Geneva

Much more than just a gateway to the Alps, this slick city offers fascinating history and a cosmopolitan vibe set around glittering Lake Geneva.

Home of the European HQ for the United Nations, Geneva combines a rich range of monuments and museums with a burgeoning food scene to offer a lush cultural experience.

Getting Around

After a very picturesque landing, you can get from the airport to the centre in minutes by tram or bus, to with the city’s comprehensive train, bus, tram and boat network. Taxis can be pricey!

Language

French

Time Difference

1 hr ahead of GMT

Currency

Euro

Neighbourhoods To See

Rue du Rhône: for shopping  

Head here for high-end clothing boutiques, exquisite watchmakers, dazzling jewellery shops and the imposing Bon Génie (the Harvey Nichols of Geneva).     

Old Town: for sightseeing 

Within cobbled streets, winding passages and hidden courtyards, this national heritage site conceals tiny bars, pretty cafés and quirky antique shops. Climb the 157 steps of the nearby Cathedral of Saint Pierre for superb panoramic views of the lake with its famous fountain.  

Carouge: for authentic local life 

A short tram ride from the centre, this distinctly Mediterranean suburb is where the Genevois go to relax amid beautiful red-roofed Italian architecture, second-hand bookshops and wonderful restaurants. 

Essential Sights

Jet d’Eau 

This spectacular fountain is visible as you fly into Geneva Airport, shooting several tons of water 459ft (140m) into the air. Expect to get splashed! 

Old Town 

Around the cobbled streets, steep lanes and medieval squares of Geneva’s Vieille Ville, there’s plenty to explore, including galleries, museums, cafés and a towering 12th-century cathedral. 

CERN: European Organisation for Nuclear Research 

Beneath its soil, Geneva is home to a 27-mile ring of superconducting magnets, the Large Hadron Collider. Take a tram out to the Meyrin district to tour the world-renowned physics laboratory CERN. 

Palais des Nations

Geneva is home to the United Nations, begun as the League of Nations in 1919. Take a guided tour of this vast palace for fascinating insight into how the world’s biggest issues are being tackled.  

Musée d'Ethnographie de Genève

This absorbing interactive museum examines the similarities and differences of our planet's many cultures, with around 1,000 artefacts on display.

Food and Drink

Geneva considers itself Switzerland’s gastronomic heart, with 1000+ restaurants serving all kinds of world cuisine. Fill up anywhere from Michelin-starred cellars to al fresco seafood huts. Many places serve a good moitié-moitié (half Gruyère, half Vacherin) of the famous cheese fondue, and there are regular farmers’ markets.

Events

MAY | Le Fête de l’Espoir (The Hope Festival)

This free event combines music with philanthropy on an eclectic bill of both big names and new acts. 

JUNE | Bol d'Or Mirabaud Regatta

This Geneva institution since 1939 sees a flotilla of over 500 boats on the lake in a high-stakes race.

JULY -AUG | Fêtes de Genève

Enjoy food-focussed celebrations along the quays and lakefront, free concerts and a fantastic firework display over the vast lake. 

DEC | Fête de L’Escalade

Celebrate the defeat of a surprise attack on Switzerland in 1602 with processions, street parties, food fights and a large chocolate cauldron!

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