Small but perfectly formed. Geneva is one of the most influential cities in the world despite its modest size. It is rated near the top for quality of life. It doesn’t come cheap but it is well worth a visit.
The city is situated where Lake Geneva (or Lac Leman) flows into the River Rhone; it is surrounded by the Jura Mountains and the Alps. The spectacular setting is complemented by the attractive buildings on the lake shore and of the city.
Geneva is home to many international bodies, including; the Red Cross, UNHCR and the United Nations. A number of leading companies have international headquarters there, encouraged by the friendly business climate. Watchmaking is an important industry as is finance and CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research). It is a key centre for international conferences and exhibitions.
It is in the French speaking area of Switzerland but due to its international status, English is widely spoken. English speakers make up a large part of the 40% of residents from outside Switzerland.
What to do
There are over thirty museums and galleries some linked to the international bodies. For many tourists, taking in the city and the surroundings is what it is about. Cruises on the lake can include meals, you can venture up into the mountains or relax at the side of the lake. To put the size of the lake into perspective, it is about 70 km long, about the same distance as London to Brighton.
As one of the wealthiest cities on the planet you can expect the shops to match. Local watchmakers, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Swatch and Franck Muller all have flagship shops. High end fashion shops, perfumeries and furnishings can all be found.
The most famous attraction, is not a building but the giant fountain, the Jet d’Eau, the highest in the world reaching nearly 500 feet., the waterside bar close by is good place to relax.
The Anglican Holy Trinity Church is a perfect example of English country church located in the city centre.
Eating and Sleeping
Geneva’s hotels and restaurants are normally busiest during the week when it is host to numerous diplomats, businessmen and delegates. Weekends therefore are the best time to visit and the cheapest. The city though is quiet on Sundays with most of the shops closed.
Public transport in the city is excellent so you could consider staying further out to save cost on accommodation.
Located only 4km from the France; it successfully mixes Swiss efficiency with French flair, this is reflected in its many restaurants. If you want to stick to something traditionally Swiss, then you should try a Fondue, the Old Town is a good place to seek one out. Chocolate is another local favourite.