of exotic animals and birds, which is ideal for visiting with kids. Swiss watches are world famous, the museum Patek Philippe walks one through history and making of Swiss watches. Also not to miss is the vast collection of ceramics in Ariana Museum close to UN.

Two off the beaten path things to do in Geneva

Meyrin is a small-relaxed village away from the bustling Geneva city centre. One can visit the particle research centre of CERN and take a guided tour or go fruit picking at one of the farms in the countryside.

The locals know Carouge as little Italy. The Italian architects designed the neighbourhood of Carouge and hence the buildings and the cafes dating back to 18th century give a feel of Italy as you walk through them. Carouge also has some great brand shops and boutiques.

Top 3 restaurants to eat in Geneva

Edelweiss ($$$) – Devour on their special fondue on the menu with chocolate flavour accompanied by traditional Swiss music band and yodel.

La Trattoria ($$) The traditional Italian restaurant offers a variety of Pizza and Pasta with wood fired oven baked specialities. It is located conveniently close to train station.

Chez Ma Cousine ($) Located in the old town this restaurant is famous for its decent and delicious meal for a reasonable price. The menu offers variations of salads and chicken based dishes.

The best area to stay in Geneva

Accommodation in Geneva is on the higher side, so travelers and tourists prefer to stay on the Swiss-French border some 2 to 3 km from UN. There are several budget friendly options near the border.

Traditional dishes to try in Geneva

Fondue is a traditional dish which is a must try when in Switzerland. A pot of melted Cheese Fondue is placed on the lighted stove. The hot cheese is eaten by dipping pieces of bread with forks. While several restaurants offer Fondue dishes ‘Café du Soleil’ at Place du Petit-Saconnex is a must try.

You might also like: where to spend Christmas in Switzerland

A local’s guide: Things to do in Geneva, Switzerland

The best way to get around Geneva

The best way to get around Geneva is through trams and buses. Download the TPG app, which has information on time and routes of all the buses and trams around Geneva. The old town of Geneva is car free area and can best be explored on foot. One can also hop on the mini train, which runs through the city centre and the old town of Geneva.

The best spot to see Geneva from above

Mont Saleve is popular with the locals for the panoramic views it offers of the Geneva city and its surrounding mountains. Mont Saleve has several hiking trails, or one can also reach the summit through a cable car ride.

A local’s guide: Things to do in Geneva, Switzerland

The best souvenirs to buy from Geneva

Swiss Watches and Swiss Chocolates make for great souvenirs to buy from Geneva. One can also buy the cowbells found in different sizes and shapes, which also makes for great gift items.

A local’s guide: Things to do in Geneva, Switzerland

The best day trips from Geneva

Switzerland is a treasure trove of surreal locations most of which can be visited on day trip from Geneva. Check out the best places in Switzerland , which can be visited on a day trip. Well-connected TGV (high-speed train) from Geneva to Paris makes even a visit to Paris possible on a day trip though you may not be able to explore much.

Tourist traps to avoid in Geneva

We believe Geneva is tourist trap free city; everything is very well organised and safe. One thing that needs to be taken care of is to be careful well roaming in Paquis area after dusk, as there have been several cases of robbery been reported.

Rashmi and Chalukya run the blog GOBeyondBounds , you can follow them on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram.

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2 thoughts on “A local’s guide: Things to do in Geneva, Switzerland”

The photo of the castle is not even in Geneva.

That is right. The Chillon Castle is in Lake Geneva, approx 100 km away from the city and it makes a great day trip.

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Lake Geneva

Visit Geneva, Switzerland

The headquarters for the UN and the Red Cross, a soaring water fountain, a flower clock and the namesake lake, all in Geneva.

Geneva is a cosmopolitan city that reveals the ritzier side of Switzerland. Sprawling around the western banks of Lake Geneva  where the Rhône emerges to spill into France, the city is just a short drive from the French border and shares that country’s primary language — and some of its high-end style.

Amid the stately buildings that house the United Nations and Red Cross, you’ll find haute couture, luxury chocolates and some of the world’s finest timepieces.

Geneva’s garden-edged waterfront features the Flower Clock, or L'horloge fleurie , a large clock made from flowers along the side of a hill. The lake view is dominated by the Jet d’Eau, a fountain consisting of a single spray of water shooting 140 m (459 ft) in the air.

Further up the hill, the old town forms the city’s crown, with its medieval cobblestone streets, the forbidding Saint Peter’s Cathedral and the Reformation Wall.

Things to see and do in Geneva

Jet d’eau.

Lake Geneva, Switzerland

The first of its kind, the jet was created in 1886 as a release valve for a hydraulic power network. Once its esthetic value was recognized in 1891, it was moved to its present location and strengthened to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Swiss confederation. The present fountain was completed in 1951.

The UN and the Red Cross

Geneva is a major site of international relations, and we can arrange a city tour that immerses you in the city’s statecraft. You'll visit the Palais des Nations, the European headquarters of the United Nations, with its neoclassical columns and long boulevard of flags. You’ll also see the site of the Red Cross’s founding, and a museum dedicated to its ongoing work.

