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Geneva City Guide

About Geneva

The scenic city of Geneva is situated where the River Rhône streams into Geneva Lake and is considered to be one of the best places in the world to live in.

This city is surrounded by the snow topped Swiss Alps has always been associated with religious and political tolerance. In fact it was here in Geneva John Calvin instituted his reform movement in the 16th century. The city is also associated with the origins of the League of Nations and the International Red Cross.

Geneva is a major center of democracy that is often referred to as the ‘Peace Capital’ of the world. The city hosts the European headquarters of the United Nations and is also home to the headquarters of several UN organizations like United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Affluent Geneva, additionally, is also an important center for finance in Europe that specializes in private banking and providing finance for international trade. As a result, Geneva is an important destination on the business travel map.

However, Geneva is far from being a dull, boring, institution heavy destination and the city is a favored vacation destination that is renowned for its picturesque setting, numerous museums and cultural events and sophisticated dining and shopping scenes.

Where to stay in Geneva

Geneva is a very compact city that is easily navigated on foot. The city is divided into two sections by its prominent water bodies namely Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) and the River Rhône. These two sections each have their own attractions and are both equipped with a wide range of hotels.

Rive Gauche(the Left or the South Bank)

The Left Bank contains the oldest part of the city in the form of the Old Town. The left bank is an animated area that hosts several streets known to be the main shopping haunts in Geneva. Also located here are pretty squares like the Place Neuve and verdant parks like the Jardin Anglais (English Garden) with its famed Flower Clock, the Parc La Grange and the Parc des Eaux-Vives. The Left Bank hosts a selection of hotels that aim to cater to all price points.

Rive Droite (Right or North Bank)

The Rive Droite is Geneva’s commercial epicenter that hosts its main railway station, Gare Cornavin, offices of prominent international organizations and many lush parks like the Parc de la Perle du Lac, Parc Barton, and the Parc Mon-Repos. Also located on the right bank of the River Rhône is the Place St Gervais, which is world famous for being the domain of upscale jewelers and watch makers in Geneva. The Right Bank offers a wider variety of hotels than the Left Bank and these hotels include luxury hotel properties, business-oriented hotels as well as discount hotels and budget accommodations.

Fare Buzz can supply you with cheap hotels deals for your vacation, no matter which bank you chose to make your base during your Geneva sojourn.

Places to see in Geneva
Jet d'Eau

The Jet d’Eau is the tallest fountain in the world and one of Geneva’s prime attractions. The fountain projects 140m (460 feet) into the air at a speed of 124 miles per hour (200km/h) as it pumps 132 gallons of water per second. This fountain was initially created to release the pressure for hydropower generation on the River Rhône but soon grew to become a much loved sight in Geneva.

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum provides a valuable insight into the gross implications of war and the tragedy that it brings through its various exhibits that include sculptures, photographs and films. These exhibits highlight the importance of human rights and the vital role the Red Cross plays in both times of war and natural disasters.

St Peter's Cathedral

Geneva’s St Peter’s Cathedral displays a mishmash of architectural styles as displays Romanesque, Gothic as well as Neo-classical features. Construction on the church commenced in 1160 and lasted for over a hundred years. This catholic cathedral was transformed into a Protestant church with the onset of Calvinism in Geneva during the 16th century.

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

Geneva’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is housed in a former factory and was inaugurated in 1994. The museum offers three floors of modern works that date from the 1960’s to present times. If you have a passion for contemporary art then this museum must make your sight-seeing list for Geneva.

Palais des Nations (United Nations)

The Palais des Nations was built to host the League of Nations in the late 1920’s. Today this imposing structure is housed in Ariana Park and is the home of the biggest UN station outside of the USA. The Palace of Nations building is situated in a charming setting on grounds that are laden with many trees and where peacocks roam freely.

Museum of Art and History

Geneva’s huge museum of art and history chronicles the history of western culture and civilization with its permanent collection of 7000 objects that include artworks, artifacts and archeological displays.

Patek Philippe Museum

Patek Philippe is one of the world’s most prestigious brands for timepieces and watches. This world renowned and highly coveted brand is handcrafted in Geneva. The Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva is an ode to the brand as it traces its evolution over the years. The museum is a recommended attraction for any watch lover on a visit to Geneva.

Best time to visit Geneva

The climate of Geneva can be best described as temperate. Geneva is situated at an altitude of 373.6 meters (1225 feet) around a lake and both these aspects affect the weather that prevails over the city all year round.

Summers in Geneva are generally warm to hot with average temperatures of 78F (25C) in the months of July and August. Winters in Geneva are usually mild with temperatures registering numbers just above or below freezing though ice storms around Lake Geneva are quite common as well. Geneva also receives much rainfall all throughout the year while heavy snowfall is a regular occurrence on the mountains that surround it.

