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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 stunning 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.

Often mistaken as the Swiss capital, Geneva is the second largest city in beautiful Switzerland. Acting as an international base for a number of world recognised organisations such as the International Red Cross, the World Trade Organisation and the World Health Organisation, Geneva is known for both its welcoming tolerance and its state-of-the-art research. 

Along the pedestrianised, 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 cafés, boutiques and restaurants.

The bohemian Quartier des Grottes is a unique gem behind the immaculate cityscape of Geneva we often associate with. It is a must-visit, abuzz with lively neighbourhood bars, theatres and Parisian-style cafés.

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

Shopping

Shopping is great in Geneva, shops here specialise in finer products and although not cheap, visitors are bound to have a great time window shopping. Shops close fairly early, with many shops closing at around 7pm on weekdays and even earlier on the Saturday. Also, don’t plan any shopping on a Sunday as many shops would be closed. In terms of what to shop for, Geneva is a leader in the watch industry, with a history of watchmaking dating back to the 1600s, you will find the famous brands such as Patek Phillipe, Swatch, Omega and Piaget dotted around the city!

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
  • 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.

Tours and Excursions

City Tour and Boat Cruise

Take a tour by bus, tram and boat to see the best of the city of Geneva. See famous sights including the impressive Geneva Fountain and Flower Clock, take a tram ride through the narrow streets of the beautiful Old Town where you will learn about the city’s rich history, and relax on a cruise of Lake Geneva with stunning views of the surrounding Alps.

Chamonix and Mont Blanc Day Trip

Take an unforgettable drive through the stunning Arve Valley and across the Swiss-French border to Chamonix, situated at the base of the majestic Mont Blanc. On your arrival in Mont Blanc you will have free time to explore on your own before meeting your guide to return to Geneva or you can choose to upgrade your tour to include the Aiguille du Midi cable car, the Petit Train to the Mer de Glace and lunch.

Annecy Half-Day Tour

The charming French Alpine town of Annecy is located just an hour from Geneva. With picturesque waterways, colourful houses, markets, cafes and bars, it’s easy to see why it is dubbed ‘the Venice of the Alps’. Your guide will take you on a tour of the main sights including the Palais de l’Isle, Chateau d’Annecy and Lake Annecy before allowing free time for you to explore independently.

We would be happy to arrange an excursion for you. To discuss options with a member of our knowledgeable team or to book, please contact us on 0131 243 8098.