Helen Perrin, Product & City Break Specialist

"Geneva has it all – a cosmopolitan heartbeat with historical sites and a delectable cuisine, all within a sublime lakeside landscape. Explore the history of the Red Cross at the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum or take a tour inside the UN European headquarters at the nearby Palais des Nations. Finish your day with 157 steps up the north tower of St Peter’s Cathedral for stunning views of the city."

Geneva at a glance

Situated on the western shore of Lake Geneva and surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains, Geneva is a perfect city to explore on foot. A cosmopolitan city with a global consciousness, Geneva’s international appeal is hard to resist.

Ruled under the Holy Roman Empire up until the 14th century, Geneva was granted self-governance, after which it suffered religious strife during the Protestant Reformation and French Revolution. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Geneva joined the Swiss Confederation, a parliamentary republic made up of 26 districts known for their armed neutrality.

Acting as an international base for a number of world recognized organizations such as the International Red Cross, the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the World Health Organization, Geneva is known for both its welcoming tolerance and its state-of-the-art research. 

Along the pedestrianized, cobbled streets of the Old Town there are many historical highlights to explore including the Cathédrale St-Pierre presented alongside the International Museum of the Reformation, as well as the popular city square, Place du Bourg-de-Four, with its lovely cafes, shops and restaurants.

Perfect if you’re looking for:

  • Picturesque setting
  • A weekend short break
  • Art and culture

Getting around

The Swiss are known for their efficiency and Geneva’s public transportation system is testimony to that fact. While the Old Town can easily be navigated by foot, there is also an extensive network of buses and trams in the city.

Bicycles are also a popular option for seeing the sites and can be rented free of charge from the Genèveroule scheme.

Dining in Geneva

Cosmopolitan at heart, Geneva offers an international spectrum of dining options. With a nod to French influence, dining in Geneva is often refined, but can be expensive.

Swiss staples such as cheese selections, fondue and filet of perche are popular, while more international dishes can also easily be found.

Must-try local dishes:

  • Raclette – a popular creamy cheese often served with cured ham or potatoes
  • Longeole – a substantial Swiss sausage made with gelatinous pork and a mix of spices that include fennel seeds
  • Chocolate – home to a number of famous chocolate boutiques, Geneva offers an indulgent choice of chocolate creations from some of the world’s leading chocolatiers

Osprey Holidays top tips

As well as sights such as the famous flower clock and St Peters Cathedral, we also recommend you shop on the elegant Rue du Rhone for chocolates and fashion.

Get your tailor-made city break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break to Geneva designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice (not just Saturday to Saturday!)
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of Geneva hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Important information
Population 194,498
Languages French, German, Italian, English
Currency Swiss Franc
Visa Information No visa required for EU citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Interesting facts

Take a boat trip out on to Lake Geneva for a different perspective on the city.

Distance from airports
Geneva International Airport 4 km
Railway stations
Genève-Cornavin

Things to do in Geneva

  • Rue de Rhone: Probably the most prestigious shopping street in Geneva, with brands such as Chanel, Dior, Patek Philippe and Rolex.
  • Jet d’Eau: Geneva’s iconic fountain shooting water up to 140m in the air.
  • Palais des Nations: Take a guided tour of the home of the United Nations and surrounding gardens.
  • Patek Phillipe Museum: The history of horology since the 16th century with exquisite examples.
  • Parc des Bastions: The city park, whose northern entrance is dominated by a statue of Red Cross co-founder Henry Dufour.