38 Things To Do In Geneva

Things To Do In Geneva

Geneva, Switzerland’s second-largest city, is a cosmopolitan hub that blends natural beauty, cultural heritage, and modern sophistication. Nestled by the picturesque Lake Geneva and surrounded by the Alps, this city offers an abundance of activities for travelers of all interests. Whether you’re drawn to historic landmarks, outdoor adventures, culinary delights, or cultural experiences, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Geneva. This guide highlights the top attractions and hidden gems to help you make the most of your visit to this enchanting city.

Things To Do In Geneva

  1. Visit the Jet d’Eau

The Jet d’Eau is one of the tallest fountains in the world, shooting water up to 140 meters high. It’s an iconic symbol of Geneva, visible from many parts of the city. Located at the point where Lake Geneva empties into the Rhone River, the Jet d’Eau is especially beautiful at sunset when it’s illuminated. A stroll along the lakeshore will bring you up close to this magnificent sight. Nearby, you can relax in the English Garden (Jardin Anglais), which houses the famous Flower Clock, a testament to the city’s watchmaking heritage.

  1. Explore the Old Town (Vieille Ville)

Geneva’s Old Town is a labyrinth of narrow, cobblestone streets and picturesque squares. At its heart is St. Peter’s Cathedral, a historical gem with roots dating back to the 4th century. Climb to the top of the cathedral for panoramic views of the city. Don’t miss the Maison Tavel, the oldest house in Geneva, which now serves as a museum showcasing the city’s history. The Old Town is also filled with charming cafes, antique shops, and boutiques, making it perfect for a leisurely day of exploration.

  1. Discover the United Nations Office

The United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) is a must-visit for anyone interested in global politics and international relations. Guided tours are available and offer insights into the workings of the UN, its history, and its role in world affairs. The tour includes visits to important rooms such as the Assembly Hall and the Council Chamber. The Ariana Park surrounding the UN building is also worth a visit, featuring peacocks and beautiful landscaping.

  1. Enjoy Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva, or Lac Léman, is the largest lake in Western Europe and offers a plethora of activities. You can take a boat cruise to enjoy the scenic beauty and see the city from a different perspective. For the more adventurous, there are opportunities for water sports like paddleboarding, kayaking, and sailing. Along the lake’s shores, you’ll find numerous parks and promenades perfect for picnics, jogging, or simply relaxing.

  1. Visit the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum

This museum offers a moving and educational experience, detailing the history and work of the Red Cross and Red Crescent movements. Through interactive exhibits and personal stories, visitors gain a deeper understanding of humanitarian efforts worldwide. The museum is located close to the United Nations Office, making it easy to combine both visits in a single day.

  1. Stroll Through Parc des Bastions

Parc des Bastions is a peaceful green space located near the University of Geneva. It features the Reformation Wall, a monument commemorating key figures of the Protestant Reformation. The park also has giant chess boards, making it a fun spot for a casual game. During winter, an ice rink is set up, adding to the park’s charm. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy some quiet time amidst nature.

  1. Explore Carouge

Carouge, often referred to as Geneva’s “Greenwich Village,” is a bohemian neighborhood with a distinct Italian influence. Its streets are lined with artisan shops, boutiques, and cozy cafes. The area is known for its vibrant nightlife, with numerous bars and live music venues. Carouge also hosts a variety of markets, including a popular flea market where you can find unique treasures.

  1. Visit the Patek Philippe Museum

Geneva is renowned for its watchmaking, and the Patek Philippe Museum is a testament to this legacy. The museum showcases an impressive collection of timepieces dating back to the 16th century. It also features antique watches, musical automata, and portrait miniatures. Whether you are a watch enthusiast or simply curious, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the art of watchmaking.

  1. Take a Day Trip to Mont Salève

Mont Salève, known as Geneva’s local mountain, is just a short drive or cable car ride away from the city. It offers spectacular views of Geneva, Lake Geneva, and the surrounding Alps. The mountain is a popular spot for outdoor activities like hiking, paragliding, and mountain biking. In winter, it becomes a haven for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It’s an ideal destination for a day of adventure and fresh air.

  1. Experience the Geneva International Motor Show

If you are in Geneva during March, the Geneva International Motor Show is a must-visit. It is one of the most important automobile exhibitions in the world, showcasing the latest innovations and designs from top car manufacturers. The event attracts car enthusiasts and industry professionals from around the globe, offering a glimpse into the future of the automotive world.

  1. Explore CERN

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, is the world’s largest particle physics laboratory. Visitors can take guided tours to learn about groundbreaking research and see the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. The Globe of Science and Innovation offers interactive exhibitions that explain complex scientific concepts in an accessible way.

