What to see in Geneva in 3 days

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Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Known for its prestigious watchmaking industry and as the home of the most famous chocolatiers, the city of Geneva, located in the west of Switzerland, is a metropolis nestled between the Alps, the Jura hills and Lake Geneva, ideal for a 3-day holiday with a thousand facets and suitable for all tastes.

The symbol of this elegant city on a human scale and with a picturesque core, the "Jet d'Eau", is famous all over the world: prestige and elegance are evident in the numerous hotels, gastronomic restaurants and appreciable cultural offerings that hold the step with the world capitals.


  1. 1 day
  2. 2 day
  3. 3 day
  4. How much does a weekend in Geneva cost
  5. User questions and comments

1 day

1 - Morning: Breakfast, Parc de la Grange and Parc des Eaux-Vives, Jet d'Eau, Promenade du Lac, Jardin Anglais, the Flower Clock

Your stay in Geneva could open with a delicious breakfast at the Boulagerie Philippe Taillé: quite nice and located in the Eaux-Vives district, here you can taste the San Marco cake or the best chocolate croissants in Geneva and the prices are really reasonable: coffee, baguette , and tart for only € 8,90. Not far away you will find two beautiful parks: Parc de la Grange e Parc des Eaux-Vives, fantastic a real naturalistic excursion inside a metropolis. Just 10 minutes walk you will find the famous Jet D'Eau, symbol of Geneva, with a jet of 145 meters. Moving to the southern side of the lake you will walk along the Promenade du Lac flanked by the Jardin Anglais: here you will find a huge clock made up of 8 concentric circles adorned with colorful seasonal flowers, better known as theFlower Clock, also a symbol of central Switzerland.

2 - Afternoon: Lunch, Saint-Pierre Cathedral, Chapelle des Macchabées, archaeological site, Promenade de la Treille, Place du Bourg-de-Four

You can opt for a lunch directly on one of the ferries that ply the suggestive lake, for a moment of relaxation perhaps taking some suggestive photos from the opposite side of the lake at a negligible cost (€ 1,78 each way). For those who prefer to have lunch "on the ground" we recommend "Chez Philippe" where you can buy take away menus from € 8,90, have hamburgers or sandwiches from € 16,00 or complete menus on the house proposal starting from € 34,00. In the afternoon you can then head to the historic center better known as the Old Town: start from Saint-Pierre Cathedral dating back to 1150 which over time became a typically Calvinist tradition then stripped of its previous riches inside but imposing on the outside, we therefore recommend that you also take a leap into Chapelle des Macchabées from 1406 to admire the beautiful Gothic paintings. Climbing up the stairs leading to the top of the tower you can admire the wonderful Geneva panorama; in the basement of the structure you can visit the archaeological site where you will find the mosaics that decorate the Roman floors dating back to the 7,00th century, the monks' cells and the tombs of the Allobrogi. The entrance to the church is free, while to access the towers and the archaeological site it is necessary to buy a ticket of € per person.

Always remaining in the historic center, it is located in the peripheral area Promenade de la Treille, the oldest in Geneva which has become particularly famous for its 2 curiosities: on this walk you will find the longest wooden bench in the world (120 meters!) and the "official Geneva chestnut" (the "marronnier officiel"). In the immediate vicinity is the famous Place du Bourg-de-Four, the oldest and certainly the most fascinating and evocative of the whole city: an important market took place here from the 18th century onwards. Today, tourists and Genevans prefer it for its cafes and restaurants, and in the square there is also an th century fountain and a statue of Clementine by Heinz Schwarz.

3 - Evening: Dinner, Bourg-De-Four district

After a long walk through the many shops in the area, it's time for dinner: what better dish to try than the Longeole (flavored pork sausage typically served with boiled potatoes and lentils)? We therefore recommend "Restaurant Chez ma cuisine" in the historic center and you will not spend more than € 22,00 per person for a complete meal. If after dinner you decide to stay in the area you can enjoy one of the liveliest neighborhoods in the city, from bars to luxury clubs to private parties for counter-trend idealists, a place that reaches its peak in the summer with plants and flowers that adorn the streets.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 4,2 km / 52 min
  • Places visited: Parc de la Grange and Parc des Eaux-Vives, Jet D'Eau, Promenade du Lac, Jardin Anglais, the Flower Clock, Saint-Pierre Cathedral, Chapelle des Macchabées, archaeological site, Promenade de la Treille, Plaza du Bourg-de-Four
  • archaeological site and panorama towers of the Chapelle des Macchabées
  • Breakfast at Boulagerie Philippe Taillé (Get directions), Lunch at Chez Philippe (Get directions), Dinner at Restaurant Chez ma couisine (Get directions)

