With three days in Geneva, sample the best of Swiss traditions, innovative culture, and dramatic scenery. The lakeside city is a great destination in its own right, but easy access to the surrounding Alps makes it a perfect jumping-off point for trips to snowy peaks and storybook villages. Here’s how to make the most of your time.
Day 1: Old Town to Melted Cheese
Geneva makes headlines with futuristic science, but start with the cobblestone streets and historic landmarks of the Old Town for a taste of the city’s heritage. There’s a maze of streets here, so stay oriented by joining a guided tour—you’ll get the stories behind each of the historic landmarks along the way. Highlights include Bourg-de-Four Square, Cathédrale de St. Pierre (St. Peter’s Cathedral), and old-world architecture; when choosing a tour, consider options such as walking tours, Segway tours, and hop-on hop-off tickets that offer extra flexibility. Round off the day with a very Swiss feast of traditional fondue in an Old Town restaurant.
Day 2: From Human History to the Cutting Edge
A long list of institutions keep Geneva at the forefront of art, science, and global policy, so pick out one or two that catch your interest. Science-buffs shouldn’t miss CERN, a physics research center that’s just out of town, while culture hounds can head to the Geneva Ethnological Museum. Browse the gleaming, precise watches at the Patek Philippe Museum; take a tour of the UN at the Palais des Nations; or visit the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum. After a day inside, take in the sunset on Lake Geneva, whether you hop a local ferry or book an elegant dinner cruise.
Day 3: Alpine Explorer
As a major gateway to the Alps, Geneva is a great home base for visiting the high mountains, with top destinations just a day trip away, such as Gruyères in Switzerland and Chamonix, Mont Blanc, and Annecy in France. Options range from adventurous trips up snowy peaks to tasting tours through traditional villages. If you’re looking for history, consider Neuchâtel in Switzerland or Annecy in France, medieval destinations with perfectly preserved architecture. Cheese lovers can take a deep dive into Switzerland’s most famous wedges at Gruyères, while the French town of Chamonix is the undisputed hub of hiking, climbing, and mountaineering in the surrounding peaks, including Mont Blanc.