May 13, 2014

The Peaceful City of Geneva

When it comes to Geneva, the word “peace” definitely comes to mind. This inherent spirit goes well beyond Geneva’s role in numerous international peace talks and its identity as the European seat of the United Nations.

What breeds this serene feeling as you walk throughout this idyllic city with an Alpine backdrop?

1. Lake GenevaYvoire JS2

Yes, you’ll catch the hum of touristy boats whizzing along Western Europe’s largest lake. But there’s a reason Lake Geneva (pictured above) is such an attraction for all: it’s gorgeous.

Whether spotting its expanse from atop the Cathedral of Saint Pierre’s 157-step bell tower from this landmark’s Old Town hilltop, or walking along the lakefront to see the 140-metre-high Jet d’Eau up close, you will appreciate Geneva’s signature lake. Even better, rent a bike at Bike Switzerland to ride along the lake or take part in an organized tour.

The lake brings France within easy reach, so if you want to take advantage of Geneva’s proximity to France beyond just seeing Mont Blanc on a sunny day, travel to the medieval town of Yvoire (pictured). With 700 years of history, this town is accessible by boat (1-2 hours depending on type of boat), car (40 minutes), or by a train to Nyon followed by a quick ferry ride (40 minutes total).

While in Yvoire, you’ll discover all signs of the Middle Ages, including castles, ramparts, and moats of village fortified in the 14th century. Fresh, however, are the flowers; they are everywhere. For medieval flair closer by, visit the bohemian village of Carouge in the Canton of Geneva. This city with overt charm and cobblestone squares features boutiques, restaurants, and galleries.

2. Walking wine routes

West of Geneva city, you’ll encounter the village of Dardagny, which attracts visitors for its vineyards and unadulterated natural setting. Plan for a two-hour nature walk through the vineyards, with a stop at the 13th-century Dardagny Castle. You can taste and purchase the local wines at private cellars along this must-do nature stroll. A wealth of varietals is available for all palates.

3. Keeping masterful timePatek JS3

If slowing down is your goal, enjoy the leisurely pace of this welcoming city—both along its nature paths and city streets. Or perhaps you’re bustling through Geneva on business since the city is a global financial center. Regardless of your pace, you’ll be reminded one way or another that you’re in the famous land of luxurious, gorgeous watches.

A historical visit to the Patek Phillippe Museum (pictured) is a must. Especially in this age of digital and fast-paced timekeeping, you’ll appreciate this compelling world of horology, both the mechanical and masterful aspects thereof.

In the market for a new watch? Don’t miss the famous Market Street to find the perfect match. Be sure to check shop hours; most stores are closed for lunch between noon and 2:00 weekdays and on Sundays.

Still shopping? Naturally, add high fashion to your list. The beckoning shopping district runs from the banking district to Eaux Vives, marked famously by Rue du Rhone and Rue du Marche. And chocolate! For a week’s worth of chocolate, visit during the city’s l’Escalade festival, which launches each early December, with activities leading up to this commemorative chocolate festival to mark the city’s victory over a 1602 invasion.

4. Museum Visits

Keep in mind, too, that Geneva boasts over 30 museums, including the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum is well worth the time. It truly is a “place of awareness and reflection.”

It goes without saying that Geneva offers something compelling for everyone. Perhaps you’ll even encounter the well-known peacocks along the Palace of the United Nations! Whether you’re visiting Geneva for business or pleasure, you most certainly will enjoy Switzerland’s beautiful, placid city of peace.

Discover more:

Welcome to Geneva Tips

Lonely Planet Geneva

U.S. News & World Report Geneva Travel Tips

Elite Traveler, “The 12 Best Restaurants in Geneva”

Forbes Travel Guide: Geneva


Patek Museum photo by Robert Kwolek


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