A cosmopolitan and international jewel of Switzerland, Geneva is nestled on the shores of the stunning Lake Geneva, near the French border in Romandy.

As the residence of half a million people, and as the second biggest city in Switzerland, there are many beautiful places to visit in Geneva.

As one of the top 5 wealthiest cities in the world, it has so much to offer to its visitors.

Among the beauties of Lake Geneva, the stunning views of the Alps, and numerous parks, you will find a lot of sights and places worth admiration.

In this guide, you will find all the info you need for a perfect trip to Geneva, along with tips and the best places to visit while there.

You’ll read about:

  1. General knowledge about Geneva
  2. Places to visit in Geneva
  3. Things to do in Geneva
  4. Is Geneva Pass worth it?
  5. How to get around Geneva?
  6. Day trips in Geneva
  7. What is the best time to visit Geneva, Switzerland?

The best, most comfortable, and luxurious way to explore these tourist attractions is to use limousine service in Geneva.

1.   General knowledge about Geneva

To get you more acquainted with this outstanding metropolis, we will inform you about:

  • location
  • finance and organizations
  • currency
  • language

Location

Geneva stands at the junction of the Arve and Rhone River, which creates a beautiful and unique natural phenomenon that we are going to talk about a bit later.

The city lies at an altitude of 1,230 feet (375 meters) in the center of an exquisite natural setting surrounded by mountains.

The canton of Geneva possesses a total area of 109 square miles (282 square kilometers). Seven square miles creates the city itself.

This part of Switzerland represents a French spoken area.

Finance and organizations in Geneva Switzerland

It is the center of diplomacy with the biggest number of international organizations situated in the city. Some famous examples are the United Nations Office and the Red Cross.

The headquarters of CERN – The European Organization for Nuclear Research is located here too.

Geneva was the center of the Protestant Reformation in Switzerland (Calvinist Reformation) which greatly affected its later development. Reformation is literally engraved in its stones, and we will show you how.

This is a wealthy and multicultural city. True financial and diplomatic center. But many of its main attractions are cheap or even free.

Currency

If you are coming to Switzerland from another country, you should be aware that the local currency is the Swiss Franc (CHF). Some shops will accept Euros, but you might get unpleasantly surprised by bad exchange rates.

It is always much better to exchange your money in the official exchange office. You could also withdraw Francs from many available ATMs.

Swiss Francs are colorful and many find them aesthetically pleasing. So even if you don’t ever need cash and you are paying everything by card you could take the opportunity and check out how beautiful Francs look.

Swiss Franc banknotes in a wallet - swiss currency
Check out how beautiful Swiss Francs are.

Language

The other thing you have to be prepared for is the diversity of languages. There are many beautiful places to visit in Geneva and a variety of languages too.

When you come to the city, you should expect to hear and speak French most of the time. This maybe isn’t so surprising given that Geneva is surrounded by France.

English is widely spoken, mainly as a second language of the locals. But there will be a lot of foreigners here due to many international organizations being present.

So if you speak English you should not have problems.

The other languages spoken here at higher rates are German, Italian, and Spanish.

2. Places to visit in Geneva

You have to come in person to witness Geneva’s endless charms and let them fascinate you.

To help to have a perfect adventure while there, here is a list of places to visit when in Geneva:

  1. Jet d’Eau
  2. Palace of Nations
  3. Broken chair
  4. Bastions Park
  5. Treille Promenade
  6. La Joncition – joining of Arve and Rhone
  7. Bains des Paquis and the Sunrise festival

The best, most comfortable, and luxurious way to explore these tourist attractions is to use limousine service in Geneva.

1. Jet d’Eau – The Water Jet

The Jet d’Eau is surely one of the first things that come to mind when thinking about this city. It 100% is one of the places we recommend visiting when in Geneva.

The Jet d’Eau was on the official logo of the UEFA Euro Cup when the city hosted the group stage of the competition and it is used as a highlight on touristic website presentation of the city.

 It is a large fountain situated in the place where River Rhone exits Lake Geneva.

 Jet dEau - the water jet - Geneva
Jet d’Eau | Source

It is around 140 meters high. The water gets pumped out in the air at a speed rate of around 200 kilometers per hour.

There are approximately 500 liters of water in the sky at any given moment.

But it wasn’t designed to be one of the tourist attractions in Geneva. It came as the solution to the problem when the city population and the need for water supply started to grow dramatically.

