Geneva: A Treasure Trove of Switzerland

Geneva Airport Directory (GVA)
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We all have that one city that feels like a warm hug, but if you still haven't found that city, wait till you visit Geneva. The city’s calm atmosphere, and cool, fresh breeze will definitely make you fall in love. Geneva not only has some of the most visually striking houses, cosy cobbled streets, narrow alleyways, and the breathtaking Lac Léman, but it is also home to some of the world's leading organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the International Committee of the Red Cross, to name a few. So, if you hear a small voice inside your head, it's Geneva calling.

Best Time to Visit: June through August are the best months to visit Geneva. The summer months are mild and breezy, with plenty of sun and occasional rain.

How to Reach?

By Air: Geneva Airport is an international airport that is unofficially called Cointrin Airport. It is located approximately 4 km northwest of the city. You can easily get taxis or buses to drop you off at your hotel. One of the fascinating things about Geneva Airport is that it is the primary airport for both France and Switzerland.

By Train: Train travel in Switzerland is a great experience. The Swiss trains are on-time and frequent. For a domestic journey, it is not necessary to pre-book your tickets. You can just buy a ticket from the station, unless you are covering a longer distance. However, there is an exception with tourist-oriented trains; you will need to make reservations in advance.

By Road: Another great way to visit Geneva is by taking the road, either by bus or car. There are bus services that travel throughout Switzerland. The bus serves international destinations as well, like Italy and France, to name a few.

Getting Around

Most people in Geneva like to walk or take their bicycles around. However, there are plenty of public transport options like trolleybuses, trams, and buses. You can also get the "Geneva Transport Card" for free transport across the city either from the airport or the hotel (you can confirm with the hotel you are staying at).

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Places to visit in Geneva

  • Bains des Pâquis: This is a popular beach in Geneva, just a short walk from the vibrant Pâquis District. Rather than sandy beaches, expect a pedestrian and pebble-stone beach. Locals love to come here during summer days to soak in the sun and enjoy the outdoors. The Geneva Water Fountain, or Jet d' Eau, is also close by, for you to visit.  
  • Musée d'Art et d'Histoire: For those who love history and art, this four-story museum in central Geneva may suffice. The Musée d’Art et d’Histoire has over one million displays across a space of 7,000 square meters. This makes it the largest art gallery in Geneva. It may take an entire day to thoroughly explore all of the exhibits. The Musée d’Art et d’Histoire has a collection of works by famous artists like Jean-Etienne Liotard, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Rembrandt, Claude Monet, and Auguste Renoir, among others.
  • Mont Salève: Every once in a while, we need some recreational time away from the city. So, if that is where your mind is headed, visit Mont Salève. It is fondly called the ‘Balcony of Geneva’ since it opens to an expansive view of Lake Geneva and the city. It is a great spot for hiking; there are trails leading to the peak. You do not need to be an intrepid trekker to visit Mont Salève. Simply come to enjoy the view and rekindle with nature. This place is located 20 km from the centre of Geneva and you can easily get here by car or public transport.
  • Old Town: You will feel like you have gone back in time while walking around the old town of Geneva. The charming cobblestone streets and neoclassical architecture will give you a taste of this fascinating old town. There are lots of places to eat and drink across Geneva’s oldest square at La Place du Bourg-de-Four, cultural sites to explore, and the stunning Cathédrale St-Pierre, which you may have to look at twice to admire its beauty.
  • Pâquis District: Geneva's nightlife district, Pâquis District is where you can party and frolic while swaying all night. This area may be small but it gathers a large population, and it has some of the best cafés, bars, and clubs. Located on the western bank of the Geneva Lake, this district is bustling with locals and travellers. They have a great food selection, from fast food to fine dining.

