Geneva - any fun at all??

Old Feb 16th, 2006, 12:06 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 9
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Geneva - any fun at all??

Me and my husband are going to be in Geneva for 2 days, one night before going skiing in Chamonix. I haven't heard much about the city except that it's expensive and has good fondue. Anyone have any thoughts on the best area to stay in, good hotels and what to see? We are an adventurous couple so like things off the beaten path but will do touristy things if it's worth our while.
roza is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2006, 12:11 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 95,728
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
Skip Geneva and stay in Montreux or Vevey instead. Both gorgeous towns only 1 hour by train from Geneva, right on Lac Leman.
suze is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2006, 12:23 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 9
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Really? I feel like that might be too much since we are arriving Friday morning in Geneva and leaving Sat late afternoon to Chamonix from Geneva. I thought there would be some things to see there! But I will consider your recommendation. Thanks.
roza is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2006, 12:44 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 95,728
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
Oh maybe not then, since you don't even have 2 full days. Certainly there are things to see in Geneva, the lakeside and the Old Town come to mind.

Hopefully others will chime in with some specific ideas. There's great shopping (but that's not very adventurous or off the beaten path -lol).
suze is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2006, 12:49 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 701
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Roza - I was in Geneva 45 years ago with my parents and sister, and it was beautiful (we ALMOST lived there for a year, but that's another story). We were there just a couple of days, and I remember the lake was gorgeous, and the water jet, and the monuments to John Calvin and the Protestant Reformation. That's where Calvin "set up shop", so that had/has historical interest for some.

I remember we stayed at the Beau Rivage. Out of curiousity, I just went to their web site to discover I'll never stay there again - lake view room something on the order of 1400 Euros/night. I'm pretty sure my dad didn't pay the equivalent then, so it must have come up in the world (it's a 5 star now).

I think Geneva is certainly worth a day or so!

KC
knoxvillecouple is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2006, 12:51 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 530
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It's as interesting as you want it to be. Check out the town's tourism site for info on museums, events, etc. There are many historical sites worth a visit.
http://www.geneve-tourisme.ch/?rubri...b2ab13702f4722

Info on shopping at: http://www.geneve-tourisme.ch/?rubrique=0000000006

If the weather's good enough, a walk along the lake is a nice activity.
flsd is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2006, 01:02 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,151
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just so you know, Montreux and Vevey are only an hour from Geneva by train and it's a gorgeous route.

That said, it's easy to spend a day in Geneva. If the boats are running, take a short boat ride, visit the old town and the beautiful Cathedral, stroll along the lake, shop....
I stayed at the Suisse Hotel, http://www.hotel-suisse.net/, right across from the train station and only 3 blocks from the Lake. It was comfortable and very reasonably priced.
Catbert is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2006, 02:16 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,585
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I, too, would suggest taking a train ride over to Vevey and walking the wine trail a bit or visiting the tiny hamlets along the lake. The castle at Chillon is worth a visit. Or, take a train to Gruyeres, very cool place. Geneva used to be nice when I was there in 73, it has changed a lot, though. Graffitti all over even the most historical buildings. One thing my husband and I enjoyed was St Peter's Cathedral in Old Town- they have an incredible archeological site underneath with murals and relics dating back to the first century.
LLindaC is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2006, 07:34 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Some questions first. What is your hotel budget? Are you going by train/bus to Chamonoix or are you driving, and if driving where are you picking up your rental car? When do you pick up the rental car? These would make a difference as to where you might want to stay. The good news is that as you are there on a weekend, you should be able to get some better prices on hotels.

Geneva is not my favourite town, but for one night/2 days you can muster up some things to do. However, I would also second the reccos to considering going down the lake a bit. Firstly, towns further down the lake have a better aspect on the beautiful Alps which rise more to the south and east of the lake and are not as clearly seen from Geneva. Secondly, the towns here are more charming and interesting than Geneva, IMO. (However, I disagree with the comment above about graffiti being on all the buildings in Geneva, I have not found that to be true and that is so NOT a Swiss thing to do or be allowed to stand for long, perhaps LLindaC was there for the 12 hours or so before some graffiti was removed by the ever-efficient public works people; it is the French side of Switzerland so maybe it to 24 hours. . . .)

