Blessed with a compact cobbled Old Town, magnificent lake and mountain views and some of the most cosmopolitan locals in the world, there’s much more to Geneva than watches and chocolate.
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Top 5 sights for first-timers
Visiting a fountain might not sound like the most riveting of excursions but Geneva’s Jet d’Eau certainly isn’t your average water feature. Shooting 140 metres into the air, the gargantuan plume contains an average of seven tons of water at any one time – much of which lands on spectators below.
Jetée des Eaux-Vives
Once owned by the kingdom of Sardinia, the small suburb of Carouge retains a distinctly Mediterranean feel, thanks in no small part to the Italian architects that designed most of its buildings. Bohemian, quirky and totally unique, Carouge with its artisan markets and wonderful restaurants, is where the Genevois go to relax.
Place du Marché
Quai du Mont Blanc
Stretched out along the lakeshore, the Quai du Mont Blanc offers sumptuous views of the surrounding Alps among manicured gardens. The walk along the Quai takes you past the Bains des Pâquis to the site of the old Roman baths at the Parc de la Perle du Lac.
Quai du Mont-Blanc Pâquis
A spy-novel staple, CERN is home to the Large Hadron Collider and some of the finest scientific minds on the planet. Just outside of Geneva, three-hour tours of the facility need to be booked a month in advance but are worth it for the fascinating insider experience.
Route de Meyrin
Built in 1854 on the site of an old port and warehouse, the Jardin Anglais is an enchanting lakeside garden that’s home to the most famous clock in the world: the Geneva flower clock. Made from more than 6,500 blooms, the clock was laid out in 1955 but has only told the time since 2000.
Quai du Général-Guisan
Top 5 sights for old hands
Marché aux Puces de Plainpalais
Plainpalais, Geneva’s arty quarter, is a painting enthusiast’s dream, with countless galleries clustered around its squares and boulevards. But the best day to visit is Sunday for the excellent food market. With stalls offering everything from Bosnian to Thai, it’s gastronomic heaven.
Plaine de Plainpalais
Parc des Bastions
Not far from Plainpalais and its edible delights, and close to Place de Neuve, is the Parc des Bastions. Part of the Geneva University complex, it’s full of leafy tree-lined promenades and interesting monuments, including the Reformation Wall and the imposing Palais Eynard.
Promenade des Bastions
Musée International de la Croix Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge
Along with the UN, Geneva is also home to the Red Cross, which was founded by Swiss philanthropist Henry Dunant in 1864. As well as a litany of items documenting the horrors of war, the museum also gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the world’s best-known aid agency.
Avenue de la Paix 17
Tour de L'Île
The last surviving part of the castle built by Bishop Aymon de Grandson to protect Geneva in 1219, the carefully preserved lookout tower now houses the Banque Safdié. Overlooking the Rhône, it’s on the doorstep of the Old Town and close to the old markets.
Pont de L'Île Old Town
Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain
Better known to locals as MAMCO, the museum features an ever-changing roster of exhibitions, most of which focus on local talent, although there are a few international heavy hitters thrown in. With 3,500 square metres of galleries and more than 4,000 works on show, it’s perfect for whiling away a rainy afternoon.
Rue des Vieux Grenadiers 10
Written by World Travel Guide