Geneva Travel Guide

Geneva Travel Guide

With a pleasant setting, green parks, colourful gardens and lakeside promenades, Geneva is considered one of the healthiest places to live in the world.

The city sits astride the River Rhône, where it streams into Lake Geneva, and is set against a dramatic backdrop of mountains. At the lake's south shore the Jet d'Eau shoots water 460ft (140m) into the sky from the end of a pier - the city's landmark attraction and Europe's most powerful fountain.

Undoubtedly Switzerland's most cosmopolitan city, Geneva's reputation for religious and political tolerance dates back more than five hundred years. In the 16th century the city spawned the religious teachings of John Calvin, and Geneva was where Lenin spent his 'years of recreation'. Little of their Puritanism is left today - stately homes line the banks of the lake, overlooking an armada of luxury yachts. Jewels and designer labels spill out of exclusive boutiques and into chauffer-driven limousines that glide down palatial avenues.

As well as a host of museums and fine galleries, Geneva has a lively cultural calendar. Most notable is the celebration of l'Escalade in December, which involves costumed and torch-lit processions through the town, and the consumption of sickly amounts of chocolate and marzipan.

Geneva is a gateway to Switzerland's luxury ski resorts, an important banking centre and home to thousands of international delegates and diplomats. Among the many international organisations based in the city are the United Nations and the International Red Cross.

Best time to visit Geneva

The best weather for a holiday in Geneva is experienced during the height of summer, July and August, but this is also the time when the city attracts thousands of tourists. Spring and autumn are less crowded and a pleasant time to travel to Geneva, although rain can be expected all year round. During late winter many travel to Geneva to access nearby ski resorts, and in December the city sees many tourists for the annual l'Escalade Festival. Read more on Geneva's Climate and Weather.

What to see in Geneva

-Take in some culture at the Barbier-Mueller Museum.

-Marvel at the tallest fountain in the world, the Jet d'Eau.

-See true Swiss craftsmanship at the Patek Philippe Museum.

-Visit the cultural hub of Geneva, Place Neuve.

What to do in Geneva

-Bask in the stained classed windows of St Peter's Cathedral.

-Experience the grand headquarters of the United Nations.

-Visit the cutting edge Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

-Explore the captivating Museum of Art and History.

Beyond Geneva

Geneva has an excellent network of transport including railways, roads and airlines. It is easy to get anywhere in and around Switzerland from Geneva; it is one of the best connected cities in Europe. From Geneva one has easy access to the Swiss Alps and other major attractions and ski resorts in the country, including the breathtaking Château de Chillon and the scenic town of Lausanne situated on the sparkling shores of Lake Geneva.

Getting there

Flights to Geneva land at Cointrin International Airport, located just two and a half miles (4km) from central Geneva. Get more information on Airports in Geneva.

Did you know?

-With 40 percent of its residents coming from outside of Switzerland, Geneva is the most international city in the world.

-Lake Geneva, located adjacently to the city, is the largest Lake in Europe.

-Geneva has the shortest commuting time for any city in the world.

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