Geneva is a city with a wealth of activities to do, whether you’re there on business or as a budget backpacker. Situated on the banks of Lake Geneva and with the Alps along the skyline, Geneva is a gem of Europe that is often overlooked by travelers. From its long history of making watches and chocolate to the exciting outdoor activities available such as paragliding off of Mont-Salève, there’s something for everyone in Gen
Here are 11 activities I can personally recommend for your visit to Geneva:
Just across the border in France, you can take the cable car up Mont-Salève for a breathtaking sight looking down on Geneva. If you have more time and are up for the challenge, you can also choose to hike up the mountain. At the top, you’re rewarded with stunning views of Geneva, the lake, and the Alps. There’s also the Panoramic Restaurant, if you’d like to fine dine with a view. For the adventurous ones, you can even paraglide off of the mountain and back over across the border to Switzerland.
2. HELICOPTER RIDE
Take to the skies with Swift Copters to truly get the best views of Geneva from above. Our 15 minute ride took us over the Jura Mountains, near the lake, and over the countryside just outside of the city.
3. LAKE CRUISE
See the famous Jet D’Eau from up close on a one-hour boat cruise on Lake Geneva. The cruises run constantly and are an easy and affordable way to see a bit of the lake and views of the city. And don’t worry, you can go inside if the weather is poor.
4. EXPLORE OLD TOWN
To get a feel of the real Geneva, have a nice wander around the cobblestone streets of Old Town, where every corner you turn is picture perfect. Here you will find wine taverns, art, and antiques galore, with the St. Pierre Cathedral and the Town Hall at the peak of the hill. If you don’t feel like exploring on your own, make use of one of the free walking tours available in the city.
5. ST. PIERRE CATHEDRAL
While you’re in the Old Town, take some time to visit the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre Genève and climb the tower all the way to the top. Once you’ve hiked up the 157 stairs, you’re rewarded with a panoramic view of the city and the lake. The cathedral itself also has an archaeological site located underneath it with antiquated treasures you can view.
6. HERMANCE VILLAGE
Get out of the city and take a quick boat ride across the lake to the charming village of Hermance. The houses are postcard-worthy, so be ready to snap some pictures. Also, book lunch at Café Restaurant Le Quai while you’re there for a delicious meal.
7. WINE TASTING
Venture out of the city to Château du Crest to sample local wines from the region. Geneva is the 3rd largest wine producer canton of Switzerland! Cheers!
Take an e-bike ride around outskirts of Geneva for a scenic tour of the vineyards. Even if you’re not a regular bicycler, electric biking is much more relaxing than a normal bike ride – it does a lot of the work for you!
9. CHOCOLATE WORKSHOP
Learn to make your own Swiss chocolate at the home of some of the world’s best chocolate. During our visit to Stettler, we sampled different forms of chocolate and learned from real chocolatiers how to make various treats. And, of course, we got to take our hard work home with us to enjoy it properly.
Switzerland is known for its long history of watchmaking, so you’d be remiss to not learn a bit about how they’re made. We did our tour with luxury watch manufacturer Roger Dubuis, makers of “haute horlogerie” as they call it. During our visit, we got to try our hand at putting pieces of the watch together, and try on some of their best merchandise.
11. GENEVA’S “BEACH”
If it’s hot outside, go for a swim at the Bains des Pâquis, Geneva’s “beach” of sorts. The beach is made up of an artificial peninsula that goes into the lake, allowing for swimming and sunbathing in the summer. It also has a magnificent view of Lake Geneva and the Jet D’Eau. Because of this, it’s very popular with both locals and tourists!