Geneva, Switzerland: a classy city on the water

A Ferris wheel and two boats in Lake Geneva.

Thanks to the large international airport located in Geneva, this city is the first stop for many travelers arriving in Switzerland. But too many new arrivals head straight to the Alps, never giving the city the chance it deserves. And there are a few things every traveler should check out before moving to their next destination.

Here’s what you should know about our latest Swiss City of the Month: a cosmopolitan locale built on the water.

Boat bobbing on the surface of Lake Geneva.
Lake Geneva. Photo by Whitney Brown.

Geneva today

There are few Swiss cities more illustrious than this one. For one thing, it’s home to the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as the European headquarters of the United Nations. But the city is probably most famous for its watches and chocolates — so it’s a great place to pick up a souvenir!

Geneva is also the second-largest city in Switzerland (the largest in the country’s French-speaking region), and it has an unbeatable location on the shores of Lake Geneva. Parts of the crescent-shaped lake are located in France, but Geneva is on the Swiss side of the border.

While you’re visiting, you might want to take a lake cruise or visit the Horloge Fleurie (a large clock made out of flowers).

But the city’s most famous attraction is the Jet d’Eau, a fountain that shoots a stream of water 460 feet (140 meters) into the sky. It’s located next to the banks of Lake Geneva, and it runs almost nonstop during daylight hours. The fountain symbolizes the city’s strength and ambition, and it’s a can’t-miss for anyone passing through the city.

You won’t hear much German spoken in this city, although you will bump into lots of French speakers. Brush up on your French vocabulary, and see how much you can understand and speak!

Stone relief showing two men and the words, "Geneva, city of refuge."
“Geneva, city of refuge.” Photo by Whitney Brown.

See the city for yourself

There’s a good chance that you’ll fly into Geneva before your Alpenwild tour begins. If that’s the case, try to spend a little time exploring the city! It’s a great way to kick off your travels, and the city center is only a six-minute train ride from the airport.

The city is an excellent launchpad to the starting point of most Alpenwild tours, including the Tour du Mont Blanc and the Haute Route.

Whitney Brown

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