Vibrant, authentic, picturesque, peaceful, charming: these are some of the many adjectives that describe Geneva in a very perfect way. And because we think that nobody is better than a local to give you the best tips to enjoy this stunning and lively city, we want to make you discover the real meaning of these words through the must-see places, the unique experiences and also the hidden gems and little secrets of our town. To answer the famous question “What are the must-do activities when you visit Geneva?”,we have gathered for you the TOP 10 of what to do in Geneva in order to make you enjoy your stay with us to the fullest. Let us entertain you!
Enjoy an amazing view from the top of St. Peter’s Cathedral
Most of the time, climbing stairs and going up isn’t the most exciting activity in the world. However, when it comes to what to do in Geneva, climbing takes on a completely different meaning. In the heart of the Old Town, St. Peter’s Cathedral gives you the opportunity to ascent to the top and reach the summit, discovering a breath-taking panorama of the city and the lake. The most beautiful view can be seenfrom the North Tower, after climbing the 157 steps that are definitely worth it! Also, if you decide to visit the Cathedral itself, austerely decorated, and the gothic-style Maccabees Chapel with its splendid painted and decorated ceilings, the most remarkable feature is the fact that you will see side by side Catholicism and Calvinism, gathered under the same roof.
Our tip: Are you very excited about the Old Town? You will be delighted to know that the Chocolate Flavours Tour includes also a visit to this historic centre..
Life is always better with chocolate…
Box of delicious chocolate truffles on the Geneva Chocolate Flavurs Tours
Do you think it’s possible in 3 hours to visit Geneva, explore the Old Town, take a little cruise on the lake while admiring the Jet d’Eau and tasting the best chocolates in the city? Well yes, it’s possible thanks to the Chocolate Flavours Tour! By joining this 3-hour guided city tour, you’ll taste the most delicious chocolates in town, 11 in total, and have the pleasure to appreciate flavourful awarded creations from 5 different local chocolateries and patisseries as well as admiring places you wouldn’t have foundby yourself.While exploring the Old Town, this sweet Chocolate tour will make you discover fascinating stories and anecdotes about Geneva’s most famous placesand will also give you the chance to enjoy a short cruise on Lake Geneva with the Mouettes, small yellow boats that are part of Geneva daily life since 1897.
Our tip: Dear foodies, please make sure to book your walking food tour in advance to be certain to enjoy this unique gourmet experience!.
Take a stroll or a ride around Lake Geneva
Geneva is renowned for its peaceful atmosphere (and we definitely confirm this information), an atmosphere perfectly tailored to enjoy long walks around the lake and to admire the surrounding areas.So, what could be more pleasant than exploring the shores, on foot or by bike, of the mythical Lake Geneva, which is by the way the largest lake in Western Europe? On a clear day, the lakeside offers you an idyllic view on the Mont Blanc, as well as many parks and green areas to take a well-deserved break, lying on the grassafter the effort. Not to mention that during your stroll, you will have the chance to meet the famous Jet d’Eau, proudly located in the heart of the harbour.
Our tip: For cycling amateurs, it’s great to know that it is possible to rent your bike for free with Genèveroule, located in several places in town..
The Patek Philippe Museum: dive into the heart of fine watchmaking
© Anne Sunfrid Lyon
If you wonder what to do in Geneva to learn more about horology, we have the perfect answer for you! The city is the birthplace of luxury watchmaking, and various tours and workshops are proposed to visitors around this captivating theme. In fact, the famous and renowned Patek Philippe brand has created its own museum in the very heart of the city centre, dedicated to the history of watchmaking from the 16th to the 19th century. You will thus be able to enjoy a museum unique in the world, a fascinating place where you can contemplate prestigious watchmaking creations that will for sure make you lose track of time…
Our tip: The Patek Philippe Museum is located in the middle of the trendy Bains District. This is the perfect occasion for you to explore the numerous art galleries around..
Take time for yourselfat Le Bain Bleu Hammam & Spa
© Bain Bleu Hammam & Spa
When it comes to pampering, you can trust us (you can also trust us for the other themes of course), le Bain Bleu is much more than just a spa. Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, the place provides a spectacular panoramic view of the lake, including a rooftop featuring a 250m2 hot bath. “We can’t change the world, but for you we change the scenery”, that’s what this place is offering you.With its hot baths, the softened and warm lightsas well asthe waterfall,the magnificent reflections,the design decoration, the spa will welcome you in a world of magic to experience relaxing massages and truly soothing moments. Alongside the aquatic area, you will also have the chance to recharge your batteries in other comfortable and relaxing rooms while admiring the view.Also, the hammam route is a journey out of time with its steam or scrub rooms, central basin, hot stones and finally the oriental coffee.
Our tip: The cherry on top? Enjoy the splendid and romantic panorama offered by the rooftop hot bath while drinking a well-deserved glass of champagne!
