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Geneva: Explore the Jura Mountains


Many people head to Geneva to ski in the Alps. But the less-famous mountains to the north of the city, the Jura Mountains, are a peaceful, beautiful gem. There is great mountain bike potential here, following your nose up small tracks and paths into the wooded heights that overlook Lake Geneva. If you’re just after a day’s ride rather than an overnight camp, then consider hiring a guide to show you the best trains (eg bikeswitzerlandrentals.com/rent-a-bike-guide).

Level of Difficulty: Very Hard (if you're going to bivvy - Hard if you just want a day trip outing).

What to pack: Warm clothes (check the weather forecast!), appropriate cycling kit, woolly hat, headtorch, raingear, sleeping bag, mat and bivvy bag.

Best time to go: summer.

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With an old town ripe for exploring, full of winding cobblestone streets, gothic cathedrals and ancient city walls, Geneva has the historic charm that you would expect from any Swiss city. And being at the foot of the Alps, it also has a natural beauty that is hard to beat. Think lakeside promenades, parks and cafes complete with snow-capped mountains and you get the picture. But don’t go thinking this city is all history and no buzz. You’ll be hard pushed to find a more cosmopolitan place in Europe.

Geneva is home to international organisations such as the Red Cross and United Nations, to name a few, and is a modern city full of upmarket restaurants and hotels, with a nightlife that is more pumping than you’d expect. Rooftop cocktail bars, lakeside terraces, live music haunts and techno blaring dance clubs are all here catering to Geneva’s diverse population. 

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Shopping


Founded in 1839, Brachard & Cie (10 rue de la Corraterie) stocks Swiss paper-cut cards, Geneva-based Caran d'Ache art supplies and exquisite stationery.

Sightseeing


A short train ride from Geneva, “Chaplin's World” in Corsier Sur Vevey is the ultimate museum experience, celebrating the Hollywood icon and devoted family man with a mix of personal memorabilia and reassembled film sets. chaplinsworld.com


"Audrey Hepburn & Hubert de Givenchy, une élégante amitié". Audrey Hepburn's most iconic Hubert de Givenchy original sketches and bespoke haute couture dresses, including the LBD from the Breakfast at Tiffany's opening scene, are on show at the Château de Morges until 17th September (fondationbolle.ch).

Key Areas


Head to Cowboy Kurt (rue de Fribourg 8) for the largest choice of leather cowboy boots and authentic western gear this side of Texas. Founder Kurt Hann's larger than life personality is as much of a feature as the unparalleled selection of buckles, hats, jeans and jewellery.


The arty district of Plainpalais is home to one of Europe's largest skateparks, flaunting formidable flows located right at the centre of the Plaine de Plainpalais.


At dusk, cinema-lovers gather at CinéTransat (until 20 August, Parc de la Perle du Lac, cinetransat.ch) for a free, open-air retrospective of much-loved cult movies from the last 20 years. There are also Bollywood and picnic competition theme nights.


Come summer, locals gather at Genève plage's lido (geneve-plage.ch) to enjoy the outdoor pools and giant water slide. The lido still retains a lot of its 1930s charm and is definitely one of Geneva's best spots on a hot summer day. There's a choice of 1, 3, 5 and 10 metre high diving boards into Lake Geneva, while children have a dedicated sand play area and paddling pool.

Day Trips


One of Switzerland most iconic summer festivals, attracting over 250,000 visitors each year, is the Montreux Jazz Festival. This year it will run until the 15th of July and will feature world class jazz and blues artists, as well as top chart hit singers. If you can't find tickets, head for the Parc Vernex, where the open air Music in the Park line up is free of charge. montreuxjazzfestival.com

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