Switzerland’s second-largest city is a bustling cosmopolitan city and yet a distinct Swiss soul. Sitting on the shores of Lake Geneva, it houses the headquarters of the International Red Cross, World Trade Organisation (WTO) and World Health Organisation (WHO). The lake splits the city into two halves. One half of the city showcases its old heart while the other portrays its new avatar. The modern version of the city is dotted by newer hotels and restaurants while the other half of it houses the Old Town that contains the business and shopping quarter.
Geneva’s Old Town is a fascinating time machine that offers a sneak peek into the city’s long history. Settled above the Rhône River, the Old Town’s ring of buildings and broad streets follow the lines of the city’s ancient fortifications. Lake Geneva’s shore on this side is lined with parks, gardens and promenades that make for a buzzing lakefront. The two halves of the city are connected by the Mouettes Genevoises, motor launches that have been plying here since 1897.
Geneva is surrounded by France from almost all sides. Only the lake and a narrow strip of land along its northwest shore connect the city to Switzerland. Lake Geneva is the core of Geneva’s tourism experience and a prominent part of the city. It holds Geneva’s most important landmark and the symbol of the city, the Jet d’Eau, a plume of water that shoots 145 metres up in the air. Being so close to the French border, Geneva is predominantly a French-speaking city. So don’t be surprised to find French names all over the city. The Horloge Fleuri (Flower Clock) in Jardin Anglais (English Garden) is the symbol of Switzerland’s world-famous watch industry.
Geneva is a fascinating blend of contrasts. On one hand it holds sway as an important financial seat of Switzerland, while on the other it nurtures a counter-culture which is full of unfettered artistic energy. Here’s a close look at Geneva’s tourism culture that will help you prepare for an exciting holiday.
|Geneva Tourism : A Quick Overview|
|Dial Code||41-22-contact number|
|Area||15.92 sq. km.|
Geneva is touted as the city of 1001 delights, the greatest of chocolate makers and the most precise watch makers. Kick off your sightseeing with Geneva’s Old Town at the Temple de Saint-Pierre. Built way back in 1150, it features distinct Gothic elements and has undergone significant renovations since then. You can climb to the top of one of the two principal towers for some amazing views of the lake and the town.
Some distance away from the temple you’ll find Place du Bourg-de-Four, possibly the oldest square in Old Town. The highlights of the square are an 18th-century fountain and the Palais de Justice which housed the courts of law since the 1860s. For a more detailed history lesson, head to the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire (Art and History Museum). It houses a treasure trove of artefacts that includes 16th-century art and weapons, Egyptian Funerary Art and Middle Eastern and Eastern Mediterranean antiquities. It is one of the largest three museums in Switzerland.
But the Ariana Museum and the Patek Philippe Museum are even more fascinating. The former is dedicated to ceramics and glassware and showcases the history of ceramic art from the Middle Ages to the modern times. It is also the seat of International Academy of Ceramics. The Patek Philippe Museum is dedicated to the horological expertise of a watch company that has been creating precision-crafted works of art since 1839.
With such a wide array of experiences, Geneva is a dream holiday destination that is fun for the entire family.
Switzerland has a fantastic outdoors culture and it is very much apparent here in Geneva. Apart from its history and culture, there are many outdoor activities to be enjoyed in and around the city. The Salève Mountain is known as ‘the balcony of Geneva’. Located just 45 minutes from the city, it is a prime spot to jump off on a paragliding adventure.
Geneva is surrounded by mountains, which makes rock climbing a must-try outdoor activity. From simple single-pitch climbs to challenging multi-pitch ascents, everyone will find one to match their expertise. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the city, the mountains and the lake.
Mountaineering is just a variation on rock climbing, one that requires a longer commitment. Plan a couple of days and head to Chamonix, an hour and a half outside the city. The 3,540-metre-tall Aiguille du Tour is the northern end of the Mont Blanc range. Its name translates as ‘tower needle’, which is apt considering the rocky spire at the top. From there you can see the Mont Blanc itself and the surrounding Swiss Alps.
Chamonix also has some great running trails that are a part of the Mont Blanc Marathon. The Ultra-trail du Mont Blanc offers breathtaking views of Western Europe’s highest peak. Closer to home, you can experience the thrill of free-diving in Lake Geneva. Dive into the depths of Lake Geneva without any breathing aids and experience the solace of the deep, unencumbered with bulky equipment.
From the highs of the mountains to the depths of the lake, your holiday in Geneva will be a rollercoaster of adventure that will get your adrenaline pumping with excitement.
