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Der Jet d'Eau inmitten des Genfer Sees, Bild: canadastock / shutterstock

Geneva – City of mountains, museums, fondues and peace

Geneva is a city where the world meets. The metropolis in French-speaking Switzerland is the headquarters of the United Nations, the Humanitarian Red Cross and calls itself the “Capital of Peace”. It is also a city with an unusually high density of sports cars and high-end boutiques. For travellers, Geneva is mainly about its museums and mountains.

The Geneva / Lausanne metropolitan region has about 1.2 million inhabitants. The city of Geneva is located in a bay on Lake Geneva, from which the Rhône River flows. The city is surrounded by the Jura Mountains and Mont Blanc.

Museums

Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva (or Lac Léman), Image: Samuel Borges Photography / shutterstock

There are many museums in Geneva. The city is not only known for the United Nations and banks, but also for the watches. In the Plainpalais district is the “Temple of the Watchmaker”, the Patek Philippe Museum of the same name. It contains the best movements of the local watchmakers. The Mamco is the largest Swiss museum for modern and contemporary art. The exhibitions at Mamco are world-famous.

Not far away is the Museum of Ethnology (MEG) with its ethnological collection, which includes 80,000 objects and 300,000 books. Apart from that, there are several natural science museums, such as the Musée d’histoire des sciences, the Microcosm or the Geneva Museum of Natural History.

Shopping in Geneva

Geneva, United Nations
The headquarters of the United Nations, Image: nexus 7 / shutterstock

Most of the high-end boutiques can be found in the area around the Rue du Rhône. If the prices here are too high for you, you can also look out for the many individual shops. This is especially good in the artists’ village of Carouge, the “Greenwich Village” of Geneva, or in the old town with its numerous alleys, boutiques, shops and galleries. The first shopping address was to be the Globus department store.

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Attractions in Geneva

The city’s landmark is the Jet d’eau, a jet of water that shoots 500 liters of water at a height of 140 meters. Especially from the Bains des Pâquis you have a good view of the Jet d’eau. In summer, the city meets here for swimming and in winter for fondue in the sauna. In the old town, travelers will find the Place du Bourg de Four and the Cathedral of St. Pierre.

The Parc des Bastions is a green idyll in the middle of the city. The Reformation Monument is also located here within the city walls. In front of the concert pavilion, you can play chess free of charge with large pieces. In winter, an ice rink is built here. The headquarters of the United Nations is located on Avenue-de-la-Paix. For those interested in history, a visit to the former fortification, Fort L’Écluse, is a good idea. As far as religious buildings are concerned, there is also the Châtillon-Michaille, the Basilique Notre-Dame de Genève and the Russian Orthodox Church of Geneva.

Cafés and restaurants

Café de la Paix is one of the oldest restaurants in the city and mainly offers a mix of Italian-French dishes. However, the title of the oldest restaurant in Geneva is claimed by the Café du Soleil. Here you will find the best fondue in Switzerland and other cheese specialties. The Café de la Gare serves typical Parisian brasserie dishes such as veal kidneys, sausage, black pudding, beef bourgignon and Swiss dishes. Chez Boubier, on the other hand, is famous for its unique butter.

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Around Geneva

Not only the city itself has a lot to offer. Mont Salève can only be reached within a few minutes from the city center by taking the cable car. Depending on the season, it is suitable for paragliding or skiing. Geneva’s vineyards are particularly suitable for day hikes, for example between Lake Geneva and the Arve River. Near Lausanne are the terraced vineyards of Lavaux. There are also a few castles in the area, such as the Château de Voltaire and the Château de Coppet.