It was meant to be a safety valve of the water supply network.

But people soon recognized its aesthetic value and it was slowly transformed into the tourist attraction that it is today.

It is visible from many parts of the city, and you could even see it from the airplane flying over the city.

When you come here, you would hardly miss Jet d’Eau even if you tried. But why would you?

Well…

If it is the windy season you don’t want to get too close.

It is not unusual for the wind to change the direction of the water stream which could splash the public area around the fountain.

2. Palais des nations – Palace of nations

The Palace of Nations is one of the most important buildings for the diplomacy of the world and one of the biggest centers of international relations.

the palace of nations in geneva - places to visit in geneva
The palace of nations, Geneva | Photo by llee_wu on Flickr

It is the building of the European headquarters of the United Nations and the biggest UN center after the one in New York.

More than 25 thousand delegates pass through this center each year.

The Palace of Nations was built in the early 20th century in Arianas Park.

What is the best part of the Palace of nations?

MANY GUIDED TOURS ARE ORGANIZED HERE.

If you are not a diplomat, this is the only way to enter the building.

Tours could be organized in 15 different languages.

You could explore the Palace of Nations and see:

  • Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room,
  • Assembly Hall, the biggest room in the building,
  • The Council Chamber where many important agreements were achieved.

You could learn about United Nation activities and the history of the building as well.

In addition to that, you could visit the League of Nations Museum with its permanent exhibit of UN’s archival documents. This is where you can learn about the history of the United Nations.

Also, there are tours around Arianas Park which hold many important monuments.

One of the most popular places to visit in Geneva and spots for taking pictures is the statue of Mahatma Gandhi. You can also see the amazing alley of Flags of Nations.

3. Broken chair

One of the most striking monuments is the Broken chair sculpture. It is located across the street from the Palace of Nations.

broken chair statue - geneva - switzerland - places to visit in geneva
Broken chair statue in Geneva, Switzerland | Source

It is 12 meters high and it is made of 5.5 tons of wood.

The broken chair is a giant sculpture of a chair with one broken leg.

It is placed there as a symbol of a fight against anti-personnel mines and cluster bombs and a specific warning to diplomats that come to the Palace.

4. Parc des Bastions – Bastions Park

Bastions Park is located in the heart of the city just under the walls of Old Town.

It is especially popular amongst the students because of the proximity of the University of Geneva.

Together with the University and the Library, Bastions Park creates an interesting architectural and Ambiental complex.

There are many restaurants nearby as well as a playground for children.

Neatly maintained loans, many trees, and lots of free space create a beautiful setting for people who want to relax surrounded by nature in the heart of the city. On sunny days you could see people laying on the grass or having picnics.

Out of all places to visit in Geneva, this may be our favorite.

Many musical festivals and other cultural happenings are often held here, especially in the summer.

It is the park in which you can spend a joyful and fulfilled day with friends and family.

Reformation Wall at the Bastions Park

We said earlier that Protestant Reformation is engraved in the city walls.

This is figuratively true because Geneva was the center of the movement of Reformation in Switzerland. But this is also literally true.

One of the curiosities of Bastions Park is Reformation Wall. It is one of the most impressive tourist attractions in Geneva.

It is erected in honor of the men who brought Protestant Reformation in Switzerland.

Here you can see statues of 4 important figures of this movement Jean Calvin, Guillaume Farel, Théodore de Bèze, and John Knox.

reformation wall - bastions park
Reformation Wall in Geneva | Photo by Mark Gstohl on Flickr

Reformation Wall glorifies philosophy that brought prosperity to Geneva and Switzerland.

Giant chess and checkers boards spell out fun

Giant chess and checkers boards bring people to this park too. There are six giant black-and-white boards in this park. People love to play chess, checkers, and go there.

Giant chess and checkers set - parc des bastions - bastions park geneva - places to visit in geneva
Giant chess and checkers set in Parc des Bastions, Geneva | Source

It is interesting to see people trying to outsmart each other, playing with giant figures, or you can try and take part in this unusual play.

One interesting attraction waits across the street from Bastions Park.

5. Promenade de la Trellie – Treille Promenade

The Treille Promenade sits across the Bastions Park on the outskirts of the old town.

People come here for walks and jogging and to sit on the longest wooden bench in the world.

bench - treille promenade - Promenade de la Trellie
Bench at Treille Promenade | Photo by Guilhem Vellut on Flickr

It is 120 meters long and goes almost across the entire promenade.