Geneva is a popular gateway to the alpine ski resorts like Chamonix, Verbier, Samoens, Morillon and others that are easily accessible by car or train from the city center. Fare Buzz periodically offers attractive flight deals for Geneva and if you are looking for cheap air tickets for a ski vacation in the Geneva region, you would do well as to connect with Fare Buzz on Facebook and Twitter so that you are always in the know about these cheap air flights to Geneva.

Getting around in Geneva

Geneva is easily accessed by its Geneva Cointrin International Airport located three miles north of the city. This airport welcomes a whole host of carriers from all over the world. The Geneva airport is well connected by train and bus to the city center though the airport is also served by a free hotel shuttle bus that offers transfers to major hotels around the city.

Many visitors choose to rent a car for the duration of their stay in Geneva especially if they plan to visit the ski resorts around the city and across the border in France. If you too need to hire a car for your Geneva vacation, you should contact Fare Buzz for we offer a wide array of affordable car rentals for both Switzerland and France. The deals can be booked via our regular travel and hotel reservation platforms.

Geneva is a very compact city that can be easily navigated on foot. It is, nevertheless, equipped with an efficient public transport system that is made up of trams, buses and trolley buses that connect all points of the city. Abundant taxis ply on the road but getting around in a taxi in Geneva is quite expensive and you are better off walking or availing of its excellent public transport systems whilst on vacation in Geneva.

Where to shop in Geneva

Geneva may be small in size but the city is studded with great places to shop. The Swiss city is renowned as a center for the finer things in life, though they do not come cheap. Additionally, the selection offered by the stores in Geneva is quite mind-boggling and offers ample opportunity for window-shopping, a favored past time of locals and tourists to Geneva alike.

The best shopping in Geneva can be found around its city-center, particularly along the lively, pedestrianized street Rue de La Confederation. Other popular locales for shopping in Geneva include areas like the waterfront Rue du Mont Blanc, the Place du Molard, the Rue du Marche, la Rive Droite and Rue du Rhône. These varied areas of the city host a multitude of chic boutiques selling fine Swiss made watches, leather goods, designer apparel, antiques, art and other niceties like fine chocolates, Swiss handicrafts and good quality souvenirs.

Geneva’s Old Town area is yet another favored shopping haunt in the city. The Old Town’s Grand Rue is littered with stores offering arts and antiquities though some of the smaller, stores also offer inexpensive, popular souvenirs from Geneva like T-shirts, key-rings, pocket knives and cow pattern mugs. The Rue des Paquis, which features many vintage clothing stores and Geneva’s largest outdoor flea market, Plaine de Plainpalais usually, held on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, both offer a wealth of options for bargain-minded shoppers.

If you enjoy shopping at malls and department stores, then you will not be disappointed with Geneva’s offerings like the Centre Balexert, the Planete Charmilles, the Confederation Centre Shopping Mall, the Globus Department Store and the Manor Department Store.

It’s also worth remembering that most shops in Geneva are open Monday to Friday from 8.30 to 19.00 though on Thursdays stores in Geneva tend to stay open for business until 21.00, while on Sundays, several stores are shuttered or then open for limited hours from 9am until 6pm. Additionally Geneva also offers tax-free shopping at its many citywide stores and boutiques. Forms for tax refunds are usually supplied by the retailer where you make your purchases and then you need this form stamped by Swiss customs when you leave the country.

Where to eat in Geneva

Sin City is home to numerous restaurants serving every type of cuisine in almost every kind of environment. All the big name chefs ensure that they have representation in Las Vegas, for the city attracts hordes of international and domestic tourists all year round. A winning restaurant in Las Vegas, thus offers a sure-fire formula to get your name out there with the masses.

The list of highly-ranked eateries which are considered a must-try in Las Vegas include joints like Bar Masa (Japanese), Carnevino (Steak), Michael’s (continental), Bouchon Bistro (French), Bartolotta Restaurant di Mare (Italian), Joel Robuchon (French), Cut by Wolfgang Puck (Steakhouse), Lotus of Siam (Thai), Chada Thai and Wine (Thai), China Poblano (Asian-Mexican fusion), American Fish (seafood) and Abriya Raku (Japanese).

Nightlife in Geneva

The party never stops in Las Vegas and the bars, clubs and lounges in this aptly named ‘entertainment capital of the world’ seem to rock on 24/7. Popular nightlife haunts in the city currently include hot spots like the Marquee nightclub (at the Cosmopolitan), XS nightclub (t Encore), Tao (nightclub and restaurant at the Venetian), Rain in the desert (nightclub at Palms Casino Resort), Ghostbar (rooftop bar at Palms Casino Resort), Tryst (at the Wynn), Lax and Saville Row (bar) (at Luxor hotel and casino), and the Pussycat dolls lounge (Caesars Palace casino).