Top 13 things to do in Geneva

Geneva, located at beautiful Lake Geneva is famous for its watchmaking, chocolate, and fondue. We will inform you about the 13 top things to do in Geneva. Enjoy a stroll along the splendid lake, a relaxing boat cruise, or enjoy freshly brewed coffee in the Old Town of Geneva.

The Rhône River crosses Geneva which gives it a vivid atmosphere, with its crystal clear water. Let’s inform you about the 13 top things to do in Geneva! A warm welcome to Geneva!

1. Explore Lake Geneva by boat

Lake Geneva
Explore Lake Geneva by boat

Lake Geneva, the location of this lake is between France and Switzerland. It is also known in France as Lac Léman. Lake Geneva offers many things, a mild climate, several water activities and of course stunning views. The Lake is the largest in Switzerland and the lake contains the most water in Central Europe. 

There are boats, historic paddle steamers, and ferries on the water. The company, GGN(Compagnie Generale de Navigation operates at Lake Geneva with eight steamers, which is the largest European fleet. With small ferries, the several villages and cities are connected, in this way, you can travel fast and efficiently from one shore of the lake to another shore.

Top Things to do at lake Geneva

Chillon Castle
Chillon Castle

Admiring the lake from the shores is indeed beautiful, but it gets even more beautiful when experiencing Lake Geneva on a boat cruise, this creates a whole new perspective of exploring this Metropole. You can rent a paddleboard as well to be active on the lake.

Enjoy a stroll along the shore path, and admire the sunset. And of course, you can enjoy a delicious dinner with a splendid view of Lake Geneva. We have made a selection of three great activities on Lake Geneva, for a unique experience.

2. Old town of Geneva

As mentioned before, Geneva is the largest historical city in Switzerland. The Beautiful Old Town is dominated by St. Peter’s Cathedral, the centre of the Reformation. The small squares, the buildings full of history, and fabulous museums tell a story.

The cobblestone streets make the Old Town of Geneva magical. When visiting the Old Town of Geneva, visiting Cathedrale de Saint-Pierre is a must, this cathedral contains a rich history, with an archaeological site under the church.

Where to have a drink at the Old Town of Geneva?

Relax after exploring the Old Town. The Place Bourg-de-Four is the perfect place for a drink on a terrace. The atmosphere of the Old Town of Geneva is the oldest square in Geneva. Lovers of history will love the historical architecture and will probably notice the typical narrow houses and buildings that characterize Geneva.

place bourg de four
Sunny day at Place Bourg De-Four

The best restaurants in the Old Town of Geneva

A selection of five of the best restaurants is located in the Old Town of Geneva. In the old town of Geneva, Celebrate Geneva’s culinary scene in the historic setting. We have made a top 5 of the nicest restaurants located in the Old Town of Geneva:

  • Restaurant Les Armures ( Rue du Soleil-Levant, 1204 Genève, Switzerland)
  • Café PAPON (Rue Henri-Fazy 1, 1204 Genève, Switzerland)
  • Café du Bourg-de-Four (Pl. du Bourg-de-Four 13, 1204 Genève, Switzerland)
  • Osteria della Bottega (Grand-Rue 3, 1204 Genève, Switzerland)
  • Hôtel-de-Ville (Grand-Rue 39, 1204 Genève, Switzerland)

3. Jet d’Eau (Water Jet)

Jet d'Eau, Geneva
Jet d’Eau, Geneva

A famous thing about Geneva is the sight which we can’t forget, the Geneva Water Fountain, the Jet d’Eua. The name literary means water jet. The water fountain is one of the tallest water jets in the world. The height of the water jet is 140 meters. The mountain became a symbol of ambition, vitality, and strength.

Good to know, you can walk the pathway which goes straight to the fountain, little sidenote, only if you don’t mind getting a little wet. But we are sure it is worth it. Local tip: go to the Bains des Pâquis, here you have a beautiful view, a spot which is favoured by locals to swim, have a bite in a café, or enjoy a comfortable and warm sauna.

4. Cathedrale de Saint-Pierre

This beautifully looking cathedral dates back to 1150, so the 12th century. The Romanesque church has some Gothic elements and is located at the highest point of the Old Town of Geneva. One interesting fact is that the name of the church was changed during the Protestant Reformation, it was changed to the Temple de Saint=Pierre, and from then it was a protestant church.