Go for a cheesy evening
Cheese fondue in Restaurant les Armures. © Restaurant Les Armures
When we talk about cheesy evenings, we really mean cheesy. In other words: 100% made of cheese! Swiss fondue is a real tradition in Geneva and locals love to enjoy this delightful meal with family or friends, as this is a genuine and authentic moment of sharing. For a fondue in a typical setting, Les Armures, one of the oldest restaurants in Geneva, will welcome you in the very heart of the cobbled streets of the Old City for a hearty diner. For those who would like to livethe town like a local, the Bains des Pâquis, an iconic spot for the residents, will allow you to taste a fondue with your feet (almost) in the water, with a view on the lake as a bonus! Finally, the Café du Soleil, an authentic and traditional 400 years old bistro, invites you to enjoy its cosy and poetic atmosphere, where fondue is the queen reigning the place. Also, the terrace and its Linden tree that grows here will immerse you into a romantic and lovely ambiance to share with your loved ones, as if the time had stopped…
Our tip: What to do to perfectly match your food? We suggest you try white wines from Geneva, like the unmissable Chasselas, vinified with love by our local winegrowers.
It’s time for you to admire the iconic Flower Clock
© GenèveTourisme;© www.geneve.com
Walking along the shore, next to the Mont-Blanc bridge, you can admire a surprising piece of art… Created in 1955, the concept of the colourful flower clock has been completely revised in 2017 and now offers a floral composition of more than 12,000 plants throughout the year, varying according to the seasons. It’s a real challenge, combining horticultural talent and watchmaking know-how. The hands were manufactured and offered by the Patek Philippe brand and the second hand measures 2.5 metres, the longest in the world, quite impressive!
Our tip: The English Garden is the ideal park to relax for a while and why not, to enjoy a delicious glass of local wine with a selection of exquisite swiss cheesesat the bar-restaurant La Potinière, with a lovely view on the city’s master: the famous Jet d’Eau.
Take part of an intriguing natural phenomenon
© GenèveTourisme;© www.geneve.com
Have you ever heard of the Jonction? Probably not, but it’s nevertheless a not-to-be-missed place in Geneva. The Jonction is a singular and peculiar place that you won’t find anywhere else, where two rivers, the Rhône and the Arve, meet each other. Because the Arve comes, dark and foamy, directly from the mountains, and the Rhône starts from the clear water of Lake Geneva, this unique reunion offers an unusual and magnificent natural phenomenon: the differently coloured waters create a junction that can be clearly seen by the observers’ eyes. This amazing show can be seen from a viaduct, just few meters after the Jonction and approximately 20 minutes on foot from the city centre.To complete your adventure, along these two rivers, trails are available allowing you to admire the landscape while strolling along the tree-lined path of Italian poplars.
Our tip: Throughout the summer, a refreshment bar and deckchairs are available to the public to make sure you enjoy the sunny days to the fullest.
Explore the International District
A general view of the Palais des Nations UN headquarters in Geneva from the Ariana park. © GenèveTourisme; © www.geneve.com
When a local talks to you about what to do in Geneva, he will necessarily mention the multicultural and international aspect of his city and it’s not without a reason that this is one of the top things to do in Geneva. Also known as the Capital of Peace, the city owes its nickname to the many international organizations that have settled there, all around the Place des Nations. In order to be able to appreciate the multicultural atmosphere that characterizes this district, a visit to the Place des Nations and its famous Broken Chair, a wooden work of art reminding of Geneva’s commitment against anti-personnel mines, or the Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum is a must.
Our tip: Near this famous area stands the Conservatory and Botanical Garden of Geneva. This huge open-air museum allows you to take the time to discover and learn more about plants and flowers from all over the globe.
Everyone deserves a drink with a view
If there is one activity that the people of Geneva take very seriously, it is the aperitif! Whether it’s a refreshing cocktail or a glass of tasty wine, there’s no lack of places to indulge. Enjoying a drink is one of the best things to do in life, so to fully appreciate this experience in Geneva, admire an unforgettable sunset and to make sure you know what to do during aperitif time, here are some tips and addresses that are quite popular. Cheers!
Les Voiles: Every summer, this ephemeral terrace takes place a few minutes away from the centre, nearby the lake, and proposes trendy and lively evenings. Cocktails, tapas and DJ will be part of this chic & fancy night out.
Bateau Genève: Right next to the English Garden, by the water, there is a boat unlike any other… On this one, during the summer months, you can drink your aperitif in a relaxing ambience and enjoying food while admiring the Jet d’Eau.
Riverside Café: A long list of delicious cocktails, great DJs, a view over the Rhône river: what else could we ask for to spend a pleasant moment inside the Café or on the terrace, in a trendy atmosphere?
Floor Two Bar: Finally, you might also like the stunning view from the Floor Two Bar at the luxurious Kempinski Hotel that you will find on the second floor. The cosy terrace overlooks Lake Geneva and guarantees you an unbeatable panorama.
Now that we answered to your famous question “What to do in Geneva?”, we would like to wish you an amazing and lovely stay with us. See you soon!