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Things to do in Geneva

Things to do in  Geneva

Welcome to Geneva

Set on the shores of Europe’s largest alpine lake, Geneva is as sporty as it is sophisticated. Cosmopolitan and cobblestoned, the most populous city in French-speaking Switzerland is home to the European headquarters of the United Nations and Red Cross, but its international reputation exceeds city borders. Located on the southwesternmost tip of Lake Geneva just minutes away from France, the Swiss town offers easy access to skiing the French Alps, cruising the Swiss Riviera, and sampling chocolate, cheese, and wine in Broc, Gruyeres, and the countryside. End your day trip in Geneva’s pedestrian-only old town for museums, plazas, and St. Peter’s Cathedral.

Top 15 attractions in Geneva

Lake Geneva (Lac Léman)

Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) is Switzerland's largest body of water, though most of its southern shore lies within France. A crescent of blue hemmed in by the snowy peaks of the French and Swiss Alps, the lake is a year-round hotspot for outdoor activities, with a northern shore covered in picturesque villages, terraced vineyards, and medieval castles.More

Geneva Water Fountains (Jet d’Eau)

Paris has the Eiffel Tower, New York has the Empire State Building, and Geneva has the Water Fountains (Jet d’Eau)—a stunning feature in Lake Geneva launching water 460 feet (140 meters) into the air. Enjoy views and snap a souvenir photo from the waterfront, where the River Rhône meets Lake Geneva.More

Geneva Old Town (Vieille Ville)

All visitors to Geneva should spend some time exploring the Old Town (Vieille Ville) area. It’s full of fascinating museums, churches, and atmospheric cafés, plus most of the streets are pedestrian-only, so you can wander aimlessly without a care.More

St. Peter's Cathedral (Cathédrale St-Pierre)

The Old Town of Geneva may reflect centuries of history in its buildings and cobblestoned streets, but no structure is more steeped in history than the Cathédrale de St-Pierre. Visitors admire the cathedral's varied architecture, stained glass, and religious artifacts. Try climbing the 157-step tower for some of the best city views.More

Palais des Nations

The United Nations has its European headquarters in Geneva, in the Palace of United Nations (Palais des Nations Unis). Guided tours of the offices offer a behind-the-scenes look at rooms like the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room, which was decorated by famous artist Miquel Barcelò, and the Assembly Hall.More

Flower Clock (Horloge Fleurie)

The Flower Clock in Geneva is hard to miss. It's adorned with seasonal flowers, and known as the largest flower clock in the world, making this centrally-located attraction a tourist hot spot. Located in Geneva's lakefront English Garden (Jardin Anglais), the horticultural timepiece is one of the most photographed sights in the city.More

International Museum of the Reformation (Musée International de la Réforme)

Come learn everything there is to know about Switzerland’s famous 16th century reformation, where theologians like Martin Luther and John Calvin (a Geneva resident) broke off from the Roman Catholic church, effectively eroding the people’s faith in the Papacy and in many of the Catholic doctrines. The International Museum of the Reformation (Musée International de la Réforme) presents the history of Protestantism from its very humble beginnings right here in Geneva, explaining its conception of mankind and the world it lives in through diverse iconography and detailed chronicles, and addresses issues like polemics and various interpretations of the Bible; in fact, the museum is home to over 500 artefacts pertaining to the history of reformation in Geneva, including original scripts penned by Calvin and Luther themselves. An underground passageway even connects the IMR to the archaeological site under Saint-Pierre Cathedral next door, where the vote was taken for the Reformation in Geneva in 1536.As the Reformation museum is located in the heart of Geneva’s most historic quarter, manycity tours will at the very least whizz past it, like this Geneva City Tour or this exhilaratingSegway tour of the Old Town.More

Tavel House (Maison Tavel)

If Geneva is rich in history, then Maison Tavel is its time capsule. The museum captures, in precise detail, what life was like from the 14th century onward. As the earliest example of Genevan domestic design, visitors find ancient stone walls, iron detailing, and antique furnishings. Be sure to visit for a look at Geneva's storied past.More

Brunswick Monument

Built in 1879 to commemorate Charles II, the Duke of Brunswick, this neo-Gothic mausoleum in Geneva’s Jardin des Alpes is a historical replica of the 14th-century Scaligeri tomb, located in Verona. Despite the controversy around its origins, the monument is now a notable landmark and photography spot on the shores of Lake Geneva.More

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum

Celebrating the history and legacy of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Association, this museum in central Geneva will be of interest to anyone who wishes to learn more about the humanitarian association’s impact on the world.More

