Geneva is a city like no other with many things to do; an international hub with something for everyone, from history, architecture, and politics to music, food, and art—and even particle physics.
The headquarters of the UN, Red Cross, World Bank, World Health Organization, World Trade Organization, and CERN all reside in Geneva, which might explain why many mistake the city for Switzerland’s capital (that would be Bern.) Geneva attracts students, artists, and activists from all over the world, hosts a huge expat population, and boasts three official languages—French, German, and Italian.
At first glance, this city is pure luxury. Streets lined with boutiques, chocolatiers, jewelry shops, and high-end hotels give the impression of decadence. Shopping opportunities are nearly matched only by Geneva’s museum selection—the city has over 40!
Once you’ve strolled through a few museums, tried some chocolate, and visited the Jardin Anglais, make your way to the Cathédrale St. Pierre and the Bains de Paquis to take a step back and appreciate the city and its culture.
The gothic Cathédrale St. Pierre is the place to go to see the city of Geneva from higher up—you can climb up to the building’s tower for an unparalleled view of Geneva and its natural surroundings. (Added bonus: tickets include entrance to the Site Archéologique de la Cathédrale St. Pierre in the basement, and the Musée International de la Réforme.)
The Bains de Paquis are a year-round attraction for travelers and residents alike. During the summer, you can catch free musical performances from the pier at sunrise and enjoy an afternoon of swimming in Alpine Lake. In the winter, it’s a perfect spot for a cozy lakeside meal and a spa day at the onsite Turkish baths and sauna.
Of course, Geneva isn’t all luxury. The nearby Carouge—a small village on the other side of the river—answers the 5-star hotels and restaurants of Geneva with jazz clubs, boutiques, and winding streets that make for a much more intimate feel. While you’re wandering through the cafés and shops of Carouge, stop by the neighborhood of Plainpalais for its 3-times weekly flea market and a look at the Geneva that many of the city’s university students and artists call “home.”