Geneva is often overlooked as a city break destination
Known sometimes as the “city of peace”, Geneva, amongst other things, is very much an international city, being home to the European headquarters of the United Nations.
Switzerland’s second largest city is home to around twenty international organisations including the International Red Cross Committee. Despite this important role, with around 200,000 inhabitants Geneva is only a small city, and one that is very manageable in a few days’ sightseeing.
The tourist enjoying a short break will find plenty of things of interest right in the centre of Geneva. The city enjoys a beautiful setting on the shores of Lac Leman, or Lake Geneva, with a mountain backdrop of the Jura to the north and the Salève to the south. On a clear day you can even enjoy a wonderful view of Mont Blanc!
The lakeshore’s star attraction is the water jet, or Jet D’Eau, dazzling visitors as it shoots 140 metres into the sky.
It’s worth taking time to wander around the cobbled streets of the Old Town. The city is overlooked by St. Peter’s Cathedral, the centre of the Reformation movement. 157 steps lead to the top of its tower for a stunning view of the city
The Reformation Wall in the Parc des Bastions is an imposing monument. Here the major protestant reformers are portrayed with giant statues and bas-reliefs. In the middle stand Jean Calvin, Guillaume Farel, Théodore de Bèze and John Knox. On the sides are those who carried the Reformation across Europe.
On a trip to Geneva it’s hard to ignore shopping, although you might need to take out a second mortgage to be able to indulge in much more than window shopping! In the dazzling shop windows of the Rue du Rhône you can find an amazing concentration of world famous watches and luxury brands.
There are endless possibilities for short trips outside the city. For those interested in science, a visit to CERN in the suburb of Meyrin will be fascinating. CERN is the world’s largest laboratory for particle physics and is famous for being the birthplace of the internet. It is where physicists try to unlock the secrets of the universe and the Big Bang. Visitors can admire its impressive emblem, the Globe of Science and Innovation and can visit, free of charge, the “Universe of Particles Exhibition”.
Finally, what better way of spending a relaxing half day than on a steamer on Lake Geneva? You can take a round trip or there are plenty of options for an outbound boat trip to a town such as Nyon or Lausanne, returning by rail to Geneva.