Geneva Travel Guide

Geneva at night

Highlights and top attractions in Geneva

Well known worldwide, the beautiful city of Geneva is treasured for its picturesque, lakeside setting and cosmopolitan lifestyle. Abundant in gardens, parks and historic monuments, Geneva has something to offer every kind of traveller.

Boasting central Europe’s biggest alpine lake, Geneva is the second-largest Swiss city. This stylish, upmarket destination has an international flavour and is famous for its banks. It also has plenty of deluxe hotels, jewellers, boutiques, chocolatiers and restaurants.

Lots of landmark organisations can be found here, including the International School of Geneva and the International Committee of the Red Cross as well as the World Health and World Trade Organisations.

Geneva also has a thriving counter-culture, centred around the energetic venues of the Quartier des Pâquis, Les Grottes, and in the post-industrial areas alongside the Rhône – popular with activists and artists alike.

Major events in Geneva

Antigel Festival

This event is spread across the entire canton, using atypical venues for a unique and varied programme of events that might include dance, aeronautical displays, music or a roller disco.

International Geneva Motor Show

Held during the first half of March, this international event includes demonstrations and prototypes from most of the major car makers in the world. Some regard this motor show as the most important on the planet.

Geneva Marathon

This marathon takes place in the city centre and makes a great spectacle each May. There are various races including 10km walk, 5 and 10km runs, handcycle and wheelchair races or a half marathon.

Fete De La Musique

Free concerts form part of Geneva’s largest music festival, held in late May to mid-June. Using 30 plus outdoor venues, food stalls and all sorts of music can be sampled all over the city.

Bol d’Or Mirabaud 

As Europe’s biggest and most important sailing regatta, Bol d’Or Mirabaud features competitions between over 500 boats. This event, for amateurs as well as professionals, takes place on Lake Geneva. 

Geneva skyline at night

How to get to Geneva

There are good rail connections to Geneva from all over Switzerland and beyond. The train trip takes about 1 hours and 45 minutes from Bern, 2 hours and 45 minutes from Zurich or 3 hours from Lucerne.

The drive to Geneva will take around 2 hours 40 minutes from Lucerne, 1 hour 40 minutes from Bern or 2 hours and 50 minutes from Zurich.

Geneva also has a major international airport that also offers domestic routes.

Geneva Info

Population: 200,000

Canton: Geneva

Language spoken: French

Average high temperatures: January – 4C / 40F; April – 15C / 59F; July – 26C / 79F; October – 15C / 59F

Christmas market dates: 16 November – 24 December, to be confirmed.  (Click here to learn more).

Read all our Geneva articles by clicking on the guides below …

Listen to our podcast episodes about Geneva …