My husband and I recently went on a river cruise in Europe. We decided to start our trip in Geneva, Switzerland so that we could adjust to the time zone and get over our jet lag before setting sail. Geneva is a cosmopolitan city on the shores of Lake Geneva, overlooked by the Alps. It’s a global hub for diplomacy and finance, but also offers a range of attractions for visitors. Whether you’re interested in culture, history, nature, or adventure, Geneva has something for you.
In the historic Old Town, explore medieval buildings and shop for Swiss watches and chocolates. You can visit world-class museums housing art, artifacts, and antiquities. See the iconic Jet d’Eau fountain and go boating or swimming in the lake. Take a day trip to the Alps for hiking and skiing. With its blend of culture and nature against a stunning backdrop, Geneva is a delightful place to explore. Discover the many things to see and do in this cosmopolitan Swiss city.
I will also add, that there is fabulous shopping in Geneva and the restaurants are plentiful. I didn’t skimp on desserts, including the most delicious caramel crepes.
Take a walk or bike ride along Lake Geneva, also known as Lac Léman. The lake is surrounded by the Alps and offers stunning views. You can stop for a picnic, go boating or swimming, or visit one of the lakeside parks or beaches.
Geneva’s Old Town has buildings dating back to the 16th century as well as lots of shopping, dining and people watching. Check out the St. Pierre Cathedral with its mix of Gothic and neoclassical architecture. The Patek Philippe Museum houses intricate timepieces and watches. And the Grand Théâtre opera house offers tours and performances.
Geneva has some world-class museums including the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, the Olympic Museum, and the Art and History Museum which houses art, artifacts, and antiquities. My husband and I spent one rainy afternoon in this museum and it was pretty spectacular. The Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden are also popular.
Geneva Water Fountain
In the center of Lake Geneva stands the iconic Geneva Water Fountain. At 140 meters (459 feet) tall, it’s one of the tallest fountains in the world. The fountain operates daily from April through October, with water jets synchronized to music. It’s a must-see when visiting Geneva.
Geneva City Tour and Boat Cruise
A great way to see Geneva’s top attractions is by combining a city tour and boat cruise. Start with a guided bus tour of the city which includes sights like the Jet d’Eau fountain, the Old Town, St. Pierre Cathedral, and the United Nations headquarters. Then hop on a boat for a cruise around Lake Geneva. You’ll get stunning views of the Alps and Geneva’s landmarks from the water.
The boat stops at Geneva’s most popular parks and beaches where you can get off to explore or have a picnic. It’s a relaxing way to see the city from a different perspective. The city tour and boat cruise is a convenient way to pack a lot of sightseeing into one excursion. It gives you an overview of Geneva’s attractions and history, as well as the natural beauty surrounding the city.
More things to do in Geneva:
- Visit the Patek Philippe Watchmaking Museum to see intricate timepieces and watches. It has a renowned collection of over 600 watches.
- Check out the Palais des Nations, the United Nations Office at Geneva. Take a guided tour of the iconic building and learn about the UN’s work.
- Shop for luxury watches, Swiss chocolates, cheese, and other goods along the Rue du Rhone and Rue de Rive. I’m still enjoying the chocolates that we bought in Switzerland.
- See a show at the Geneva Opera House, also known as the Grand Théâtre de Genève. It offers opera, ballet, and classical concerts.
- Take a day trip to the nearby Alps. Some options include hiking and skiing at La Clusaz or Le Grand-Bornand, or visiting the charming mountain town of Annecy.
If you’re looking for things to do in Geneva, make sure you check out this list. If you’ve ever been to Geneva, what was your favorite thing to do?!