Planning to visit Geneva? Here are all the best things to do in Geneva!
But first let’s start with a little background. Geneva is the 2nd largest city in Switzerland, Its considered to be the capital of international organisations and has a rich history dating back more than 4000 years.
Language spoken: French.
Geneva is the perfect destination for a city escape with countless activities! but lets first talk about the MUST SEEN places:
The Famous Jet d’Eau
Now this one is probably the most iconic landmark in Geneva, 140m tall fountain decorating the lake with its beauty. At night you can even see it lighten in different colors and usually around the afternoon you might even spot a RAINBOW dancing on it!
Fun Fact about our beloved Jet is that it was actually not meant to be a touristic attraction. It was created initially in 1886 to release pressure from the pipes of a hydraulic plant. But the people of Geneva liked it so much that shortly it became remarkable symbol of the city.
On the opposite side from the Jet d’Eau you can find the Jardin Anglais- literally means “the English Garden”. With its famous flower clock is the PERFECT location for a walk by the lake and also a local favorite place for a quick lunch on one of the many benches facing magical view to the lake.
The Old Town
The old town of Geneva is a fascinating place to explore! Besides window shopping on Rue Du Rhone, getting lost between the narrow streets and finding a secret passage: The first place I would recommend you to visit is Place Bourg-de-Four– Geneva’s oldest square. The square dates back to the medieval ages and today one of the liveliest places in the old town, where you can find many restaurants as well as charming little Cafés.
After a little break entering one of the local restaurant you definitely need to visit the cathedral– on its interesting rooms and the archaeological site. You can also go all the way up the tower and enjoy magical view to the Jet and the city!
After visiting the cathedral you can visit the Old Arsenal with the famous cannons -a reminder of when Geneva had to defend itself against its neighbours.
The next Must visit is Maison Tavel– currently the oldest private house in Geneva and where you can find the Magnin Relief which represents Geneva in 1850 still surrounded by its 3 rows of fortifications- The entrance to Maison Tavel is Free of charge!
Next to Maison Tavel you can find Geneva’s Town Hall, where you can freely enter to its courtyard and look around the 15th century building.
The Longest Wooden Bench
A short walk from the City Hall will take you to La Treille Park. A sunny beautiful square with amazing view to the Salève Mountain. This is where you can find the world’s longest wooden bench– Built in 1767 made with 180 benches
Parc Des Bastians
Parc des Bastians is one of the locals favorite spots in town and usually the favorite place for a nice relaxed picnic. Sometimes you can even find people dancing here in the middle of the park. The major attractions in the park are the reformation wall portraying the major figures of the Reformation in the form of huge statues and bas-reliefs and the huge Chess boards.
The Park has a very rich history, It was actually the first botanical garden in Geneva and that’s why till today you can find over 300 different vegetations around it!
Carouge, Geneva´s small Italy
Right over the river Arve lays the little town of Carouge- today a part of the City of Geneva. Built in the 18th century by the king of Sardinia, which influenced Carouge’s unique architecture. A pattern of magnificent historical streets and colorful facades with warm and cosy cafes, bistros and antique shops.
Carouge is the locals’ favorite for a nice chill drink, sitting in a restaurant or one of the terraces as well as for jazz bars and nightclubs.
The Palace of Nations and The Broken Chair
Switzerland is known to be a neutral country, therefore its almost not surprising to find there the Main Offices of the UN. The Palace of Nation is located a little further away from the other attractions in Geneva so I would recommend renting a bicycle. There is also a Walking tour you can book in advance.
Tip: If you stay in one of the hotels in Geneva you get a free ticket to the Public transport and can use that to get here.
Don’t miss the huge broken chair on the square outside the building, built to commemorate people who have lost limbs to landmines.
The Botanical Garden
Geneva´s Conservatory and Botanical Garden are spread accros 28 hectares in a park near Lake Geneva. It is home to a living collection of more than 16,000 species of plants (rockery, medicinal, horticultural…), trees and shrubs blooming at different seasons to ensure the all-year round feast for the eyes.
The entrance is FREE of charge.
Bains Des Pâquis
The Pâquis Bath (Bains des Pâquis) is another all year long locals favorite. In summer, you can sunbathe and try different dishes from the refreshment stall. In winter, you can relax and enjoy a magnificent view. Fondue lovers meet here and admire the sparkling lights of night-time Geneva.
The Brunswick Monument is both a stunning and surprising historical replica. It is dedicated to Charles d’Este Guelph, Duke of Brunswick, The German Duke who was born in 1804 and made a fortune in Paris, after which he moved to Geneva. He died in 1873, leaving his enormous estate to the city of Geneva asking only one thing in return: a monument built in his name.
Nowadays the Brunswick monument is a stunning place with view to the Jet d’Eau and there is even the Cottage café, where you can grab a nice lunch or a drink next to the fabulous fountain.
Jonction and the river Rhône
Now these two are totally locals gems! a walk by the Rhône river will expose you to marvelous hidden corners on the river where you can swim, have a picnic and even a BBQ. another fun activity we like is to throw ourselves on a kayak or an inflatable boat, let the river carry us till Lignon and then take the bus back.
The Jonction can be found on your walk, It’s the marvelous meeting point of the 2 rivers: Arve and Rhône.
So, This is the list of the best things to see and do in Geneva, Switzerland! there are still many more things to Experience and explore so stay tuned for the coming posts about Hidden gems, History, Geneva for locals, Fun experiences and day trips!
Meanwhile, I wish you an amazing trip! and feel free to write me any question or doubt you have in the comment section bellow, I promise to answer them all:)