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Cheap flights to Geneva

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. 



Geneva's wakeboarding centre recently opened a new wake cable. Book a lesson in advance or just turn up to tackle the kickers and sliders of this 190m cable right on Lake Geneva. wake.ch

Enjoy a stroll among the spring flowers at Geneva's Botanical Gardens, where a new exhibition focusing on palm trees, Ethnopalmes, runs from 14 May. ville-ge.ch/cjb

Get to know French-Swiss musical talent by checking out the many performances held as part of Voix de Fête, a Francophone music festival held over several venues in town from 9-15 March. voixdefete.com

Head into the hills to play in the snow around St Cergue, a village in the Jura mountains, just a short hop from Geneva. With snowshoe trails, cross-country-skiing tracks, dog sledding and tobogganing, there's plenty to keep you entertained. st-cergue-tourisme.ch

For a pre-Christmas treat, give your pale winter skin a perk-up at the Sisley spa in one of Geneva's smartest hotels, Le Richemond. A facial in one of its treatment rooms is so relaxing you'll likely fall asleep. The complex also includes a sauna, steam room and relaxation room. Bliss (8 Rue Adhémar-Fabri, dorchestercollection.com).

From mid-November Geneva embraces the chilly days by opening an outdoor ice rink in the lovely Parc des Bastions. Wrap up, hire some skates and try your best not to be outshone by Geneva's ice hockey-loving kids. Entry to the rink is free (Les Bastions, myswitzerland.com).


From 15 July you can watch films (some in English) at a temporary open-air cinema on the shores of Lake Geneva. Arrive early to have dinner at the on-site terrace restaurant. orangecinema.ch

The ATP World Tour is returning to Geneva on 17-23 May for the first time in 24 years. Swiss star Stan Wawrinka is among the top players competing to be first to win the new Geneva Open, held at Geneva's oldest tennis club in the Eaux-Vives park. genevaopen.ch

The ever-fascinating International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum is exploring Gandhi's lifelong promotion of compassion and social justice in a new exhibition from 15 April featuring artworks, photos, prints, sculptures, rare books and films (17 Avenue de la Paix, redcrossmuseum.ch).

Ogle the latest supercars at the Palexpo convention centre when the world-famous International Geneva Motor Show hits town on 5-15 March. Some 250 exhibitors will be presenting the newest technological advances, prototypes and cars of the future (30 Route François-Peyrot, salon-auto.ch).

Increasingly popular, the annual cross-arts Antigel festival, on 24 January - 8 February, aims to promote local talent through a diverse range of events including music, dance, public art and installations. Last year's event included a mass roller-skating party, bi-plane aerial acrobatics and a promenade performance at Geneva's main hospital. antigel.ch

Celebrating a failed siege on the city in December 1602, the Escalade winter festival (this year on 14 December) attracts crowds to the Old Town to watch torchbearing costumed revellers commemorate the event in a procession. With plenty of hot food and vin chaud to go round, it's a fun way to spend a winter's evening in the city. 1602.ch

Key Areas

Make the most of the warm summer nights by heading up the nearby Salève mountain, just a bus ride from the city centre. On Thursdays to Saturdays the cable car's late-night summer opening means you can linger on the mountain top and watch the sun go down over the city below. telepherique-du-saleve.com

With its outdoor swimming pools, beach, sports facilities and park, you could hang out all day at Genève Plage, the city's lakeside summer playground. geneve-plage.ch

The streets and squares of Lausanne, a 40-minute train ride from Geneva, will be alive with the sound of music on 21 June for the Fête de la Musique, a free open-air festival that sees local musicians play live on stages around the city. fetemusiquelausanne.ch

Day Trips

As the weather heats up, take a trip to Gruyères, recently voted the prettiest village in Switzerland, before heading to nearby Charmey for a scenic dip in the open-air Bains de Gruyère. bainsdelagruyere.ch

Head out of Geneva to the sunny resort of Crans Montana on 9-12 April to pack live gigs, DJ sets and skiing into four intense days at the Caprices Festival, one of the Swiss Alps' premier music festivals. caprices.ch

Have a boogie in your salopettes at the annual Rock the Pistes festival in the Portes du Soleil ski region on 14-21 March. From Avoriaz to Champéry, the hills will come alive with the sound of music. rockthepistes.com

Take a trip out of Geneva to visit the new Peak Walk. The first suspension bridge in the world to link two mountain summits, it's the latest (free) attraction at ski resort Glacier 3000 and provides a vertigo-inducing view of some of Switzerland's most famous peaks. glacier3000.ch

Head to the resort of La Clusaz to try your hand at "ski joëring", a rather hairy activity in more ways than one. Wearing skis and holding on to a harness attached to a horse, you'll be whisked around a snowy field by your enthusiastic equine guide, much like an extreme version of walking the dog. aravis-passion.com

On a clear autumn day take in the stunning panorama from the summit of Rochers-de-Naye, accessed by mountain railway from Montreux, an hour from Geneva. Linger for longer at the top by staying the night in a Mongolian yurt. goldenpass.ch

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