While Geneva might be known for the elgent United Nations offices at the Palais de Nations and high-end shopping for the finest Swiss watches, the true insider experience feels more like stepping back in time to a simpler lifestyle. From open air markets to city beaches to preserved villages, you can eat, shop and relax your way through Geneva.
1. Sunbathe at Bains des Paquis
An outstanding feature of Geneva is the ability to slip from sophisticated urbanity to the beach in minutes. One of the most popular is the Bains des Paquis, which offers not only a photo-worthy view of the famed Jet D'Eau but ziplining into the water to satisfy young adventurers. When you've had enough sun, relax in the spa's Turkish baths and hammams. If you are an early riser, take in a classical concert starting at 6 a.m. every morning during the summer and then get breakfast at the popular Buvette before it gets too crowded. Visit Website
2. Browse in Carouge
Over the River l'Arve lies the quaint town of Carouge, which might remind you of the Mediterranean as it was styled on Nice. Stroll the charming streets to shop at artisanal boutiques and craftsmen's studios, including the famous chocolatier Phillipe Pascoët. For the true cocoa fan, book the Chocolate Lovers package at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix, Geneva which includes a tasting and visit to Phillipe Pascoët (and a daily chocolate to your room). Finish your day off with a dinner at top-rated Café des Négociants, where you can savor traditional French cuisine with a glass of wine. Visit Website
3. Walk the Promenade Treille
Begun in the 16th century, the Promenade Treille is the oldest promenade in Geneva. Spanning from Place Neuve to the old town, the walk is bordered with chestnut trees whose leaves announce the arrival of spring to the citizens of Geneva. If you want to take a break while walking, you can rest on the longest bench in the world that runs alongside the promenade — it measures more than 120 meters long. Finish the stroll with drinks at one of the bistros lining the medieval Place du Bourg-de-Four. Visit Website
4. Eat Fondue at Café du Soleil
You can't go to Switzerland and not indulge with a delicious fondue. Walk through the fairytale house to the expansive outdoor terrace to enjoy a variety of melting cheese fondues, along with seasonal savory melon dishes and a variety of decadent desserts. Walk off your meal by heading to the nearby Palais de Nations, where you can take a guided tour of the building. Visit Website
5. Shop the Plainpalais
If you love the traditional European markets, the Plainepalais should be high on your to-do list. Three days a week, you can find the largest farmer's market in the city, filled primarily with fruits and vegetables from French farmers. On Wednesday and Saturday, the market turns into a flea market, with a variety of vintage items priced to sell. At night, the area becomes the hub of nightlife in the city, especially on the bar-filled Rue de l'Ecole-de-Médecine.