Geneva is often referred to as Europe’s central meeting point. A beautiful Swiss city that is slick and cosmopolitan, whilst being unusually laid back, you’re really going to love this one.
Its known history dates back almost 4000 years and its heritage dominates the city in the form of museums and monuments. Despite being home to the headquarters of the United Nations and multiple global businesses, the city doesn’t feel overbearing. Walking through the streets, you’ll catch snippets of up to 5 different languages chattering away all at once, but the atmosphere is never hectic. In fact, Geneva is characterised more by its luxury boutique stores, lakeside promenades, divine Swiss chocolate and historic Old Town. Thanks to Europe’s largest Alpine lake (Lake Geneva) and the surrounding mountains, Geneva is pleasantly mild all year round. In the summer it soars to 20 degrees while in the winter it drops to just 2 degrees.
With so many people from all walks of life meeting in Geneva, the city has a wide range of restaurants to choose from. And almost all of the city’s hotels are within walking distance of top tourist attractions. Geneva is a predominately Swiss-French speaking nation that has large German quarters and pockets of other dialects (although everyone can speak an impressive level of English). It is perfect for a family holiday or an adventurous hike around its many mountains. And although it’s not, many perceive it as the Swiss capital simply because of its confident, bustling atmosphere.
Situated north of Lake Geneva and the main city centre, Bellevue is one of the most peaceful parts of Geneva. It is home to some really fantastic dining options and the fabulous La Réserve Genève Hotel & Spa. It also hosts the Parc Animalier Pierre Challandes, a quaint little zoo that is a perfect family holiday destination and a favourite of the locals.
A far more central location in the city of Geneva, Pâquis is the beating heart of Geneva’s cosmopolitan lifestyle. It is conveniently situated close to Geneva’s public transport and is renowned for the Pâquis Lake Promenade (which stretches as far as the Mont Blanc Bridge) and the Bains des Pâquis (a lively Genevan meeting point).
The Old Town (Vieille Ville)
Located in the southern part of Geneva’s city, the Old Town is much more laid back and historic. There, you can see the birthplace of the 18th century philosopher Espace Rousseau and the part-Romanesque part-Gothic Cathédrale St-Pierre. It’s one of Geneva’s cheapest areas and is a favourite of locals and tourists alike.
Founded in 1954, the CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire) is the famous laboratory devoted to the research of particle physics. It sounds a tad dry, but it’s actually fascinating. It houses the world’s largest machine, the Hadron Collider, and guided tours run between 11am and 1pm, Monday to Saturday. Remember to book at least 15 days in advance to assure yourself a spot on the guided tours.
Palais des Nation
Home to the United Nations since 1966, the Palais des Nations offers guided tours, which includes a one-hour tour of the building and entry to the surrounding 46-hectare park. For an extra photo opportunity, check out the silvery-grey titanium monument, donated by the USSR to commemorate the conquest of space.
Bains des Pâquis
The closest thing that Geneva has to a beach side resort, this artificial peninsula in Pâquis has its own waterfront bar and restaurant. The structure dates to back 1872, and between May and September, it is brimming with people taking a dip in Lake Geneva. During the winter, it has a luxurious on-site sauna, hammam and Turkish bath.
Musée International de la Réforme
This modern museum is housed in an 18th-century mansion and focuses on the art and practices of the Reformation. Inside, state-of-the-art exhibits and audiovisuals wow visitors. This is a great holiday activity for families and the budding culture vultures out there.
Let’s begin with something that both children and adults alike will appreciate. The Swiss are renowned for their chocolate and Geneva is the perfect place to sample a square or two.
For something more savoury and traditional, Geneva offers a great selection of fresh fish dishes, sourced from Lake Geneva itself. And even though seafood is definitely a mainstay of Genevans because of the Alpine lake, many will tell you a favourite of Switzerland is its cheese fondue. This creamy main course is a must in Geneva.
Bizarrely, Switzerland loves its carbonated drinks, but it also serves fine wines (better when new) and the traditional hard liquors Kirsch and Pflümli (made from fermented fruits).
There are plenty of restaurants to pick from in Geneva because of its high influx of international visitors. Although they aren’t cheap, their eateries do offer some of the best food that money can buy. Predominately, the restaurants will provide an interesting mix of German, French, and Italian cuisine. Not forgetting an array of regional specialities involving cheeses from all over Switzerland. If you are on a budget, then head straight over to the Old Town to experience good quality European flavours for a fraction of the price of central Geneva.
Geneva is a stunning destination for a city break or family holiday. When you choose easyJet holidays, you save money with our flexible deals and packages.
If you book both your flights and accommodation together, you can save even more. We’ll help you every step of the way, no matter where you want to stay or how long you want to go for. A holiday in Europe’s central meeting spot has never been so quick, easy and affordable!