Events in Geneva are particularly welcomed by locals. Beyond the event itself, people have the chance to gather, share, interact and celebrate a unique moment together. It’s a community reunion, it’s life. These moments spent as one become even more meaningful when the Christmas and New Year holidays begin. We have made a selection for you of celebrations to be experienced during the winter. Under the shining lights, between the taste of warm chestnuts and the smell of gingerbread, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year in Geneva.
Photo credit: Noël aux Bastions
Enjoy the Geneva Christmas Market in the heart of an iconic park
From December 6 to 31, the Parc des Bastions will host the Geneva Christmas Market. The local artisans will introduce you to their products in this mythical park, nearby the Old Town, where you can also admire the giant Reformation Wall. In the heart of this enchanting village, you will have the pleasure to taste, discover and also purchase unique gifts for your loved ones.
To please your taste buds and enjoy Swiss traditions, why not tasting a cheese fondue and a glass of glue wine in the typical wooden chalet, under the Christmas lights?
Our tip: For those who will already be in town on December 6, don’t miss the opening of this lovely Christmas market.
Photo credit: Noël aux Bastions
Escalade celebration: join a typical tradition
The Duke of Savoy’s troops, in 1602, were pushed away by the residents of Geneva during their assault on the city. Over 400 years later, the locals continue to celebrate this victory during an entire weekend. From 7 to 9 December, join the festivities! Historic costume parade, cultural visits, bonfires, typical music or even ancient drinks tasting: everything is there to commemorate together one of Geneva’s oldest traditions and to go back in time during two days.
Our tip: In case you have missed the event but still want to hear this captivating story and break a chocolate marmitte, book your ticket for the Local Flavous Tours!
Photo credit: Luc Buscarlet
Cheer on the runners at the 41st Escalade race
Every year in Geneva, the first weekend of December, a sporting event takes place in the Old Town. For children or adults, for professional runners or for disguised amateurs: the Escalade races are open to all. Cheerfulness and joie de vivre take over the city’s alleys and everyone finally meet in the Parc des Bastions to celebrate all together.
The weather may be cool outside, but all hearts are warmed by this festive atmosphere during an entire weekend, from December 1 to 2.
Our tip: Place yourself strategically at the end of the race to make sure you’ll enjoy the arrival of the runners, but also to listen to typical orchestras, to taste local meals and to experience the festive and friendly atmosphere like you will rarely see elsewhere.
Photo credit: www.athle.ch
New Year’s Eve celebration: 3, 2, 1…
This year, you will have the pleasure of celebrating the New Year in the open air, on the shores of Lake Geneva! This fresh winter evening will for sure warm you up with a variety of activities. Dance, music, stands: there will be something for everyone.
Celebrate the New Year’s Eve in Geneva and share an intense moment with the locals, in a unique natural setting.
Photo credit: Izakigur
Christmas Cup: everyone in the water!
It may sound a little unusual, but every year, it is a tradition for more than 1800 courageous people to jump into the water of Lake Geneva in the middle of December! This year, the world’s largest cold water race will take place on December 16! This event has been around since 1934 and swimmers are impatiently awaiting to dive into the icy water to keep this heritage alive.
The participants must swim a minimum of 120 metres, along the famous English Garden. Come to encourage them and discover this slightly crazy but so friendly tradition!
Our tip: In the heart of the English garden, warm yourself up with a coffee or a hot chocolate at La Potinière, a cozy place with an ideal view on the lake and the famous Jet d’Eau.
Photo credit: http://www.signegeneve.ch/
Try the best chocolate tasting city tour
Do you think it is possible to combine cultural discoveries and chocolate tasting in the same guided visit? We know the answer and it’s yes!
With the warming Local Flavours Tour, you will enjoy award-winning chocolate creations while discovering Geneva’s sightseeings, such as the Old Town or the famous Jet d’Eau. You will also have the opportunity to taste the best hot chocolate in town and to experience a typical and surprising tradition… By joining this 3-hour food tour, you’ll see and explore the best of the city as well as the top chocolatiers.
Our tip: Don’t forget to book your ticket in advance to make sure you’ll have the chance to participate.