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Geneva, Switzerland

Bienvenue à Genève! Welcome to Geneva! Situated along the banks of Lake Geneva at the foot of the Alps, Geneva sparkles as one of Europe's most beautiful cities. Home to the European headquarters of the United Nations, Geneva has a long history of diversity and tolerance dating back to the Protestant Reformation. Today, the city of Geneva is a cultural center second to none featuring world class entertainment, top rated restaurants and unlimited opportunities for recreation.

Geneva tourist guide

Geneva's most famous monument, Jet d'Eau, is the world's tallest water fountain and provides a constant landmark for exploring the city. Geneva's ancient Old Town offers a living glimpse of the past while Geneva's more than thirty museums and art galleries capture the rich and vibrant history of the city including the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMCO). For a change of pace take a cruise on the lake or relax in one of Geneva's main waterfront parks.

As well, be sure to check out Geneva’s famed Market Street to buy a Swiss watch or just window shop. Whatever your interest, Geneva has a wide range of hotel options to accommodate your stay offering renowned service and easy access to the city's major sites.

Around Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva is the perfect home base for exploring the surrounding countryside. Whether you enjoy boating, hiking, biking, wine tasting or are looking for the ultimate Switzerland ski vacation, Geneva offers easy access to paradise as well as numerous organized tours. Day trips to the nearby towns of Montreux, Chamonix and Lausanne are also popular.

Geneva walking tour

This comprehensive walking tour begins on the shores of Lake Leman along Geneva's right bank with stunning views of the Alps beyond and the towering Jet d'Eau – the world's tallest fountain. The tour continues along Geneva's park-like promenades and on across the of the Rhone River into Geneva's ritzy shopping and banking district. After that it's on to Geneva's Old Town, a Gothic maze of cobblestone streets  topped by historic Saint Peter's Cathedral and the Town Hall where the League of Nations and the Red Cross were founded. Finally wander down along the old city walls to Geneva's theater district and center of culture at Place Neuve. We end the tour in beautiful Bastions Park for a glimpse of Reformation Wall containing the effigies of Geneva's founding fathers.

Geneva's Top Ten

The Lake – Stroll the promenades around the lake and soak up the atmosphere. Take a dip at Bains des Pâquis or just relax in one of the lakeside parks or cafes. For a unique perspective on the city, take a one or two hour boat cruise around the lake.

The Old Town – Stop into Saint Peter's Cathedral and then just wander the maze of cobblestone streets and discover Geneva's secrets for yourself. For more a more historical perspective, head to the Art and History Museum or the Maison Tavel – the oldest house in the city. Make sure to leave some time to check out wonderful antique boutiques located throughout the old town..

The United Nations Building and Red Cross Museum – Take a tour of the European Headquarters of the United Nations followed up by a visit to the Red Cross Museum across the street. Be sure to take note of the many sculptures as you wander the grounds in between including the “Broken Chair” monument to land mine victims at Place des Nations.

Carouge – Hop across the L'Arve River to the Bohemian burg of Carouge modeled after Nice, France and filled with quaint boutiques where you can actually observe the artisans at work in their studios. Relax in one of Carouge's artsy cafes or hang around until after dark to party in one the neighborhood’s famous jazz clubs.

Bastions Park and Place Neuve – Enjoy the park and be sure to pay reverence to Reformation Wall on the east side along the old city wall. Test your skill at the life size chessboards or relax at the pavilion café before heading out the gates to Place Neuve, home to Geneva’s oldest and most beautiful performance and exhibition halls.

Window Shopping on Rue de Rive and Rue du Rhone – Gawk at the fashions and jewelry lining Geneva’s most extravagant streets, but try not to look at the price tags. Repose at one of the cafés at Place du Molard or Place de la Fusterie for some first class people watching.

Paquis and Les Grottes – Explore Geneva’s most international districts located just earth and north of Gare Cornavin. Try one of the area’s many ethnic restaurants and don’t forget the shopping. The Schtrumpfs Building located at 23-29 Rue Louis-Favre in Les Grottes is a fantastical architectural icon that defies description.

Plainpalais Flea Market – Mingle with the locals at Geneva’s largest outdoor flea market open Wednesdays and Sundays from 08:00 to 17:00 rain or shine (even though during rainy days its almost empty). Antiques, records, vintage clothing and other curios await savvy bargain hunters.

The Salève – Ride the gondola up Geneva’s backyard mountain and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding Alps and the city below. Of course if you’re feeling fit, you can hike up along one of the Saleve’s many marked trails.

Get Out – Take a bike or boat ride to any of Lake Geneva’s other lakeside paradises or hop on an excursion bus at Gare Routiere to visit one of Switzerland’s famous mountain towns.

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Facts about Geneva:

Population: 204k/1,1M (muni/metro)
Currency: 1CHF=€1.06=$1.15
Airport: GVA Geneva Airport
Hotels: 136 (€48 - €2900)
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