Geneva offers you the finest choices when it comes to shopping. Between Rue du Rhône, Rue du Marché and Rue du Mont Blanc you get access to Geneva’s most glamorous and exclusive shopping locales. The luxury boulevard of Rue du Rhône is home to flagship boutiques of world-famous fashion brands such as Chanel, Dior, Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Gucci. These are suitably complemented by luxurious watch and accessories brands like Omega, Montblanc, Chopard, Bulgari, Cartier and Tiffany.
The bustling Rue du Marché caters to more trendy fashion brands like Hugo Boss, Mango and Benetton. Do not miss the seven-storied Bongénie Department Store if you want to shop for Swiss souvenirs. On the other side of the River Rhône, the peaceful Rue du Mont Blanc showcases independent Swiss boutiques. These include jewellers, chocolatiers and exclusive watch brands like Swatch.
But what should you really buy in Geneva? Buying a Swiss watch in Switzerland has a special appeal and the experience should not be missed. The same goes for chocolates. Switzerland is also known for its cheeses. Include some local cheeses with your quota of chocolates. Other souvenirs worth shopping for are cuckoo clocks, Swiss army knives and the quintessential Swiss cow bells. Knick-knacks like fridge magnets, T-shirts, music boxes, snow globes and small figurines also make great souvenirs to carry back home.
Geneva’s French influences are very much apparent in its cuisine. From Michelin-starred restaurants to charming traditional cafes, Geneva has a goodly collection of culinary institutions. Café du Soleil is a fine example of a popular eatery that does not break the bank. It specialises in Swiss cheese fondue served with fruity local wines in a relaxed informal atmosphere.
At the other end of the scale is Hôtel Restaurant du Parc des Eaux-Vives. It is one of the most exclusive fine dining destinations in Geneva. It is located in a magnificent 18th-century building overlooking Lake Geneva. You get a choice between a brassiere lunch menu, a picnic basket and a-la-carte menu. The menu changes every season and all meals are accompanied by gorgeous views of the lake.
For more familiar tastes, head to Rasoi headed by the award-winning chef Vineet Bhatia. His creations provide a twist to the traditional Indian flavours. Rasoi has the distinction of being the only restaurant serving ‘ethnic cuisine’ in Europe with two Michelin stars. Café des Bains is a chic, modern coffee house that will serve meals within a Bohemian interior. You will find many quaint cafés In and around Geneva’s Old Town that will provide you authentic Swiss cuisine.
Geneva is located on the southwestern end of Lake Geneva, where the Rhône flows out, near the French border. It is surrounded by three mountain ranges: Jura, Vauche and Salève. Interestingly, the city is almost encircled by the French border with only a narrow strip of land and Lake Geneva connecting it to Switzerland.
Each season in Geneva has its own charm. But the best time to visit would be between June and August. The mild summer weather unlocks all outdoor activities and the days are blessed with plenty of sunshine. The evenings are breezy and the nights are pleasant. This is the time for hiking, mountaineering and rock climbing. Lake Geneva comes alive with a host of activities along its banks. However, if you want the thrill of skiing, any time between December and April is the perfect time to be in Geneva.
The Geneva International Airport handles a number of flights coming in from India. A whole lot of international airlines such as Air India, British Airways, Air France, Swiss Air and more service this route. You can board a flight to Geneva from any major Indian city like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. However, do note that a majority of flights from India have at least one stop in between.
Zurich’s airport is only 4 km away from the city centre. A train journey between the airport and the central station takes only 6 minutes. Buses and taxis take around 15-20 minutes, but taxis cost a lot more than buses.
With a Thomas Cook holiday package, you do not have to worry about the finer details. Book your Geneva holiday online or visit us at your nearest Thomas Cook branch. Allow us to help you plan your perfect Swiss holiday.
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Geneva is one of the most populous and popular cities of Switzerland which invites a lot of tourists to go for Geneva holidays. Exploring the Old Town in the city during your tour can be an exquisite experience. Lake Geneva, the Pont du Mont Blanc Bridge, the English Garden with its flower clock and water fountain can grab your attention when you travel. The Saint Peter's Cathedral is another important landmark in the city, which is part of this travel packages.
The Quartier des Grottes can appear interesting to any visitor going there with the Geneva holiday packages, where all the residential buildings defy the traditional straight-line structures. The museums are other popular aspects of Geneva which have a lot of exhibits depicting Swiss-French art and archeological remains.
The Motor show, the Yacht Race and the Firework display during August are other popular events which call in visitors to experience Geneva tour with this vacation packages. Treating your taste buds with chocolates, wines and buying fashion and golden wristwatches can be the other indulgences you can splurge on when you go on your trip to Geneva.