The bench is surrounded by a tree ally which also makes one interesting attraction on its own.

This is where the official chestnut tree is located.

This tree is deemed to be the herald of the spring. Since 1818 all dates of the first buds of this tree are recorded and kept in the State Council chamber.

It truly is an amazing place to visit in Geneva.

6. La Jonction – joining of Arve and Rhone

La Jonction is a junction of rivers Arve and Rhone.

River Rhone, after forming Geneva Lake comes out near the city center and River Arve flows from the south.

They join near the city center and this area is called La Jonction (means The Junction). The phenomenon of confluence is beautiful by itself but Arne and Rhone are creating something even more special.

Southern Arve is faster and it brings white sand with it. The sand gives the river an almost silky white color. Rhone is slower and it has a darker color.

Since both rivers are of different colors in the place where they join their colors mix and intertwine. It looks like nature is mixing watercolors.

It is the scene that people contemplate and admire.

Luckily there’s a bridge (Viaduc de la Jonction) nearby and a footpath. This is the best place to come and admire this play of nature.

 Viaduc de la Jonction - bridge - places to visit in geneva
Viaduc de la Jonction, Geneva | Photo by Guilhem Vellut on Flickr

There are cafes and restaurants nearby, so you could come and drink coffee, tea, or get lunch, all that while enjoying the view.

People find this place great for recreation since it is near the city center but it is surrounded by nature. They mostly come here for jogging and swimming.

It is one of many amazing places to visit, so if you are in Geneva nothing is stopping you to check this place out.

7. Summer and festivals at Bains des Paquis

Bains des Paquis is one of the most popular beaches on Lake Geneva.

It is an islet near the mainland, located across Jet d’Eau and surrounded by the lake. This provides a stunning view.

Plenty of fun stuff to do is waiting here so you can spend your time actively while having fun.

There is a water slide, water polo, water volleyball net, sandboxes, and table football.

This is one of the places adventuristic people love to visit in Geneva.

You could climb the climbing wall, which is allegedly not as easy as it seems. When you are on top of it, you are allowed to jump in the water.

There are also diving boards set at the heights of 3, 5, and 10 meters.

A lifeguard service is provided.

Another attraction is the zip-line above the water, slowly going down into the water.

It has a cloakroom and reception where you could rent additional equipment like table tennis rackets for the nearby tables.

You could find places where river currents are strong (the river Rhone is getting out of the lake close to the beach) and have fun trying to swim up the current or let the river flow to carry you around.

It is especially interesting to visit Bains des Paquis in the summer because this is when you can experience one of the particularly peculiar tourist attractions in Geneva the so-called SUNRISE FESTIVAL.

It begins on the 1st of August and has an early start every morning in the dawn (around 6 A.M.).

People come to enjoy free concerts of jazz, piano music, flamenco, and many others, accompanied by spectacular colors of sunrise. After that, you can enjoy a homemade breakfast.

It is the best way to start the morning with all kinds of people in an easy-going atmosphere.

3. Things to do in Geneva

As there are so many places to visit in Geneva, there are many things to keep yourself entertained, too. This refers to both long and short stays.

From scenic landscapes, cultural museums, popular fountains, shopping, and exquisite cuisine, everyone will find something inspiring in Geneva!

Here is the list of the best things to do while in Geneva:

  1. Visit Patek Philippe Museum
  2. Visit the Ethnography Museum
  3. Explore the Old Town
  4. Cruise on Lake Geneva
  5. Do the shopping
  6. Stroll down the parks
  7. Try local food and signature dishes
  8. Free things to do in Geneva

1. Visit Patek Philippe Museum

Along with cheese and chocolate, watches probably are one of the main associations when you think of Switzerland.

That’s why it’s quite refreshing adding a tour to a museum of watches to your list of things to see in Geneva.

The Patek Philippe Museum is a perfect example, founded back in 1839. It represents one of the oldest and the most luxurious watchmakers in the entire world.

These watches are examples of the most expensive watches ever sold, and they are commonly worn among royalty and celebrities.

In the museum are displayed more than 2,000 exhibits, and it is open for public visits.

2. Visit the Ethnography Museum

The Ethnography Museum represents the perfect example of a “living museum”. It is a residence of more than 80,000 artifacts from across five continents.

The museum was renewed in 2014 and awarded the European Museum of the year in 2017.

