Best places to visit in Geneva one a day summer trip
Explore the Old Town The most traditionally scenic part of the city is Geneva’s Old Town, clustered on a hill around the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre and the pretty pedestrian Place du Bourg-de-Four. It’s well worth a potter for its independent boutiques including La Muse, Jill Wolf Jewels and Septième Etage, its pretty architecture, its numerous cafés and restaurants, and the chance to people-watch over a coffee at La Clémence. Delve into Geneva’s history with a visit to the archaeological remains beneath the cathedral, before wandering along the promenade for lovely views of the Bastions park below and the Jura mountain range in the distance. Take a selfie at the Jet d'Eau It’s hardly the leaning tower of Pisa, but Geneva’s Jet d’Eau is impressive in its own way. Visible from the air as you fly into Geneva airport, this enormous water fountain in Lake Geneva spouts its froth 140m into the air. The best spots for a photo are the Pont du Mont-Blanc and the Promenade du Lac alongside the lake’s left bank. You can get closer still by riding a boat on the lake – jump on a Mouette taxi-boat for a short hop from right bank to left bank or take your snap from a CGN ferry as part of a day trip to any number of destinations around the lake. Rummage in the Plainpalais fleamarket On Saturday mornings there’s no better place to be than the Plaine de Plainpalais, which hosts one of Switzerland’s biggest and best flea markets. From bric-a-brac to vintage clothes, second-hand toys to ethnic jewellery, plus larger pieces of furniture, a regular rummage among the hundreds of stalls could rustle you up a real one-off. When you’ve worn yourself out, prolong the vintage vibe by heading to 1930s café and ice-cream parlour Remor to watch the world go by from its outdoor terrace. Take a walk in Bastions park The swatch of leafy loveliness that is Bastions park is a tranquil spot to stretch the legs. Popular with students, whose university buildings sit nearby, there’s a happy atmosphere at all times of year. In summer, stop for coffee at the pretty Café Restaurant du Parc des Bastions, while in winter the outdoor terrace of the same café is transformed into an ice rink that’s popular with families. See Geneva’s Italian side in Carouge Just a short tram ride from the centre of Geneva it feels as though you’ve stepped into a different country – and you kind of have. This area was developed by Italians from Turin in the 18th century, and as such is architecturally Italian in style, all stone archways, painted shutters and red roofs. Its outsider status attracts artisans and bohemians in droves, and a wander around its streets will throw up second-hand bookshops, markets, antique restorers, glass blowers, watchmakers and indie clothes designers. Hunt out vintage designer togs at posh second-hand shop Numéro 6, get interior design ideas at Teo Jakob and find classy children’s clothes and treats at Boutique O-Little-Top. When you’re all shopped out, the area has a vast number of bistros, cafés and restaurants offering a much more relaxed vibe than the centre of town, including tapas and cocktail bar Le Cheval Blanc. Sip bohemian cocktails at La Verre à Monique If there’s one thing Geneva does well, it’s cocktails – and not in the way you might imagine. Yes, you can pretend you’re royalty and sip a martini in the bar of one of the city’s most exclusive waterfront hotels – but there are also more imaginative ways to go about it. Try delving into the less tourist-centric neighbourhoods of Eaux-Vives, Carouge and Plainpalais and you’ll turn up a few surprises, from the wonderfully eccentric creations at the speakeasy-styled La Verre à Monique (dress in your best spats/flapper dress and you’ll fit right in) to the well-priced and inventive drinks at L’Atelier Cocktail Club. Pamper yourself at the Bains des Pâquis Geneva has tons of spas way more luxurious than the Bains des Pâquis, but none are as interesting, kitsch or reasonably-priced as this 1930s public swimming baths, set on Lake Geneva. Open year-round, it’s great for a dip, sauna, massage, fondue or a cheap lunch in friendly, casual surroundings. Plenty of events take place year-round, including early-morning music and poetry readings in summer. Head into the mountains Geneva’s proximity to numerous ski resorts in Switzerland and France is one of its main selling points, but you don’t need to neglect the city altogether on a skiing break, as it’s entirely possible to head off for a day’s skiing and be back in town by the evening. The pretty French resorts of Samoëns, La Clusaz and Chamonix are just an hour away, while St Cergue, in the Swiss Jura, is even closer. And they’re not just good for skiing. Head off in summer to sample hiking, paragliding, summer tobogganing and mountain biking, or cast off your downhill skis in winter in favour of snowshoeing, sledging, cross-country skiing or ice skating on the frozen Lac de Joux, just 90 minutes drive away. Go spoilt-for-choice shopping It’s not hard to flex your plastic in Geneva’s shops, even if it may be safer to stick to window shopping. If you’ve got the reddies, head for the flashy Rue du Rhône to browse the high-end clothes boutiques, watchmakers and jewellery shops, including designer emporium L’Apollinaire, or head to Bon Génie, the Harvey Nicks of Geneva, which is crammed with labels. A more realistic shopping experience in the city centre is department store Globus, where you could spend hours browsing the clothes, homeware and cosmetics. If you’re not into shopping, it’s worth visiting Globus anyway for the incredible food hall, offering gourmet focaccia, a noodle bar, sushi, freshly flipped crêpes and upmarket burgers from Swiss celebrity chef Philippe Chevrier. Meanwhile vintage seekers should head to Plainpalais to pick out vintage homeware at Les Enfants Terribles and Le Panapé de Caméla, affordable retro dresses and bags at Le Grand Magasin and high-end vintage brands such as Ossie Clark and Chanel Couture at Julia’s Dressing. Explore the Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum For various reasons – its famed neutrality, its location in the centre of Europe – Geneva is the seat of many international organisations, some of which are open to visitors. Head up to Nations to visit two of the best. The outstanding International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum is unmissable for its moving and sometimes shocking permanent exhibition, which charts the vital humanitarian work carried out by the organisation for the past 150 years. Combine this with a guided tour of the Palais des Nations, the European seat of the United Nations, for an insight into how the biggest issues facing the world today are tackled. So there you have it – a few of the best things to do in Geneva during the summer months. Whether you’re a culture vulture, a shopaholic, a foodie or an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy in this vibrant Swiss city.