The two towers, from the 13th century, are never completed. There is a small corridor between the two towers which makes it possible to ascend both.

Climb the tower of the Cathedrale de Saint-Pierre

The church offers a wonderful panoramic view of the Old Town, such a breathtaking view. You can climb the tower, which is 157 steps, but then you are rewarded with a splendid view of the city and the lake.

But besides the tower, do not forget to have a look at the archaeological site below the cathedral, here you can admire treasures dating back to Antiquity, very interesting.

Cathedrale de Saint-Pierre
Saint Peter’s Cathedral, with beautiful candlelights

What are the opening hours of the Cathedrale de Saint-Pierre?

The opening hours of the Cathedrale de Saint-Pierre are from the 1st of October to the 31st of May:

Monday to Saturday: 10 am-5.30 pm
Sunday: 12 pm-5.30 pm
Towers are open until 5 pm

1st June to 30th September
Monday to Saturday: 9.30 am-6.30 pm
Sunday: 12 pm-6.30 pm
Towers are open until 6 pm

The entrance of the Cathedral is free, to climb the tower, there is a fee of 7 CHF.

5. Le Jardin Anglais

Le Jardin Anglais, or The English Garden, which is closely located to the lake as well as to the well-known fountain Jet d’eau, is a worth visit. This garden has a magnificent atmosphere with stunningly looking flowers. Treat yourself to a relaxing stroll in this peaceful place of tranquillity.

The English Garden has a special place in Geneva, in the heart of the citizens of this wonderful city. For this reason, this garden gives people the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing stroll, an idyllic stroll.

Le Jardin Anglais, the clock flower
The flower Clock in Le Jardin Anglais

The flower Clock

The English Garden is famous for its Flower Clock and the National Monument, which commemorates Geneva’s integration into the Swiss Confederation. As known, Geneva is recognized all around the world for its watch-making tradition, being the mother of high-end watchmaking.

To pay tribute to this honour, Geneva created the biggest clock in the world, made from stunning flowers. As you see in the image above, this is worth visiting, it looks like a piece of art. The location of the park is Jardin anglais – 1204 Genève.

6. Palais des Nations

The palace was built between 1929 and 1936 and is situated in the heart of the Parc de l’Ariana, the Palais des Nations houses the European headquarters of the United Nations and is an interesting fact, it is the largest UN centre after New York. Moreover, the Palais opens its doors daily and provides fascinating guided tours!

Palais des Nations
Palais des Nations

The price for a guided tour in Palais des Nations

The price for a guided tour in Palais des Nations is:

  • Adults 15 CHF,
  • Children(up to 6 years old) 0 CHF
  • AVS 13 CH

The opening hours of the Palais des Nations

The opening hours are from Monday to Friday
In the morning from 09.45 to 11.45
In the afternoon from 13.45 to 15.45


CERN, Geneva
CERN, a unique architectural building

Located in the west of the centre of Geneva, in the suburb of Meyrin, you can visit the headquarters of the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The headquarters is open to tourists. The centre offers tours, where is explained what happens in this building, and a lot is explained about science.

In the museum, there are two exhibitions, about the facility and the research it does. You can take a tour of the accelerator complex. Here you can enjoy a virtual tour of the installed machines and the equipment, to learn more about them. The tours are free of charge! A tour takes about 1 hour.

The opening times are from Monday to Saturday from 8.00 A.M. till 6.00 P.M

8. Patek Philippe Museum

In 2001 Patek Philippe Museum was officially opened. The museum is located in a restored Art Deco building in the area of Plainpalais in Geneva. In the museum, five centuries of watchmaking history are shown.

Two collections can be viewed: the Extraordinary Antique Collection, starting from the 16th century, and the Patek Philippe collection starting from 1839. There are guided tours, with a professional guide, in this way, you can understand the historical significance of the art of watchmaking much better.

Guided tours in the Patek Philippe Museum

There are public guided tours as well. These tours take around 2 hours, there are two tours:

  • The tour in French starts at 2 pm
  • The tour in English starts at 2.30 pm

The entrance prices for the Patek Philippe Museum

The admission fees are 10 CHF for adults and students. seniors, disabled and unemployed are 7 CHF. Children until the age of 18 are free.

The address is Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers 7, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland.

