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What to see in Geneva - 13 main attractions

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Updated: 15 Nov, 2018

Geneva is one of the most unique cities in Switzerland, located in the south-west of the picturesque Lake Leman. Often it is called the capital of the world: after all, the headquarters of the most important international organizations, such as the UN and the Red Cross, are concentrated here. Geneva, whose attractions are quite diverse in historical and cultural terms, is a very small city. Therefore, even staying here one day, you can see enough remarkable objects. And in order to facilitate your task in finding the most interesting places to visit, we decided to make a special selection.

If you wish, before you start reading the article, you can study the map of Geneva with attractions in Russian, presented at the bottom of the page. This will help you better navigate the location of the objects we describe.

Mount Salev (Mont Saleve)

From Mount Salev over 1100 meters high, beautiful views of Geneva, the fountain and Lake Geneva open. And if you go there in clear weather, you can admire the Mont Blanc, Le Boz and Le Born mountain ranges. Mount Salev is a kind of sports club for the Swiss: in summer, climbers and climbers conquer it, and extreme sportsmen rush from its slopes on a mountain bike or jump with a paraglider. The remaining residents prefer to climb the mountain on foot, armed with comfortable mountain boots. And if you happen to relax in Switzerland in Geneva, be sure to visit this attraction.

Mount Salev is located 20 km from the center of Geneva, and to get here, you need to find bus number 8 at the central city station, which will take you 3 ₣ to the final stop Veyrier Douane. Getting off the bus, you will find yourself in a glorious French village, from where, following the signs, you will reach the funicular that will lift you to the top (14 ₣ in both directions). If you want to join mountain hiking, then forget about the ski lift and follow the signs for the trail leading to Salev. A leisurely climb up the mountain will take you about 3 hours, and as a reward for your journey to the top you can enjoy a unique panorama, as well as taste a French pie in a cozy restaurant.

You will be interested! The symbol of Switzerland - Mount Matterhorn - is the prototype of the famous Toblerone chocolate bar. Features of mountain climbing and cognitive facts you will learn in this article.

Je-Do Fountain (Jet d’Eau)

Located in the very center of Geneva, the Je-Do Fountain has long been a hallmark of the city, which tourists from all over the world come to see. The uniqueness of the object lies in the fact that this natural fountain is located in Lake Geneva itself and beats with a powerful stream 147 meters high. Je-Do is especially beautiful in the evening, when the spotlights are turned on to illuminate it.

Interesting to know! Initially, the highest fountain in Europe was built not for beauty, but to ensure the smooth operation of the city hydraulic system, but now not only locals, but also travelers enjoy it.

This attraction of Geneva is also good because it produces beautiful photos against its background: after all, the fountain is surrounded by a natural reservoir and framed by mountain ranges. And the swans that live here, which tourists love so much to feed, only serve as an additional decoration of the area. Je-Do operates in summer and winter, works from morning until late in the evening, so you can admire its beauty at any convenient time.

Location: quai gustave-ador | Jetee des Eaux-Vives, Geneva 1207.

On a note! Just 66 km from Geneva on the shore of the same lake is the city of Lausanne, which is famous for its architecture, picturesque views and excellent conditions for recreation. Read more about Lausanne in this article.

St. Peter's Basilica and Maccabees Chapel (Cathedrale de St-Pierre, Chapel of the Maccabees)

The most important and oldest cathedral in Geneva, uniting Catholics and Protestants, began to be built in the 12th century. But in order to finally rebuild the temple, it took humanity about six centuries. That is why the construction style is not one-sided and gathered the best traditions of classical, Romanesque and Gothic architecture.

You should definitely look at the main exhibit of the cathedral - Calvin's chair, on which the ideological and spiritual leader of Protestants of the 16th century once sat. When visiting this attraction, be sure to climb the temple tower, which offers a panorama of the Old Town.

Special attention should be paid to the Maccabee chapel adjacent to the cathedral, built in the early 15th century. Its decoration is fundamentally different from the main part of the temple. A riot of colors in wall ornaments and elaborate stained glass windows plays here.

  • Opening hours Cathedral from 9:30 to 18:30 (Monday - Saturday), from 12:00 to 18:30 (Sunday).
  • Visiting the cathedral itself is free, but climb to the tower is 5 ₣ for adults and 2 ₣ for children.
  • Address: place du Bourg-de-Four 24, Geneva 1204, Federal Republic of Switzerland.

Patek Philippe Watch Museum

The expositions of the Patek Philippe Gallery occupy four floors. The first tier is reserved for a small cinema, where visitors can watch a tape about the company, as well as get acquainted with various machines for the manufacture of watch products. Here you can watch a real watchmaker demonstrating his skills. On the second floor there is a gallery with a Patek Philippe watch from the period 1839-1989.

