Geneva is one of those places that sounds instantly magical as soon as it slips off the tongue. Up close and personal, it certainly lives up to this expectation and more! I had a one day layover here, and from a mesmerizing lake and the enchanting Old Town, I knew I had a full day of exploring on my hands.
One thing I noticed immediately was that Geneva was expensive. From food to accommodation and even an Uber ride, you will need to be mindful of your budget when visiting here.
Geneva would not be nearly half as inviting if it were not for the sheer beauty and peacefulness of Lake Geneva. Its alpine lake is Europe’s largest, and home to 116 public beaches — the most popular of these being Bains des Pâquis. It’s the go-to place in the summer for both locals and visitors, boasting warm waters and ample room to get your tan on.
TIP: Your hotel will provide you with a free transport card. It includes free travel on buses, boats, trams, etc.
From here, you can also enjoy the famous Jet d’Eau, one of the tallest fountains in the world. The jet was actually never meant to be for this purpose at all — back in 1886, it was a way to release the water pressure into the air at a hydraulic pumping station but was such a success with all who saw it, that it now sits in the centre of Lake Geneva for all to marvel at, providing a fantastic scenic backdrop for photos.
Open Air Cinema & Ferris Wheel
In summer, there’s even a free open-air cinema to be enjoyed on the shores of the lake. It’s a great way to soak up the beautiful atmosphere and strike up a conversation with a few of the locals.
If you are planning a trip, you should check out my travel resources guide.
Also during the summer, you can get a spectacular 360 degree of Geneva from the top of the Ferris Wheel by Lake Geneva at the Jardin Anglais! The ferris wheel is 50m above the ground at the highest point of the wheel giving you the best view of the City.
TIP: Get a Geneva Pass which allows you to get a discount at visit over 50 attractions. It’s a low-cost way to see more of Geneva during your stay.
The Brunswick Monument is a mausoleum built in 1879 to commemorate the life of Charles II, Duke of Brunswick. He left his fortune to the City of Geneva in exchange for a monument to be built in his name. It is a replica of the Scaliger Tombs in Verona, Italy.
A special thank you to Brendan Williams for joining me on this trip to do the photography.
Picturesque squares, winding streets and an array of cultural and historical delights — Geneva’s Old Town is a must-visit! Home to the fourth century, Cathédrale St-Pierre, the neo-classical architecture made for excellent photos and was one of those few places that made me stop and think about how insanely incredible it was.
For a fantastic and unusual picture, be sure to check out the tree-lined La Promenade de la Treille where you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Geneva. It is home to the longest bench in the world, at 120 metres with views of the Salève Mountain and is a great stop-off to catch your breath and relax after wandering around the Old Town.
Where to Stay
The golden topic wherever you travel is always deciding on the best place to stay. I wanted to ensure I was somewhere that put me in perfect proximity to all the best that Geneva had to offer.
Swiss Luxury Apartments ticked all the boxes and they’re five star accommodation, so were ultra luxurious and sophisticated! Located in the heart of Geneva, just steps away from Jet d’Eau, every whim was cared for and no ask too big so I didn’t have to worry about anything but enjoying my day here.
I love using Booking.com to look for accommodations. The reviews by other travelers are very helpful and I find the rates very competitive. Plus, with options for free cancellation it is handy in case plans need to change.
We were here after a week long road trip through Slovenia and then heading to Chamonix to do a 10 day hike through the Alps. We wanted a nicer place to stay, knowing that we would have 10 days ahead of refuge accommodations with few amenities. I just LOVED that the Swiss Luxury Apartments had a free laundry service…it was just what we needed to get ready for the next leg of our travels.
What to Eat
From Michelin-starred restaurants to wonderfully quaint cafes tucked within the squares of the Old Town, Geneva offers plenty of foodie satisfaction.
Miam’s is a must try for those with allergies as they offer gluten-free and lactose-free food in a wonderful fusion of street food and world cuisine, one of the first to do so in Geneva. As a celiac, it was an oasis, with a menu offering lactose-free quiche, salads, and even gluten-free chocolate eclairs. I’d highly recommend it for those with dietary restrictions.
One of my favourite meals while in Geneva was from Qibi. Qibi has a lot of healthy food options, with a lot of vegetarian dishes on the menu. We had our food to-go but they also have seating available.
A hot summer day calls for gelato and MANU is a great choice to help you cool down after an afternoon of walked around Geneva. They had several non-dairy options available…which were very tasty!
Geneva was truly a one-of-a-kind place to visit, growing in recent years to be a thriving historical and cultural hub with a fantastic foodie scene that certainly shines through. I’ll be back, but farewell for now Geneva!
I would definitely love to spend more time exploring Geneva and other areas of Switzerland. It is such a beautiful country! I will certainly be back for another visit.
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