Geneva is one of the most international cities in the world, but it’s not just the global organisations that call it home that have given the city its reputation as a fascinating city break destination. Here are some of our favourite ways to enjoy the beautiful views, culture, landmarks, and of course the food.
Words by Lauren John | Extract taken from August's 2022 Il-Bizzilla Magazine | Read more here
Food, glorious food
Geneva was named the Swiss City of Taste in 2021, and it lives up to that reputation with delicious choices for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Hotels, trendy concept stores, restaurants and cafés can deliver whether you are looking for a familiar favourite or want to try something new. Favourite foodie districts include the bohemian Les Bains, Les Paquis, and Eaux Vives districts near Lake Geneva. Start your day exploring with active charcoal pancakes, chia matcha pudding, or Hakou, a toasted croissant with avocado and chickpeas.
From freshly caught perch to locally produced sausage, Geneva has something to suit all tastes, including dishes made from its world-famous cheese and chocolate. Don’t miss trying Swiss cheese fondue or melt-in-the-mouth Pavé de Genève chocolates. If you’re planning a visit in September be sure to support the best local food producers and innovators at the street food festival, held between the 1st and 4th at the English Garden.
Free activities to do in Geneva
Experience something new, capture a local landmark, or explore some of the best Geneva offers with these free activity suggestions.
Visitors staying in a hotel, youth hostel or campsite can get a free Geneva Transport Card which offers unlimited travel on bus, train, and perhaps the most exciting, boat. Take one of the Mouettes Genevoises and enjoy a shuttle ride with a beautiful harbour view. While by the lake stop and take a photo with the famous Jet d’Eau Fountain, which sprays water 140 metres high. Lit up at night or to commemorate special occasions, it really is a unique photo opportunity.
Sticking with the free transport theme, from April to October you can enjoy free bike rental for one day thanks to Genéveroule! Choose from a range of bikes for all the family which can be picked up from their locations in Pâquis, Rhône, and Plainpalais.
Urban swimming is a popular pastime with the Swiss even in winter, but you don’t have to dip your toes in freezing cold waters when the beauty of beach season awaits. Geneva’s beach areas are easily accessible by public transport with a range of facilities to keep the whole family entertained. These areas include Plage du Reposoir which is wheelchair accessible, with great access to the water and the scenic Plage des Eaux-Vives. A sand and pebble beach, park area, take-away food and ice cream, all make for a relaxing family break from sightseeing.
Make memories at the Olympic Museum
Why wait four years for the next global celebration of sport, when you can celebrate the Olympic Spirit year-round at the International Olympic Committees Museum. Located on the banks of Lake Geneva in the Ouchy district of Lausanne, this interactive attraction is under an hour away from Geneva and is packed full of exhibits and activities for all the family.
Exhibition spaces are dedicated to anything from the history of the Olympics to previous Olympic torches and medals and host city creativity. Feel the Olympic spirit, test yourself with interactive sports activities, and enjoy some time exploring the Olympic park, complete with sculptures and a sports track. With a café, shop, and other amenities this is the perfect day trip for sports fans.
Exploring local landmarks
No visit to Geneva would be complete without taking in some of the local landmarks and beautiful architecture, and the Palais des Nations is one not to miss. A striking example of 20th-century architecture in Ariana Park, this is where you can learn all about the work of the United Nations. Experienced guides will take you around areas such as the UN Museum, the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilisations Room, and introduce you to the famous Assembly Hall and how UN conferences work.
From the world-famous, to delightfully historic, don’t miss a trip to Geneva’s Old Town to stop by the Maison Tavel, Geneva’s oldest building. Reconstructed after a fire, it continues to be a testament to medieval architecture in Geneva and is now a museum dedicated to the city’s history.
From big impressive monuments and architectural highlights to small but engaging photo spots, Geneva has it all. Whether your trip to Geneva will involve uncovering small museums like the L’Ancien Arsenal, admiring the quirky mismatched style of Les Schtroumpfs, or uncovering the story behind the National Monument, enjoy.