7 Places to Visit in Geneva

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There are many places to visit in Geneva, the city of half a million people and the second biggest city in Switzerland.

Geneva is situated in the far south-west of the country near the French border in Romandy – the part of Switzerland where French is the dominant language.

This city stands on 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.

It is renowned by the Lake Geneva, the stunning view on the Alps, and its numerous parks.

places to visit in Geneva - Geneva Switzerland
Geneva, Switzerland – source

Geneva 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 Europian Organization for Nuclear Research is located in Geneva too. 

Geneva was the center of the Protestant Reformation in Switzerland (Calvinist Reformation) which greatly affected its later development. Reformation is literally engraved in Geneva’s 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.

Geneva is beautiful, and we are going to tell you about some places to see and explore when you go there.

List of places to visit when in Geneva:

  • Jet d’Eau
  • Palace of Nations
  • Broken chair
  • Bastions Park
  • Treille Promenade
  • La Joncition – joining of Arve and Rhone
  • Bains des Paquis and the Sunrise festival

The best, most comfortable, and luxurious way to explore these places in Geneva is to use limousine services in Switzerland.

Sidenotes – Get familiar 

If you are coming to Switzerland from another country, you should be aware that the local currency is 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.

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 to visit when in Geneva.

The Jet d’Eau was on the official logo of the UEFA Euro Cup when Geneva 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 a tourist attraction. 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 Geneva.

When you come to Geneva, 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 not unusual for the wind to change the direction of the water stream which could splash the public area around the fountain.

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 the Arianas park which holds 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.

Broken chair

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

broken chair statue - geneva - switzerland
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.

Parc des Bastions – Bastions Park

Bastions Park is located in the heart of Geneva 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 of Geneva and the Library of Geneva, the Bastions Park creates 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

We said earlier that Protestant Reformation is engraved in Geneva’s 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 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

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
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 the Bastions park.

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 Geneva official chestnut tree is located. 

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

It truly is an amazing place to visit in Geneva.

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 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.

 La Jonction - joining of Arve and Rhone - places to visit in geneva
La Jonction – joining of Arve and Rhone in Geneva – source

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
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.

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 are 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 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 experience 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.

Sidenotes – Diversity of languages

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.

languages in geneva - pink letters - white letters
Languages in Geneva, Switzerland – Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

When you come to Geneva, 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 in Geneva due to many international organizations being present in there.

So if you speak English you should not have problems.

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

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 Geneva 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 in Geneva 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 the consideration that in Geneva 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 the business group there is no better way to travel.

Conclusion

Geneva has so many attractions that 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. 

We did skip some pretty famous places like Saint Peter’s cathedral.

There are so many museums, cultural, and scientific organizations that it could take a book to cover everything.

Limousine companies offer sightseeing tours of the city. They can help you pick and choose appropriate places for you.

If you are wondering what other services limousine companies offer, check out an article about 10 limousine services in high demand today.

Geneva is the city of international relations and Protestantism. There are international organizations like the UN, Red Cross, and CERN.

 It is rich in public areas like parks and beaches. Many festivals take place here.

It sits on two rivers and is one of the biggest lakes in the world.

Geneva is the financial center of Switzerland and Europe. 

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

See you there!