Geneva – The Swiss City That Ticks All the Boxes: Best Bits

by Gavin Darvell

Right, we’re going to give you a Geneva moment. Stand on the lakeside and look out at the surrounding scenery. There’s the Alps in the distance, the glistening still water of the lake itself and the city that stretches out along the banks. Suddenly, that moment of tranquillity is burst when a huge jet of water strays up to into the Geneva sky! Yep, Jet d’Eau has just announced itself into this serene scene. Welcome to Geneva!

The banks of Geneva and its view are just the foretaste of a city that will delight you. You’re in a place that has some 2000 years of history, is home to the Swiss watchmaking industry and the United Nations. So, what places must you see? What moments must you share? We look into the heart of Geneva and come up smiling. We pick out four key things to do in Geneva.

The Lake

The view we mentioned at the start is something special. It’s the centrepiece of the city and offers plenty of activities to keep you entertained. There’s the aforementioned Jet d’Eau, with its 140m sprouting jet. It’s the tallest in the world if you’re wondering. There are the promenades too, stretching down the left and right banks. Cafes, parks and markets will keep you amused. Look out for the Flower Clock on the east side. (Geneva’s tribute to watch industry).

United Nations

Come to Geneva and see the world! Well, Europe at least. The European Headquarters of the United Nations are based here, and you can have a look on a guided tour. It’s an enormous complex, and you’ll get an insight into how this place operates. The 2000 seat Assembly Hall is particularly impressive. There’s also a Red Cross Museum to explore. It’s well worth a look.

The Old Town

Time to head into town. Well, the old town. Sloping cobbled streets and alleyways, cafes and shops, as well as historical landmarks, to explore here. Bourg-de-four is the oldest public square in the city. Looking over the old town, you’ll find Saint Peter’s Cathedral. Something of an architectural treasure. Be sure to check this out and wander around. Then you can head for the bar or bistros.

The Markets and neighbourhoods

There are plenty of places to visit outside of Geneva if you fancy a day away. Montreux, the Gruyere countryside, and Lausanne, to name a few. Shopping is another activity worth pursuing. Plainpalais Flea Market is good for a gander (that’s open Wednesdays and Sundays). For top shopping, head for Rue de Rive and Rue du Rhone. Perfect window-shopping places if you can’t afford what’s on offer.

You also have The Saleve – Geneva’s Mountain. Take a gondola ride up and you’ll enjoy the views of the Alps and the city below. Makes for the perfect ending.

So, there we are, beautiful Geneva. A city that deserves a moment to stand and take it all in. Just be prepared for the whoosh of the Jet d’Eau, it’ll save embarrassment.

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