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Generous Geneva

Geneva sparkles as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities – and doesn’t she know it! Geneva has the sort of self-confidence that comes from being gorgeous and loved. It could be perceived as arrogance – especially as she likes to rub it in your face at every opportunity – but actually ends up being rather endearing.

See, under Geneva’s shiny surface there’s plenty of personality that isn’t too hard to reach, particularly if you can speak a little French. Whether you’re getting lost in the maze of cobblestone streets in the Old Town, trying not to gawk at the extravagance of the shops lining Rue de Rive and Rue du Rhone, or soaking up the atmosphere around The Lake, the best way to acquaint yourself with Geneva is to ooze a little pride yourself.

Geneva’s Top 10

10. Carouge The ‘Greenwich Village of Geneva’, noted for its boutiques, art studios and bohemian vibe.

5. Monument Brunswick Stipulating in your will that the city build a mausoleum without any consideration of cost is weird, but Mr B did just that.

9. Eaux-Vives Stay or just pay a visit to this mansion hotel. The traditional Swiss architecture is surprisingly lacking in the rest of Geneva.

4. Quartier des Grottes Thanks to the crazy architects who decided to avoid all straight lines, this area is rather confusing. But the shopping is great.

8. Place Neuve Home to the Grand Opera Theatre, Conservatory of Music, Rath Museum and pricey restaurants. Bliss for culture vultures.

3. Palais des Nations Built to house the UN, passports are required for entry, and any unauthorised wandering will get you the boot.

7. Jardin Anglais Come to see the famous Flower Clock and a bunch of Geneva businessmen eating sandwiches.

2. Cathédrale St-Pierre If you hate stairs, give the tower tour a miss and confine your photo ops to the ground floor.

6. Ile Rousseau Named after Jean-Jacques Rousseau, this island is a sanctuary in the Rhone River.

1. Jet d’Eau This 140m fountain of water is best viewed from a distance – unless you don’t mind getting soaked.

Geneva History

  • Cathédrale St-Pierre – This originally Catholic cathedral embodies Reformed tradition. The archaeological tour explains the origins of the cathedral.
  • Palais des Nations – This venue is home to a large collection of artwork and beautifully landscaped grounds.
  • Maison Tavel – Geneva’s most historic house. Within the house is a large museum, which documents life in Geneva over the centuries.
  • Ethnography Museum (Musée d'Ethnographie) – This Geneva museum is home to thousands and exhibits and artefacts.
  • Switzerland Visitors Museum (Musée des Suisses à l'Etranger) – As its name suggests, this museum is popular with tourists to Geneva.

Geneva Art & Culture

  • Jet dEau – Geneva’s Water Fountain is a 140m wonder and the symbol of the city.
  • Natural History Museum – Established in 1966, this popular attraction covers earth science and natural history.
  • Grand Theatre de Geneve – An opera house that officially opened in 1876.
  • Quartier des Grottes – Interesting shops and even more interesting architecture, including the les Schtroumpfs buildings built in the 1980s.
  • Victoria Hall – Individuals looking for a night of classical music should check out Victoria Hall.

Geneva Shopping

  • Rue du Marché – Located just five minutes from the train station, this area of Geneva sells everything from souvenirs to household appliances and prescription glasses.
  • Rue de la Confederation – An excellent place for those staying only a short while in Geneva.
  • Place du Molard – An upmarket, expensive shopping area perfect for window shopping.
  • Rue du Mont Blanc – A shopping area popular with tourists to Geneva and home to many interesting shops, including those specialising in traditional Swiss goods.
  • Rive Droite – The ideal shopping region for those wish money to spend.

Gay & Lesbian Geneva

  • La Bretelle – A gay bar suited to both men and women offers enjoyable live entertainment.
  • Le Declic – A much-visited gay dance club.
  • L’Evidence – A Geneva club that mostly attracts female clientele.
  • Pretexte – A gay disco in which men can mix with other men.
  • Sauna Les Avanchets – A men-only sauna.

Geneva Outdoor

  • Parc des Bastions – A beautiful, tree-lined park featuring huge chessboards and large statues.
  • Parc des Eaux Vives – This Geneva park offers tourists promenades and glorious views over the lake.
  • Parc de la Grange – This large park contains a rose garden, an ancient mansion and a glorious tree-lined path leading to the Parc des Eaux Vives.
  • Bois de la Bâtie - This natural park contains walking trails and a small zoo at the edge of the woods.
  • Lake Geneva and Harbour - An important Geneva landmark. The harbour is a huge expanse of water and proves to be a much-loved recreational area with tourists and locals alike.

Geneva Sport

  • Ice Hockey – Home to the Geneve-Servette Hc 2, a professional ice hockey team.
  • Rafting – From May through October, raft six waterfalls with rapids on the river Arve.
  • Lake Geneva – Enjoy boating, skiing and more.
  • Servette FC – Currently in the Swiss Super League, the Servette call Stade de Geneve their home.
  • Mountain Sports – Skiing, climbing and snowboarding can be done at any resort.

Geneva Events

Howl (literally) a collective goodbye to winter at the Geneva Winter Carnival in February, an ancient masquerade and procession culminating at midnight.

June’s Fete de la Musique is Geneva’s largest music festival, featuring over 100 acts gathered at various locations.

Carnivals, concerts, food and fireworks mark the 10-day Fetes de Geneve in August, capped off with raves on wheels at the Techno Parade.

If you like hippies and communicating with nature, don’t miss the Festival de la Batie in September. The outdoor festival and multimedia event is designed to raise consciousness about the role of art in society.

Commemorating the defence of the city against invasion in 1602, L’Escalade features a race, a torchlight procession of 1,000 marchers in period costume, and pretty much everything in between. December.

When To Go

  • Geneva’s high altitude alleviates any extreme weather conditions, meaning summers are warm and winters mild.
  • Rainfall can be expected year round, so don’t travel in summer hoping to avoid it.
  • Enjoy the sunny days in July and August with the throngs of other visitors doing the same thing.

Getting Around

  • Geneva is a public transportation paradise. There are frequent bus, tram, train and boat services to within a block or two of most city locations, and anyone staying at a hotel is entitled to a free daily travel pass.
  • Geneva is mostly flat, and biking is a great way to get around.
  • If you want to explore the mountainous countryside (and, let’s face it, you do), renting a car is the best option.

General Information

Given a beautiful location where the Rhone River snakes out of Lake Geneva, forgive us for being anything but neutral about Switzerland's second-most populous city. While Geneva is famous as the headquarters for a number of notable international organizations and has a civic quality of life that is the envy of the world, first-class tourist allure may be the city's best attribute. Almost 200,000 people are fortunate to call the cosmopolitan destination home.

The Alps, Jura mountains and of course, iconic Lake Geneva, second-largest freshwater lake in Central Europe and frequent muse to writers, artists and composers, provide the Swiss gem with a gorgeous cityscape. The Jet d'Eau is a dramatic sight to behold after sundown, when Lake Geneva is beautifully illuminated. For a memorable experience, it gets no better than a leisurely stroll in and around Geneva's old town, where there are plenty of chic restaurants, bars, cafés and shops to help you blow your budget wide open.

Attractions & Activities

Attractions

  • Lake Geneva
  • Palace of Nations
  • Maison Tavel
  • Ariana Museum
  • University of Geneva
  • Activities

  • Foire de Genève
  • Europ'Art
  • Geneva Festival
  • Tropical Village Festival
  • Suisse Romande Heritage Days
  • Restaurant & Nightlife

    Restaurants

  • Au Vieux Carouge
  • Café des Negotiants
  • Chez Jacky
  • Buvette des Bains
  • Faim
  • Nightlife

  • L'Interdit
  • Velvet
  • Le Francis
  • L'Usine
  • Club 58
  • Climate

    Much like the rest of Switzerland, close proximity to the Alps has a strong influence on Geneva's climate, with a strong winter windchill and mild summers.

    • Winter (November to March) -1-11°C
    • Spring (April to May) 4-20°C
    • Summer (June to September) 10-25°C
    • Fall (September to October) 8-20°C


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    Hotels in Geneva

    Recommended hotels

    1 Hotel Excelsior

    3 stars
    3.8 / 5 13 reviews

    Rue Rousseau 34 Map

    With a city centre location, Hotel Excelsior Geneva makes for a comfortable starting point for travellers looking to explore this vibrant Switzerland metropolis. This Geneva hotel places guests... More

    Mediocre
    This hotel is centrally located, close to shops and transportation to city centre and airport plus you get a free pass. Staff are very polite and friendly. No air-condition in the rooms making it...
    29 Jul 2015

    2 Stars Hotel Geneve Aeroport Ferney Voltaire

    2.9 / 5 13 reviews

    Chemin De Colovrex Map

    Save 5 % on Non Refundable

    Travellers on business trips or leisure vacations in the French-Swiss border find comfortable accommodations and accessible location at Stars Geneve Airport Hotel Ferney Voltaire. This... More

    3 Nash Airport Hotel

    4 stars
    3.7 / 5

    chemin de la violette 11 Map

    FREE WIFI, SAUNA, FITNESS & WATER !

