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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

    From US$162

    1 Hotel Montbrillant

    4 stars
    3.4 / 5 5 reviews

    2 rue Montbrillant Map

    Stay 3 nights and get 15% off

    Le Montbrillant Hotel is located in the centre of Geneva within walking distance of Lake Geneva and its promenade. The charming four star hotel is also well located a short distance from the... More

    Incredibly convenient to train station when coming from the airport
    So conveniently located to the main city train station - as I was coming from the airport. Friendly staff - spoke English perfectly.
    13 May 2015
    From US$124

    2 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

    Wanted a room by the lake
    The hotel is okay. It was close to the train and the lake. I wanted to visit with a friend you lives on the other side of the lake that evening and it was only a 10 minute walk across the bridge....
    2 Jul 2015
    From US$147

    3 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
    From US$40

    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

    From US$184

    5 Hotel N'vY Manotel

    4 stars
    4.3 / 5 3 reviews

    18 Rue Richemond Map

    Special Offer! Get 5% off!

    Offering spectacular amenities, pleasant ambience and a warm welcome, theHotel N'vy Manotel Geneva is an ideal base for business and leisure travellers. GeneralThe Hotel N'vy Manotel Geneva offers... More

    Good place for couples!
    I stayed with my husband for 5 nights and really loved the hotel. Just a few minutes walk from the lake and the main train station. Very modern, comfortable and clean rooms. Great staff! Only few...
    8 Aug 2014
    From US$110

    6 Hotel Windsor

    3 stars
    4.0 / 5 1 reviews

    31 rue de Berne Map

    Breakfast and access to gym center is included

    Set in the bustling downtown area, Windsor Hotel Geneva is a stylish business and holiday base ideal for travellers looking for contemporary accommodations in a prime location in this part of... More

    Good value in an expensive city
    Great location near the train station, although the area is a little dodgy at night. Not threatening, just not suitable for children. Single room was clean and adequate. Not luxurious, but what are...
    26 Jun 2014
    From US$324

    7 Swissotel Metropole Geneva

    5 stars
    4.0 / 5 1 reviews

    Quai Gnral Guisan, 34 Map

    Book now and save 15%

    A luxurious and elegant mid 19th-century hotel, Swissotel Metropole Geneva is designed for today's traveller without compromising on comfort and design. GeneralWith six newly renovated conference... More

    Perfectly located and excellent for business travel to Geneve
    Very comfortably situated at the centre of Geneve, which makes it perfect for business meetings.
    13 Jan 2014
    From US$171

    8 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
    From US$119

    9 Hotel Les Nations

    3 stars
    4.4 / 5 9 reviews

    rue du Grand Pre 62 Map

    Hotel Les Nations offers personalised service in peaceful ambience for both the business as well as leisure travellers. Cathedrale de St-Pierre is an interesting tourist spot. Museum of Natural... More

    Center of the City
    I was amazed at how well this hotel was maintained. I was also surprised that my room had a little kitchenette, although I was not there long enough to make that useful. I also was given a "quiet"...
    18 Apr 2014
    From US$123

    10 Nash Airport Hotel

    4 stars
    3.6 / 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

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