Maison Cailler

Switzerland is famous for its high-quality chocolate, so a visit to the oldest chocolate manufacturer in the country should be on your itinerary. The Maison Cailler—a renowned chocolaterie—offers informative and interactive guided tours that are fun for the whole family, even members without much of a sweet tooth.More

Lavaux Vineyard Terraces

A paradise for wine enthusiasts and photographers, these UNESCO-listed terraced vineyards rising steeply above Lake Geneva form one of the most magnificent landscapes in Switzerland. Grape vines have been cultivated in the Lavaux wine region for centuries, and today much of the Canton of Vaud’s wine is produced on these slopes.More

Ariana Museum (Musée Ariana)

In a leafy park along the scenic banks of Lake Geneva is the Ariana Museum–a palatial, three-story mansion home to over 20,000 glass and ceramic objects. The museum features a private collection of ceramic vases, cups, statues, stained glass windows and paintings, plus a room of contemporary ceramics on the second floor and a display of temporary exhibitions in the basement. Though most descriptions are in French, the free museum is still worth a visit for its beautiful surroundings.Held in an impressive, Baroque-meets-classical-style building, the museum gives way to high-vaulted ceilings, rich burgundy walls, massive columns and an accessible balcony overlooking the Parc de l'Ariana. There's also a tea room (similar to a cafe) and an outdoor patio offering lunch (though you'll need reservations).The Ariana Museum is located alongside the entrance to the Palace of United Nations and opposite the Red Cross Museum, so you'll be able visit all three attractions in just a few hours. Visitors with a Geneva Pass can enter the museum for free, with the added benefit of free, unlimited public transportation and admission to over 40 other city attractions, including the Red Cross Museum.More

Bastions Park (Parc des Bastions)

There's no better place for a stroll than Geneva’s Bastions Park (Parc des Bastions. This verdant oasis down the street from Geneva’s Old Town boasts green lawns, tree-lined walkways, and benches perfect for sipping coffee. Visitors entering through the main gate, at Place Neuve, can enjoy a quick game of chess at the giant public sets.More

English Garden (Jardin Anglais)

Geneva's English Garden (Jardin Anglais is an English-styled flower garden at the foot of the Mont Blanc Bridge. The garden is perhaps best known as home to the city's celebrated Flower Clock, a top attraction honoring Genevan watchmaking. It's the perfect spot to enjoy unobstructed lake views after strolling along the Quai Gustave Ador.More

Trip ideas

Montreux Day Trips from Geneva

Montreux Day Trips from Geneva

How to Spend 3 Days in Geneva

How to Spend 3 Days in Geneva

Top activities in Geneva

Geneva City Tour and Boat Cruise

Geneva City Tour and Boat Cruise

Geneva City Tour

Geneva City Tour

Chocolate Flavours Tours Geneva: 3-hour Chocolate Tasting and Old Town Visit
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Geneva Fondue Tour in a TukTuk (electric)
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Annecy Half-Day Tour from Geneva

Annecy Half-Day Tour from Geneva

Geneva Panoramic and Tasting Vineyards Tour in a TukTuk (electric)
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Recent reviews from experiences in Geneva

