10 Reasons for a Summer Holiday in Geneva

By  |  0 Comments

Geneva is a gateway to some of the world’s best mountain terrain and a major meeting place for chief international organisations, including the UK, International Red Cross and World Health Organisation, yet many don’t take the time to fully explore the city’s own unique vibe and fascinating attractions, all located in a stunning Swiss setting, making it an unforgettable alternative for a summer holiday.

Geneva is the biggest city in Romandy, the French speaking part of Switzerland, and has a spectacular setting nested between the Alps and Jura mountain chains, next to Lake Geneva. In the summer months, Geneva comes alive, with the sunshine sparkling off the water, lush plants covering the mountain slopes and temperatures regularly reaching 25°c in July (although this month has seen the thermometer soar to the high twenties and even low thirties).

Flights from London City Airport to Geneva only take an hour and forty minutes and whilst travellers’ typically only use it as a short layover, the city thoroughly deserves exploration as a final destination for leisure rather than just a business stopover. Take the time this summer to fully explore the best of Geneva in the sunshine, starting with these top ten highlights:

Swiss Cities - Geneve

Rave it up at Fetes De Geneve

In the first two weeks of August, over two million people visit Geneva to take part in the city’s famous summer festival. Over ten days, music stages provide a pumping soundtrack to river bank parties with carnival rides, parades and food markets to enjoy during the day. The festival is topped off with the extraordinary Techno Parade, where floats transform into mini-nightclubs with costumed dancers and funky beats before ravers watch the final fireworks show over the river.


Try the local commute

Forget over-crowded tubes or buses, the citizens of Geneva commute around their city on Mouettes Genevoises, distinctive yellow boats which cross the river all day. This novel public transport is a must-try with visitors too, especially in the summer time as the boats provide a great panoramic view of the city and the surrounding mountains.

Take a posh paddle

For those who prefer water to land, a paddle cruise on Lake Geneva is one of the more extravagant ways to enjoy the Swiss sunshine. Look out for ‘CGN’ which operate an impressive fleet of Belle Époque side wheel paddle steamers each offering different trips from panoramic cruises to exclusive fine-dining experiences. The elegant white steamers are striking against the blue sky and waters and are the perfect way to absorb the famous Swiss scenery and hospitality.

Forget the cheese, try Swiss wine

Perhaps it’s not the first place people think of for fine wine production; however Geneva’s vineyards are some of the most picturesque in the world and make up to 13.5 million litres each year. The most popular wine-tasting route is the Road of the Vineyard, known locally as La Route de Vignoble. This is roughly 9km long and can be enjoyed in the summer on foot or by bike. Tastings at vineyards can be booked through www.routeduvignoble.ch.


Pause for peace

A visit to Geneva wouldn’t be right without a visit to the Place des Nations. This famous square, found in front of the United Nations building, is Geneva’s contribution to world diplomacy. The iconic water jets, multi-coloured granite slabs and symbolic Broken Chair in the centre make the square a stunning work of art. Guided tours of the UN building are available from 9.00 to 16.00 in July and August.

Strike a pose

One of the most renowned landmarks of Geneva is the Jet d’Eau, a massive hydraulic jet which pumps water 140m into the air, representing the history of Geneva as a leading authority in hydraulic power. It is a tourist must-do to take a photograph in front of the jet, just make sure the camera is splash proof!

Get lost in the Old Town

A maze of intricate cobbled alleys and street, Geneva’s Old Town is brilliant for an afternoon of sightseeing. At each new turn there is a charming café, exclusive boutique, historical landmark or square to discover. The oldest square, Bourg de Four, is a great place to grab a bite, with a selection of quality bistros, bars and terraces. Bourg de Four was once a Roman marketplace and there is plenty of military attractions in the area, including the Old Arsenal and the Treille Promenade.

Summer - Sommer - EtÈ

Escape to a fairytale

Chillion Castle gives the Disney Castle a run for its money in terms of magical atmosphere. Located on a rocky island outcrop on the northern shore of Geneva, Chillion Castle is a brilliant summer day trip when visiting Geneva. The restored castle is made up of a variety of buildings that date from the 12th century. Fully refurbished, visitors can explore the great halls, underground chambers, antique weapons and courtyards – the perfect fairytale castle. From April to September the castle is open from 9am to 7pm for guided or unaccompanied tours.

Clock watch in parks

Soak up the summer sunshine along one of Geneva’s picturesque promenades, found along the banks of the lakes, surrounded by cafes, street markets and parks, offering lake boat cruises, amusement rides and water-sports. A promenade highlight is the large Flower Clock on the eastern bank, a nod to the famous history of Swiss clock-making. Found in the English Garden, the dial is over 5m wide and made up of over 6,500 flowers, making it the largest installation of its kind. Geneva is sometimes referred to as the ‘city of parks’ due to the fact over a quarter of the city is dedicated to park land. Most are situated around the lake, taking advantage of tremendous water and mountain views, and each has its own quirk. The English Garden has the giant Flower Clock, Bastions Park has a giant chess board and Batie Woods contains a small zoo.

Seek out a spa

Whether it’s in the centre of the city or in the surrounding mountain villages, Geneva has a super selection of first-rate spas. Pays de Gex, 15km north of Geneva at the start of the Jura mountains, is made up of over 25 small towns, famous for their local hot springs. Believed to have healing properties, these hot spring towns each have a public thermal bath and health spa. In Geneva city, day spa facilities are available at the After the Rain spa, Le Richmond Hotel and the Grand Hotel.

Flights to Geneva from London City Airport only take one hour and thirty five minutes and start at £162 return*. For those who can only spare 24 hours in Geneva, check out this hour by hour itinerary from London City Airport to make the most of this fascinating city. *prices right at time of publication

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply