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Geneva: A holiday in the lap of luxury

Some of the world’s most important work is done in Geneva: from the physicists at CERN and the humanitarians of the Red Cross to the diplomats at the UN.

It’s little wonder that so many people and institutions choose to make this Swiss city their home: its natural beauty and cosmopolitan flair will entice any holidaymaker into staying a little longer than planned. Whether you’re looking for a vintage watch or the refreshing alpine waters of Lake Geneva, this city is a dream destination. Discover Geneva and book a flight to Geneva today.

With a well-heeled population and a coterie of international businesspeople and dignitaries, Geneva has much to offer the discerning traveller. Its designer boutiques and shopping boulevards have everything needed to tempt visitors looking for a new purchase, and the cafés of the Vielle Ville (the old town) are ideal for a short break. This is paradise for fans of Swiss watches, whether you’re looking for a new acquisition or just want to enjoy the collections of timepieces, which includes a waterside flower clock in the Jardin Anglais.

Visit the city of Swiss watches and book a flight to Geneva now.

How do I get around in Geneva?

Geneva is small enough that a stroll can take you through the old town or the lakefront. Free bike hires are available for periods of up to four hours from the city’s Genève Roule programme. For longer trips, however, the Swiss city’s public transportation network does not disappoint. The integrated network includes lake ferries as well as trams, buses and trains. For a short visit to the city, a Geneva Pass is definitely worthwhile: good for 24, 48 or 72 hours, it is not only an all-access pass to the transit network, it also provides free or discounted admission to museums, lakeside pools and even a cable car that overlooks the city!

What currency should I bring?

The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss franc. The currency can either be obtained prior to departure or in the airport on arrival. You can also withdraw francs from ATMs using your bank card or credit card; just make sure you confirm that your card will work before leaving! Euros are easy to obtain in border cities such as Geneva, and are necessary for excursions into nearby France.

What language is spoken in Geneva?

Switzerland is a country of many tongues, with a total of four official languages! Geneva is situated on the French border, and French is the main language spoken by the genevois. However, in a city so full of diplomats and businesspeople from around the world, English is also widely spoken.

Explore Geneva!

Geneva has more to offer than tiny lovely boutiques and big shopping boulevards. If you like to discover some restaurants or bars, Geneva is also the right place.

Les Pâquis is Geneva’s colourful cousin on the Rive Droite. Geneva’s diversity is on full display here, with its eateries serving up a mix of East Asian, African and American food alongside Swiss fare. The Bains des Pâquis is the liveliest lakeside spot in the city, where you can enjoy a bottle of wine or a massage after taking a dip in the lake. The laid-back, festive atmosphere of Carouge makes it a perfect place to enjoy delicious chocolate, have a drink on an outdoor patio or dance the night away.

Of course, while in Geneva you will have the chance to tour the headquarters of several world-famous institutions. At the UN’s European headquarters, take a guided tour through artwork illustrating the struggle for peace. The award-winning Red Cross Museum showcases three permanent exhibitions under the theme “The Humanitarian Adventure”. A tour through the facilities of CERN will take you on their journey to discover the secrets of the universe’s smallest particles.

Most popular attractions

  • United Nations
  • Jet d’eau fountain
  • Old town of Geneva
  • Bains des Pâquis
  • Mont Salève

United Nations: Head to the Palais des Nations and see rooms that have held some of the most important negotiations of recent history. The United Nations Office in Geneva is also home to numerous art installations, including one depicting humanity’s exploration of outer space.

Jet d’eau fountain: On any daytime stroll to the waterfront, your eyes will be drawn to this hundred-metre jet of water springing from the Geneva harbour. Once a necessity to reduce pressure on the city’s water system, it is now a key feature of the city’s lakefront.

Old town: Head up the towers of St. Peter’s Cathedral or sip a coffee on the historic Place du Bourg-de-Four. There is plenty to discover on the narrow, cobbled streets or on the wide shopping boulevards of Rue du Marché or Rue du Rhône.

Bains des Pâquis: An artificial beach in the Les Pâquis neighbourhood, this is an ideal place for refreshing yourself in the waters of Lake Geneva or unwind in the winter sauna or Turkish bath.

Mont Salève: Just across the border in France, this mountain affords gorgeous views of Geneva and the surrounding countryside. A cable car will take you to the summit, where you can hike up to the observatory or down to the village of Monnetier.

Get more information about this city in our Geneva guide.

Culinary highlights in Geneva

In a city seemingly filled to the brim with diplomats, businesspeople and students, a thriving restaurant scene is not optional. A stroll down Geneva’s streets will bring the world to your palate.

Vielle Ville: Though often a bit of a splurge, the eateries in and around Place du Bourg-de-Four are an absolute must for a culinary exploration of the city. Local specialties are for example roast chicken and all varieties of local seafood.

Pâquis: A multitude of cultural options are available in this neighbourhood, with popular choices including shawarma and kebabs and the fusion cuisines that are celebrated in many restaurants.

The regional cuisine is referred to as “cuisine du terroir” and includes a wide variety of spacialties. Casseroles are distinctly Genevese and often made with lobster, artichoke or pork. Raclette and fondue are two of the most famous Swiss dishes, and Geneva hast, of course, it’s own varieties. For example, fondue features Gruyere and Emmental cheeses, and special guest, Walliser. Learn how it’s done properly by taking an authentic cooking and tasting class.

Geneva – a shopper’s paradise

From high fashion to Swiss watches of the highest quality, Geneva is home to thriving retail businesses. While the main luxury brands can be found all over the city, there are definitely some hidden gems to be discovered. In the old town, the Rue du Rhône and Rue du Marché are both home to designer brands and world-famous watchmakers. On the other side of the river, the Manor shopping mall is a great destination for clothing, cosmetics and everything in between. Geneva also has a number of open-air markets, including a regular flea market in the Plaine de Plainpalais and a daily market in Place de la Madeleine, which sells books and clothing during the spring and summer months.