Geneva

TRAVEL GUIDE

Loading...

Fodor's Essential Switzerland
Written by local experts, Fodor's travel guides have been offering advice and...

View Details
Read More

Long known for its watches, chocolate, and banks, Geneva is a postcard-perfect city with a rich history as a haven for cultural freethinkers and a modern-day reputation as a hub of international cooperation. It's nestled in a valley on the southwestern end of Lac Léman and ringed by the snowcapped Alps, and the dazzling surroundings are a playground for skiers, snowboarders, hikers, and sailors. In the city, cobblestone streets lined with cafés, luxury boutiques, grand monuments, and museums beckon to foodies, shoppers, history buffs, and art fiends.

The Rhône River cuts through Geneva, and its strategic importance as a crossing ground had a lasting effect on the city. The Genevois controlled the only bridge over the Rhône north of Lyon when Julius Caesar breezed through in 58 BC; the early Burgundians and bishop-princes who succeeded the Romans were careful to maintain this control. The wealthy city-state fell to the French in 1798, then made overtures to Bern as Napoléon's star waned. Geneva finally joined the Swiss Confederation as a canton in 1815. Throughout this turbulent history, the city served as a place of refuge for the religious reformers Jean Calvin and John Knox; sheltered Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Lord Byron, and Mary Shelley; and expelled its native son Jean-Jacques Rousseau for being liberal way before his time.

Geneva's museums have drawn particular benefit from the city's unique perspective on history and cultural exchange: you can visit a military exhibit up the hill from the Red Cross's examination of humanitarian efforts; weigh the extremes of ancient and contemporary ceramics; browse archaeological finds from Egypt and the Far East; compare pre-Christian primitive art with its modern incarnation; relive the Reformation; or explore the fruits of human thought and creativity as expressed on paper, in science, and inside the case of a tiny pocket watch. The Palais des Nations forms the ultimate living (and working) museum of 20th-century history.

Today, Switzerland's famous neutrality has made it a hotbed of international activity with a thriving community of expatriates from around the world. The result is a bustling city filled with busy shops and lively cafés during the week and a more serene lakeside retreat on the weekends as many use this gateway city to explore the natural beauty of the region.

Hiking or skiing the nearby Alps and Jura are popular weekend activities, and there are options for newbies, extreme adventurists, day-trippers, and those lucky enough to extend their holiday. From meandering through the wine trails to hiking and skiing, Geneva provides a great home base for exploring the surrounding countryside.

Fodor's Essential Switzerland
Written by local experts, Fodor's travel guides have been offering advice and...

View Details

Recommended Fodor’s Video

Jet d'Eau
Fountain
Eaux-Vives
View Tours and Activities
Monument de la Réformation
Memorial/Monument/Tomb
Vieille Ville
View Tours and Activities
Musée International de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge
Museum/Gallery
International Area
View Tours and Activities
Site Archéologique Cathédrale St-Pierre
Archaeological Site/Ruins
Vieille Ville
Jardin Botanique
Garden/Arboretum
International Area
Fondation Martin Bodmer
Museum/Gallery
Musée International de la Réforme
Museum/Gallery
Vieille Ville
Cathédrale St-Pierre
Religious Building/Site/Shrine
Vieille Ville

Find the perfect tours and activities in Geneva.

Powered by GetYourGuide

See All Filters

Quickly find Geneva hotels and compare prices.

Powered by Clicktripz

Find the best food tours and activities in Geneva.

Powered by GetYourGuide

Language

German, French, Italian, Romansh

Nearby Airports

GVA

Electrical Outlets

200v/50 cycles; electrical plugs have two or three round prongs

Currency

Swiss franc (CHF)

Local Weather

{{monthAverage.f_high}}° {{monthAverage.c_high}}° {{monthAverage.f_low}}° {{monthAverage.c_low}}°
{{monthAverage.month}}
Historic Weather: Powered by Dark Sky
Weather info provided is using averaged daily data within the given month of the previous year.

Language

German, French, Italian, Romansh

Electrical Outlets

200v/50 cycles; electrical plugs have two or three round prongs

Currency

Swiss franc (CHF)

Nearby Airports

GVA

Local Weather

{{monthAverage.f_high}}° {{monthAverage.c_high}}° {{monthAverage.f_low}}° {{monthAverage.c_low}}°
{{monthAverage.month}}
Historic Weather: Powered by Dark Sky
Weather info provided is using averaged daily data within the given month of the previous year.

Hot and sunny with a slight breeze in summer, crisp and clear in spring and autumn, rainbow-prone in June—Geneva's weather, when it's good,...Read More

Discover the best neighborhoods in Geneva with curated recommendations from our editors.

Explore All

Local Weather

{{monthAverage.f_high}}° {{monthAverage.c_high}}° {{monthAverage.f_low}}° {{monthAverage.c_low}}°
{{monthAverage.month}}
Historic Weather: Powered by Dark Sky
Weather info provided is using averaged daily data within the given month of the previous year.

Hot and sunny with a slight breeze in summer, crisp and clear in spring and autumn, rainbow-prone in June—Geneva's weather, when it's good,...Read More

Discover the best neighborhoods in Geneva with curated recommendations from our editors.

Explore All

Local Weather

{{monthAverage.f_high}}° {{monthAverage.c_high}}° {{monthAverage.f_low}}° {{monthAverage.c_low}}°
{{monthAverage.month}}
Historic Weather: Powered by Dark Sky
Weather info provided is using averaged daily data within the given month of the previous year.

Hot and sunny with a slight breeze in summer, crisp and clear in spring and autumn, rainbow-prone in June—Geneva's weather, when it's good,...Read More

Discover the best neighborhoods in Geneva with curated recommendations from our editors.

Explore All

Our worldwide travel correspondents bring you the best and most up-to-date coverage of over 7,500 global destinations.

Shop Now

Fodor's Essential Switzerland
Written by local experts, Fodor's travel guides have been offering advice and...

View Details

Around the Web