  1. Visit the Botanical Gardens (Jardin Botanique)

Geneva’s Botanical Gardens are a tranquil oasis spread over 28 hectares, featuring over 16,000 species of plants. The gardens include themed areas such as the Alpine Garden and a conservatory with tropical plants. It’s a great place for a leisurely walk, a picnic, or simply to appreciate the beauty of nature.

  1. Tour the Museum of Natural History

The Museum of Natural History in Geneva is perfect for families and anyone interested in the natural world. It showcases extensive collections of animals, minerals, and fossils. Interactive displays and dioramas provide educational and engaging experiences for visitors of all ages. The museum’s exhibits on local wildlife and global biodiversity are particularly noteworthy.

  1. Visit the Art and History Museum

The Art and History Museum (Musée d’Art et d’Histoire) is Geneva’s largest museum, housing an impressive collection of fine art, applied arts, and archaeology. Highlights include works by artists such as Rodin and Cézanne, as well as ancient artifacts from Egypt and Rome. The museum’s diverse exhibits offer a deep dive into various aspects of human culture and history.

  1. Walk Along the Promenade de la Treille

The Promenade de la Treille is a historic walkway offering stunning views of the city and the Jura Mountains. It is home to the world’s longest wooden bench, stretching over 120 meters. The promenade is particularly beautiful in the spring when the chestnut trees are in bloom. It’s a perfect spot for a relaxing stroll or a moment of quiet reflection.

  1. Discover Bains des Pâquis

Bains des Pâquis is a popular lakeside bathing spot that offers much more than just swimming. You can relax in the saunas, enjoy a massage, or dine at the on-site restaurant, which serves fondue and other local specialties. In summer, it’s a lively spot for sunbathing and socializing, while in winter, the saunas and fondue nights create a cozy atmosphere.

  1. Explore the Brunswick Monument

The Brunswick Monument is a mausoleum built in the style of a Gothic cathedral, dedicated to Charles II, Duke of Brunswick. It’s located near the lake and serves as a striking piece of architecture amidst Geneva’s urban landscape. The surrounding park is a lovely place for a walk and offers great photo opportunities.

  1. Take a Chocolate Tasting Tour

Switzerland is famous for its chocolate, and Geneva offers several opportunities to indulge in this sweet treat. Many local chocolatiers offer guided tours and tastings, where you can learn about the chocolate-making process and sample some of the best chocolates in the world. This is a delightful experience for chocolate lovers of all ages.

  1. Visit the Reformation Museum

The International Museum of the Reformation (Musée International de la Réforme) is located in the house where John Calvin lived. It tells the story of the Protestant Reformation and its impact on Geneva and the world. Through documents, paintings, and interactive exhibits, visitors can gain a deeper understanding of this pivotal period in history.

  1. Discover the Quartier des Bains

The Quartier des Bains is Geneva’s contemporary art district, home to numerous galleries, studios, and cultural institutions. The district hosts regular art exhibitions, events, and the popular Nuit des Bains, an evening where galleries open their doors to the public. It’s a vibrant area for art enthusiasts to explore the latest in contemporary art.

  1. Attend a Concert at Victoria Hall

Victoria Hall is a beautiful concert venue known for its excellent acoustics and stunning architecture. It hosts a variety of performances, including classical music concerts, jazz evenings, and more. Attending a concert here is a wonderful way to experience Geneva’s rich cultural scene.

  1. Explore Parc La Grange

Parc La Grange is Geneva’s largest park, featuring beautifully landscaped gardens, ancient trees, and a stunning rose garden with over 200 varieties of roses. The park also hosts outdoor theater performances and concerts during the summer. It’s a perfect place for a relaxing day outdoors, offering plenty of space for picnics and leisurely walks.

  1. Take a Boat Trip to Yvoire

Yvoire is a charming medieval village located on the French side of Lake Geneva, easily accessible by boat from Geneva. The village is renowned for its well-preserved medieval architecture, beautiful gardens, and lovely waterfront. A day trip to Yvoire offers a delightful escape from the city, allowing visitors to step back in time and enjoy picturesque scenery.

  1. Experience the Geneva Festival (Fêtes de Genève)

Held every August, the Geneva Festival is a grand event featuring fireworks, concerts, food stalls, and various entertainment activities. The festival attracts locals and tourists alike, offering a vibrant atmosphere along the lake. It’s a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy spectacular fireworks displays over Lake Geneva.

  1. Visit the MEG – Musée d’ethnographie de Genève

The Museum of Ethnography (MEG) in Geneva houses an extensive collection of artifacts from around the world. The museum’s exhibits cover various cultures, showcasing objects related to daily life, art, and rituals. The building itself is an architectural marvel, and the museum often hosts temporary exhibitions and cultural events.

  1. Explore the MAMCO – Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMCO) is the largest contemporary art museum in Switzerland. It features rotating exhibitions from both Swiss and international artists. The museum is housed in a former factory building, which adds an industrial charm to its cutting-edge exhibits. Art lovers will appreciate the diverse range of works on display.

