A whistle-stop tour of Geneva
Got a couple of hours to have fun and discover the very best of Geneva?
Well, what are you waiting for? Geneva has got plenty to offer if you love to live in the moment.
I fancy taking a walk.
If the weather’s good, there’s nothing better than getting out in the fresh air with a lovely walk around the lake. To make sure you don’t miss out on any of the wonderful lakescapes, we suggest you dedicate about 2 hours to your walk. If you’re coming from Palexpo, take the bus to the station and then walk along rue du Mont-Blanc, which will take you to the lake side. When you get to the water, walk along the banks and breath in the view over the Water Fountain. As you continue walking, and if it’s a clear day, you’ll get a stunning view over the Mont-Blanc mountains. Wander on until Perle du Lac park with its delicate floral parterres that are in bloom all year round.
From here you can jump on La Mouette, the famous Genevan boat-bus. You can use a bus ticket or Geneva Transport Card from your hotel to get onboard. These boat-buses crisscross the lake from different stops, offering you a unique vantage point of the lake. You’ll be getting aboard at Perle du Lac in the direction of Port-Noir. A lovely (and quick) way to discover both sides of the lake, the journey will treat you to views over the beautiful waters of Lake Geneva and the cathedral overlooking the historic centre. When you reach the other side of the lake, walk back towards the centre through the English Garden with its famous flower clock. If you’ve still got some time to spare, climb up to the Old Town and enjoy a hot chocolate on place Bourg-de-Four, a historic square that will take you back in time.
I’m feeling hungry and the local delicacies are calling out to me.
Got a couple of hours around lunchtime?
Can we tempt you to indulge in a delicious Swiss fondue before you leave? We’ve got two suggestions with two very different vibes.
The first is Les Bains des Pâquis, which serves up one of the best fondues in Geneva in a chilled and friendly atmosphere. The heart of the lake, long tables, 360° views over the city and the waters are what makes this popular spot truly one-of-a-kind. Just pick up your plate and fondue set, tell them your name, wait for it to be called and a pot filled with delicious fondue will arrive. It's worth knowing that only cash is accepted here. But it is most definitely worth considering giving this unique and much beloved experience a go.
If you’d prefer to be enveloped in an historic atmosphere in the midst of the Medieval city, make yourself a reservation at Les Armures. Granted, it is a bit touristy, but here you can taste a truly excellent fondue washed down with Petite Arvine, a regional wine, in a décor that will transport you back to times gone by. Apparently Bill Clinton and many other celebrities have dined on fondue here.
I want to see the city!
A couple of hours is all you need to see all of Geneva’s best spots. Whether you opt for a classic or thematic tour, taxi bike is a great way to see everything you want to see while soaking up the cityscape. The Water Fountain, flower clock, Reformation Wall, Palais des Nations and more are waiting to be discovered as part of your guided tour.
Another option is to go on foot. Starting at the lakeside, walk to the Old Town and explore everything the largest historic centre in Switzerland has to offer. Against the wonderfully picture-perfect backdrop, you can visit St. Peter’s cathedral, the top of which – once you’ve climbed 157 steps – offers views that will take your breath away. Then stroll along the streets until you find place Bourg-de-Four for a break with a local beer or a café renversé, the lovely word for a coffee with milk in Romandy.
I want to indulge in delicious food and see interesting things at the same time.
Not a problem. How does the Choco Pass sound? For huge chocolate enthusiasts, this tour will take you back through the chocolatey secrets of Geneva’s history. On your own path, visit the landmarks of the historic centre and, of course, stop off at the best chocolate tasting destinations along the way. The perfect way to combine education and indulgence. If you’re more of a savoury person, we’ve got a new and extraordinary experience for you: a tuk-tuk ride while enjoying a Swiss fondue. Tasting local dishes and travelling around Geneva; there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours.
Geneva’s cultural gems
When it comes to culture, Geneva’s got something for everyone. Culture vultures will love the Ethnographic Museum.Don’t miss out on the free permanent exhibition (Tuesday to Sunday) whose vast collection of objects from around the world will transport you from continent to continent through the ages. Children won’t risk getting bored: they’ll be offered a game where they have to find the works of art in the museum and then stick the corresponding sticker onto their special map.
If you’re interested in international Geneva, you can use your free hours to visit the International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the only museum of its kind in the world. 150 years of the organisation’s history is told here in a way that will get you thinking while stirring up your emotions.
Watch lovers should visit the Patek Phillippe Museum for a guided tour through the unique and timeless art of watchmaking.