    Blending modern ambience and quality services, Nash Airport Hotel is a pleasant place for business and leisure guests. Palexpo trade centre, Geneva Lake, Jet d'Eau and Jardin Anglais are within... More

    4 MEDIAN GENEVE AEROPORT

    1.8 / 5

    Chemin de Colovrex Map

    Save 5 % on Non Refundable

    The Median Hotel Geneve Aeroport Ferney Voltaire offers peaceful accommodation and quality services that welcome you to enjoy a blissful holiday experience, while you are in Geneva. GeneralHost... More

    5 Hotel Tiffany

    4 stars
    4.0 / 5 1 reviews

    Rue de l'Arquebuse 20 Map

    Boutique Hotel with Sauna, Hammam and Fitness

    Whether you are travelling for business or leisure, the Tiffany Hotel Geneva is a best choice and assures you of complete comfort and luxury. The hotel is and ideal place for leisure and business... More

    Friendly staff and a comfortable stay
    Friendly staff and a comfortable stay. We would stay there again if we were in the area.
    2 Oct 2014

    6 Royal Manotel

    4 stars
    4.4 / 5 11 reviews

    Rue de Lausanne 41-43 Map

    Special Week-end offer! Get 10% off!

    Offering the finest accommodations and convenient facilities, the Royal Manotel Geneva is an ideal place for both business and leisure travellers alike. GeneralThis hotel offers meeting rooms that... More

    Fair hotel for couple of days
    My stay was just OK for only 2 days. the location of the hotel is near the central station and tram and buses stops are in front of the hotel door. the room furniture was acceptable (below...
    12 Jan 2015

    7 Auteuil Manotel

    4 stars
    4.7 / 5 7 reviews

    33 Rue de Lausanne Map

    Special Week-end offer! Get 10% off!

    With its urban atmosphere nurtured by creative passion, the Hotel Auteuil invites you to discover a soothing world of aesthetics. GeneralAccompanied by a business centre, the hotel also features a... More

    8 Hotel Warwick Geneva

    4 stars
    4.6 / 5 21 reviews

    14 rue de Lausanne Map

    10% OFF

    Hotel Warwick Geneva features contemporary rooms and elegant interiors in heart of the city, ideal for discerning travellers vacationing or working in the Swiss city. While on a Geneva holiday,... More

    Excellent service
    The location is the best. Just right across train station. Easy access to everywhere . Excellent service, comfort and courtesy. Especially the front staff. a , Mr Lionel. It's our first visit to...
    17 Sep 2014

    9 Kipling Manotel

    3 stars
    4.7 / 5 7 reviews

    Rue de la Navigation 27 Map

    Special Week-end offer! Get 10% off!

    Excellent location with warm and friendly atmosphere as well as good quality service is what Kipling Manotel Geneva has to offer you to make sure that you and your family have a wonderful stay. ... More

    Excellent hotel
    Hotel as described, well located to the railway station probably 5 minutes walk along a flat road, ie no issues pulling luggage. Reception girl was very efficient and spoke excellent English. Room...
    16 Mar 2015

    10 Hotel Lido

    2 stars
    4.0 / 5 3 reviews

    Rue Chantepoulet 8 Map

    Hotel Lido Geneva offers simple yet comfortable accommodations for travellers exploring the global city of Geneva. Located within the city centre, the hotel is within easy access to tourist... More

    Good location and value
    Opposite the bus stop very close to the train station. simple hotel nothing funcy but clean. Wifi very slow. Breakfast very basic. But for 10chf I was not expecting much.
    14 Apr 2015
    Prices reflect the lowest "base rate" found over the next 30 days. Rates are subject to change and may not include taxes and fees, hotel service charges, extra person charges, or incidentals, such as room service. Converted rates are provided for your convenience. They are based on today's exchange rate, but the hotel will charge you in the local currency. Taxes may be payable in addition.
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