Travel Guide Geneva

By | April 22, 2023

Travel Guide Geneva – Geneva is an anomaly – the closest thing in the world to an international city, but much quieter than this description suggests. As anyone who has seen it from Mont Salève can testify, Geneva is a little bigger than a city, but in the most beautiful location. Plan your trip to Geneva with our guide to Geneva, based on The Rough Guide to Switzerland, your guide to Switzerland.

The Geneva skyline with the Jet d’Eau in the background – a staple of any Geneva travel guide © Benny Marty/Shutterstock

Travel Guide Geneva

Travel Guide Geneva

Centered where the Rhone River flows out of Lake Geneva, Geneva is only nominally within the borders of Switzerland. It is squeezed into a bulge of land that shares only 4 km of internal border with the neighboring Swiss canton, and 108 km with France.

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It may not be much, but Geneva is one of the most demographically diverse cities in Europe – 39 percent of the population is non-Swiss.

Adding to the fluid nature of the population are thirty thousand French cross-border workers who travel to Geneva just over the border and benefit from high Swiss wages and the relatively low cost of living in France.

Geneva is home to dozens of international organizations. Two of them – the headquarters of the United Nations in Europe and the International Committee of the Red Cross – allow visitors to see the unprecedented blood flow of the city. Namely, the diplomatic and administrative flair that made Geneva the bureaucracy capital of the world.

Geneva is also one of the reasons why you declared Switzerland one of the most beautiful countries in the world. What’s more, Geneva is high on our list of things to do in Switzerland this summer.

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Geneva’s Calvinist heritage is laid bare in the clean interior of this historic church. Cathédrale St-Pierre is a mix of architectural elements, from 12th-century Gothic to a neoclassical portico that looks more like a museum than a church.

Be sure to spend time in the beautiful Chapelle des Macchabées. Added in 1397, it is the last one on the left before you leave.

The origin of the legendary fountain of Lake Geneva is an attempt to solve a problem with the city’s water pumping system.

Travel Guide Geneva

While the reservoir was operating and the fountain became redundant, a few savvy Genevans realized its power as a tourist attraction. As such, it is a must-see during your Geneva vacation.

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Today, it shoots a single jet of water an incredible 140 meters into the air, with 500 liters of water erupting from the nozzle every second at a speed of around 200 km/h.

Art workshops and Italian architecture give this lively suburb a Mediterranean ambience. In 1754, the King of Sardinia envisioned Carouge as a commercial competitor to Geneva and turned it into a refuge for Catholics, Protestants and Jews.

Today, Carouge is still a sort of refuge from the city. Its quiet, attractive streets are lined with art workshops and quaint cafes, making it a highlight of any trip to Geneva.

The multi-ethnic district of Les Pâquis, which stretches east of the Rue du Mont-Blanc, is rich in interesting street life.

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Centered on the long Rue de Berne, this cosmopolitan area is full of restaurants and cafes dedicated to every possible cuisine, from Senegalese to Filipino.

Located at the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Musée International de la Croix-Rouge chronicles the history of modern conflicts.

The Museum with a Conscience also has interactive exhibits that reveal the role of the Red Cross in helping combatants and civilians affected by war and natural disasters.

Travel Guide Geneva

Tours of the UN building are full of star quality for those who want to mingle with history. This is the world’s largest conference center for high-level international politics – when the news reports the “Geneva talks”, they mean here.

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Seeing the United Nations building is one of the best things to do in Geneva, Switzerland © nexus7/Shutterstock

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, was founded in 1954 as an international physics research centre. In 1989, CERN was the birthplace of the World Wide Web.

Today, scientifically curious visitors visit the site to get a glimpse of the place where 2,500 scientists seek answers to fundamental questions about the universe.

To see the many modern and ancient world sights, book a guided tour of Geneva’s International Quarter and Old Town, or combine a city tour with a boat cruise.

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Genevois centers the city center around the Rhône, which flows west into France from the city of Rade. The narrow lake harbor is surrounded by large facades.

The Rive Gauche on the south bank comprises a network of riverside streets consisting of the main shopping district (Les Rues-Basses) and the adjacent upper ground floor of the old town. To the south is the university, which flows into the Plainpalais.