You might consider going to Lausanne which is not as far down as Vevey or Montreux and is a major rail hub. It is about 45 minutes by train from Geneva Airport versus over an hour to Vevey or Montreux and (most trains require no changes). It has a much nicer old town, IMO, then Geneva, some very good hotels and restaurants, and would not add too much to journey time when heading to France. If the weather is good for the two days you are there, you could get to the vineyard areas mentioned above easily for walks and winetastings. (As you could from Vevey and Montreux and with some more time needed, from Geneva.) Go to http://www.lavaux.ch/ for info on this area, called the Lavaux (the website is in French and German only but if you go to http://www.lavaux.ch/fr/default.htm there is a map you can understand), or to www.lake-geneva-region.ch for info on the region generally. You could also get down to Chillon Castle, which is one of the most interesting castles I have seen in Europe, its 40 minutes by train (stop is Veytaux-Chillon; journey from Geneva would take 1.5 hours). I can reccco some hotels if you want to consider staying in Lausanne. Go to rail.ch for info on train schedules.

Ferries don't run on the lake between November and early April so ferry rides are out for any of the towns.

If you stay in Lausanne (or in Geneva) you might want to considering spending a few hours in Cully which is a very, very charming small village along the lake with a good size and extremely well preserved old town, parts of which are medieval. This is off the beaten path a bit by most American tourists. Also, one of the best restaurants in the region is here, the Auberge du Raisin, which would be a great spot for lunch on a cold winter's afternoon after a morning of walking around I would think. Go to (http://www.relaischateaux.com/raisin) for info on the restaurant which is in a hotel. Cully is 10 minutes by train from Lausanne and about an hour by train from Geneva. If weather permits, you can actually walk along the lake from Lausanne to Cully, it's part of the Lavaux vineyard walks.

If you stay in Geneva, then a walking tour of the old town is of course the first thing you should do, including a visit to the cathedral. There are several museums, including the Red Cross Museum (I have to confess to not having to been to any of them), take a look at a guidebook or the "Destinations" site above for info. The symphony, opera and ballet season are on in the winter and the performances are generally excellent, take a look at the following websites for information on performances and tickets. The Grand Theatre is a beautiful venue to see any performance in. There are often free classical concerts in churches, check with your hotel, or the website for the Office du Tourisme de Genève
at http://www.geneve-tourisme.ch (click on the middle right of the page for English)

Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
http://www.osr.ch/en/english.htm (They often perform in Lausanne as well)

Grand Théâtre
http://www.geneveopera.ch/_v2/index.php (French only)

I am not a big shopper, but do like wandering the shops around the Rue des Eaux-Vives area which has some antique shops and boutiques. If you have any interest in all in vintage travel posters and other posters, many from Switzerland but also from Europe as well as other parts of the world, then stop at Gallerie Un Deux Trois
which has a huge selection and very good quality. I am sure they have a Chamonoix or Mt Blanc poster. Take a look at the website first, where you can view almost all the posters the shop has:

Gallerie Un Deux Trois
4 Rue des Eaux-Vives
http://www.gal-123.com/en/home.html

Note that shops are closed on Sundays other than in train stations and airports.

"Off the beaten path" to me would be getting to remoter areas for walks, etc but with only one night and 2 days you don't have time for this. I am not sure what it would mean in the context of Geneva itself.
Cicerone is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2006, 12:06 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I will be spending 7 days in Geneva for my husbands work, and I have desperately been trying to find good day trips to take.

Your suggestions for Gruyeres, Lausanne, Vevey and Montreux have been most helpful! I will be taking them.

I have not been able to find much about these places in my guide books other then side notes. The websites are most helpful!
Thanks
MarySMW is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2006, 01:19 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
MarySMW, I know from your other posts that your trip is in May, which means you should have better weather than roza and can do more walking and biking in the lake areas and the vineyards which will add a lot to your trip. I would also recco the following for good day trips if for some reason you get tired of the beautiful Lake Geneva area:

Solothurn, which has a very interesting baroque old town including a cathedral kind of dramatically set at the bottom of a hill. This is just about an hour by train from Geneva. Take a look at http://www.solothurn-city.ch/

If the ferries are running you can go to the town of Evian les Bains (where the water comes from), and literally swim in a pool filled with Evian water, there are day spas. I have not done this, so don't know much about it, but take a look at http://www.lesthermesevian.com/index.php. The ferry would be quite really fun and pretty way to get there. Trains would take about 1.5 2.5 hours, but driving would be quite easy, less than an hour.