The large park that houses these buildings also contains various well-known works of art. One of the most notable is the Broken Chair sculpture, a gigantic wooden chair with one torn-off leg, originally created in support of a treaty to ban landmines and cluster bombs.

Timepiece tour

Switzerland is known for its watches, and some of the finest timepieces have been made in Geneva since the 16th century. Many of the great watchmakers are here, including Patek Philippe, Rolex, Piaget, Baume & Mercier, Frederique Constant, Alpina and Vacheron Constantin. The so-called Watch Valley, where the world’s most renowned watchmakers first developed and continue to complicate their creations, begins in Geneva and stretches to Basel.

You can shop the rows of Swiss timekeeping shops in the shopping district along the Rhône. We can also arrange a private tour of one of the manufacturers, should you wish to learn more.

Rooftops of Geneva

The stern sandstone Saint Peter’s Cathedral forms the old town’s heart, and traces the city’s transformation from French Roman Catholic to Swiss Reformation. The 12th-century Gothic spires were much later joined by neoclassical façade, once the cathedral had become John Calvin’s adopted home church. You can climb the tower for panoramic city views.

At the old town’s edge, visit the Reformation Wall, commemorating the leaders of the Protestant Reformation.

Best time to visit Geneva

Geneva shines brightest between July and October, when summer temperatures encourage people to be out in the fountain-lined streets. The city often gets snow between December and February, while November and May both tend to be rainy.

Festivals, events and seasonal reasons to visit Geneva

  • March: The Geneva Motor Show runs for ten days. The city gets busy with enthusiasts visiting what’s said to be the world’s largest motor show.
  • Late November through late December: Christmas markets fill the squares with wooden chalets selling handmade trinkets, food and festive treats.

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Suggested itineraries featuring Geneva

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Geneva, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

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  • The Swiss Alps 119 miles away
  • Lucerne 119 miles away
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Man dies after Storm Isha causes major travel disruption

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Beancross Road, Grangemouth

An 84-year-old man has died after a car he was travelling in hit a fallen tree in central Scotland during Storm Isha.

The front-seat passenger was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on Beancross Road, Grangemouth, at about 23:45 on Sunday.

More heavy rain and winds are expected on Tuesday as Storm Jocelyn hits, with an amber warning for some areas of Scotland.

Most rail travel stopped on Monday and thousands remain without power.

ScotRail suspended all of its train services from 19:00 on Sunday and Network Rail said it was a "challenging" day clearing the tracks.

  • LIVE Latest on Storm Isha from across the UK
  • Storm Isha forces UK flights to divert to France and Germany
  • All ScotRail services suspended over 90mph Storm Isha winds

Lines are gradually reopening and a limited service is operating in some areas.

As of midday, more than 15,000 properties are still without power but engineers have restored connection to about 78,000.

Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said it had more than 400 field staff deployed in the north of Scotland network area in response to Storm Isha - about five times the staffing levels on a "business as usual" day.

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Storm Jocelyn will bring strong winds and rain to Scotland

An amber warning for wind has been issued for Storm Jocelyn from 18:00 on Tuesday until 08:00 on Wednesday morning. It covers the west coast of Scotland and part of the north and north east.

And there is a yellow warning for wind and rain in place from 16:00 on Tuesday to 12:00 on Wednesday.

ScotRail is advising customers that all rail services across the country will be suspended from 19.00 on Tuesday and there will be no rush-hour services on Wednesday morning, as the extreme weather from Storm Jocelyn arrives.

Trains that depart before 19:00 will complete their journey, but no services will begin their journey after that time.

Heavy winds of up to 60/70 mph are expected, which ScotRail said could lead to trees and other debris falling onto the tracks, making conditions unsafe to operate trains.

Car lying on tree

Video shows people queuing outside Glasgow Central Station for the first train to England after Storm Isha cancellations.

A rare red danger to life warning was issued by the Met Office for north east Scotland on Sunday night.

Police Scotland warned drivers to take "extra caution" after lowland gusts reached 84mph (135km/h) overnight.

Dozens of flights were disrupted on Monday morning, several ferry services were halted and drivers were warned of dangerous conditions due to high winds and surface water.

Gusts of 84mph were recorded in the village of Salsburgh, North Lanarkshire, 81mph (130 km/h) in Kirkwall on Orkney and 80mph (129km/h) in Wick in the Highlands.

Parts of central and southern Scotland had their highest wind gusts in more than 10 years, with Glasgow and Edinburgh both recording their strongest gusts since 5 December 2013.

Police said conditions for travel may be hazardous and extra caution should be exercised by all road users because of debris on roads, flooding and short-notice closures.

Badly damaged conservatory in Glasgow's Baillieston area

Angela Grubb, from the Black Isle in the Highlands, was woken overnight when a tree crashed into her home.

She said: "The tree fell on the roof, just above my bedroom, on our newly-built extension. I thought 'why didn't it fall on the old part?'

"Our house is very exposed so when a storm hits, my family stays up all night with our fingers crossed.

"I had expected that my greenhouse would blow away, not that this huge old tree would come down.

