Things to do in Geneva

Top 10 Things to do in Geneva

Our Top Ten things to do in Geneva - Don't leave until you've experienced the best Geneva has to offer


The city of Geneva has a population of 200,000 inhabitants and is one of largest in Switzerland and is situated on the Lac Leman which is also called Lake of Geneva. The city is divided by Rhône River, which emerges from the lake. Geneva is a very picturesque city with numerous attractive bridges over the Rhone. It is also a cultural, financial and administrative centre. In fact the city is the home of more than two hundreds international organisations including the United Nations.
1 Le Jet d'Eau
Le Jet d
Rising majestically out of the lake and visible from miles away, Geneva’s main tourist attraction was simply a security valve at the Coulouvrenière hydraulic factory but became the symbol of the city when it was moved to Lac Leman. During the Euro ’98 football tournament held in Switzerland, a giant football was held aloft by the force of the water which reaches a height of 140 metres from the lake’s surface. At night it is illuminated.

2 Lac Léman - Lake Geneva
Lac Léman - Lake Geneva
Geneva is built on the banks of the lake which has many boat trips around it leaving from the jetty. The headquarters of the United Nations is found on its shores and there’s a beautiful walk that follows the lake from the city to the UN buildings and runs through parkland on the way. It’s easy to navigate as you simply keep as close as possible to the shoreline. The waters from the lake form the source of the Rhone River which then flows through France to the Mediterranean.

3 The Reformation Wall
The Reformation Wall
During the Reformation, Geneva was the centre of Calvinism and Calvin inaugurated the University of Geneva within whose grounds the wall is built. It was an idea entered in a competition in 1909 to decide how to best renovate the walls of the city and became an international monument to the protestant reformation, depicting many of the people and events of the period. It was built to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Calvin’s birth in a city whose development has been shaped by Protestantism since the 16th century.

4 Flower Clock
Flower Clock
"L'Horloge Fleurie" or to give its English name, the Flower Clock is the second biggest flower clock in the world with a diameter of 5 metres. It was constructed as a symbol and homage to the city’s watch and clockmakers and linked in the city’s affinity with nature. Visitors can find it at the western edge of the Jardin Anglais. To make the stunning clock blossom, over 6,500 flowering plants are used and the image is changed every time the season changes.

5 CERN
CERN
Known worldwide as the site for the absolutely gigantic Large Hadron Collider, you may worry about visiting here as some sceptics say that if the experiments conducted here go wrong, this will be the site of the end of the world. However anyone with an interest in science and especially physics and the cosmos will be utterly fascinated. It’s possible to book a tour online which will be hosted by the actual scientist. You’d better gen up a bit first or the information may go right over the top of your head.

6 The Geneva Motor Show
The Geneva Motor Show
Known locally as the Salon International de l'Auto, the Geneva Motor Show is held annually in March at the Palexpo next to Cointrin airport. It’s thought of as one of the world’s leading motor show and in its 106 year history has hosted almost all major car models. These days the common or garden family car is often out classed by the appearance of the supercars. Here, many famous sports cars have first met the public eyes including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and AC. If one partner prefers to shop on a visit in March then there’s a good chance the other will head straight for the show which has also been used for politics and the announcement of international cooperative ventures.

7 Chateau de Chillon
Chateau de Chillon
On the coast of Lac Leman, one hour from Geneva, you’ll find this amazing architectural work. The castle has a long and famous history and is closely linked with artists, poets and writers. One story tells of a stormy afternoon when the poet Lord Byron and Percy Shelley were on a boat in the lake. At the time they were renting a house on the other shore of the lake. Dusk was falling when all of the sudden they saw a majestic castle. They decided to stop and the guard welcomed them to stay and told them the stories of the castle. The story of the Prisoner of Chillon was written following his stay. Lord Byron felt the story was intriguing and wrote about the prisoner’s story in a poem.

8 International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum
Exhibiting historical artefacts and accounts of the Red Cross movement, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum is thought to be one of the best museums in Switzerland and Europe. There is a great section on the pre-Red Cross era with information on its predecessors and how the organisation came to be, documenting activities and from around the world. A popular exhibit is that of World War I prisoner records including posters and artefacts made by the prisoners themselves. A great place to visit to restore your faith in human compassion which uses video, slides and interactive displays to provide an insight into the organisation.

9 Mount Saleve
Mount Saleve
A place to visit in Geneva that’s actually in France! Geneva is so close to the French border that many of its attractions are actually in another country and Mount Saleve is one of them. It is located right on the Swiss border with France and from its 1,380 metre summit you can enjoy a breathtaking panorama over all of Geneva, as well as the Alps. At the top there’s a panoramic restaurant and many outdoor activities such as mountain biking, hiking and paragliding. On still, warm days in the summer the air is filled with paragliders. A cable car built in 1983 lets you reach the summit easily.

10 Bains des Pâquis
Bains des Pâquis
The Bains des Pâquis are a dock-like area on the lakeside which has been turned into something of a beach club. Here you can sunbathe on the decks, have a Turkish massage, the kids can play in the waterpark area and you can swim in the lake which can sometimes be a little refreshing! It’s a popular place for the population of Geneva to come and chill as well as being a great place to people watch.

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