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Planning Your Trip

With a staggering mix of cultural sights, stunning natural beauty and Old World charm, there’s no shortage of things to do in Geneva. Make the most of your time in this delightful city by bringing along a few necessities.

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Exploring the City

There are few places more idyllic than Old Town Geneva. Enjoy afternoons spent walking through the mazelike streets of a city that dates back to medieval times.

 

 

 

  • While it’s tempting in a chic city like Geneva to don your most stylish shoes, you’d be wise to opt for comfort instead. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so pack good walking shoes.
  • Switzerland’s alpine geography means weather can be varied and unpredictable. Come prepared by bringing along a few pieces to layer, like a light sweater or cardigan and an overcoat.
  • If visiting in the winter, let your cold-weather wear double as chic accessories — cashmere scarves, faux-fur hats and leather driving gloves are perfect picks.
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Summer Escape

Thanks to its crown jewels — Lake Geneva, the Rhône River and the nearby Alps — the city truly comes alive in summer. From picnics in the park to yachting on the lake, Geneva’s natural beauty is on full display.

 

  • As a whole, Geneva is a fairly casual city, and even more so in the summer. Feel free to wear loose, light pieces when the weather is warm.
  • Even though the style here is more laissez-faire, men should avoid wearing shorts in the city if they want to fit in with the locals.
  • For outings on the lake, pair a wide-brimmed hat with stylish sunglasses to protect your skin from the sun.
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Evening Chic

Unique dining and nightlife experiences abound in this cosmopolitan city. Bring along a few stylish pieces to ensure you’re ready for every after-dark outing.

 

 

 

  • Geneva’s dress code is fairly casual, but for special dinners and shows, it’s best to err on the side of formal — sheath dresses or slim pantsuits for ladies, slacks and jackets for men.
  • Given the city’s close proximity to fashion hubs like Paris and Milan, it’s no surprise that the locals are style-conscious. Feel free to take a few fashion risks here, or play it safe and opt for all-black outfits.
  • Even in warmer months, nighttime temperatures can dip into the chilly zone, so be sure to bring a light jacket that can be paired with your evening wear.
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Don't Forget:

If you plan to venture into the nearby Alps for a hike, be sure to bring along a sturdy pair of hiking boots. Soft-soled sneakers can be dangerous on uneven footing.


While much of Geneva is best explored leisurely and at your own pace, there are a few standout sights, events and restaurants that you may want to plan for ahead of time.

Dining Reservations

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Start your day with a delicious breakfast paired with a scenic view of Lake Geneva at Living Room Bar & Kitchen, which serves one of the best breakfasts in the city, with options including a cold buffet or a la carte choices like scrambled eggs with asparagus and caviar. For dinner, head to either La Table du Cotton, where the seasonal French menus were created by Michelin-starred chef Laurent Petit and the overall atmosphere is fun and convivial with excellent food, or the top-rated Café des Négociants, where you can enjoy traditional French cuisine with a selection of 100-plus wines.  

Day Trips

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Winter sport aficionados would be remiss to leave Geneva off their must-visit list. With more than 200 ski resorts within 70 miles of the resort, the city is arguably the greatest skiing hub in the world. The Alps aren’t just for winter, though — summer visitors can delight in gorgeous mountain hikes, where the trails often look like a scene from “The Sound of Music.” The stunning Mount Blanc and nearby Chamonix, France, are just a two-hour drive from the city and definitely worth the journey.

Museum Tickets & Cultural Sights

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Culture and heritage run deep in Geneva, a modern city rooted in history. Plan to visit the United Nations office, which is housed in a 1936 building. Take a guided tour through Assembly Hall among other rooms while learning about the current activities of the U.N. For a spectacular view of the city, head to the 850-year-old Cathedral Saint Pierre and climb up the long spiral staircase in one of the two towers. If seafaring is more your style, book a luxurious boat ride about Lake Geneva in a classic steam engine paddle boat, from a fleet classified as historic monuments.

Nightlife

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Enjoy a truly unique dining experience by reserving a seat at the traveling supper club Intensus. Each dinner is held at a different private location and only 10 guests are permitted, so be sure to book online well ahead of time. For world-class opera and ballet, ask the concierge at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix, Geneva to secure tickets to a show at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. For a more raucous evening out, reserve a table at the Java Club, an ultra-modern, high-end nightclub.

It’s no surprise that Lake Geneva defines the city of Geneva. Whether you are enjoying an old-fashioned boat tour out on the water or visiting the lively beaches loved by the locals, Geneva offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy being near the beautiful lake. The sleek sophistication of the city offers a foil, with stately buildings clustered on the shore and a worldly range of inhabitants, from the United Nations to the world’s top watchmakers. Don’t forget to enjoy top-rated international cuisine and buzzy cocktail bars to fill your days and nights.


Culinary Tour

The cuisine you’ll find in Geneva is a reflection of the city itself — sophisticated and international. With a confluence of Northern Italian, French and Swiss influences, the city is home to everything from ultra-classic takes to innovative fusions. Expect elegance out of the dining rooms along with excellent service as a hallmark of dining in Geneva.  

 

 

 

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Perfect Weekend

Not many cities can claim as much cultural appeal, proximity to spectacular nature and Old World charm as Geneva. The sleek city is in a constant balancing act of its cosmopolitan attractions with all that Lake Geneva has to offer. Whether you are out on the lake or diving into the food scene, there’s so much more to Geneva than meets the eye. Discover the perfect weekend in the charming and sophisticated city. 

 

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