Here are some of the best things to do in Geneva, a tranquil city that sits on the largest lake in Central Europe.
1. Explore The Old Town
Walk around the Old Town and discover the beautiful history that Geneva has to offer.
Explore the shops and cafes down the narrow hilly streets, and embrace the culture and Swiss style of life.
There are many galleries as well as museums and historical sights all tucked between the beautiful buildings.
Depending on what you’re into, you can also hop on a guided tour such as the Geneva City Tour and Boat Cruise.
2. English Garden
Whilst walking around the Old Town, we would highly recommend taking a stroll through the English Garden (or Jardin Anglais).
Created by the lake in 1855, the English Garden has a very special place in the heart of Geneva’s citizens. Its paths are the perfect place for an idyllic stroll in the centre of the city.
Just a few metres from the lake shore, is one of Switzerland’s most photographed attractions: the famous Flower Clock.
Made up of 12,000 flowers, its motifs and floral arrangements change according to the season. The Flower Clock is also a symbol of Swiss accuracy, with the time being kept in sync by radio.
The English Garden really is a ‘must do’ of the many things to do in Geneva.
3. Big Ferris Wheel
Situated at the end of the English Garden, the Big Ferris Wheel is open during the summer only.
The Big Ferris Wheel lasts 5 minutes. It gives you 4 complete loops of the ride and is a unique way to get amazing views across the city of Geneva and the lake.
This is definitely ‘up there’ as one of the things to do in Geneva.
For a special view of the city and lake, why not take a ride on the Big Ferris wheel after dark.
Adults: CHF 6
Children: CHF 3
Children under 1 age: Free
Daily: 12pm – Midnight.*
*The Ferris wheel is only open in summer, from 4th June – 19th September.
4. Boat Cruise On Lake Geneva
A great way to spend the afternoon is by taking a cruise on the famous Lake Geneva.
You really get to see the city in a different light from the water. With VIP views of the Swiss mountains, it’s an activity not to be missed off your list of things to do in Geneva.
There are many different kinds of boat tours and cruises available. The most popular of which is the 1-Hour Lake Geneva Cruise.
We enjoyed a classy private boat tour with Geneva Boats before sailing into the sunset with a glass of bubbly.
A must on your Geneva itinerary!
5. Dinner On The Beach
At the end of the day there’s no better way to spend your evening than with dinner on the beach in the ‘Eaux Vives District’.
You have a great array of restaurants to choose from in this area and each one has a unique ambience.
We ate at Restaurant De La Plage & Buvette, the restaurant directly on the beach.
Watch the sun go down behind the panoramic views of the city and mountains. All whilst enjoying the delicious food and beverages they have on offer.
In our opinion, this was a lovely spot for a romantic evening meal.
6. Yoga at Bains Des Paquis
Lose yourself in an early morning outdoor yoga lesson at ‘Bains Des Paquis’.
‘Bains Des Paquis’ are popular public bath houses on the pier in Lake Geneva, that turn into saunas during winter.
It’s an unbelievably perfect location to enjoy the gentle yoga exercises. You get to listen to the waves of the lake breaking against the pier, whilst stretching from head to toe.
Our yoga session was arranged with a lady named Kathryn who was very kind. If you’d like to give it a go you can contact her on Facebook.
7. Jet D’Eau (Water Fountain)
Located at the heart of the harbour area, the Jet d’eau is the emblem of the City of Geneva. It remains one of its main tourist attractions.
In 1891, the City of Geneva decided to promote the Jet d’eau to the position of tourist attraction by installing it at the end of the Eaux-vives pier. The Jet d’eau has been illuminated on a regular basis since 1930.
Projected skywards at a speed of 200 km/h, the water reaches a height of 140 metres. It is regularly lit up in different colours to mark special days or celebrations.
As the emblem of the City of Geneva, Jet d’eau is a must on your list of things to do in Geneva.
8. Watch Making Workshop
Why not try a watchmaking workshop in the heart of Geneva? After all it is the watchmaking capital of the world!
From Rolex to Patek Philippe, you’ll spot all the big names in lights come the evening in Geneva. However, we enjoyed a workshop at a smaller Swiss based company – Initium, in the Old Town.
If you’re into watches, making your own is not only a special experience, but you’ll never find the same watch twice. Plus it’s a unique souvenir to take away from Geneva, THE kingdom of watches.
You can make a reservation from Monday to Saturday: 9am to 12pm or 1.30pm to 4.30pm.
For more info you can contact them through the Initium website.
9. Vineyard And Wine Tasting Tour
If you love vino and the not so strenuous activities, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this comfortable scenic tour.
We tried a variety of delicious wines, in stunning locations and on balconies that looked over fields of perfectly aligned vineyards.
The incredible panoramic mountain views you see are second to none and we really felt this was the moment that we experienced the true Geneva.
We would highly recommend this as one of your things to do in Geneva.
10. Urban Street Tour In Taxi Bikes
During your visit to Geneva, why not discover the hipster side of Geneva and the meanings behind the many creative wall murals covering the city.
We learned all about the different forms of art dotted around Geneva, whilst cruising in comfort in our taxi bikes.
The guides were not only super friendly but very well informed about the talented artists behind the art.
We can highly recommend the Taxi Bike guys and you can find out more about their ticketing and prices through the Taxi Bike website.
11. Visit Carouge
Carouge is a bohemian style town with pretty barn style buildings, flower filled streets, and hidden courtyards.
Once part of Sardinia, this town is like a little getaway to the Mediterranean. It’s a blend of romantic Italian style restaurants, crowded bars and unique shops.