If you want to get up into the Swiss Alps, about the nearest would the Chateau d'Oex area, which is a charming little town with great views and a nice village and museum. This would be about 2 hours by train from Geneva. In May most likely would still find a good bit of snow, not in town but in higher elevations. As with the Goldenpass train below, a lot will depend on weather, May is kind of iffy in the Alps, you can get rain and fog. If you get a stretch of clear weather, a day trip might be fun. Take a look at http://www.chateau-doex.ch/

Another thought is to take the Goldenpass train up and over several passes with excellent views (usually), take a look at http://www.goldenpass.ch/GPL/main.asp. You could go all the way to the Interlaken area and back, which would take like 8 hours, or you could just go as far as someplace like Chateau d"Oex or Gstaad (just under 3 hours each way) have lunch and go back to Geneva. I am a bit iffy about recc'ing this for May, you may have more fog in higher elevations which may obscure views. A lot would depend on the weather on the day you decide to go.

If you have a car, the Mt Blanc area in the French Alps is only 2 hours and is really beautiful. Chamonix and Courmeyer are nice towns. You can also take a bus to the area, take a look at http://info.chamonix.com/ACCES/ChxGvaEn.php. Trains take a long time, so either a bus or a car is the best way. Mt Blanc is very awesome and really blows most Swiss Alps away, although most people can't admit that on this board. . . .

Bern is just under 2 hours and does have an nice old town area, it has a number of fans on this board. I would say if you get a stretch of bad weather, consider a trip to Bern, if you get a beautiful day, stick to the glorious countryside.

A lot of people like Morat just above Lake Murten, I am not such a fan as it is so tiny you can walk it in about 15 minutes and it sits in the middle of a rather industrial area, but the little tiny old town bit is pretty and is surrounded by its old walls, take a look at http://www.murtentourismus.ch/. It is about 2 hours by train, and then you have to walk 10-15 minutes through the industrial bit to get to the old town walls and the old town. For such a long train trip, I am not sure it is worth it.

Don't forget that France is just a few miles away. Although a bit far for a day trip, Avignon is only 3 hours by the high-speed TGV train.


Cicerone is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2006, 03:45 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,112
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For MarySMW,

Here are links to my reviews (w/pictures) of my favorite activities and excursions from Montreux:

Montreux old town
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...reux_Vaud.html

Lavaux
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...reux_Vaud.html

Promenade Fleuri
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...reux_Vaud.html

Morges
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...rges_Vaud.html

Gruyeres
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR..._Fribourg.html

Saanen
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...wiss_Alps.html

Gstaad
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...wiss_Alps.html

You can research the train schedule at www.rail.ch.

I'm a frequent visitor to Montreux, so let me know if you have any questions!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2006, 07:48 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 95,728
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
Mary... Many Swiss towns have a tourist information website with an address such as:
www.montreux.ch
www.vevey.ch
www.lausanne.ch
suze is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2006, 08:25 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 146
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I was checking this thread eagerly because I have never been able to find anything to do in Geneva where business takes me every now and then.

In a sense I'm relieved to notice that there is, in fact, nothing to do in Geneva because it means that I haven't been wasting my evenings with nothing more to do than eat fondue and listen to people playing zithers whilst they yodel.


Rillifane is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2006, 08:33 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The websites are truly helpful, thank you! I am going to be doing all of this alone, as my husband will be working almost all of the time. I will be traveling by train, simply because I dont want to drive without a navigator.

My idea is to save a few really big one-day trips for us to enjoy over the last 3 days when he is free. I was thinking, Milan mostly for the Last Supper, and then to Avignon for the Popes Palace.

My concern during for the time I am in Geneva, is getting burned out on going from one charming small town to another for 5 days without any major art or monuments to experience.

Dont get me wrong, I adore these places, but I'd like to return home knowing that I have really made the most of what the region has to offer.

