Geneva Destination Guide
A melting pot of culture and history, Geneva is blessed with an incredible location to boot. Nestled on the southwestern tip of Switzerland, Geneva is closely embraced by France. The official language of the city is actually French, and visitors delight in the delicate French flair that flows through the streets, cafés and architecture.
With Lake Geneva at its heart and the snowy Alps as its backdrop, this stunning Rhone Valley city offers picture-postcard views at every turn. But it’s not just a pretty face. Geneva also dishes up a hearty concoction of international trade, recreation, learning, fine dining, luxury shopping and leisure.
Geneva dishes up a sleek and sophisticated smorgasbord of cultural attractions. From soaring fountains to stately cathedrals and picturesque villages, you won’t be short of photo opportunities to take your breath away when visiting this striking city.
The first stop on any Geneva itinerary should be the stunning Jet d’Eau. Renowned as one of the largest fountains in the world, Jet d’Eau draws millions of tourists every year who come to marvel at its 140-metre high water spray.
Move on to the Old Town where the St. Pierre Cathedral, with its blend of gothic and neoclassical architecture, holds pride of place. If you’re visiting Geneva in summer look out for the free carillon and organ concerts held at the cathedral. If you’d like to escape the city for a day head to the quaint countryside village of Gruyere, where cheese and chocolate reign supreme.
With more than 1,000 restaurants and eateries to choose from, Geneva is undoubtedly Switzerland’s foodie heaven. For a fine dining experience head to the lake area, where premium restaurants come complete with stunning views.
The Paquis district serves up an international flavour, with Turkish, Indian, Mexican, Thai and African fare available. For a romantic French or Swiss dinner in atmospheric surrounds, the historic Old Town is the place to be. Local specialties include smoked sausage, raclette cheese, fondue and fish straight from the lake.
After dark join the Geneva locals for a drink at any of the buzzing bars, pubs and nightclubs across the city.The Paquis and Carouge districts are popular, as are the Old Town and Medicine Street.
Where to Stay
In the spirit of Geneva, luxury accommodation is the way to go when visiting. The most prestigious hotels are set along the Quai du Mont Blanc lakefront, some within majestic old buildings for an extra taste of opulence – and possible celebrity sightings.
For a charming and relaxed neighbourhood feel, the area of Carouge boasts Italian-style architecture and a close proximity to lovely cafés and restaurants. The Old Town is centrally located and offers up boutique hotels in converted residences for a dose of old world elegance.
Forget London and Paris – Geneva delivers a luxury shopping experience to rival all others. As a historic watch-making town, Geneva is a great place to pick up an elegant timepiece, but be prepared to part with some serious cash.
For something a little less pricey but equally quintessentially Swiss, explore the local chocolatiers for a divine selection of chocolates, truffles and pastries. Designer fashion is available in spades in the city centre, while antiques and art are on offer in the Old Town. Spend an afternoon exploring the winding streets and narrow alleyways in search of delightful treasures.
Geneva Like a Local
A visit to one of the city’s open-air markets is a great way to mingle with the locals. Two notable markets operate in south-central Geneva at Plainpalais – the colourful farmers’ market on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays, and the quirky flea market on Saturdays and Wednesdays where locals sell bric-a-brac, vintage clothing, antiques and curios. To get around Geneva like a local, simply hop on a bike. Bicycle hire is available behind Cornavin railway station and at the Bains des Paquis on Quai du Mont Blanc.