The great top 10
Discover the 10 best things to do in Geneva
You’re staying in Geneva for a few days and you would like to discover the places that inject soul and history into the city? Follow the guide to the great landmarks of Geneva.
1) The Jet d’Eau – which wasn’t intended to be one
Reaching 140 metres in height, the Jet d'Eau has over time become a real emblem of Geneva. The beautiful tale of the famous Jet d'Eau of Geneva is almost the result of coincidence. In 1886, the hydraulic plant which distributed the driving force of the Rhône to the craftsmen and watchmakers of Geneva was obligated to create an open evacuation of the water in overpressure, when the workshops closed at night. The place sparked such enthusiasm and excitement that the Jet d'Eau was born.
2) Geneva, birthplace of watchmaking
It was in the 16th century that the first names of Swiss watchmakers emerged and Geneva became the birthplace of watchmaking. At the time, following John Calvin’s reform, Genevans had to follow a dress code and dress as simply as possible. But refusing to take off all adornments, the people of Geneva decided to buy watches and, to meet the demand, jewellers retrained as watchmakers. So this is how the Genevan artisan watchmaker was born. A mix of tradition and precision, Geneva is today the symbol of fine watchmaking.
3) The Reformation Wall
A compulsory stop at the heart of history! In the middle of the Parc des Bastions can be found the great actors of the Reformation, Jean Calvin, Guillaume Farel, Théodore de Bèze and John Knox, who await you in the form of giant statues and bas-reliefs. Post Tenebras Lux, the motto of Geneva, is engraved in this wall. Erected between 1909 and 1917, the monument recalls the memory of the main events and people who in the 16th and 17th centuries fostered the spread of the Calvinist Reformation in Geneva and in the world. At the time, Geneva was the meeting point of all the followers of the Reformation.
Little secrets and medieval atmosphere
4) The Old Town
A small historical jewel with medieval charm! The largest historic city in Switzerland, the Old Town is dominated by St. Peter's Cathedral, the centre of the Reformation. Climb the 157 steps to the top of the tower for a unique panorama of the city. Believe us, the panoramic view is well worth the effort! Then lose yourself in the surrounding narrow streets full of charm. Each of them is home to one of the many treasures of Geneva's history. Here’s a little secret: many secret passageways link up the streets of the old city, don’t hesitate to find them and follow them!
5) Museums: the joy of learning
A cultural Mecca, Geneva boasts a multitude of unique discoveries. The International Museum of the Reformation takes you through the history of religions and life in Geneva, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum transports you to the heart of international Geneva, while the Patek Philippe Museum gives you the time with precision to the rhythm of watchmaking expertise. And that's not all, many museums and exhibitions await your visit.
6) Carouge : la bohème, la bohème
La bohème, la bohème, it means we are happy. Narrow village-like streets, charming boutiques and a welcoming atmosphere, it’s good to live in Carouge. This district a stone’s throw from Geneva is distinguished by its vibrant local life and its many events taking place throughout the year. The architecture, worthy of a small Italian village, charms visitors, while small cafés and restaurants offer sweet moments of reunion with a drink or good meal!
7) CERN: the World Wide Web
In March 1989, Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist at CERN, the European Nuclear Research Organization in Geneva, made a proposal to his boss. He proposed a revolutionary idea: to develop a radical method for linking and sharing information via the Internet. At the time, Mr Berners-Lee needed time to implement the idea, and yet, you know what? This is how the World Wide Web was born and the development of websites began, allowing you to post your most stunning photos of Geneva on Instagram today!
8) Palais des Nations - International Geneva
A feeling of peace and freedom can be sensed in Geneva, every year this landmark of the international scene hosts a large number of meetings at the summit. Built between 1929 and 1936, the Palais des Nations is home to the European headquarters of the United Nations and is, after New York, the largest centre of the United Nations. More than 25,000 delegates are welcomed here each year and many works of art are on display. Furthermore, the Palais des Nations opens its doors daily for exciting guided tours!
9) The Bains district
The Quartier des Bains, it's an art of living! This vibrant and multicultural district of Geneva is home to a number of art galleries and exhibitions. From MAMCO to the Centre d'Art Contemporain, through the numerous galleries and their quality exhibitions, the Quartier des Bains has become the European platform for modern art. The bistros and trendy bars contribute to the night-time buzz! Not to be missed: the event “Vernissages Communs”, an art exhibition organised three times a year that allows you to discover works from all over the world.
10) Salève getaway, go high up!
A haven of peace opens up to you, a few minutes from Geneva.
No, you’re not dreaming! A few bus stops away from the centre and five minutes by cable car will take you to the top of the mountain in no time! A magical view of Geneva and its surroundings awaits you. Hiking, paragliding, mountain biking or cross-country skiing in winter will meet the needs of sports lovers without a doubt on this getaway!
You might also like
Ready to learn some interesting stories about our favourite places in Geneva?
Swimming in Geneva
Open-air swimming pools or urban lakeside resort, one thing is for sure: Geneva offers many opportunities when it comes to enjoying a pleasurable swim! The bravest swim all year round, but in the summer, the lake offers warm temperatures to the less adventurous.
The most beautiful views
Geneva. The small urban gem at the gateway to the mountains boasts landscapes to take your breath away!