About 1,000 of these items are selected for their permanent exhibit.

Exploring this remarkable place will be a blessing for your mind, you will see and learn many interesting things.

Ethnography Museum in Geneva - places to visit in geneva - modern museum building
Ethnography Museum in Geneva. | Source: Wiki

3. Explore the Old Town

The majority of interesting things to do in Geneva are waiting for you at the corners of the Old Town.

It is located across one of the tallest objects in the city, with St. Pierre’s Cathedral set in the center.

While exploring the Old Town, you will be blown away by mazes of cobbled streets that tread the tales of other, ancient times.

On your walk, you are about to discover many hidden gems and learn about Geneva’s history, too.

old town geneva
Old Town Geneva

4. Cruise on Lake Geneva

Geneva lies on one of the largest lakes in Western Europe, in the southern part of Lake Geneva.

Cruising on the lake is one of the best activities for exploring the lake and its surroundings.

You can go on a cruise that lasts a few hours or spend the whole day on this adventure. Plenty of these can be arranged from Geneva and other parts of the lake.

If you spend the entire day on a cruise, you can have dinner and try traditional fondue.

Make sure to organize the cruise only during the pleasant weather.

If you are in Geneva when the cruises aren’t running, you can find an alternative – have a cruise in a so-called mouette (standard shuttle boat). These are included on the city transport card and they operate from various points of Geneva.

Check out the scenic cruise on Lake Geneva you too can take when in the city.

5. Do the shopping

If you are a shopping lover, you will find yourself in the perfect place. Geneva offers world-class shopping, specifically in the Rue du Rhône where you will find the most luxurious brands.

Only the best, starting from Prada, Louis Vuitton, to watch brands such as Philippe Patek and Omega, and jewelry brands like Tiffany.

On the streets of Geneva, you will find the best chocolatiers and lovely stores that sell authentic antiques such as Timothy Oulton.

In case you don’t mind burning a hole in your pocket, there are many places to visit in Geneva and lift shopping exhilaration to the next level.

6. Have a lovely afternoon in one of many stunning parks

For some nice time in the fresh air and among green spaces, you have many parks to visit for Geneva sightseeing.

Some of them are:

  • Parc La Grange – the largest park in the city and famous for its roses. Besides walking, you can have a great time in one of two theaters along the way.
  • Eaux Vives Park – close to the Parc La Grange, a steep hillside park that is topped by a mansion dating back to the 18th century. You’ll be blown away by water features and scenic surroundings.
  • Geneva’s Botanical Garden with over 14,000 plant species. It is located next to the United Nations, stretching on 69 acres.
  • Rousseau Island – park in the center of the river that can be reached by the Pont des Bergues. It’s quite small, yet lovely.

These are just some examples out of the vast specter of Geneva’s parks. Most of them provide various activities such as chess boards, ice skating, and live concerts.

7. Try local food and signature dishes

There are many places to visit in Geneva that offer delicious traditional food.

You probably already know that the most popular traditional food is fondue. It is impossible to imagine visiting Switzerland without trying it.

Still, there is a vast number of other cuisines that you should try in wonderful Michelin-starred restaurants.

Chocolate lovers will find some of the best chocolatiers on the streets of Geneva.

On your tour through the Old Town, we recommend you the Restaurant Les Armures which will be a blast for your senses. You will get the best service, and they will even advise you on how to enjoy the fondue in the best way possible.

For a real gourmet adventure, you can take a food tour and try different dishes.

chocolate pralines in geneva
Chocolate in Geneva is out of this world.

8. What can you do for free in Geneva?

We mentioned before that Geneva is a very expensive city, but still, there are plenty of places to visit in Geneva that are free of charge.

Here are some free things to do in Geneva that guarantee a great time:

  • Take a walk
  • Discover Geneva on bike pedals
  • Soak up the beauty of Lake Geneva
  • Visit a museum (all city-run museums allow entry to permanent collections free of charge)
  • Climb to Mont Salève
  • Sun-gaze at Bain de Paquis
  • Go to a flea market
  • Attend an open-air concert

As you can see, the options are endless. Geneva adds charms to every corner, and it will inspire you everywhere you go.

4. Is Geneva Pass worth it?

The Geneva Pass includes more than 30 offers, some of them are free of charge, others are at discount prices, and some are gifts.

It can be regarded as a passport for tourists – it opens doors to numerous exciting places to see in Geneva such as excursions, museums, shopping discounts, sports activities, and so much more.

