Geneva is a gorgeous city, one that’s filled with mountains of chocolate, some incredible history and a water jet that’ll put any fireman’s hose to shame. Surrounded by the Alps to the south, the city is a perfect place to begin your adventure in Switzerland.
After many years of itching to visit, we finally made it to Geneva not too long ago… and boy it didn’t disappoint!
This was our first-ever visit to Switzerland (a travesty that I’m very well aware of), with the closest we’d previously got was scoffing a Toblerone on a lazy Saturday night.
This trip had been a long time coming, and with our excitement already piqued, we couldn’t wait to get ‘on the ground’ to discover our own piece of Geneva.
As you might remember from our vlog where we paraglided from France into Switzerland (Yes, I did make those pretty awful faces when we did the free-falling acrobatics).
Also, if you want to try an epic paragliding flight from Geneva, then book this tour that’s so much fun. You’ll get the chance to go paragliding over the Swiss Alps, spot the beautiful Jungfrau and explore Interlaken.
Just be sure to book in advance, spots on these tours fill up fast.
We can’t wait to share more of our pics on what to see, do and eat – but we wanted to run-down our the very best places that every traveller should see when visiting this unique Swiss city.
1.) Climb the towers of St. Pierre Cathedral
One of the best ways to see a new city is by seeing it from above, heading across to St. Pierre Cathedral and climbing the two tall towers that offer some pretty epic views across the city and Lake Geneva itself.
One of the best things to remember is that the south tower is best to view in glorious sunny weather – its open-air balcony makes it pretty special. On the other hand, if you’ve arrived on a pretty chilly (or wet) day, make sure to climb the north tower.
Top tip: Check out the seating inside the cathedral itself, the pews were carved especially for each person, with each seat being of different sizes to accommodate the different sized derrieres.
That’s a whole new level of body-shaming right there.
Finally, be sure to check out our favourite tours of Geneva that depart from the city (see below). They’re well worth booking in advance, especially if you’re wanting to book tickets that sell out or day trips into the beautiful Alps.
2.) Paraglide from France to Switzerland
This is one high-octane activity that’ll get your blood pumping! Head to the top of Mont Salève where you will literally run off the cliff edge (with a parachute behind).
As terrifying as it might sound, it’s actually a whole heap of fun and the perfect way to see this incredible region…
…plus, it’s not every day you can actually paraglide from one country to the next. You can book this similar paragliding tour that’s so much fun. Plus, you’ll get to glide over the Swiss Alps.
Top tip: Be prepared for changes in weather, even the slightest change will mean you might need to reschedule your jump off the mountain.
3.) Walk the cobbled streets of the old town
The old town of Geneva is a pretty special place, filled with centuries of beautiful buildings, history, and culture that’s well worth a gander at!
Make sure to plan your visit around lunchtime – there are many little cafes and restaurants that are well worth popping in.
Oh, don’t forget to take a little r&r on the longest bench in the world too!
Top Tip: Take comfy shoes, cobbled streets are pretty but not always your feet or ankles best friend.
4.) Indulge with a cheese fondue
There’s no way you can visit Switzerland without treating yourself to delicious cheese fondue.
Grab yourself some dipping bread, and a piping hot cheesy pot and enjoy this gorge-fest of a treat.
Top tip: Make sure to try a goat’s cheese fondue, it’s insanely delicious.
5.) Paddleboard across Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva is a very special place, its stunning scenery and clean waters are the perfect places to go paddleboarding in the warmer months.
Grab yourself a wetsuit, paddleboard and a healthy dose of enthusiasm for an incredible experience.
Top tip: Head around mid-afternoon and follow up with a bite to eat at Tropical Corner too.
6.) Watch the sunset at Tropical Corner
After a fun afternoon of paddleboarding on Lake Geneva, make sure to pop into Tropical Corner.
With live DJs and a wicked atmosphere, this place is the perfect place to start your evening and a favourite of locals.
Top tip: Head here around sunset and watch the lake transform with orangey hues.
Oh, and don’t forget to book this Lake Geneva cruise that’s just so beautiful; especially around sunset. We loved it and it’s a great family-friendly and chilled way to explore.
Just be sure to book your tickets in advance; they can fill up fast at peak times.
8.) Discover the Italian Quarter
Carouge is a picturesque area that has now been incorporated into the city limits of Geneva itself.
Carouge has a long history with Italian and Sardinian residents, with their influence still evident in this pretty little district that’s perfect for a weekend stroll.
Top tip: Visit the fresh produce market to pick up some freshly baked treats.
9.) See where the rivers meet!
A fun little quirk of Geneva is La Pointe de la Jonction where two, very different rivers meet! One rather muddy and one crystal clear.
This meeting point has become famous for actually seeing the merging of the rivers themselves. In the warmer months, you can even float down the rivers (as the locals do).
Top tip: La Pointe de la Jonction is a great place to enjoy in the summer months!
10.) Drink black gold at Valmandin
If you’re looking for one of the best coffee shops in Geneva, then take a hop, skip and a jump to Valmandin.
This independent coffee house serves some of the best varieties of coffee in the city – they even sell personalised mixtures for you to take home too.
Top tip: If you’re not sure what coffee to have, make sure to ask… the amazing gang at Valmandin truly has a nose for good and extra special blends!
11.) Brunch at Birdie
If you’re looking for the city’s best brunch spot, then head to Birdie Food & Coffee. This gorgeous hideout makes the best eggs that’ll set you right for the day.
Top tip: Try some of their freshly created juices that are made (and different) every day!
12.) Dine at Grand Bottle Brothers
Grand Bottle Brothers is one of Geneva’s hippest restaurants (is it hip to say hip?).
Head over here and try some of the expertly crafted meals that showcase some of the very best in regional cuisine from around Geneva.
The whole ethos of Grand Bottle Brothers is very cool, with the food being some of the best we’ve tasted!
Top tip: If you’re visiting on a weekend, make sure to book ahead – tables fill up very fast!
Ohhhhh, and don’t forget…
See Jet d’Eau (it sounds so sophisticated in French… Water jet just doesn’t have the same ring to it, eh).
Make sure to pop along and see this incredible fountain in all its glory.
Top tip: Jet d’Eau is easily spotted from the shores of Lake Geneva, or from the very top of the cathedral too… just take an umbrella in case the winds change.