Places to eat in Geneva

  • Bistrot du Boeuf Rouge: Located in one of the busiest districts, this Lyonnaise bistro may be overlooked at first, but once you come inside, the interiors are undeniably attractive. It has an old-world charm. It's not just the warm decor; the food here is so delicious that you’ll want to keep coming back for more.  
  • Restaurant Arabesque: Facing Lac Léman, Restaurant Arabesque, or L'Arabesque, provides lip-smacking Lebanese dishes. It has a sophisticated and atmospheric setting, inspired by Middle Eastern restaurants, with hints of gold mosaics and subtle lighting.
  • Le Chat-Botte: This restaurant is here to make heads turn, not just by the name, which literally means "Puss in Boots," but by the location as well. It is located on the Quai du Mont-Blanc in the Beau-Rivage Hotel, where the soothing restaurant decor will relax you while you savour delicious French cuisine.
  • Le Tsé Fung: This is the only Chinese restaurant in Geneva that serves authentic traditional and slightly modern cuisine. The velvet décor creates a luxurious ambience. During summer months, the seating arrangement on the terrace provides a gorgeous view of the Geneva Lake and the Alps.
  • Il Lago: One of the city’s upmarket restaurants within a luxury hotel, Il Lago is not to be missed. The restaurant serves authentic and delicious - not to mention gastronomic - Italian dishes. With light blue walls and gorgeous, sparkling chandeliers, Il Lago makes sure to give guests their finest dining experience.
  • Tosca: Here to delight your taste buds with Tuscan dishes, paired with Italian wines, Tosca is one of the best places to enjoy a meal. This eatery, Tosca, is a romantic place located on the Rue de la Mairie. It has an expansive menu of dishes and a long wine list. Their pheasant ravioli is definitely recommended.

Shopping in Geneva

  • Librairie Ancienne: The best things in life are often simplistic in their essence, like when we see antique and rare books, or even vintage watches and wristbands. This store, located at 20 Grand Rue, has a rustic atmosphere. It is the best place to buy antique pieces.  
  • Sunday Market: The market at Marché Aux Puces is one of the best places to visit while in Geneva. As the name suggests, the market is open only on Sundays, and you can find organic fruits and snacks.  
  • Plainpalais Flea Market: The flea market at Marché aux Puces de Plainpalais is a popular place to shop. It is open only on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and the first Sunday of each month. It is the largest flea market in the country, not just in Geneva. Here, you can get antique homeware, art, and vintage clothes.  

Where to stay in Geneva? 

  • Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva: Wrap your arms around luxury at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva. Overlooking the Geneva Lake and Pont du Mont-Blanc, this hotel oozes luxury from the moment you enter. The Swiss hospitality will pamper you with a rooftop spa treatment, and comfortable rooms.
  • La Réserve Hotel and Spa Geneva: Slightly away from the city, La Réserve Hotel and Spa Geneva provides a relaxing atmosphere amidst nature. This peaceful hotel overlooks Lake Geneva, and due to its distance from the city, it feels like a getaway from the city. The hotel provides guests with health retreats and spa treatments, delicious food, and lakeside relaxation.  
  • The Beau-Rivage Geneva Hotel: It is always a great experience to stay at one of the oldest hotels. Founded in 1865, the Beau-Rivage Geneva is an upscale hotel filled with history. It is where celebrities often make reservations to stay. The hotel has fabulous suites and a world-class restaurant, but what’s best is its lakeside location.  
  • The Woodward Hotel: Nothing can beat the beauty of this hotel. One of the best hotels in Geneva that caters only the finest for its guests is this 19th century Woodward Hotel. This sophisticated Hotel offers 26 stunning suites, Guerlain Spa facilities, and two in-house restaurants and bars.

More reasons to visit Geneva

  • The longest wooden bench in the world: Come see the world's longest wooden bench at La Promenade de la Treille, on the hill to the south of the Old Town. It was built in 1767 using 180 wooden boards. It is an interesting attraction with a beautiful view.   
  • Use the public transport for free: The public transport in Geneva is free of charge. You need to get a digital "Geneva Transport Card" that will allow you to use public transport for free throughout your whole stay.
  • Sunrise Festival in August: There is a festival that happens every August where the locals wake up early to see the sunrise as during this time of the year, the mornings are beautiful. People go to Bains des Pâquis to watch the sunrise as it provides a 360° view of the lake. It is a fun festival with people swimming in the lake, slurping coffee, listening to jazz music, and frolicking across the street early in the morning.
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