Elegantly perched along the banks of the Rhône and the shores of Lake Geneva, Switzerland’s second largest city is the epitome of lakeside sophistication. Set against the majestic backdrop of the Jura mountains and the French Alps, the snow-capped summit of Mont Blanc is seen to the south-east of the city.
Geneva has a reputation as a specialist in the finer things in life and is home to Patek Phillipe, Rolex and Baume & Mercier luxury timepieces as well as boutique chocolatiers galore. Known as the Capital of Peace, Geneva is the birthplace of the Geneva Conventions and the world wide web and has a long history of humanitarian action.
A city of refined aesthetics, humanitarianism, culture, jaw-dropping natural beauty and a dynamic post-industrial counterculture, Geneva has it all. Lakes, mountains, international headquarters and a heritage steeped in luxury. Beneath its flawless exterior is a slick, cosmopolitan metropolis buzzing with an ethnically diverse population conversing in multiple languages. Sports buffs and outdoor enthusiasts should make Geneva a bucket list destination – summer or winter, there is no end to opportunities to experience an unforgettable outdoor adventure in idyllic surroundings.
Geneva’s international flavor is reflected in the diversity of its culinary landscape, combining traditional Swiss dishes and foods from around the world. Geneva is where you’ll find something for everyone.
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How to get from the airport to Geneva?
Downtown Geneva is only 4 km (2.5 miles) from the airport. The city to airport routes are well-serviced by public transportation and the train journey from the airport to the central train station takes approximately 6 minutes. The journey by bus is approximately 20 minutes. Taxis are also always available.
What about public transportation around the city?
Geneva has an excellent public transportation network that is efficient, timely, free and unlimited if you have a Geneva Transport Card, which is included as part of your stay at accommodation, including campsites in the greater Geneva area. The card also includes travel across the lake on the Geneva Gulls ferries and free seasonal bicycle rental.
What else is good to know?
If you are in town for a short period of time, consider investing in a Geneva Card, which will give you fast-track access to the main attractions in the city.
Popular Attractions in Geneva
Geneva is a global center for finance, diplomacy and culture with a long history of diversity and tolerance dating back to the Protestant Reformation. Whether you want a non-stop outdoor adventure or an entertaining, relaxing or cultural experience, don’t miss out on what Geneva has to offer.
- Lake Geneva
- More than 30 museums and art galleries
- Mediterranean flair in Carouge
- Swiss chocolate
Lake Geneva: Instagram-perfect images await on Lake Geneva – take a boat cruise or stroll along the lakeside to the 40-meter (130-foot) high Jet d’Eau. Explore the ancient maze of passageways and picturesque squares in the Vieille Ville (Old Town) until you reach the opulent Gothic-style St. Pierre’s (St. Peter’s) Cathedral. Climb the Cathedral towers for spectacular vistas across Geneva. Stop for a coffee and pastry in the Place du Bourg-de-Four.
Geneva’s cultural heritage is captured in the 30+ museums and art galleries in the city. The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is located in an old factory not far from the Patek Phillipe Museum. Learn about Switzerland’s ecological history at the Natural History Museum or marvel at scientific achievement on a guided tour of CERN.
”La dolce vita” awaits in Geneva’s hippest neighborhood, Carouge. The arty, Italian-inspired area on the outskirts of Geneva oozes Mediterranean charm and is home to artisan boutiques, craft and antique dealers by day and Geneva’s coolest bars and cafes by night. A short distance away is the university area of Plainpalais – home to the 85-meter (279-foot) Pont Hans-Wilsdorf bridge crossing L’Arve.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’re in the right place. Discover, explore, learn, taste and taste some more on a tour of the Favarger Chocolate Factory. To get a chocolate fix on the go, head to the local supermarket, where you’ll be hard-pressed to choose from a mouth-watering assortment of the finest Swiss chocolates, pastries and the local specialty Paves de Geneve (chocolate truffles).
Outdoor activities in Geneva
Get outdoors in both winter and summer. Geneva has a lot of water in many different forms that enable an exciting and extensive range of activities. Hit the slopes at a world-renowned ski resort nearby such as Chamonix or Gstaad before soaking away any aches at a legendary Swiss spa. Take a dip in the pristine waters of Lake Geneva or get out on the water on a boat, kayak, wakeboard, raft or wakefoil. There are plenty of city beaches to explore such as the Bains des Paquis with its superior views of the Jet d’Eau. Experience the thrill of a hot air balloon ride or helicopter tour of the city. You’ll have no trouble finding either when you are ready for lift off.
If you’re game for fishing, charter a private fishing trip on Europe’s biggest freshwater lake and see how many char, perch or lake trout you can land. Embark on a cruise for an hour, a day or dinner for the best views of Lake Geneva’s sights including Les Pierres du Niton (Neptune’s Stones) and the Mermaid Statue.
Read more about Geneva's attractions.
Dip into the Geneva food scene – more than just fondue
For the residents of this elegant lakeside heaven, food is a serious business. Feast your eyes and your taste buds with an enticing and tasty blend of traditional Swiss fare and a dazzling array of international cuisine reflecting the socially and ethnically diverse character of the city.
The extensive and diverse culinary landscape of Geneva offers both a range of foods as well as a range of venues at which to eat including Michelin-starred restaurants, food trucks, cafes, outdoor terraces, boats and lakeside venues. Take your pick.
Learn about the Swiss tradition of cheese fondue in a fondue cooking and tasting class. Or have it done for you by the professionals at one of the many first class restaurants in the city, where you will be treated to an unforgettable evening of fondue and a side of yodeling if you are lucky.
Find out information about eat and drink in Geneva.
Shopping in Geneva
Geneva is compact and easy to navigate. Running between the high-end, luxury shopping areas of the Rue du Rhône and Rue du Marche, you’ll find Passage Malbuisson, which features the Malbuisson Clock, the chiming bells of which have rung out every hour since 1962 and set in motion 42 bronze figures.
For a shopping excursion to a Swiss department store, head to the multi-level Globus. It offers everything from clothing and cosmetics to houseware and groceries. The upmarket Bongénie Grieder Genève department store is just one street over and has been at this location since its establishment in 1891. A shopper’s paradise extending over 5,000 m2 and across seven levels of high-end fashion. Let the professionals personally advise you at the perfume store, tailor-made department and nail bar. Afterwards, you can recharge at one of the restaurants before taking on the next level.
London - GenevaFlight duration: 01:35 hrs total, Frequency: 7 x daily
Departure LondonTerminal: 2Counter opening time: 2 h prior to departure
Arrival GenevaDistance to city centre: 6 km