2 day

1 - Morning: Breakfast, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire

On the second day you can visit some of the most important museums in Geneva. Therefore we advise you to have breakfast in the immediate vicinity of these, therefore we recommend the Starbucks located in Cours de Rive 11, where you will not spend more than € 8,90 per person for an espresso and a laugengipfel. The most important museum is the Museum of Art and History, or Museum of Art and History, one of the three largest in Switzerland that excels in the fields of art and archeology, with a collection of weapons and treasures of Roman, Greek and Middle Eastern art and typical of the antiquities of the eastern Mediterranean, Roman and Etruscan ceramics and Egyptian funerary art. Some archaeological finds and antiquities come from Geneva and the surrounding area and date back to the Paleolithic and Iron Age! The art galleries are filled with old master paintings and Italian, Flemish, Dutch, French works from the 16th to the 18th century. Admission to this museum is free for everyone.

2 - Afternoon: Lunch, Promenade de la Treille, Parc des Bastions, Quai du Mont-Blanc.

When it's time for lunch, we recommend that you try the Rosti, a potato-based pie and one of the nicest places where you can order it in different variations is Café du Bourg-de-Four: a lovely historic place near the cathedral where it is It is possible to taste this typical dish with a portion starting from € 8,00. Heading south west, at the end of the wonderful Promenade de la Treille, in the splendid Parc des Bastions stands the Reformation Monument, erected in 1917 in recognition of Geneva's leadership in the Protestant Reformation. In between stand the figures of Giovanni Calvino, Guillaume Farel, Théodore de Bèze, and John Knox, the prominent leaders of that movement.

Just a 15-minute walk along the north shore of the lake, or Rive Droite, stretches the Quai du Mont-Blanc, with a view of the Mont Blanc range, extremely impressive in the late afternoon. On the pier stands the monument in memory of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, assassinated by an Italian anarchist in 1898. In the area there is also the imposing monument of Brunswick, a mausoleum modeled on the Scaligere tombs of Verona, built for the Duke Charles II of Brunswick.

3 - Evening: Dinner, Baby Boa

For dinner we recommend the Edelweiss Restaurant famous for its famous fondue: it is impossible not to know the Swiss cheese that has made the culinary fortune of the country. For the preparation of the fondue a hard cheese melted inside the "caquelon" is used which is brought to the table (hot) where everyone dips their piece of bread with a fork designed for this purpose. Prices for a portion range from € 28,00 to € 42,00. For those who want to continue their evening full of fun there is the Baby Boa, an old cinema that has been converted into a unique style nightclub that opens only for organized events, summer periods and holidays and access is usually free. .

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 3,5 km / 44 min
  • Places visited: Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Promenade de la Treille, Parc des Bastions, Quai du Mont-Blanc.
  • Museum of Art and History
  • Breakfast at Starbucks (Get directions), Lunch at Café du Bourg-de-Four (Get directions), Dinner at Edelweiss Restaurant (Get directions)

3 day

1 - Morning: Breakfast, CERN

The day starts at the Boulangerie Eric Emery, a great place to have breakfast and be within walking distance of the Geneva business area that you might visit on the last day of your vacation: it's a lovely bakery awarded for its cakes and chocolate and it's possible enjoy your meals on an elegant terrace. For a coffee, chocolate bread and a baguette with strawberry jam you will spend on average € 13,35. Using public transport (tram line 18) in just 20 minutes you will arrive at the CERN: a paradise for all science enthusiasts, it is the largest laboratory in the world for research in the field of nuclear and sub-nuclear physics and, for example, is famous for being the place where the World Wide Web was born. The entrance is totally free but given the high flow of visitors it is advisable to book a guided tour for the sector you may prefer!

2 - Afternoon: Lunch, Palace of Nations, Croisière "Geneva Tour"

For lunch we suggest you return to the Mont-Blanc area at "Auberge de Savièse", where you can taste the Malakoffs: fried crispy balls stuffed with cheese. It is a not very famous dish, served with a side dish of fried or boiled potatoes and typical of the canton of Vaud and more particularly of the Côte Vaudoise. You can order a nice salad and malakoff at the price of € 15,00 per portion. After lunch, reach the Palace of Nations: UN headquarters whose access, on busy days, could be closed to visitors before the scheduled closure but this would not affect pre-registered groups. The duration of the tour is one hour, the visit can be booked in different languages ​​and the cost per person is € 13,00. Inside it is possible to admire: the Hall of Human Rights and the Alliance of Civilizations, decorated by the famous artist Miquel Barcelò, the Salle des Pas Perdus, the Assembly Hall, the largest room of the Palace of Nations and the Council Chamber , where many important historical negotiations took place, with the murals of José Maria Sert. Before dinner, a ride on Lake Lemàno can be very relaxing and suggestive: you can opt for the Croisière Geneva Tour, a short one hour navigation to discover the beauties of the Geneva coast enjoying an unparalleled view of Mont Blanc, the monuments, the famous villas, the UN and the parks and gardens. The last boat leaves at 16:30 and the ticket price is € 16,00.

