Nicknamed the ‘City of Peace’, Geneva is located in a scenic bay overlooking the Rhone and Lake Geneva. It’s also packed with cultural highlights and is perfect as a stylish stop-off on your way to ski the Alps. Ideal for lake-side sunbathing, spa trips, shopping and dining, a visit to Geneva on a luxury holiday is always a good idea.
It may be in Switzerland but this beautiful city is French-speaking and home to an impressive blend of international influences. Historic buildings and gardens sit alongside luxurious, contemporary resorts in a town packed with notable landmarks, from the dramatic Jet d’Eau – a fountain that sends water 140 metres into the air – to the awe-inspiring Palais des Nations.
Geneva is home to the Red Cross and the European seat of the UN, giving it a truly global flavour. Take a stroll into the Old Town to immerse yourself in a thriving café culture and be sure to visit historical buildings like St Peter’s Cathedral and Chapel of the Maccabees. This is also a fantastic neighbourhood for finding traditional restaurants and ducking into elegant shops.
Another highlight is the Place du Bourg-de-Four, a delightful square that has been at the centre of the town since the 9th century. Surrounded by the Alps and Jura mountains and perfectly placed for views of Mont Blanc, Geneva certainly isn’t short on natural beauty. Book a boat trip across Lake Geneva and enjoy the scenery from the bow of the ship, or relax in hotels and resorts surrounded by a lush, four-acre park on the banks of Lake Geneva, where you can indulge in spa treatments and fine dining.
For swimming, hiking and cruises of Lake Geneva, summer is a great time to visit. Temperatures can reach 35 degrees although light breezes help keep things cool. Two fantastic festivals also take place over the summer months – Lake Parade and the Fêtes de Genève.
During the winter months, Geneva comes into its own as an ideal place to stay for skiers visiting the Alps. The weather will be chilly but expect glorious views.
Dine on international dishes from Japanese-fusion to contemporary Italian in rooftop restaurants overlooking Lake Geneva. Or take a seat in one of the town’s historic restaurants to try French-inspired brasserie dishes. The ever-present French influence on the local cuisine means that culinary treats like boeuf bourguignon or escargots are easy to find.
However, there are plenty of home-grown favourites, linger over Swiss specialities like fondue and raclette or discover contemporary menus filled with Mediterranean staples - think lots of fresh vegetables, olive oil and lemon.
You won’t need a visa to visit Geneva but your passport does need to be valid for the length of your stay. For more advice on passports and travel to Switzerland, please visit GOV.UK.