Geneva Switzerland - Vacation Guide
Geneva is situated in the heart of Europe as one of the world’s most widely known destinations. The city lies on the southern end of Lake Geneva near the hilly terrain of Alpine peaks and vineyards. As a French speaking part of Switzerland, Geneva attracts much international interest and diversity. Geneva is a paradise for luxury shoppers with high-end accommodations and among the world’s top three cities offering the highest quality of life. The city upholds its reputation as the world’s capital of peace hosting up 3,500 yearly events adding cosmopolitan flair.
Geneva’s 140-meter high fountain, the “Jet d’Eau” is located at the periphery of the lake and regarded as a symbol of strength and vitality. Aside from developing the world’s tallest fountain, Geneva features cathedrals, museums, libraries, the University, the Opera and Orchestra of the Suisse Romande. Visit the Horology Museum to explore the history and importance of clock and watchmaking. Other popular museum visits include the Red Cross and Natural History Museum.
The United Nations Office is based here in the city of Geneva, making it Switzerland’s most international hub. Not only do the UN host congressional events but also humanitarian campaigns for the Red Cross Foundation. Aside from its cosmopolitan atmosphere, Geneva is also a center for culture and history. The Île Rousseau is a good starting point for exploring the medieval city with a historical scenic route. This scenic route bypasses the birthplace of Jean Jacques Rousseau, St. Pierre’s Cathedral, and the old Place de Bourg-de-Four. Heading to the waterfront, take a water taxi to further explore the city and marvel at the unique scenery of castles and magnificent residences.
Geneva’s combination of cosmopolitan, culture, and historical aesthetic make it one of Europe’s most interesting cities. Its centralized location and infrastructure offers a wide variety of attractions and excursions. An exceptionally rewarding excursion includes visiting Mont Salève, located just over the border in France. Enjoy a breathtaking panorama of Geneva itself with the Lake and neighboring French Alps.
Things to do in Geneva Switzerland
Geneva’s small size makes it relatively easy to get around on foot and explore many of its highlights. As the UN capital of peace, home of luxury watch industry and a multitude of cultural events, Geneva is a delightful and exciting place to visit.
One of the many highlights in this city includes the beautiful waterfront, which is best explored by strolling through parks. In Geneva’s Old Town, discover the St. Peters Cathedral, Reformation Wall, and Museum of the Reformation. The Old Town has many boutiques and cafes that make for a lively ambiance. To explore a Mediterranean style neighborhood cross over L’Arve River to see Carouge, also known as the Greenwich Village of Geneva. Designed by Italian architects originally as a Royal City, Carouge retains a unique Latin charm with its regularly arranged square house blocks. With the help of an experienced Geneva, Switzerland vacation guide, you can see all the sights of this beautiful city in an easy vacation package!
As Geneva’s 1,380 m/4,527 ft high iconic mountain, Mt. Salève is located in neighboring France. The Salève is an absolute paradise for those who appreciate nature and hiking as it offers the most breathtaking views of landscapes and Mont Blanc. A cable car brings visitors to an elevation of 1100 m/ from where you can witness Geneva, its harbor, the lake and the Jura Mountains all in one unique view.
Located an hour away from Geneva by train, visiting the city of Montreux can be made into either a full or half day excursion. Nestled in one of Lake Geneva’s sheltered bays, Montreux is exceptionally located, surrounded by vineyards and the Alps. Visit the capital of Vaud Riviera to explore the previous home of many famous figures including Charlie Chaplin and Freddie Mercury.
Lausanne is a truly elegant city located only a 40-minute train ride away from Geneva. The Swiss Hotel Management School is located in Lausanne and is among one of the top hospitality management schools in the world. The Headquarters of the International Olympic Committee are also in Lausanne, which includes a Museum with an extensive library of Olympic videos.
Lavaux Wine Region
The lovely terraced vineyards of the Lavaux region are situated on the northern shores of Lake Geneva. Forbes Travel has referred to this UNESCO World Heritage site as the most beautiful wine region in the world. These elevated vineyards have a long history of producing fine wine and romantic views of Lake Geneva. Visiting the Lavaux region can be made into a full day excursion.
Summer Sports in Geneva
Strolling through Parks
Despite being an urban district, Geneva has very little pollution due to its close links to the surrounding countryside. Geneva does a good job at integrating this countryside by dedicating 330 hectares of the city’s space space to parks. Some of the most famous parks for strolling through include La Grange, Les Eaux-Vives and Mont-Repos.
Lake Geneva’s designated areas for swimming and sunbathing are open from May until September. As the city’s most popular and active beach, Port-Noir offers a multitude of options. From simply enjoying the heated pool to having the opportunity to water ski and windsurf, Port-Noir has it all! Take part in fun water sports while surrounded by immaculate flowerbeds and the Jura Mountains.
Discover Geneva from a totally unique perspective by taking a whitewater-rafting trip down the Arve River. This action filled outdoor adventure through the city includes a succession of calm and rapid waters.
Winter Sports in Geneva
Geneva is located closely to numerous winter resorts including Villars, Leysin, Champery, Chamoix, Megeve, St. Gervais and Avoriaz-Morzine. Among some of the various winter sports offered at these resorts are skiing, ice skating, curling, ice climbing and snowshoe trekking. In addition to these outdoor resorts are indoor sport facilities, which can be found closer to Geneva’s city center. Despite the cold winter months, visitors can still play tennis, squash, swim, bowl, or even just hit the gym. Our vacation guides for Geneva and the rest of Switzerland can help you book these enjoyable winter sport activities.
Entertainment in Geneva
Geneva’s Opera House, also known as the Grand Theater, is located west of the Old Town and is famous for performing European Opera. The building is a replica of Paris’ Opera Garni and its theater is designed to create remarkable acoustics performed by the Orchestra de la Suisse Romande.
Shopping in Geneva
There are some very nice streets in Geneva in terms of shopping for top quality products. Some recommended streets to explore are Rue Basses, Rue du Rhone, Rue de la Croix-d’Or and Rue du Mont-Blanc. There are dozens of watch and elegant fashion stores. For further information on Geneva’s watch brands, check out the Swiss Watch Industry’s website.
International Red Cross Museum
The International Red Cross Museum uncovers 150 years of humanitarian history and allows visitors to reflect on past human activity. At this museum, visitors are confronted with the three major challenges of today’s world and provided with an insight on current Red Cross and Red Crescent operations. Visit the Red Cross museum to learn more about these challenges with an interactive experience.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research presents its latest discoveries of science in particle physics and cutting edge technology. The research facility’s Globe of Science and Innovation is a unique and eye catching design with a height of 27 m/88 ft and diameter of 40m/130 ft. Its construct is meant to symbolize our planet while serving as a permanent exhibition for visitors.
Ethnography Museum Geneva
Geneva’s Ethnographic Museum was originally founded in 1901 and has since then grown to become Switzerland’s largest ethnographic collections. The museum exhibits a total of 80,000 objects and 300,000 documents, which show the evolution of different cultures overtime. The Museum building is located on Carl Vogt Boulevard and is quite difficult to miss with its newly constructed beveled façade.
Location and Map
Geneva is located in the southwest part of Switzerland in close proximity to France. Departing Geneva using a TGV train, travellers can reach Paris in just two hours. Another major city in Switzerland such as Zurich is located about 276 km/ 172 mi away with train duration of three hours. Geneva also has its own International Airport (GVA) located only 4-km/2 mi northwest of the city’s center.
Elevation: 375 m/1,230 ft