There is nothing like living in Europe for travel – the proximity of different places to explore make options endless and affordable.
For the two years we lived and worked in London, every month we caught a bus, train or plane a few hours in every direction to find ourselves happily amongst a new culture, language, history, sights and food.
One such trip was a weekend in Geneva (Genève), a modern European city blessed with history, a mixture of cultures and natural beauty on the French border of Switzerland.
Predominately French speaking (Switzerland has three official languages: French, German and Italian), Geneva is famed for its namesake Lake, and being the home of the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and dozens of other international organisations.
Add to that Geneva’s sought after historic university and the city’s idealic location amongst the Swiss and French Alps, this mix of international organisations, world leaders, students, volunteers, adventure seekers, luxury travellers, locals, nature lovers and backpackers, all combine to give Geneva its unique identity (and help the city consistently rank amongst the world’s most expensive).
So what do you do on a weekend in Geneva?
We spent three clear-blue-sky-to-rainy-days discovering beautiful Geneva. Below are just a few highlights (in no particular order) of what to do on a weekend in Geneva:
- Climb the Towers of the 850+ year old Saint-Pierre Cathedral in Old Town and be rewarded with stunning views of the city and the Lake
- Do as the locals do – grab a fresh baguette, Swiss cheese, ham and a bottle of wine and enjoy a picnic in the sun in a park along the Lake edge
- Watch rainbows form as the Jet d’Eau pumps thousands of litres of water 140m in the air
- Wander past the UN buildings, flags and the ‘Broken Chair’
- Visit the International Red Cross Museum
- Eat Fondue!
- Explore the streets and alleys of the different neighbourhoods by foot while stopping into the local coffee shops, bars and restaurants
- Consume Swiss Chocolate and Swiss Cheese
- If shopping is your thing, don’t miss Rue du Marche in the Old Town (we went for the Victorinox flagship store).
Fun Fact 1: Lake Geneva is Europe’s 23rd largest lake and the biggest in the European Alps.
Fun Fact 2: Switzerland doesn’t have a capital city. The closest the country has is Bern, known as the Federal City, their officially-unofficial capital.
A weekend is Geneva can be as much or as little as you want it to be. Under the watchful eye of Mont Blanc, Geneva truly is a beautiful city on a Lake that holds its own as an ideal weekend getaway, has history equal to any other European city, is a modern metropolis and knows it’s place as a gateway for the transient looking to get out and discover the natural beauty of the region.
What are your experiences in the multicultural city of Geneva? Loved it? Hated it? Couldn’t afford it? Leave your comments below…