Six bridges, including the main Pont du Mont-Blanc, connect the Rive Gauche to the Rive Droite, where most of Geneva’s big hotels are located.

Travel Guide Geneva

Beyond them is the Gare de Cornavin, the main train station, next to the cosmopolitan and occasionally rough district of Les Pâquis.

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The International District, 1.5 km north and centered on the Place des Nations, is home to the European headquarters of the UN, which sits amid a host of global organizations – not least the International Committee of the Red Cross.

At first glance, Geneva’s accommodation scene may seem to consist exclusively of grand palatial hotels that cater to diplomats and international glitz.

There is also more affordable accommodation available if you know where to look, although advance booking is essential as all budget rooms are readily available for delegates to the ongoing round of conferences and international events.

Even empty rooms in both hostels in Geneva are expensive, although fortunately both are relatively large, sleeping hundreds of people.

Geneva Travel Guide| Switzerland Travel Guide

With over a thousand restaurants in the city, you can eat and drink around the world in Geneva.

While many French restaurants are largely influenced by the haute cuisine of Lyon, you can try authentic Swiss dishes in the old town, especially around the Place du Bourg-de-Four.

Carouge has many high-end choices, while Eaux-Vives is more down-to-earth. Meanwhile, Les Pâquis has dozens of inexpensive restaurants serving Arabic, East Asian and African food.

Travel Guide Geneva

If you’re traveling with kids or have a sweet tooth, you might want to take a chocolate-themed walking tour of Geneva.

Geneva Switzerland Travel Guide

It must be said that Geneva’s nightlife is unlikely to get your pulse racing, given that many of the venues cater to visiting businessmen.

In addition, fans of live music will find many places to have fun. Geneva’s many churches host free classical music concerts throughout the year, and many bars regularly host jazz and improvisational evenings.

Any Geneva travel guide worth mentioning will recommend that travelers get a Swiss ticket or Geneva Pass, which allows you to travel for free on Geneva’s trams, buses and boats.

To save time and money, sort your Geneva or Swiss Travel Card before you travel.

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Geneva’s bus and tram network is extensive, integrated, very easy to use and relatively cheap. The center is dominated by trams, but the lines extend into the suburbs, where they connect with countless bus routes.

The walk is doable to the heart of Geneva. Also, it only takes 20 or 30 minutes to get to other attractions like Carouge or the UN.

Small ferries (mouettes) operated by the SMGN ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ should be transported across the mouth of the lake on four routes marked M1-M4. All tickets and city passes will be valid.

Travel Guide Geneva

From Cornavin and Eaux-Vives stations, the Léman Express lines L1–L6 connect the cross-border agglomeration of Greater Geneva with towns in the French Alps, including Evian, Thonon, Annemasse and Annecy.

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Behind the station you will find the usual bike rental options. Another option is to take advantage of the Genèveroule program, which offers mountain bikes and child seats. They are free in summer, with only a small deposit.

Many cruises depart from the Mont-Blanc pier, including Les Belles Rives Genevoises – a one-hour round trip along the shores of both lakes (4-6 per day) – and dozens of breakfast, lunch and dinner cruises on board.

Alternatively, book a tour of the Swiss Riviera from Geneva to sample fine wine and local culture, with the option of traveling by vintage steamer.

The first ridge of the Alps rising southeast of Geneva is Mont Salève. Although it is located across the border in France, it is the Genevan’s main refuge in nature.

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The cable car takes you to the top, where there are many hiking trails. In winter, they become cross-country skiing tracks.

The quiet village of Hermance, located on the southern shore of the lake next to the French border, impresses with its narrow streets lined with 16th-century dwellings, topped by a 14th-century tower.

Art studios and galleries provide interesting entertainment, but the main reason to visit is to sample the famous culinary delights of the Auberge d’Hermance restaurant, and for those traveling by boat, a wonderful trip on the lake from Geneva.

Travel Guide Geneva

Cologny, located 6 km northeast of Geneva, has long been known as an exclusive suburb. With country lanes running through forests and large detached houses behind the walls, the contrast with Geneva is striking.

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Rafting Genève organizes daily canoe, raft and kayak trips