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One day in Geneva

At the end of our upcoming My Way Alpine tour we will be arriving in Geneva late morning, in order to catch our flight home the following day. Our hotel is near the airport. Any suggestions on how to best spend that day would be appreciated!

Posted by
11453 posts

Rick’s guidebook has a self-guided day tour of the city that we plan to take when we are there this autumn.

Editing to correct: Fodor’s book has a nice self guided walk. Sorry Rick! Thanks Laura!

Posted by
5970 posts

If you are interested in physics, I highly recommend a visit to CERN. It's free and easy to get to. But, check out their website, if you'd like a tour you need to book in advance, I believe its 10-14 days in advance, I can't remember. The spots go fast.

Posted by
16894 posts

Laurel, that may be an inside joke, or else you momentarily confused Geneva with Zurich. Rick's 9th edition of Switzerland still has no info on the city of Geneva.

I'd go with info from the Tourist Information Office to keep you busy for a day: https://www.geneve.com/en/.

Posted by
61 posts

I'd recommend the Old Town area (tons of history, cobblestone streets, and beautiful architecture!) as well as the waterfront area-- by the Jet d'Eau and the Jardin Anglais (good place for a picnic on a sunny day). There's not as much to see in Geneva as in some other cities in Switzerland, but it's still a beautiful city!

Posted by
7209 posts

We just did the tour of Cern - and it wasn't anything like I was expecting. Totally boring. We actually excused ourselves early from the tour as we just couldn't stand to waste any more time there.

Posted by
5970 posts

I think you have to be very interested in physics to enjoy CERN and find it worthwhile. Even if you can't get a tour, there some great exhibits that even my "nonphysics" daughter enjoyed, her twin, a math and physics college major was in heaven at CERN.

Posted by
11294 posts

"Rick's 9th edition of Switzerland still has no info on the city of Geneva. "

Yes, but I'm not sure why. I know he doesn't like it, but he made clear that he doesn't think Zurich is worth much time either. However, because so many people have a day in Zurich to use the airport, a few editions ago he started including a chapter on the city. He really should do the same for Geneva.

If you don't find things to do in Geneva, look at Lausanne (less than an hour away by frequent trains). I enjoyed the Olympic Museum and especially the Museum of Outsider Art.

Posted by
8889 posts

so many people have a day in Zurich to use the airport

I never understand why. Luzern is only 70 minutes from the airport by direct train, which is quicker than the centre of many cities to their airports. Unless your flight is ridiculously early, then you need to stay at the airport instead of in the city.

By the same logic, as Harold says, Lausanne has direct trains to Geneva airport and is a nice city to spend a few hours.

Geneva and Zürich are both nice, but there are better.

Posted by
5970 posts

I don't think any city I've been to in Switzerland has been "bad" or a waste of time, but there are so many just absolutely wonderful cities that it makes sense to rank those over other cities which are nice, but for some travelers just don't merit the time. Grindelwald is a lovely town with a lot of tourist services, but for me, Murren, Wengen, Gimmelwald and Lauterbrunnen and others were so much more picturesque. We did walk around Geneva some, we went over to the UN and strolled by the lake, its lovely, but its not Lausaunne or Luzern, etc. RS doesn't cover Basel much at all. We "had" to go there since it was a start of a tour. I ended up using other sources and requesting information from the tourist office which they kindly mailed to my home. I thought Basel was very nice and worth some time.

Posted by
308 posts

Thanks for starting this thread! My husband and I are also staying in Geneva one night after our RS Alpine Europe tour (the one starting August 27) and needed some ideas for how to spend the day.

My husband is a bit of a physics nerd so the tour of CERN is a great idea for us. And I love a good self guided walking tour so I may have to pick up that Frodor's book. Thanks, everyone!

Posted by
4011 posts

Walk around the Old City, visit Manor, have lunch or dinner at Les Armures (bus #36) to the top of the hill in the Old City, walk along the Rhône and lakeside to see Jet Eau. Enjoy a boat ride on the lake.

Posted by
50 posts

I'd recommend the Red Cross Museum or you could go to Carouge.

Posted by
4011 posts

You mentioned Carouge! Carouge has a WONDERFUL tennis club with indoor red clay.

Posted by
4 posts

The airport is only about 15 minutes from the town center, so plenty of time to visit. You can walk round the lakeside parcs for views of the Alps and the Jet d'Eau, and the old town is a stone's throw away. If you are interested in history, John Calvin preached in the Cathedral; you can climb one of the towers for the view, and there are roman ruins underneath you can visite (though both need tickets unfortunately). Look out for the house were the Red Cross was founded, next to the Cathedral. I like the Maison Tavel, said to be the oldest mediaval house in the old town, and now a museum.
Geneva is also the birthplace of the UN, and you can visite the original League of Nations building (reserve at least three days in advance though). As a previous poster said, you can also visite CERN, but be warned, it's fascinating if you have an interest in physics, but fairly boring if you aren't (I've been with teenagers, not a succes).