Geneva is one of the best destinations if you want to take a great weekend away alone or with company. It is amazing to see and explore everything that the city has to offer, whether it’s a mountain, lake, or city getaway. Have a fantastic time right here in one of the largest towns in Switzerland, Geneva.
Traveling around the city can be expensive, but there are tons of cheap, fun, and easy ways to explore Geneva. It all starts the moment you arrive at the airport. Get into the city for free by taking a train using a complimentary transport card which you can pick up from the baggage collection. This ticket gives you a total worth of 80 minutes of free travel.
There are few hotels and hostels where you can afford to stay even on a tight budget. Although there are several hotels in the city, the Geneva Hostel is a great choice if you want to save cash. It is conveniently located near the lake and the central station. Also look out for a Geneva Pass which can help you save on entry fees if you are planning to visit museums.
The Old Town district is a perfect place to sit and relax or learn about the town’s history. This is where you’ll find their most historical sights and structures, like the city’s oldest library. At its heart is the Place du Bourg-de-Four which is a square popular with tourists and locals alike. You can take some time to stop and indulge in some of the restaurants and cafes in the area.
At the Café du Soleil, their Fondue is a must-try. Tourists and locals recommend it. There is also the Hamburger Foundation and the Chez ma Cousins which serves perhaps the most exquisite roast chicken in Geneva. The food here is a bit expensive. Nonetheless, it is a luxury that’s worth the splurge.
From there you may take a stroll along their beautiful maze-like streets and onto the Old Arsenal to see Geneva’s old military storage. It has five cannons on display behind archways where the walls are decorated with murals that tell the stories of the city’s history.
If you wish a more in-depth experience, the Maison Tavel museum houses a collection that will give you a picture of their life in the past. The structure itself is a remarkable sight amidst other historical buildings. It’s floor upon floor of displays depicting their rich history. Admissions are free, just be reminded that most information on the exhibits is written in French.
Another prominent site in the Old Town is the St. Pierre Cathedral. Everyone is welcome here to look at the magnificent interior of the church. Remember to pay a visit to the small chapel located on the right side of the entrance. This chapel is adorned with beautiful, elaborate paintings and stunning stained glass windows.
Up in the towers of the cathedral, is the most beautiful view of the city. The church is an old structure which means there are no lifts to get to the top of the tower. For 5 Swiss Francs, you get to climb the tower’s steps and be rewarded with a magnificent landscape that will take your breath away.
Take a trip to the Archeological Museum which is situated right underneath the church. A tour with an audio guide will cost 8 CHF. From there you could learn about the history of the cathedral and the city.
In Parc des Bastions, you will find Geneva’s Reformation Wall which is carved into the city’s old walls. It is one of the major monuments in the city extending about 100 meters. It signifies the important events and figures from the Protestant Reformation.
As a country best-known for their watches, there are no other appropriate ways to commemorate it than a giant clock. The Flower Clock in Geneva is an intricately designed outdoor clock that is decked out with beautiful flowers. Every three months, the fresh arrangements are changed, so it looks different each time.
Watch lovers should also take a look at the exhibits in the Patek Philippe Museum. It is a great experience for those who share the passion in watches and those who are just curious. The museum, dubbed as the “Temple to watchmaking” contains antique collections that date back to the 16th century. Including the oldest watch and the 1839 Patek Philippe Collection.
Come for the Food, Stay for the Show
Initially, the purpose of the Jet d’Eau was only to release the pressure in Geneva’s water pipes. It unintentionally attracted tourist which lead to it being moved to the lake. The water jet can reach up to a height of approximately 30 meters straight up into the air. It can best be viewed up close and from afar over rooftops.
If you want a guided tour of the city, you can join the Free Walk tour that takes you around Old Town and to the UN. The building of the United Nations became one of Geneva’s feature attractions as the world come to know the city as the capital of peace. The rows of flags outside the building provide a perfect photo opportunity.
You can also take a tour inside the UN for 12 CHF. Just don’t forget to bring your passport for security checks. The “Broken Chair” at the front of the building is a must-see. It honors those who have been injured or hurt as a result of wars.
After your UN tour, take a relaxing walk to the botanical gardens. There you’ll be able to walk among a wide range of flora and fauna. It also has a small animal park that has deer, flamingos, and peacocks. If you are not interested in that, you pay a visit to the Red Cross headquarters instead and learn more about their work overseas.
Outdoor Adventures Await
Sail down Lake Leman on a steamboat tour. A round trip from Versoix and back is worth 36 CHF. You can also use our free transport card to take you across the lake on one of the yellow public transport taxis. Get to see the beauty of Geneva from another point of view.
During the warmer seasons, you can go to the Bains des Pâquis for a swim. Or, visit the saunas located along the pier in winter.
There are two ways to see the highly sought after alps in Geneva. The less expensive and easiest way is to ride a bus that goes from Geneva to Mount Salève. To get to the top, you’ll need to hop into a cable car. And for those who are looking for a little adrenaline rush, you can hang glide on their way down.
An alternative way to visit the mountains is to take a day trip across the border going to Chamonix and the French Alps. The tour doesn’t come cheap, but it is all worth it in the end once you see the awe-inspiring panoramic view of the snow-covered rocky peaks.
If you can manage to fit whole guide into your weekend, you must have had quite the adventure! Make sure you research other gems the city may have to offer, like fun restaurants or picture-worthy sculptures to make this guide yours.