a citizens guide to Geneva, Switzerland

say hello to Geneva

How would you like to go to a place where stunning mountains meet picture-perfect lake, where ticking clocks are serious business, where history and the new-age sit side-by-side? Then there’s only one place for it – Geneva. The city is like a chocolate box, there's a sweet treat waiting around every corner. Let’s unbox it together!

Where is Geneva?

Find Geneva on Switzerland's western corner, touching the French border and cosying up to the towering Alps and rolling Jura hills. Its home on the shores of the gorgeous Lake Geneva is something straight out of a postcard.

Is Geneva French or Swiss?

Don’t be fooled by those seductive "bonjours" and oh-so-tempting baguettes. While Lake Geneva may touch the French border, the city itself is fully Swiss. Still puzzled by the French connection? Geneva, in all its charming glory, is comfortably within the Swiss borders but Lake Geneva technically straddles France. Still with us? Locals have a tendency to jumble up the two languages – a bit like linguistic tapas. And yes, they do use Swiss Francs. We know, it’s all a bit confusing – don't say we didn't warn you!

What’s the best time to visit Geneva?

Although the weather is quite unpredictable, the best time is generally June to August. The mild temperatures and blue skies make the lake shine bright like a diamond. More of a snowy fairytale person? Visit in winter. It’s just as nice when you’re holding a warm, steamy cup of hot chocolate in a cozy cafe after a day on the slopes. If you’re staying in the city, take a romantic stroll through the historic Old Town – it’s beautiful dusted with snow.

How to get to Geneva

Lucky enough to touch down at Geneva Airport? The city's just a stone's throw away! Grab a Geneva Transport Card (it’s free for tourists) and hop on the next tram, bus, boat or train. The world’s your oyster, citizen.

When we say Geneva’s neighbourhoods have a lot to offer, we mean it. Every corner of this city is oozing with character. Geneva is a melting pot of different cultures and its neighbourhoods reflect that, with an area for every kind of explorer. Love vibrant nightlife? Geneva’s got just the place. Prefer a peaceful oasis in a bustling city? There’s somewhere for that too. So fasten your seatbelts, citizens. It’s time for a tour of the 10 best neighbourhoods in Geneva.

1. Jet d'Eau

Take a deep breath, you're about to be charmed by Geneva's most iconic neighbourhood – Jet d'Eau. It's the heart of the city, where you’ll find the giant water fountain in everyone’s Instagram pictures. Enjoy a cup of Swiss hot chocolate at one of the many cozy cafes here and enjoy the view.

2. Plainpalais

Want to get stuck into Geneva's cultural scene? Plainpalais is where you need to be. It boasts the University of Geneva, plenty of quirky art galleries and the famous Plainpalais Flea Market. Spend the day hunting for vintage treasures and an evening watching the sun set at Parc des Bastions.

3. Carouge

Carouge, Geneva's bohemian paradise. This Greenwich Village-esque enclave has Italian architecture, a vibrant nightlife and more artisan shops than you can shake a stick at. No visit is complete without a trip to the gelateria – it’s love at first scoop.

4. Eaux-Vives

Calling all foodies! Eaux-Vives is home to Geneva's finest restaurants, bistros and bars. Enjoy a gourmet lunch at one of the local eateries – there are dozens of them – then take a leisurely stroll in the Jardin Anglais. Bliss.

5. Pâquis

Night owls will feel right at home in Pâquis – a 24-hour neighbourhood alive with clubs, bars and restaurants. After an evening of debauchery, take a relaxing trip to the Bains des Pâquis, the city’s public baths – they have stunning lake views!

6. Old Town (Vieille Ville)

Time travel to Geneva’s Old Town. Explore its labyrinth of winding streets, beautiful old buildings and the stunning St. Peter's Cathedral. Finish your tour with panoramic city views from the cathedral's tower. Magnifique!

7. Les Grottes

For a hipster vibe, head to Les Grottes. Known for its colourful "Smurf" houses, Les Grottes is a hub for alternative culture. Think vintage shops and eclectic cafes. This neighbourhood really does dance to its own beat – are you ready to join the party?

8. Champel

If you like peace and quiet, you’ll love Champel. Known for its green parks and laid-back atmosphere, it's the perfect place to escape the rush of the city. It's also home to some of the city’s best cheese shops – so bring an appetite!

9. Servette

A melting pot of cultures, Servette serves up an authentic Geneva experience. The area’s known for its diverse food markets and restaurants so expect flavours from all around the world. Who needs a plane ticket when you can globetrot on foot?

10. Cologny

Feel like treating yourself? Go to Cologny. With breathtaking views of Lake Geneva and the Alps, it’s unsurprisingly Geneva's most luxurious residential neighbourhood. Stroll through the well-groomed parks, admire the stunning architecture and feel like Swiss royalty (even if it’s just for the day). 

There you go, citizens – the top 10 neighbourhoods in Geneva. You’ll wish you had more hours in the day to explore them all. But you know what they say, you can come back anytime! 

things to do in Geneva

So many things to do, so little time! Start by time traveling through Old Town, before checking out the high-soaring Geneva Water Fountain – or how about losing a day in the museums? That brain won’t fill itself! If tennis makes you "love-love" (get it?), the Geneva Open is a must-see. Plus, don't miss the chance to stroll along the picturesque shores of Lake Geneva, where serene waters and breathtaking landscapes create the perfect backdrop for relaxation. And for those craving outdoor adventures, Geneva's surrounding mountains offer thrilling hikes with stunning views. Whether you prefer cultural explorations or mountain escapades, Geneva has it all! Need more ideas? Scroll down.