  1. Take a Gourmet Food Tour

Geneva is a culinary delight with a diverse food scene influenced by its international residents. Join a gourmet food tour to sample local specialties such as fondue, raclette, and fine Swiss chocolates. Tours often include visits to local markets, artisan shops, and renowned restaurants, providing a delicious and insightful experience of the city’s cuisine.

  1. Visit the Fondation Martin Bodmer

Located in nearby Cologny, the Fondation Martin Bodmer is a literary museum and library with a remarkable collection of rare books and manuscripts. Highlights include original works by Shakespeare, Mozart, and Einstein, as well as ancient texts like the Gutenberg Bible. The foundation is set in a beautiful building with views over Lake Geneva, making it a serene and enriching visit.

  1. Enjoy Wine Tasting in the Geneva Countryside

Geneva’s surrounding countryside is dotted with vineyards producing excellent wines. Take a wine-tasting tour to sample the region’s best wines, including the local specialty, Chasselas. Many tours include visits to picturesque villages, wine cellars, and even the opportunity to meet the winemakers. It’s a wonderful way to explore the scenic beauty and flavors of the region.

  1. Visit the Musée Ariana

The Ariana Museum, also known as the Swiss Museum of Ceramics and Glass, boasts an impressive collection of over 25,000 objects. The museum’s exhibits span several centuries and showcase the artistry and craftsmanship of ceramic and glass pieces from around the world. The building itself is a beautiful example of neoclassical architecture, adding to the museum’s charm.

  1. Explore Les Pâquis Neighborhood

Les Pâquis is one of Geneva’s most vibrant and multicultural neighborhoods. It’s known for its diverse cuisine, lively nightlife, and unique shops. Visit the area to enjoy delicious international dishes, explore quirky boutiques, and experience the energetic atmosphere. Les Pâquis is also home to the Bain des Pâquis, where you can relax by the lake and indulge in a sauna or massage.

  1. Attend a Performance at the Grand Théâtre de Genève

The Grand Théâtre de Genève is Geneva’s premier opera house, offering a rich program of opera, ballet, and classical music performances. The theater’s stunning architecture and excellent acoustics make it a perfect venue for an evening of cultural enjoyment. Check the schedule for upcoming performances during your visit.

  1. Discover the Musée d’Histoire des Sciences

Located in the Parc de la Perle du Lac, the Museum of the History of Science showcases historical scientific instruments and explores the development of scientific thought. The museum’s exhibits cover a range of disciplines, including astronomy, physics, and medicine. It’s an intriguing destination for anyone interested in the history of science and technology.

  1. Take a Cooking Class

Enhance your culinary skills by taking a cooking class in Geneva. Many local chefs offer classes where you can learn to prepare Swiss dishes such as fondue, raclette, and traditional pastries. It’s a fun and interactive way to immerse yourself in the local food culture and take home new cooking techniques.

  1. Visit the Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques

The Conservatory and Botanical Garden of Geneva is a green haven with over 28 hectares of gardens and greenhouses. The garden features themed areas such as the Winter Garden, the Rose Garden, and the Herbarium. It’s a peaceful place to wander and appreciate the diverse plant life from different parts of the world.

  1. Explore the Salève Cable Car

Just outside Geneva, the Salève Cable Car offers a thrilling ride up Mont Salève. Once at the top, you can enjoy panoramic views of Geneva, the Alps, and the Jura Mountains. The area is perfect for hiking, picnicking, and even paragliding. It’s an excellent option for a day trip filled with adventure and breathtaking scenery.

  1. Visit the Maison de Rousseau et de la Littérature

The Maison de Rousseau et de la Littérature is dedicated to the life and works of the famous philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Located in his birthplace, the museum offers insights into Rousseau’s contributions to literature, philosophy, and political thought. The museum also hosts literary events and exhibitions, making it a must-visit for literature enthusiasts.

  1. Enjoy the Parc de La Perle du Lac

The Parc de La Perle du Lac is a beautiful park along the shores of Lake Geneva. It’s perfect for a relaxing walk, a picnic, or simply enjoying the scenic views. The park also hosts events and festivals throughout the year, adding to its appeal as a community gathering place.


Geneva is a city that captivates visitors with its stunning landscapes, rich history, and diverse cultural offerings. From exploring iconic landmarks like the Jet d’Eau and St. Peter’s Cathedral to indulging in local culinary delights and discovering the vibrant arts scene, there are countless things to do in Geneva that cater to all interests. Whether you’re planning a short getaway or an extended stay, this dynamic city promises unforgettable experiences and lasting memories. Embrace the charm of Geneva and let its unique blend of tradition and modernity inspire your next adventure.

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