Switzerland’s second largest city is better-known for banking and the diplomatic HQ of the United Nations than as a tourism destination, but in addition to having the best-positioned airport for a trip to the Alps, Geneva has a wide offer of history, culture, and hospitality to add on to either end of a trip to Switzerland. Situated on the southwest shore of Lac Leman and both banks of the outlet of the Rhône, the city is a global melting pot, due to the high concentration of international organizations and financial institutions. Naturally, this creates a need for high-end hospitality, and the hotels in Geneva are among the best in Europe.
The high-street boutiques of Rue de Rhône offer Switzerland’s premiere luxury shopping opportunities, while up the hill in the old town, eclectic boutiques and galleries mix with the bistros and outdoor cafés of Place Bourg de Four. And in the Italian-influenced neighborhood of Carouge, some of Geneva’s premiere artisans and restaurateurs make up the hippest district.
Cultural opportunities include the Musée d’Art et Histoire, the Patek Philippe Museum, a historic look at the art of “haute horlogerie”, and the annual Geneva Auto Show. In the beginning of August, the Fête National coincides with the 2-week Fête de Genève, where the entire waterfront celebrates with concerts, carnival rides and attractions, fireworks, and more.
But the most appealing aspect of Geneva is the proximity to the mountains and countryside – on a clear day, you can see Mont Blanc from town, and farms and vineyards back right up to the city limits. In the summer, a cruise on a belle époque paddle steamship or even a classic sailboat gives even better views of this city on the Rhône, and you can even be delivered to the UNESCO wine-growing region of Lavaux for a hike through the vines.