Swandav2000 your photos and reviews are better then any guidebook or website. Did you have a car in these towns, or do you know if the train stations are within walking distance of the towns? I am in my late 40's and have no problems walking for several hours.
MarySMW is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2006, 09:51 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,112
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi again MarySMW,

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed them!

I'm 51, and I usually take the trains, busses, or ferries, and walk!! Train stations are usually close to whatever you'd like to see -- in Gstaad the train station is just across a small road from the central pedestrian street; in Montreux the train station is above the main drag, but there's an escalator; in Morges the station is maybe three blocks from the lake; in Vevey the station is maybe two blocks from the lake. In Montreux, the walk to the Chillon castle is about two miles, but it's a lovely walk along a flowered and quiet promenade, and you can stop here and there at a cafe. If you don't want to walk back, bus #1 will take you directly back to the center of town, or you can take the ferry (don't go all the way to Geneva as that will be about five hours -- take the ferry to Montreux or Vevey and catch the train to Geneva).

Have fun!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2006, 07:31 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You may need to adjust your expectations and remember that the best of what Switzerland has to offer is primarily beautiful scenery and outdoor activities. There are some good art museums of course (mostly in Zurich and that end), but there are not a lot of major monuments or ancient buildings like you will find in Italy or France. For example, Switzerland has 6 sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List (including the old town in Berne), while Italy has 40. The churches are mostly bare of art due to a little thing called the Reformation; Calvin and Zwingli were born here. There are some charming small towns, and you have some of the most charming on your list, but other than that it is Alps, lakes, green rolling hills, etc that make this country so incredible and why so many people keep going back. (That and because it is so organized and efficient, but hey, so is Singapore.) IMO if you have spent a sunny day walking in the vineyards high above Lake Geneva with the snowcapped Alps in the distance, stopping into a vineyard or two to sample the wines, then stopped for lunch on an outdoor terrace at one of the great restaurants along the lake, and taken a ferry ride back to town, you have indeed "made the most of what the region has to offer".

As with the rest of Europe, the train stations for virtually every city and village in Switzerland are smack in the middle of town, or walk able within a few minutes to the tourist bits you want to see. There is no need to have a car unless you want to go to the Mt Blanc area or other parts on the French side, as train service takes longer to get there. If you are taking a lot of trains and also plan to go to Italy and France, you probably should look into some kind of Swiss Pass or Eurail pass.

For the Castle of Chillon, there is actually a train station very near the castle, the stop is Veytaux-Chillon. So you don't have to walk from Montreux, but as noted above, on a nice day, it is a very nice walk to Montreux of a few miles, or you can walk to or from the Castle in the other direction about half a mile to Villeneuve and take a train from there.

Two museums in onr near Geneva you might want to consider are the Foundation Bodmer (rare texts like a Guttenberg Bible, Mozart compositions and just a huge collection of other interesting items) and the Kunsthaus which is the modern art museum, websites are below. I believe that the Petit Palais, a private museum with French modern artists like Picasso, is currently closed, but your hotel may be able to confirm this.

http://www.fondationbodmer.org/
www.centre.ch
Also on Saturdays and Wednesday generally starting on May 1 there is a flea market in the Plainpalais area up the hill from the old town. It is quite large and there is a large variety of stuff on sale.

Cicerone is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2006, 01:52 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 95,728
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
<<My concern...is getting burned out on going from one charming small town to another...without any major art or monuments to experience.>>

For Mary - I believe you should (could?) adjust your expectations in order to better enjoy your visit. Just because there is not major art or monuments, I can't believe you won't have a wonderful 5 days exploring. It is spectacularly beautiful there. Or incorporate a few of the days to stay in Geneva and go to the museums and monuments in the city, if that is more important to you.

<<but I'd like to return home knowing that I have really made the most of what the region has to offer>>

I truly believe those towns ARE the best of the best for what the region has to offer!!
suze is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Hez
Europe
5
Aug 7th, 2014 11:58 AM
portobelloB
Europe
8
May 29th, 2006 05:28 PM
Krisparis
Europe
10
Mar 30th, 2006 09:42 AM
sclc97
Europe
8
Mar 24th, 2005 03:37 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:13 PM.