Geneva Travel Guide

Thanks to its green parks, colourful gardens and lakeside promenades, Geneva is considered one of the healthiest places to live in the world. The city sits astride the River Rhone, where it streams into Lake Geneva, and is set against a dramatic backdrop of mountains. At the lake's south shore the Jet d'Eau shoots water 460ft (140m) into the sky from the end of a pier. It is the city's landmark attraction and Europe's most powerful fountain.

Undoubtedly Switzerland's most cosmopolitan city, Geneva's reputation for religious and political tolerance dates back more than five hundred years. In the 16th century the city spawned the religious teachings of John Calvin, and Geneva was where Lenin spent his 'years of recreation'. Little of their Puritanism is left today, when stately homes line the banks of the lake and overlook an armada of luxury yachts, and jewels and designer labels spill out of exclusive boutiques and into chauffeur-driven limousines that glide down palatial avenues.

As well as a host of museums and fine galleries, Geneva has a lively cultural calendar. Most notable is the celebration of l'Escalade in December, which involves costumed and torch-lit processions through the town, and the consumption of vast amounts of chocolate and marzipan.

Geneva is a gateway to Switzerland's luxury ski resorts, an important banking centre and home to thousands of international delegates and diplomats. Among the many international organisations based in the city are the United Nations and the International Red Cross.

Best time to visit Geneva

The best weather for a holiday in Geneva is experienced during the height of summer, July and August, but this is also the time when the city attracts thousands of tourists. Spring and autumn are less crowded and are pleasant times to travel to Geneva, though rain can be expected all year round. During late winter many travel to Geneva to access nearby ski resorts, and in December the city sees many tourists for the annual l'Escalade Festival.

What to see in Geneva

-Take in some culture at the Barbier-Mueller Museum.

-Marvel at one of the tallest fountains in the world, the Jet d'Eau.

-See true Swiss craftsmanship at the Patek Philippe Museum.

-Visit the cultural hub of Geneva, Place Neuve.

What to do in Geneva

-Bask in the stained-classed windows of St Peter's Cathedral.

-See the grand headquarters of the United Nations.

-Visit the cutting edge Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

-Explore the captivating Museum of Art and History.

Beyond Geneva

Geneva has an excellent transport network, including railways, roads and airlines. It is easy to get anywhere in and around Switzerland from Geneva; it is one of the best connected cities in Europe. From Geneva travellers have easy access to the Swiss Alps and other major attractions and ski resorts in the country, including the breathtaking Chateau de Chillon and the scenic town of Lausanne, which is situated on the sparkling shores of Lake Geneva.

Getting there

Flights to Geneva land at Geneva International Airport, located just two and a half miles (4km) from central Geneva.

Did you know?

-With 40 percent of its residents coming from outside of Switzerland, Geneva is the most international city in the world.

-Lake Geneva, located adjacently to the city, is the one of the largest lakes in Europe.

-Geneva is the birthplace of the internet as we know it today.