Lake Geneva

Bow down to the grandeur of Lake Geneva. Fun fact: it’s the largest lake in Central Europe, so a boat tour is an absolute must! Glide across its sapphire surface and marvel at the imposing mountains surrounding the city. Savour the alpine wind in your hair as you capture some Insta-worthy shots! 

Keep your eyes peeled for the city’s iconic landmark, Jet d'Eau? This monumental fountain adds a little theatrical flair, spouting water 140 metres into the sky! It's hard to believe it all started as a humble safety valve for a hydraulic power network. Who doesn’t love an underdog!


Trekking up to the verdant vineyards for a little tipsy tour is a must. Lavaux vineyard terraces (a UNESCO World Heritage site) are a sight for city-weary eyes and a treat for the taste buds. Don’t leave without sampling some world-renowned Swiss wines. Splash of Chasselas, anyone?

Old Town

Geneva's Old Town is a delightful labyrinth of winding streets, practically bursting with historical charm. Lose yourself exploring – just don't miss the magnificent St. Pierre Cathedral. Climb the North Tower for heart-stopping views of the city.

Green spaces

Geneva’s English Garden and Bastions Park are the perfect place to recharge your batteries. Watch the city go by from a cozy park bench or test your skills on the giant chess boards. Don't worry, there are no actual chess skills required, just a spirit of adventure!

Mountain views

Wherever you are in Geneva, you're never far from a mountain hike. Pack some Gruyere cheese, grab your walking boots and get ready for a dazzling view of the city – from an altitude.


Retail therapy? Geneva's got your back. Whether it's a luxury watch or Swiss chocolates, you’re sure to find something that makes your heart sing. Rue du Rhone and Rue du Marche are the top spots for serious credit card swiping.

Day trips from Geneva

Got the urban blues? Break free and gulp in some pure alpine air. With Geneva Central Station smack-dab in the heart of the city, adventure's only a train ride away. Vineyard vistas, lazy lake lounging and mountaintop mingling await! Feeling spontaneous? Jump on a train to nearby cities like Lausanne, Chexbres or Vevey. The options are (almost) endless.

Feeling a tad more energetic? Grab an e-bike and tackle a mountain trail or two. And while we're on the subject of mountains, no trip's complete without a cheesy pilgrimage to Regional Park Gruyère Pays-d'Enhaut – because life without cheese? Un-brie-lievable! (Sorry).

best restaurants in Geneva

Calling all foodies! Geneva's culinary scene is ripe for you to discover. We've got the scoop on the city’s best spots, from ooey-gooey Swiss classics to French haute-cuisine. And talk about dinner with a view! Feast your eyes on lakes, mountains and more from the comfort of your table. Pop a napkin in your collar, citizen – we’re digging in. 

Café de la Nouvelle Marie

Swiss cuisine
Let's kick off our edible adventure at Café de la Nouvelle Marie. Hidden in the heart of Geneva, it's all about modern twists to Swiss classics that'll make your taste buds dance. The vibe is relaxed, a bit like your eating at your best friend's house (if your best friend was a top-notch Swiss chef, that is).

Le Chat-Botté

French haute-cuisine
Swanky, sleek and oh-so-chic, Le Chat-Botté has it going on. This Michelin-starred French restaurant, nestled inside the Beau-Rivage hotel, is your passport to luxury. One bite of Chef Dominique Gauthier's handiwork and you’ll be seeing stars. But the real icing on the cake? The breathtaking Lake Geneva views.

La Plage du Reposoir

Lake views
Next, we're teleporting to Restaurant La Plage du Reposoir for some serious lakeside lounging. With its mini vacation feel, it delivers delicious Swiss-French cuisine with a side of serenity. Get ready for serious #foodwithaview pics.

Yacht Club de Geneve Restaurant

Lake views
Ever wanted to dine on a yacht? Now’s the time! Yacht Club de Geneve dishes up French-Italian delights in a decidedly nautical setting, with a healthy serving of majestic mountain and lake views. The vibe? Shipshape and chic.

Tropical Corner

Lake views
Escape to more exotic climes without leaving the country at Tropical Corner. Hugging Lake Geneva, it'll transport you to a beachy paradise, one mouthful at a time. Just don’t forget your dancing shoes – there’s live samba! 

Chez Marino’s

Italian cuisine
Pasta lovers will feel right at home at Italian eatery, Chez Marino’s. It has the whole city buzzing about its handmade pasta and oven-baked pizzas crispy enough to make any nonna proud. Leave space to indulge in a glass (or three) of fine Italian wine. It’s molto bene. 

Restaurant Coulouvreniere

Swiss cuisine
Finally, tuck into some homey Swiss grub at Restaurant Coulouvreniere. This city centre gem comes with a front-row seat to the Rhône River and some seriously scrumptious comfort food. Think of it as a warm hug on a plate.

So there you have it, folks! A whirlwind tour of Geneva's gastronomical scene, complete with drool-worthy dishes and Instagrammable views. Strap in, eat out and leave no crumb behind.

where to stay in geneva

Seeking the creme de la creme of luxurious hotels? Geneva's overflowing with options. Call us biased, but when it comes to somewhere uber-cool and cozy in the absolute prime location, nothing beats our beloved citizenM Geneva. Perched between the old and new parts of the city, it’s our go-to spot for a top-notch stay. It's just a jaunty stroll away from the shimmering Lake Geneva, the awe-inspiring Cathedral, all the shop-till-you-drop hotspots, chic bars and oh-so-convenient public transport. What more could a person want!

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