3 - Evening: Dinner, La Buvette des Bains

After your suggestive tour on the lake, we recommend that you head to La Buvette des Bains, an evocative location overlooking the left side of the lake where you can taste Alplermagronen, a dish based on pasta, cheese, potatoes, onions and sour cream. A very famous dish in Geneva and other places in the Swiss Alps, it is served here at € 8,90 per serving. Finally, to end your holiday in the center of Geneva, we strongly recommend you to relax in the saunas or Turkish baths that you will always find at La Buvette des Bains: they are open from 8:00 in the morning to 21:30 in the evening, spending the sum of € 17,00 per person!

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 22,4 km / 57 min (by car)
  • Places visited: CERN, Palace of Nations, Croisière "Geneva Tour"
  • Croisière Geneva Tour, Palace of Nations
  • Breakfast at Boulangerie Eric Emery (Get directions), Lunch at Auberge de Savièse (Get directions), Dinner at La Buvette des Bains (Get directions)

How much does a weekend in Geneva cost

Geneva, as we know, like the rest of Switzerland is a city that is anything but cheap: on average a person would spend no less than € 500,00 for a complete visit of the city, including meals and museums. Obviously, the higher the standards, the more the price increases (it depends for example on the types of hotels in which you stay overnight).

  • Costs to eat: about € 50,00 per day per person (including breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • Costs for museums and attractions: about € 51,00 per person following the itinerary we suggest
  • Transportation: to move around the city you can use the Geneva Transport Card, wandering around Geneva for free. For those arriving in Geneva by plane, the outward journey is usually free, the return costs € 4,50
  • Hotels, accommodation and b & b: Hotel and b & b starting from € 111,00 per room -
  • Fun: from € 35,00 per person in total
  • Total cost of a weekend in Geneva: from € 590,00 per person

Before leaving: useful tips

  • When to visit Geneva: the best period is between May and September. The reason? It is certainly the mildest time of the year and in June, for example, you can watch the famous Bol d'Or sailing regatta. The period from late November to early January is also perfect for those who prefer the typical Christmas atmosphere of markets and decorated streets - find out more
  • to reach it is quite easy, 5 km away is the international airport of Geneva - Cointrin where the major low cost airlines operate, the Gare de Cornavin railway station serves train arrivals from major French and Swiss cities and those coming from 'Italy (with both day and night timetables) thanks to which it is possible to travel from € 68,00 each way, while for those who opt to reach it by car, Geneva is served by the A1 and A40 motorways; for the latter option it is important to know that parking in the city is difficult unless you have private parking at the hotel, while the Swiss road traffic requires the payment of the motorway toll
  • Geneva offers a wide range of accommodation options, from luxurious 5-star hotels to hostels and tourist apartments also located in the historic area of ​​this cosmopolitan city. The most attractive area to stay in is certainly the one near Lake Lemàno as it is strategic for visiting both the historic center (which is located on the left bank side) and the part with an international flavor (on the opposite bank).
  • Getting around: there is a vast public transport system, consisting of buses and trams; costs vary from € 3,00 to € 15,00 depending on the zones or the duration of the ticket (varies from 60 minutes to the whole day), costs that are halved for children between the ages of 6 and 16. It is important to know that Geneva also offers a shuttle-ferry service that connects the right bank to the left bank of the city for those who want to visit it from a different perspective, spending only € 2,00.
    The Geneva Transport Card is available, a free pass for all Geneva public transport, which can be requested free of charge at the place where you will be staying at the time of check in - find out more
  • Other: all travelers are reminded that Switzerland adheres to the Schengen area, therefore you will enter the country with an identity card valid for expatriation or with a passport. For those arriving by plane, you can take advantage of a totally free ticket lasting 8 minutes to reach your accommodation from the airport. As in most European capitals, entry to most museums in Geneva is free every first Sunday of the month and, by requesting it at the tourist information centers, you can also get the Geneva Pass (valid for 24,48 or 72 hours and costs € 22,00, 31,00 and 40,00 respectively)

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