Great city chocolate tour
me61lucas, Feb 2023
Chocolate Flavours Tours Geneva: 3-hour Chocolate Tasting and Old Town Visit
It was a great way to see the city and taste wonderful chocolate.
Tasty way to see Geneva
Robert_T, Jan 2023
Chocolate Flavours Tours Geneva: 3-hour Chocolate Tasting and Old Town Visit
It was a fun and tasty way to see Geneva!
Tour of highlights of Geneva.
Cheryl_L, Oct 2022
Geneva Watch Tour in a TukTuk (electric)
We had only one evening in Geneva and this was a good tour to see the city.
Great high-level tour.
Natalie_R, Nov 2022
Geneva Watch Tour in a TukTuk (electric)
A good overview of Geneva attractions with a bit of history on the watch industry and beginnings.
Juan_M, Sep 2022
Day Trip to Montreux, Chaplin's World Museum and Chillon Castle
It was beautiful to see the vineyards, Chillon castle and Montreux.
My wife and I really...
Benjamin_E, Dec 2022
Chocolate Flavours Tours Geneva: 3-hour Chocolate Tasting and Old Town Visit
Anna was a fantastic guide and it was a great opportunity to see the city while also tasting great and varied chocolates.
Get to know Geneva
Kathleen_A, Sep 2022
Geneva City Tour and Boat Cruise
Guide was knowledgeable and friendly, a fun way to learn the history of Geneva as well as what to see and where to go, definitely a must for first-time visitors
Geneva is beautiful by bike.
Suzie_B, Jul 2022
Geneva By E Bike United Nations Lake and Fountain
what a beautiful way to see the gardens and learn the history of Geneva, thanks Carol you are a true Gem and i will be back soon!!
Beautiful tour!
Christina_W, Jul 2022
Geneva and Annecy Tour With Optional Lake Geneva Cruise
It was great taking a tour around the city to see things in Geneva I probably wouldn’t go see in my own.
Interesting, different and fun way to see a city
Cynthia_B, Apr 2022
Geneva Fondue Tour in a TukTuk (electric)
Great way to see the city, enjoy a glass of wine and eat some lovely fondue.
Must Try Experience
ReveeMajors, Mar 2022
Geneva Fondue Tour in a TukTuk (electric)
We were able to see a bunch of highlights throughout the city and enjoy some fondue and wine while doing so.
Bucket list ticked
MariaTheresa_D, Sep 2020
Glacier 3000 and Montreux Riviera from Geneva
Need to come back during winter 😍
Really Good
kiejam3, Feb 2020
Geneva City Tour
Since Geneva is a small city, we got to see it within the 2 hours.
Great Tour
Ken_H, Jul 2019
Geneva City Tour and Boat Cruise
Absolutely wonderful tour of the city, and the tour guide was excellent with English, He was animated and gave us great information regarding many points of interest during the tour.
The best tour ever
Diana_C, May 2019
Chamonix and Mont Blanc Day Trip from Geneva
It was my dream to see the alps since I’m very young, so this is like a dream come thru.
A great way to see Geneva
Brian_T, Mar 2019
Geneva 3 in 1 HopOn HopOff Sightseeing Tour
It gave us the opportunity to see parts of the town we might not have seen on foot.
Educational and Fun!
William_F, Oct 2022
Chocolate Flavours Tours Geneva: 3-hour Chocolate Tasting and Old Town Visit
A great way to see some sites and learn about and eat chocolate.
Great day trip back in June. Picked up...
simone_c, Jul 2018
Chamonix Mont Blanc Transfer from Geneva with optional Cable Car Ride and Lunch
Picked up on time- amazing audio commentary in English on the way to Chamonix and around the town.
Pretty calm, easy going tour seeing...
Nathan_T, Nov 2016
Day Trip to Montreux, Chaplin's World Museum and Chillon Castle
Overall not really a tour, just transportation to see some beautiful scenes.
The Geneva City Tour opened our eyes...
JosefinaSL_P, Oct 2016
Geneva City Tour
The Geneva City Tour opened our eyes of what to see in Geneva along with a window to its history.
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People Also Ask

What is Geneva famous for?

Geneva—nicknamed the Peace Capital—is home of the Geneva Conventions, Red Cross, and European branch of the U.N. It's an important world financial center. You'll find the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Geneva's Old Town is Switzerland's largest historical site and its lake its largest body of water.

How do I spend a day in Geneva?

Start early to beat the crowds, stopping at must-see landmarks such as the Palace of Nations, Jet d'Eau, and St. Peter's Cathedral in Old Town. Eat a fondue lunch on the lakefront and get your fill of Swiss chocolate; then widen your perspective on an afternoon lake cruise or mountain adventure.

What language is spoken in Geneva?

French is the main language of Geneva, though English, Spanish, Italian, and German are also widely spoken, thanks to the city's status as an international hub. Swiss French is very similar to standard French, though some words are different—such as septante for 70, instead of soixante-dix.

What is there to do in Geneva at night?

Upscale bars and high-end clubs make up most of the afterdark scene in Geneva, catering to financial workers and multinational crowds, though there are some Celtic-style pubs and hipster haunts. If you're after a tamer excursion, try a Lake Geneva sunset cruise followed by dinner at a top restaurant.

What is special in Geneva?

The Palace of Nations is a special sight in Geneva—a monument to peace at the heart of Ariana Park. Other unique attractions include Geneva's Red Cross Museum, which covers the Geneva Convention and global humanitarianism, as well as CERN headquarters, where you can get a close-up glimpse of cutting-edge science.

Is Geneva very expensive?

Yes. Geneva is expensive. The city regularly ranks as among the most expensive in the world. But, with a little planning, it is possible to optimize both time and budget. Package deals like the city pass offer discounted access to museums and unlimited rides on the country's travel system.


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