Eating Out

Geneva offers a fantastic selection of traditional and local fare, as well as excellent international and ethnic cuisine. Local specialities include fresh fish from the lake and a variety of pork dishes, including petit sale (salt pork) and longeole (pork sausage). While Swiss cheese is enjoyed worldwide, Geneva has copious amounts of Raclette, Emmenthal and Gruyere, among other well-known cheeses on offer. These can be tasted in the quintessential Swiss fondue. Traditional Swiss restaurants can be found throughout the city but Place du Cirque and Quay Turrettini have some of the best.

Diners eating out in Geneva will find a variety of international restaurants offering modern, traditional, ethnic or fusion menus. There are good French restaurants in the hotels on Quai Du Mont Blanc and Chemin du Petit Saconnex and on Rue de Lausanne. For Italian eateries, travellers should try Rue de Fribourg, while Spanish food is best on Rue de Coutance. Rue du Prieure has a delightful Indian restaurant, and there are great cafes on Boulevard Helvetique.

While the prices at top restaurants can be astronomical, the standards are just as high. There are also fixed-price menus available to lighten the load. Many Geneva restaurants close on weekends and especially Sundays, so travellers should call ahead to enquire; reservations are recommended.


Swiss jewellery, watches, wine and chocolate are the most popular tourist buys but, among all the shopping malls and boutique-lined streets, there are wonderful flea markets to discover, such as the Plainpalais Flea Market, which is held on the first Sunday of each month. The clothes and book market on the Place de la Madeleine is also great for bargain hunting.

The main area for shopping in Geneva is the Rues Basses, which is made up of Rue du Rhone, Rue de la Confederation and Rue du Marche, where all the best clothing and jewellery can be found. Travellers should visit to the Place du Mulard and enjoy browsing in some of the city's most glamorous and expensive shops or, for antique lovers, head to the old town, the best area to shop for antiques and art.

A shopping trip in Geneva wouldn't be complete without the obligatory purchase of the world-renowned chocolates that can be bought from one of the many confectioneries all across the city. However, for a real Swiss chocolate decadence, travellers should head to La Chocolaterie Rohr on Rue du Rhone and Place du Molard. Other popular Geneva souvenirs are the ubiquitous Swiss Army Knife, from established brands such as Wenger and Victorinox, and Swiss watches.

Most shops in Geneva open on Monday to Wednesday from 9am to 6:30pm while on Thursday shops close at 9pm. On Friday stores are open from 9am to 7:30pm. Shops open at 9am and close at 6pm on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays.


Geneva does not have the ribald party scene or vibrant nightlife culture that travellers might except for a city of its size and importance. Local youths tend to go to Lausanne when they let their hair down, and wealthy expats and local bankers frequent expensive restaurants and gentlemen's clubs.

The city's most lively areas are the Plaine de Plainpalais, which features many student bars due to its proximity to the University of Geneva, and the Place du Bourg de Four, near the old Town Hall, and it certainly has excellent classical music, opera and dance options. Other entertainment options include gambling at the Casino de Divonne and Movenpick Casino on the outskirts of town.