Whilst in Carouge, don’t forget to swing by one of the best Swiss chocolate factories – Philippe Pascoët – and try a taste of the famous Swiss chocolate.
So, for something a little different, a visit to this pretty little town with its mix of shops and restaurants is definitely one the best things to do in Geneva!
If adrenaline is your thing, don’t leave Geneva without taking a flight in a paraglider. Just sit back, relax and admire the panoramic views from above.
Flying with Rafting.ch, we spread our wings and took flight over the border of France and Switzerland.
You really get a glimpse of what it feels like to be a bird, soaring through the sky whilst following the peaceful direction of the winds.
Seeing all the places we’d visited and the sheer size of Lake Geneva from the sky, we feel makes this an exhilarating addition to the list of things to do in Geneva.
13. Stand Up Paddle Boarding
You may have already cruised across Lake Geneva on some sort of boat, but how about getting even closer to the water on a paddle board?
We paddled around as the sun set and it was one of our most tranquil experiences during our visit to Geneva.
With good vibes for those on and off the lake there is also wake boarding, windsurfing and other types of water sports on offer.
After we parked our boards up and got changed, we hung around the quirky lakeside bar and had an Aperol Spritz at Tropical Corner.
14. Tropical Corner For Sunset
If you’re looking for a sensational sunset, look no further than Tropical Corner on the shore of Lake Geneva.
Established in 1981, Tropical Corner is one of the largest stand-up paddle boarding centres in Switzerland and one of the leading windsurfing clubs in the Geneva region.
With its open air cafe, tropical Corner has become a great place for sharing and coming together in a relaxed atmosphere.
Sit back on the terrace, surrounded by palm trees, and enjoy some good food, a glass of wine or beer and contemplate the legendary sunsets from this popular spot.
Pointe de la Jonction is a famous place where the River Rhone (from Geneva Lake) meets the River Arve (from Mont Blanc).
What makes it such a tourist attraction is the colour combination of the two rivers and the way they meet at ‘the junction’.
The water flowing from Geneva Lake is crystal blue, where as the water flowing from Mont Blanc is more of a musky blue.
The two contrasts of colours adjoining are beautiful to see and a real freak of nature. It’s also crazy how the streams of blue stay intact and somehow do not merge together.
There is the option to witness it from the ground like we did at Point de la Jonction.
However, if you’d like to see the contrasts of blue from above, the best option is to walk over the viaduct at Viaduct de la Jonction.
16. Chocolate Workshop
What could be sweeter than learning about Swiss Chocolate at a real chocolate factory in Switzerland?
There are many different work shops to choose from but all offer the chance to discover the history of chocolate and how it is made.
You will also get the opportunity to taste chocolate bars, truffles, famous Paves and many other delicacies.
Then decorate your own chocolate piece and leave with your carefully wrapped creation to impress your friends.
If you’re looking to book a chocolate workshop in advance, a popular one is the Chocolate Flavors Walking Tour of Geneva.
17. Eat, Eat, Eat
Geneva has a lot of wonderful restaurants and bars spread out across the city, but if you’re looking for the highest concentration of them, Rue Henri-Blanvalet in Eaux-Vives is your place.
It’s well known as the best street in Geneva for dining and drinking. We ate delicious Peruvian cuisine at Alma and also tried the most delicious cocktails.
The Old Town is not only home to secret passages and stunning architecture, but it also boasts many romantic, quirky restaurants and cafes too.
We stopped for lunch at a very traditional restaurant, Hôtel-de-Ville, following our watchmaking workshop. Here we experienced all the Geneva vibes in a really great setting.
A visit to La Cabuche restaurant is a great way to finish off a tour of the vineyards. We enjoyed a memorable sunset and a huge buffet feast of delicious fancy finger foods here.
La Cabuche is open to the public Friday from 5 pm to 7 pm & Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. Otherwise it is available by appointment.
Where To Stay In Geneva
Luxury – Four Seasons Hotel
The elegant Four Seasons Hotel Geneva is set in a historic building from 1834.
All rooms at Four Seasons’ are unique as well as luxurious, with classic French furnishings. They all offer views of the city, the garden or the lake.
The fine dining restaurant serves Italian cuisine, local products and features wines of Italy, France and Switzerland.
The spa area includes an indoor infinity-edge pool as well as a fitness room. Children’s amenities are provided as well as a babysitting service.
The hotel is located in the centre of Geneva, a 10-minute walk from the train station and just beside the Mont Blanc Bus Stop.
Mid-Budget – N’vY Manotel
Entirely renovated in 2012, The Hotel N’vY Manotel is just 350 yards away from the banks of Lake Geneva.
A stone’s throw from the train station and a 15-minute walk from the centre and the UN.
The stylish rooms have a flat-screen HD TV, a Hi-Fi system, a multi-media plug, ambient lighting and Wi-Fi internet access.
Tag’s Café offers food to take away or to eat in, in a setting with a relaxed New York vibe. Customers can use the tablet computers.
Budget –Ibis Genève Centre Nations
Ibis Genève Centre Nations is located in the centre of Geneva, just 900 yards from Cornavin Train Station.
It offers modern en-suite rooms with a flat-screen cable TV, as well as free Wi-Fi access in the entire hotel.
Guests of the Centre Nations Ibis benefit from a 24-hour reception and a bar serving drinks as well as snacks around the clock.
Lake Geneva and the international organisations are 1.2 miles away, and Geneva Airport is 2.5 miles away.
For more places to stay in Geneva, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.
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Trip sponsored by Geneva Tourism