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Hugging the southwestern shores of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman in French, Genfersee in German), Geneva is Switzerland’s second largest city. At the foot of the Jura Mountains, within view of Mont Blanc, it boasts a deeply rooted French influence and cosmopolitan flair. Geneva has played a pivotal role in Europe for centuries – helping launch the Reformation movement in the 16th century, later becoming an important banking and watch-making centre and now acting as European headquarters of the United Nations. Occupying an area of 282 square kilometres (109 square miles), its diverse population of almost 185,000 includes over 86,000 people from foreign countries.

Straddling the right and left banks of the lake and the Rhône River, Geneva encompasses charming quays, lakeside promenades, leafy parks, a lively Old Town and chic stores. A cultural hot spot, it has more than 30 museums and art galleries, theatres, an opera house, gourmet restaurants and a dynamic nightlife.

GMT +1 hour
Central European Time


LANGUAGE(s) spoken
Official language is French, but English, German and Italian are also spoken in most restaurants, information centers and tourist attractions.
Local voltage is 220 to 240 volts. Adapters are needed with US appliances.
Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. Major stores are open on Thursdays until 9:00 pm, Saturdays 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Closed on Sundays.
Geneva, Switzerland (GVA)

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Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
This world-famous, 28-hectare (69-acre) conservatory features 16,000 species of plants, trees, animals and flowers. Visitors can also enjoy the rose garden, rock gardens, streams, mountain flora, arboretum, aviary and Animal Park, and an unusual scent-and-touch garden. A state-of-the-art research laboratory with herbarium and an extensive library on botany make it one of the world's most important botanical centers.
Estimated travel time: Located in downtown Geneva.

Flower Clock

Flower ClockLocated in the Jardin Anglais on the lakeside promenade, this colourful clock is made up of 6,500 plants. First created in 1955, this tribute to Switzerland's most acclaimed industry has become one of Geneva's most photographed sites. Each season a new design is created, each one more beautiful than the last.
Estimated travel time: Located in downtown Geneva.

La Cathédrale St. Pierre
Built over a period of 300 years, beginning in the 10th century, the cathedral offers stained glass, Swiss religious art, history and architecture. It is an important archaeological site, containing Roman mosaic floors, remnants of two fourth-century Christian sanctuaries and an 11th-century crypt. And – if you climb the 157 steps of the narrow, winding staircase of the north tower – you will be rewarded by breathtaking panoramic views of the city.
Estimated travel time: Located in downtown Geneva.

Jet d'Eau

Jet d'Eau

This must-see attraction is Geneva's trademark – a breathtaking, 138-metre (453-foot) fountain, the tallest in the world.
Estimated travel time: Located in downtown Geneva.

Reformation Monument
Marking Geneva's central place in the Protestant Reformation in Europe, the Reformation Monument, built in 1917, is an important tourist attraction. Four enormous granite statues depict the Genevese reformers John Calvin, Guillaume Farel, Théodore de Bèze and John Knox. On either side are smaller statues of other Protestant leaders, including Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli and Oliver Cromwell.
Estimated travel time: Located in downtown Geneva.
Cruises GenevaLake Cruises
Lake cruises leave from Quai du Mont-Blanc every day from April to October, and range in length from 40 minutes to two hours. Take a tour of the castles and famous homes along the lower end of the lake, or enjoy a tour focusing on the natural history of the Rhône River.
Estimated travel time: Located in downtown Geneva.
Old Town Geneva Old Town
Located on Geneva's trendy left bank, Old Town offers narrow, winding streets, hidden courtyards and picturesque squares. Place du Bourg-de-Four, in the heart of Old Town, has long been a gathering spot. First a Roman forum and then a medieval town square, it features magnificent 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century architecture, much of which houses antique bookstores and art galleries.
Estimated travel time: Located in downtown Geneva.

Once a village, this suburb of Geneva was developed by the King of Sardinia in the 18th century. The Mediterranean-style community houses galleries built around lovely gardened courtyards, artists' workshops and old-style cafés. It features some of the city's best nightlife
Estimated travel time: 15 minute drive from downtown Geneva.

United NationsPalais des Nations  (United Nations)
The European headquarters for the United Nations, this is also the world's largest conference centre for multilateral diplomacy and top-level international politics. Tours include the Great Assembly Hall and the Council Chamber.
Estimated travel time: Located in downtown Geneva.

Museum of Natural History
One of the best natural history museums in Europe, its permanent exhibitions are devoted to regional fauna, tropical birds, mammals and exotic reptiles. Other galleries focus on the geology of Switzerland and the Geneva region, and on the history of the planet and of humanity.
Estimated travel time: Located in downtown Geneva.

The Museum of Art and History
The city’s most well-known museum showcases collections of both fine art and applied art and archaeology. It features both permanent and temporary exhibitions.Estimated travel time: Located in downtown Geneva.

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMCO)
Opened in 1994, this museum is housed in a former warehouse. It exhibits a high-quality collection of artworks representing established and emerging artists, originating from both private and public collections. Mediums include video art, photography, sculpture, paintings and furniture. Exhibits from the permanent collection are showcased, as well as a series of temporary exhibits.
Estimated travel time: Located in downtown Geneva.

Cern Cern
The world's largest particle physics laboratory, is where the World Wide Web was born. Discover the wonders of science and technology at this interactive science centre: take a behind-the-scenes tour, watch a video presentation or visit some of the experimental areas. Please note: Four to six weeks advance notice is requested in order to arrange a visit.
Estimated travel time: Located in downtown Geneva.

Maison Tavel
The city's oldest house, Maison Tavel dates from the 14th century. It contains the town museum as well as an impressive model of Geneva circa 1850.
Estimated travel time: 5 minute drive from downtown Geneva.

Musée Rath
Founded in 1826, this museum was built as a gift to the city of Geneva by two sisters, Jeanne-Francoise and Henriette Rath. It is the first museum open to the public in Switzerland. Now, the Museum displays international as well as Swiss art, and have held important exhibitions from ancient and contemporary art to archaeology.
Estimated travel time: 5 minute drive from downtown Geneva.

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum

The museum uses state-of-the-art technology to depict one of the world's greatest humanitarian movements.
Estimated travel time: 15 minute drive from downtown Geneva.

Musée Ariana
Musée Ariana showcases a lavish collection of glass and ceramics from Europe and the East, spanning seven centuries. The contents are housed in an impressive neo-baroque mansion.
Estimated travel time: 15 minute drive from downtown Geneva.
On the banks of Lake Geneva, Lausanne hosts a wide range of cultural and sporting events and is home to the superb Olympic Museum. Visitors enjoy exploring its Old Town, with its majestic 13th-century cathedral, elegant shopping, lively open-air market and cruises from Ouchy harbour.
Estimated travel time: 1 hour drive from downtown Geneva.


Montreux-Vevey, sometimes referred to as the pearl of the Swiss Riviera, enjoys a mild climate and idyllic setting on Lake Geneva. A long-time magnet for the rich and famous, the region offers wine-growing villages, medieval castles and elegant belle époque buildings. Its most celebrated festival is the Montreux Jazz Festival, held each July.
Estimated travel time: 2 hour drive from downtown Geneva.

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