"There is obviously damage to the roof but it's all fixable."

Engineers fixing power lines

Scottish Power Energy Networks said 55,500 properties in southern and central Scotland had power cuts while a further 30,000 Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) customers lost power.

A tree on the line at Gartcosh

  • The latest winter storm follows a week of disruption caused by snow in north and north-east Scotland.
  • Met Office weather warnings - including a red warning for northeast Scotland and an amber warning for high winds across the country - expired earlier.
  • A yellow wind warning covered the UK until 12:00.
  • The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) originally had more than 30 flood warnings in place across the country.
  • In the Highland Council area 38 schools were closed, along with more than 60 in Aberdeenshire, almost 20 in Moray and 20 in Dumfries and Galloway.
  • All schools in Shetland have been closed since Thursday.
  • A number of flight arrival and departures were cancelled on Monday morning at Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports.

A tree felled by high winds lands on a car in Lochwinnoch

David Ross from ScotRail told BBC Radio Scotland's Lunchtime Live programme: "Storm Isha did cause a lot of damage to the network - fallen trees, overhead wire problems, garden objects on the line - for example trampolines.

"There are a number of routes where we're still working to get them back open. There's lots of wok going on across the network by teams at ScotRail and Network Rail to get services back to some sort of normality.

"We are working flat out to get things back up and running. Our advice to passengers planning to travel today is to check the website or the ScotRail app."

He confirmed that repair work was ongoing after a wall and fence blew onto the railway track, affecting Queen Street low level services.

Between Garrowhill and Easterhouse, more than 10 trees fell onto the line.

A stone pillar was knocked onto pavement by a falling tree in Dunfermline, Fife

There is also disruption on the roads, with drivers being urged to drive carefully.

Transport Scotland's head of transport resilience, Ashleigh Robson, said: "Surface water will reduce visibility when driving, high-sided vehicles are at risk and the strength of winds could also pose a risk to pedestrians."

Restrictions were in place for double decker or high-sided vehicles for some bridge crossings, including the Dornoch Bridge, Tay Road Bridge, Queensferry Crossing, Erskine Bridge, Kessock Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge.

Many ferry services between the Scottish mainland and the Inner and Outer Hebrides were cancelled as a result of the weather.

Glasgow Central station

Dozens of flights to and from Scotland were diverted on Sunday because of difficulty landing.

They included an Easyjet flight from Edinburgh to Bristol which landed in Paris, leaving passengers travelling without passports unable to stay in a hotel overnight.

Ryanair flights to Edinburgh were diverted to Cologne Bonn airport in Germany, including a flight from Tenerife and another from Seville.

An Easyjet flight from Fuerteventura to Edinburgh landed in Manchester and a TUI flight from Sharm El Sheikh to Glasgow declared an emergency and landed in Manchester.

Other planes were diverted to Edinburgh.

BBC Wales presenter Jennifer Jones was diverted to Edinburgh on a flight from Geneva to Bristol Airport.

"But when we started the descent into Bristol, it was incredibly turbulent and the plane was lurching from side to side," she told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast .

"I've never been in that kind of turbulence."

The Bristol landing was aborted, but landing in Edinburgh was also "pretty hair-raising", she added.

Presentational grey line

Storm Isha caused widespread disruption in Scotland overnight.

Winds did not turn out to be quite as strong as forecast by the Met Office, which issued a red warning for gusts of up to 100mph in the far north and northeast of the mainland, but they were still very strong.

The highest gust recorded at a low altitude in Scotland was 84mph at the village of Salsburgh next to the M8 in North Lanarkshire, according to the Met Office.

Fallen trees and other debris closed a number of trunk roads including the A1 in East Lothian and the M9 between Grangemouth and Bannockburn.

All passenger and freight services on Scotland's railways have been suspended until later in the day as crews clear debris.

There was widespread disruption to ferries and many planes were diverted.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said more flooding was expected across Scotland with 26 flood warnings and 17 alerts still in place.

Speaking on Good Morning Scotland, Sepa duty flood manager Janine Hensman said heavy rainfall over the past two days had combined with significant amounts of snowmelt from last week.

"We had a dramatic temperature increase over the weekend and combined with the rainfall has meant that the rivers have responded quite quickly and there's a lot of water around," he said.

The key affected areas include the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway rivers.

Perth Council was closing the floodgates at Perth but levels were not expected to reach those of the October flood event .

Tree down in Aberdeen

Ms Hensman warned that peak levels were still expected on the River Tay and the River Spey, with more floods expected in the north of the country.

She urged people to drive with care and to not walk through flood waters.

She added: "Rivers are going to be high all day and possibly into tomorrow as well and we urge everyone to keep an eye on our website which has a threeday public flood forecast and advice on how to prepare."

Isha is the ninth named storm to hit the UK since September.

The Met Office said it was "very rare" for an amber weather warning for wind to cover almost all of the UK.

Clare Nasir, a senior meteorologist at the Met Office said Storm Isha was "incredibly powerful and potent", with the highest gust across the Cairngorms reaching 124mph.

Related Topics

  • Grangemouth
  • Severe weather

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