9. Enjoy a coffee in the Old Town of Geneva

Coffee Old Town Geneva
A Coffee in the Old Town of Geneva

Whether you start exploring Geneva, or you are already strolling through the city for a while, freshly brewed coffee is always welcome. Enjoy a coffee in the Old Town of Geneva, while enjoying the history of the Old Town.

The cafes mentioned below, are cute cafes most of them offer indoor and outdoor seating, and of course delicious coffee. We have made a selection of four of the best coffee shops in the Old Town of Geneva:

  • Boréal Coffee Shop Stand (GE) (Rue du Stand 60, 1204 Genève, Switzerland)
  • Old Town Café (Pl. du Bourg-de-Four 22, 1204 Genève, Switzerland)
  • Café La Clémence (Pl. du Bourg-de-Four 20, 1204 Genève, Switzerland)
  • Chou (Rue des Eaux-Vives 79, 1207 Genève, Switzerland)

10. Have dinner in Geneva

Dinner Geneva
Dinner Geneva

After a long day of exploring Geneva, Lake Geneva, and perhaps a museum, it is time to find a place to have dinner.

To make things easier, we have made a selection of the best places to have dinner in Geneva, to enjoy the local cuisine, perhaps a cheese fondue, raclette, or other classics in a chalet-inspired interior. This is a top 4 of the best places to have dinner in Geneva:

  • Restaurant Les Armures (Rue du Soleil-Levant, 1204 Genève, Switzerland) – Swiss Cuisine
  • Chez Marino (Rue Muzy 22, 1207 Genève, Switzerland) – Pizza/Pasta, Italy
  • Auberge de Savièse (Rue des Pâquis 20, 1201 Genève, Switzerland) – Swiss Cuisine
  • Inglewood Eaux-Vives (Av. de Frontenex 5, 1207 Genève, Switzerland) – Burgers

11. Breakfast in Geneva

Of course, before you start exploring Geneva, a good breakfast is important. We have made things easier, we have created a list of the best places to have a delicious breakfast, this is a top 4 of the best places to have breakfast in Geneva:

  • Birdie Food & Coffee (Rue des Bains 40, 1205 Genève, Switzerland)
  • Café du Centre (Pl. du Molard 5, 1204 Genève, Switzerland)
  • Viverra Coffee (Rue du Môle 22, 1201 Genève, Switzerland)
  • Marcel (Rue des Eaux-Vives 3, 1207 Genève, Switzerland)

12. Lunch in Geneva

Time for lunch, after you have for instance the beauty of the Old town of Geneva, with its rich luxury or you have been on a boat cruise on Lake Geneva, it is time for a good lunch, we have made a list of the top 4 places to have lunch in Geneva:

  • Be Kind café (Rue David-Dufour 8, 1205 Genève, Switzerland)
  • Living Room Bar & Kitchen (Quai du Mont-Blanc 11 1211, 1 Genève, Switzerland)
  • L’ Aparté (Rue de Lausanne 43, 1201 Genève, Switzerland)
  • Restaurant Les Armures (Rue du Soleil-Levant, 1204 Genève, Switzerland)

13. Swiss Fondue in Geneva

Swiss Fondue in Geneva
Swiss Fondue in Geneva

Yes, it may sound cliche, but whether you visit Geneva during Summer or Winter, you should always try a fondue, there is no excuse. Fondue was born in the western French-speaking regions, so in fact, there isn’t a better city to order a steaming pot of melted Gruyere combined with a nice wine, than Geneva. So we have made a top 3 of the best places to have Swiss Fondue in Geneva:

  • Auberge de Savièse (Rue des Pâquis 20, 1201 Genève, Switzerland)
  • Restaurant Les Armures (Rue du Soleil-Levant, 1204 Genève, Switzerland)
  • Café du Soleil (Pl. du Petit-Saconnex 6, 1209 Genève, Switzerland)
  • Buvette des Bains (Quai du Mont-Blanc 30, 1201 Genève, Switzerland)


In this blog, you can read about the top 13 things to do in Geneva. There are many activities and sights in Geneva. Besides sights and activities, Geneva has cosy coffee spots too.

Enjoy a freshly brewed coffee and just enjoy the vivid city. Endless amazing dinner opportunities to be found in Geneva too. We hope you enjoy your visit to Geneva!


Sophie simply loves how peaceful Switzerland is and enjoys travelling through beautiful Switzerland. She loves to write about things she experienced and shares her experiences on this blog with all readers!

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