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Geneva Tourism And Travel Guide
5° C / 41° F
April to October
2 to 4 Days
Gen?ve A?roport (4.5 kms)
Gen?ve-Cornavin railway station (0.5 kms)
Geneva, a city thriving with tourists throughout the year and loved by its locals. It has a rich history, filled with diversity and tolerance and is the peace-capital of the world. 2nd most populous after Zurich, it is constantly perceived as the country's capital city, when in fact, it is not. It is situated at the foot of the Alps and on the banks of Lake Geneva, giving the city some epic sceneries. Tourism in Geneva is thriving on all fronts! Tourists flock in during all months, to get a glimpse of its wonderful landscapes, enigmatic city life and adventurous terrain. Here is our travel guide to Geneva, giving you useful information and best tips to visit this charming city.
How To Reach
While travelling from India, there are daily flights to Geneva from Mumbai & Delhi. While Swiss Air is the official airlines which travel via Zurich, many other operators such as Emirates, Etihad, Air France, Lufthansa too have flights to Geneva - but all have at least 1 stopover. The airport at Geneva is less than 5km from the city and there are trains every 30 minutes which conveniently gets you into the city centre.
Swiss rail is very well connected and offers some splendid countryside views of Switzerland. You could travel from Zurich to Geneva conveniently by train - or even from other cities like Lucerne, Biel/Bienne, Bern and European cities like Germany, Italy, Belgium, France, Netherlands and London. The train station is located right in the city centre.
The roads are wonderful and the landscapes are gorgeous. Doing a road-trip into Geneva is a good option, especially if you are coming from nearby cities. If you plan to cross borders, you may require additional documentation, so be well-prepared.
There are also many buses that travel from to and from other Swiss cities and also from countries like France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Italy etc.
The city has a lot of public transport which makes your journey easy. You can take a taxi, bus, train, tram or even a boat if you are in Lake Geneva. Timings are frequent and the systems are easy to use for tourists as well. Many of the sightseeing spots like areas in Old Town and near Lake Geneva and the promenade can be explored on foot. You can also rent a segway, bicycle or ride the mini train to explore some of the places if you are not too keen on walking.
Weather & Best Time To Visit
Spring (March to May):
Spring is a beautiful season to visit Geneva. The temperature is still quite cool averaging a day temperature of 15°C between the 3 months. Nights are much more chilly. Rain is expected for about 10 days every month. Some interesting events that happen around this time are the International Geneva Motor Show and Electron Festival which is a festival for electronic music. The Geneva Marathon is also held in this season.
Summer (June to August):
Even Switzerland does get warm in the summer. The average day temperature is 25°C and sometimes it has been known to even go to 30-32°C. There is enough daylight hours to enjoy a satisfying touristy day out, however, it may still rain for about 8 days in the month, even in summer. Festivals that occur this season are the Geneva Music Festival, A Sailing Regatta, The Montreux Jazz Festival and more.
Autumn (September to November):
A slower tourist season compared to the summer, but some of the tourist spots can still get quite crowded even through October. The temperature drastically reduces from mid-September to early November. It's a good time to plan adventuring and sporting activites. Don't forget about the rain, for it rains about 8 days a month. Festivals that happen in Autumn are Concours de Geneve, Geneva International Film Festival among others.
Winter (December to February):
A winter wonderland is Switzerland, so visiting in December is great if you love the snow. Below freezing temperatures are quite normal and it usually does snow at least for a few days every month. Christmas & New Year are celebrated events during this time as well as the Festival of Lux.
Things To Do
Geneva is filled with very interesting museums and visiting only 1 or 2 of them is not enough! Do a museum hop and visit some of the best ones like the Natural History Museums, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, the Art & History Museum, Tavel House, the Patek Philippe Museum of watches and the Ariana Museum. Most museums are closed on Mondays, so research before you plan your day!
Definitely one of the best parts of the city is Lake Geneva. You can spend your day just aimlessly wandering around its harbour and promenade, or be adventurous and take a cruise along the lake and catch a unique view of the city and the beautiful alps. There are quick 1 hour tours of the city to half day and full day tours as well as renting of private boats. Interesting food & dinner tours are also available.
The mountainous region of Switzerland's countryside is not to be missed when you are in Geneva. Mont Salève is just 12 km away from the city and is a great place to do some mountain hiking! If you don't want to exert yourself too much, you can take the cable car or drive up to the top and then walk around the plateau. But don't miss out, as the top does have some great city and lake views.
When you are in Switzerland, you must make full use of its snowy terrain. There are more than 200 ski resorts all within a radius of 100 km from Geneva. You can find local tour operators in Geneva to take you on full-day excursions to the nearest slopes. This activity can get quite pricy so make sure you do ample of research and book in advance to get the best rates.
Shopping in Switzerland can get pricey, so for tourists who are on a budget, window-shopping is the next best thing! Geneva boasts of a huge variety of branded shops and boutiques and can compete against a city like Paris or London in terms of its luxury shopping any day! However, shops tend to stay closed on Sundays and shut by 7 pm on weekdays and 6 pm on weekends, so you will need to plan your shopping trips properly. The best things to buy in Geneva are:
-Watches: if you have the budget, some of the best places to shop are Expace Temps, Patek Phillippe, Gallopin, Bucherer, Franck Muller
-Chocolate: Auer, Arn Chocolatierie, Rohr, Coop City
Other than that, you can pick up Souveniers from Cadhor, Molard Souvenirs, Bucherer or Cosmetics from Lush. You will find many fashion boutiques to shop to your hearts desire. For Tobacco lovers, you can pick up unique lighters, cigars and antique pipes. Some of the popular areas for shopping are Rue du Mont Blanc, the City Centre and the Old Town. Rue des Paquis has some interesting vintage shops.
On Wednesdays and Saturdays, there is an outdoor flea market at Plaine de Plainpalais where locals sell of their old junk. The rest of the weekdays, it is the farmers market. The big Department stores and shopping centres are Centre Balexert, Globus Department Store, Confederation Centre Shopping Mall and Manor Department Store
Swiss chocolate and Swiss cheese are the most famous food items from Switzerland and are popular the world over. Apart from that, some local dishes that are popular and must be tried here are Raclette, Älplermagronen, Rösti, Fondue and Birchermüesli.
Some of the best restaurants to have their local cuisine are Café du Soleil, Restaurant Les Armures, Bayview, Café du Centre amongst many others. For Indian cuisine, you should check out Rasoi by Vineet, which is the only restaurant in all of Europe to serve ethnic cuisine and be awarded 2 Michelin stars. Pricey for sure, but you will feel a sense of pride like no other!
Vegetarians, don't worry! There are plenty of sumptuous delicacies you can have from vegan & vegetarian friendly restaurants like Cafe Mutin, EnVie Vegan, Alive, MU-Food, Aux Deux Portes Cafe, Be Kind Cafe, Ou Bien Encore and more.