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Things To Do In Geneva
Geneva is a picturesque city with views of the great snow-covered Alps, Lake Geneva, home to the United Nations European Headquarters and scores of culture and history in its architecture! Visiting all its tourist spots is one aspect to visiting this Swiss wonderland, but the other aspect is enjoying it in unique ways that make your holiday a lot more fun! There are so many things to do in Geneva like visiting its many museums, doing adventure-based activities like hiking, skiing, horseback riding and also just relaxing in its parks and beaches. Here's our list of the top things to do in Geneva.
There are many museums in Geneva and doing a round of the best ones is definitely a great way to spend a day! The Natural History Museums exhibits some really interesting life-size model menageries of different animals. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum is a unique one which gives you an inside look at the history of humanitarian action including Defending human dignity, Reducing natural risks and Restoring family links. The Art & History Museum is the largest museum of Geneva and boasts a collection of over 1 million pieces. Tavel House (Maison Tavel) is a residential house that was almost burnt down in 1334 but has been restored and made into a museum and offers tourists a look into daily-life artefacts of people living in Geneva in the middle ages. The Patek Philippe Museum has a grand display of swiss watches, music boxes, miniatures and pistols! Ariana Museum has a beautiful array of stoneware, pottery, porcelain and glass products from the 1300s. Most of the museums open by 10 am and shut by 5 pm and are closed on Mondays. However, we would implore you to check the timings before you make the trip as they are subject to change.
Heritage Walk Of Geneva's Old Town
Geneva's old town area is filled with beautiful architecture, heritage sites, government buildings and loads of restaurants and cafes! Thriving with tourists, it is a great place to walk around and soak in the ambience. The best place would be to start from the Place de Neuve and walk north towards the Grand Rue. Visit the Hotel de Ville, walk towards the Town Hall which is Geneva's political headquarters. Check out the mosaics at the L'ancien arsenal and move towards Maison Tavel Museum. Take a short detour to visit the passage de Monetier and walk past Rue du Purgatoire to reach St. Peters Cathedral. Move on to Place du Bourg-de-Four, Geneva's most famous square, down to Rue Saint-Léger and then finally to the Reformation Wall where you can also spend some time resting in the park.
Cruise Along On Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva is a very happening tourist spot and offers some wonderful cruises depending on your requirement. You can take a quick one hour tour that offers some great sights of the city from over the waters. You can get a unique view of the Jet d'Eau, see Port Noir, Les Pierres du Niton, Castle of Bellerive and the mermaid statue apart from other sights. There are also interesting Fondue Cruises which give you the experience of having Fondue on a boat! Or you could simply rent out a boat just for yourself and enjoy some quality family time cruising around the lake.
Hike Mont Salève
Mont Salève is just 12 km south of Geneva and is a popular place for hiking and nature walks. It's perfect for a quick day trip from Geneva. The hike up takes about 4 hours and can be a bit steep at places. Other alternatives are to take the cable car up or you can even drive all the way to the top, to the plateau, and from there you can hike on one of the marked trails. There are some incredible views to be had from up Mont Salève and should definitely be on your itinerary.
CERN - The European Organization for Nuclear Research was established in 1954 and it operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world! Whether you are interested in science or not, this is definitely one of the most interesting and unique things to do in Geneva! CERN offers free guided tours of their premises for groups of 12-48 and the tour lasts around 3 hours. Discovering the mysteries of the Universe is definitely a great way to spend your afternoon!
Bathe At The Bains des Pâquis
A popular spot with tourists is the Bains des Pâquis, located near the lake, which consists of Hamams and Turkish Baths. It is a lovely way to rejuvenate yourself! There are 2 hammams - 1 for both genders and the other only for women. Some people tend to wear bathing costumes, while others can go completely nude, so if you do visit, make sure you are comfortable with this process. You can also get some massages done at reasonable prices. You can also relax by the beach near by and enjoy some sun-bathing activities, swimming as well as some zip-line action!
For those interested in indulging in some winter sports - Geneva is one of the top ski hubs of the world! There are many buses that offer daily round trips to ski destinations near Geneva like Chamonix, Avoriaz, Les Gets, Clusaz, Les Houches, Diablerets, Verbier, Flaine and Grand Bornand amongst others. You can also check with local ski clubs in Geneva that offer regular outings and day trips. There are more than 200 ski resorts, all less than 100 km from Geneva!
Ride A Horse!
Wandering the swiss countryside on a horse is an extraordinary way to see the beauty of Switzerland. It is a sacred tradition in Geneva and you will find many stables around Geneva that offer training as well as simple excursions. The entire experience can be magical and quite picturesque and is perfect for you if you love nature, wildlife and adventure! Even if you don't know horse riding, you have the option of raking with you a guide, who shall steer and gallop and pace the horse for you.
Ride A Mini Train
The mini-train within Geneva is a great way to hit all the top tourists sites of the city, without tiring your feet! Just sit back, relax and watch through the window, the beautiful city of Geneva passing by. You can hop on different trains to experience different tours. The Paquis Express starts from Quai du Mont Blanc and runs for 35 minutes. The STT train tour departs from Place du Rhone and lasts about 45 minutes. The Les Corsaires departs from the English Garden and runs for 30 minutes. Each of them showcasing a different side of Geneva. Most of them with a voice recorded tour guide.
Check Out The Flower Clock!
Watch-making is synonymous with Switzerland and Geneva specifically. As a tribute, apart from having some of the most luxurious and expensive watches, they also have a flower clock known as the L'horloge fleurie, which was made in 1955 and is popular the world over. It is the largest clock that is made of flowers. It is interesting to note that the flowers that bloom are different in different seasons of the year! So it is always filled with flowers which makes it fresh and new each time you visit it!