A tidy sprawl of chocolate shops, gleaming boutiques, and global landmarks tucked between high peaks and Switzerland’s biggest lake, Geneva is far more than the gateway to the Alps. With one day in Geneva you can explore the historic center, sample Swiss flavors, and board a boat for a trip across Lake Geneva. Here’s where to start.
Morning: Tour the Old Town
Many of Geneva’s key sites are packed into a compact Old Town, so you can cover some of the essentials in a morning of exploring. Choosing a guided tour ensures a focus on the city’s most interesting places—and unlocks the stories behind the places you’ll see—with excursions that range from walking tours to Segway tours and flexible hop-on hop-off options. Highlights of the Old Town include St. Peter’s Cathedral (Cathédrale de St.-Pierre), the Reformation Wall, and the Bergues Bridge (Pont de Bergues); by the time you’re ready for lunch you’ll know the basics of Geneva’s long history and unique culture.
Afternoon: Cruise Lake Geneva
Whether you’re watching sunlight play on the water or bundling up against a chilly breeze, getting out on Lake Geneva is a must in any season. Choose from sightseeing cruises, fondue cruises, passenger ferries, and budget-friendly water buses (mouettes). Enjoy unobstructed views from the boat as you snap photos of the mermaid statue and the Geneva Water Fountain (Jet d’Eau), which sends water 459 feet (140 meters) into the air. If you’d prefer not to make a separate booking, consider the time-saving option of a city tour that also features a Lake Geneva cruise.
Night: Discover Geneva Flavors
Locals might not live on fondue and chocolate, but leaving the city without a taste of the two treats is missing out on Geneva’s favorite indulgences. With limited time in Geneva, go straight to the highlights: Sample Swiss chocolates, locally produced wines, Alpine cheeses, and other treats on a food tour that’s tailored to the flavors that interest you most. When you’ve satisfied a hunger for Swiss specialties, head back to the lakeshore for an evening stroll by the water that’s a perfect ending to a day in Geneva.