What to see on a trip to Geneva, Switzerland
Geneva is famous for clocks and chocolates – but there’s so much more to this historic Swiss city. Here's our top tips for what to see and do there
Potter around history
Geneva’s old town is the largest historic town in Switzerland, packed with quirky old treasures among its warren of cobbled alleyways. Towering above it all is St Pierre’s Cathedral, an old Protestant temple once at the centre of the Reformation movement.
Climb 157 steps up to the top of the cathedral to look out over breath- taking panoramas of the city and nearby mountains (costs 5 CHF), or head below stairs to discover fascinating archaeological vaults. Drop by on a Saturday and you’ll often catch a free cathedral concert.
- St Pierre’s Cathedral, call 22 311 75 75, visit www.saintpierre-geneve.ch
Linger on the lake
Lake Geneva is the star attraction of the city as is the spectacular Jet d’Eau, a dazzling water jet that projects 500 litres of water 140m into the sky every second.
If you want to explore the lake further, take a cruise along the Rhône, which goes from Geneva to Verbois and back. Along the way, you can take in the ora and fauna of the wild countryside and even keep your eyes peeled for the beguiling bronze little mermaid who lives on the lake.
Alternatively for something extra special, come aboard the Savoie, one of Geneva’s eet of boats from the glamorous Bell Époque era, and prepare to be wined and dined on their legendary gastronomic cruise. Open May to September, prices start at 28 CHF.
- Cruise along the Rhône, call 227 324 747 or visit www.swissboat.com
- Savoie call 900 929 929, visit www.cgn.ch
Discover the place for peace
Neutral Switzerland has been the place where many of the world’s conflicts have been reconciled. And many of these moments of peace have happened in Geneva’s Palais des Nations, the largest UN centre after New York. With 50 meetings taking place daily in 34 conference rooms, welcoming more than 25,000 delegates every year, it’s a hive of activity you can tap into on one of the many daily tours, costing 12 CHF.
Another symbol of Geneva’s generous spirit can be found at the International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent where you can learn about the history of humanitarian action – just be sure to bring tissues!
- Palais des Nations, call 229 174 896, visit www.unog.ch
- Red Cross Museum, call 227 489 511, visit www.redcrossmuseum.ch/en
Watch the time
Switzerland is renowned for its clock making and Geneva’s Patek Philippe Museum o ers the perfect place to discover how the Swiss keep to time. One of the best horology museums in the world, here you’ll nd watches and enamel miniatures dating back to the 16th Century
- Open Tuesday to Saturday, costs 10 CHF or free with the Geneva Pass (24-hour pass starts from 26 CHF). Call 229 097 000 or visit www.geneve.com
- Patek Philippe Museum, call 228 070 910, visit www.patekmuseum.com
Browse the bustling market
A few tram stops from the sleek, cosmopolitan city of Geneva, you’ll nd the bohemian village of Carouge and its busy morning market, open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
A creative, colourful place where artisans and artists sell, shop and socialise, Carouge celebrates being the mid-way point between France and Italy with an open-minded Mediterranean spirit.
Once you’ve picked your sun owers and deliberated over which French cheese to take home at the market, go o the beaten track to explore the chocolatiers, orists and watchmakers tucked away down Carouge’s charming streets. To really make the most of this Aladdin’s cave of treasures, take one of the Saturday guided tours organised by the City of Carouge, from June to October.
- Call 223 078 987 or visit www.carouge.ch/ guided-tours
Tell it on the mountain
Called the balcony of Geneva, Mont-Salève doesn’t just o er a stunning backdrop to the city, it’s a must-visit attraction in its own right, boasting views as far as Mont Blanc on a clear day. Here, adventure seekers can try their hand at hiking, paragliding or even cross-country skiing.
For those who like to take it easy, go up and down on the cable car (free with the Geneva Pass), followed by a relaxing evening at the Hotel les Armures whose traditional fondue is the talk of the town – and has been sampled by the likes of Pippa Middleton and the Clinton family!
- Check the cable car schedule on 33 450 398 686 or visit www.telepherique-saleve.com
- Hotel les Armure, 223 109 172, visit www.hotel-les-armures.ch/en
For more travel ideas get the latest copy of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday!