The Best Things To Do In Geneva
Located on the southern tip of Lake Geneva, the second largest city in Switzerland is surrounded by picturesque beauty and dramatic views. There are so many reasons why visitors come from around the world to explore the beauty of this Swiss city – perhaps it’s the lake front location, the adventurous activities that can be done on land and on water, or maybe it’s just the ambience and welcoming locals that make a trip to Geneva a must on any bucket list. Though it’s often misrepresented as the capital of Switzerland, Geneva does have an impressive population and is the headquarters of many international organizations including the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross. The United Nations also has a powerful presence in Geneva, not to mention the number of luxurious accommodations and amenities — the epitome of class and elegance is evident throughout much of the city.
However beautiful and luxurious as Geneva appears, there is still a quaint and attainable culture underneath its outward appearance. Just like any other city, neighborhood bars feature high energy nightlife activities and counterculture can be experienced in various areas of Geneva, such as Les Grottes. There are also quite a few points of interest that are well worth the visit as you explore Geneva on foot. Many historic buildings and cathedrals are located throughout the city, one of the most popular being St. Pierre Cathedral, with the 12th-century cathedral highlighting a range of architectural styles — the church is also notable for being home church to John Calvin, the renowned leader of the Protestant Reformation.
As you walk around exploring Geneva checking out the various shops and cafés, you will no doubt set sights on the dramatic Jet d’Eau in Lake Geneva. A beautiful landmark, especially during the evening hours, this famous fountain is illuminated and shoots water an impressive hundred and 40 meters up into the sky. Those who love visiting museums will find the Musee d’Art et d’Historie especially interesting — it was built in 1910 and houses an impressive collection of artifacts and paintings ranging from prehistoric periods all the way through modern times.
HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN GENEVA…
Geneva Old Town
Head to Geneva Old Town (Vieille Ville) and stroll the magnificent maze of narrow laneways, soaking up the fascinating history and beautiful architecture as you go. Relax in the squares and enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants and cafes. You will come across several of the city’s landmarks while you walk, including the Barbier-Mueller Museum, St Peter’s Cathedral, and the Maison Tavel, so take your time and really experience the heart of this magical city!
Rousseau Island (Ile Rousseau)
You have reached the serenity of Geneva’s heart when discover Rousseau Island (IIe Rousseau). Located at the juncture of the River Rhone and Lake Geneva, the island was once a strategic part of the city’s defence. Times have changed, and now it is great place to relax and enjoy the views!
Geneva Water Fountains (Jet d’Eau)
As you stroll around Lake Geneva, you cannot miss the spectacular Water Fountains (Jet d’Eau). Shooting water to a height of 150-yards, the fountain has become a fantastic symbol of the city. From its humble beginnings as a safety valve for water works, it has been made famous over the years by its majestic power, and its beauty when illuminated at night.
English Garden (Jardin Anglais)
Since the mid-1800’s Geneva’s locals have met at the English Garden (Jardin Anglais) to enjoy the beauty of Lake Geneva. Take a break and stroll amongst the fountains and sculptures, and maybe have a picnic under the shady trees. Don’t forget to catch the quirky floral clock, and enjoy a meal at the nearby restaurants!
Lavaux Vineyard Terraces
Have a great day out at the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, over 2000-acres of vineyards that stretch as far as you can see. As you take to the walkways – and explore and admire the stunning views over Lake Geneva and the Alps – you will learn about the amazing wine industry, and even taste the local product! Small trains will help you up the steeper inclines, so go at your own pace and enjoy as many wines as you wish!
If you like jazz, and cafes with a bohemian flavour, then a trip to Carouge is for you! Start at The Place du Marche to catch the markets, then explore the boutique shops and workshops where local crafts are made and sold. There are museums and galleries to see throughout the day, and as the evening falls, sit back and enjoy a fantastic meal with a jazz backdrop.
Geneva Flower Clock
Geneva takes its fame as a master clockmaker to new heights with the Geneva Flower Clock! Head to the English Gardens (Jardin Anglais) and marvel at this marriage between nature and technology, with over 6,500 flowers making up the design of this working clock, which spans five-metres wide! The design changes throughout the year, so there’s always a surprise in store!
Lake Geneva (Lac Léman to the locals) is land-locked Switzerland’s largest body of water, though most of its southern shore is in French territory. The lake is ringed by Alps and almost any point along the shore offers jaw-dropping scenery, as well as some of the most sought-after real estate in the world. More active visitors can swim, dive, windsurf and row in the warmer months.
Cheese lovers have likely already penciled Gruyères at the top of their itinerary, but the pretty medieval town has more to offer than its long history of cheese making. Boasting an idyllic alpine setting in the Canton of Fribourg, Gruyères is undeniably photogenic, with its sloping cobblestone streets and beautifully preserved medieval buildings.
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