If you get the Geneva Pass, you will get an option to go on sightseeing cruises that last about one hour. You will be blown away by the surroundings and fearless snowcapped mountain peaks.

Geneva Pass also includes paddle boards or pedal boats if you prefer to engage yourself on the water.

5. How to get around Geneva?

Due to its size of just 6 square miles, Geneva is very easy to get around.

places to visit in geneva - geneva panoramic view
Geneva is not a huge city and is easy to get around.

Upon your arrival at the Geneva Airport (GVA), you can take a free train ticket from a vending machine at the airport. You will reach downtown Geneva’s train station in about 10 minutes.

The most common ways for reaching the city are to walk or to take the tram. In case you have a free Geneva Transport Card, you can use it for trains, buses, and water taxis. But don’t forget that these options are much slower than going on foot or taking the tram.

If you are thinking about hiring a taxi, have in mind that driving in the city center isn’t a necessity. On the contrary, it would be a brag with the rush hour traffic and limited parking.

If you want to make sure that your time in Geneva goes smoothly and stress-free, hire our limousine service and let our chauffeurs take care of you.

No worries about parking, traffic, or getting late to your destination. With our service, you will have the best time while exploring Geneva tourist attractions.

To get more information about transportation in Geneva, check out this article.

6. Day trips in Geneva

When we talk about the places to visit near Geneva, the best thing about the city is that it is positioned close to mountains. Just within an hour, you can find yourself up high in the mountains and return to the city in the evening.

When in Geneva, a day trip for skiers is a must. For skiing and snowboarding, check the all-inclusive Ski-Bus offer. Slopes are well adjusted to all levels, so everyone will find a piece of white paradise for themselves.

If you prefer a scenic walk, you can organize a day trip to the beautiful alpine town of Chamonix, or head to the Jura Mountains and have a go at snowshoeing or sledging.

Besides alpine skiing, snowboarding, Mont Jura is a perfect choice for those who would like to retreat and find some peace among paths of untouched nature.

In just one hour of the ride, you can reach Europe’s highest mountain peakMont Blanc and have a perfect adventure!

If you appreciate good wine, you can take the train, and reach Lavaux vineyards in 1 hour and 20 minutes.

7. What is the best time to visit Geneva, Switzerland?

As you can see from our list of things to do in Geneva, it can be visited at any time of the year. There are many indoor and outdoor activities to keep you entertained.

If you prefer to go on a cruise on Lake Geneva or hike, we recommend May through September when the weather is warm and pleasant.

On the other hand, if you are into winter sports, then we recommend the winter months with the best snow.

Things to do during winter in Geneva.

To conclude – there is no best time to visit Geneva, just the best individual time – according to your interests and preferences. The city will put you under its spell whatever the season.

Sidenotes – Don’t waste time at the airport

When you are coming to another city or county by plane it could be a hassle to get out of the airport. 

Airports are busy, crowded places of people eager to leave.

Sometimes it could be hell to find the proper transportation from the airport to the wanted location

Geneva airport is an international airport with many companies being present there transporting passengers from all over the world. We recommend that you consider a limo for your airport transfer.

You could book a cab in advance, or you could try to find the train or other type of public transportation. 

But if you don’t want to worry and you want your experience to be the best possible you should hire a limo.

Aside from this occasion, find out the best times when to hire a limo.

There are companies available 24/7 for the service. You are not going to wait or hunt for transportation, someone is going to be there waiting for you.

To travel with elegance and comfort, you are going to get a luxurious car and the best service, when it comes to logistics. 

Your chauffeur will be an experienced professional and he or she will have the best information about traffic conditions.

If you take under consideration that the prices are high it gets clear that you are going to benefit by hiring a limo.

Whether you are coming alone, with your family or friends, or with a business group there is no better way to travel.

Related: Types of Geneva airport transfers and the most popular destinations.

Conclusion:

There are many tourist attractions in Geneva and one text couldn’t ever be enough. There’s something that deserves attention every step of the way.

We covered only some of the most famous places to see while also mentioning some less-known attractions that the city has to offer.

If you want to explore this beautiful country more, check out our list of the most instagrammable places in Switzerland.

Whether you are coming on a business trip, or to relax alone or with your friends or family this is the place that you will enjoy.

For perfect pleasure, hire a limousine service and be completely ready to have a Swiss blast!