Rising even higher, you will find yourself in the walls of the "Antique Gallery", which displays exhibits produced in the period from 1500 to 1800. Here you can get acquainted with watch machines, look at beautiful jewelry, and also get acquainted with wooden watches made by the Russian master Bronnikov. The fourth floor is reserved for the company’s archives and library, where portraits of its founders and their awards at various competitions are presented.

It is forbidden to take photographs in the gallery, and you will also be asked to hand over all the bags to a storage room located in the basement (cell price 2 ₣).

The Patek Philippe Clock Museum is a 20-minute walk from the city center.

  • Open from 14:00 to 18:00 (Tuesday-Friday) and from 10:00 to 18:00 (Saturday). The gallery is closed on Mondays and Sundays, as well as during national holidays
  • Admission fee 10 ₣.
  • Address: rue des Vieux-Grenadiers 7, Geneva 1205, Switzerland.

Botanical Garden Villa le Chene

If you don’t know what to see in Geneva in 1 day, feel free to go to the Villa le Chene Botanical Garden. This natural park is considered one of the best in Europe. Spread over an area of ​​28 hectares, the garden has collected a collection of more than 16 thousand species of plants. The territory of the park is divided into several thematic sections, among which it is interesting to see the greenhouse with orchids (more than 1,500 species), a rock garden, a zoo and an area with protected plant species.

Black Swan

This is a quiet, nature-breathing place where it is pleasant to walk along the alleys along which centuries-old trees rise. Be sure to check out the zoo and get to know the local flamingos, peacocks and black swans. You can get here from the city center by tram number 14, which takes you to the UN building: after landing at the bus stop, turn left and after 2 minutes you will find yourself in the botanical garden.

  • Visiting the facility for free.
  • In the period from October to March, the garden is open daily from 8:00 to 17:00, in the period from March to October - from 8:00 to 19:30.
  • Address: Chemin de l’Imperatrice 1, Chambésy, Geneva 1292, Switzerland.

Baths of Paquy (Bains des Paquis)

You may not notice this attraction in the Geneva guide, but it's worth a look. After all, the Paky Baths are especially popular among all the baths of Lake Geneva. Located almost in the heart of the city, the bathtubs are an artificial beach connected to the lake by a pedestrian bridge. Here, the tourist has the opportunity to swim, sunbathe on wooden floors or just enjoy the surrounding views for a leisurely walk along the promenade.

On the beach there is a lighthouse, swimming pool, sauna, massage room and cafe. This is a great place to relax right in the center of Geneva. Many tourists say that in a local restaurant you can have a tasty and inexpensive meal. The beach is very comfortable and clean.

  • Entrance to the territory is paid and is 2 ₣ for adults and 1 ₣ for children from 6 to 16 years.
  • Address: quai du Mont-Blanc 30, Geneva 1201, Switzerland.

Park La Grange

La Grange Park is located on the left bank of Lake Geneva and covers an area of ​​12,000 square meters. meters. This is the attraction of Geneva, a full description of which is impossible to do without a photo. Imagine a wide green area flowing from a hill to a reservoir, dotted with flower beds and a rose garden. The unique historical park has repeatedly won first places at various exhibitions thanks to its natural exhibits. Walking slowly under the foliage of centuries-old cedars among ponds and flowering gardens, tourists enjoy the original landscapes and deep tranquility.

At the entrance to this attraction, you will be greeted by two huge statues of lions, and at the top of the gardens you will find the ruins of an antique villa left by the Romans. The park also has a swimming pool, a children's playground, a restaurant and a theater, where free performances are shown during the summer months. La Grange Park has a special work schedule:

  • November to March: from 07:00 to 18:00
  • April to May: from 07:00 to 21:00
  • June to August: from 6:00 to 22:00
  • September to October: from 07:00 to 21:00

Entrance to the park is free. Address: Avenue William-Favre 1, Geneva 1207, Switzerland.

Museum of Natural History (Museum d’Histoire naturelle)

The Museum of Natural History is a very informative tour that will be interesting for both children and adults. The exhibits are located on four floors of the building, have a beautiful design and original lighting. Here you can look at dioramas and stuffed animals, birds, reptiles, insects, as well as see the skeleton of a dinosaur. The museum presents a collection of minerals and precious stones, and in a separate dark room you have the opportunity to observe the glow of fluorescent stones.

Entrance to the museum is absolutely free, but there are not many visitors here. The only drawback of the gallery, according to tourists, is the fact that all the inscriptions for the exhibits are presented only in French.

  • The facility is open from 10:00 to 17:00 daily except Mondays.
  • Address: route de Malagnou 1, Geneva 1208, Switzerland.

Palais des Nations (UNOG)

Another attraction in the city of Geneva, which any tourist traveling in Switzerland must visit is the UN Palace. It is a complex of buildings surrounded by a beautiful park, where each tree has its own tablet and history. It also houses many sculptures that were donated to the ON by various states. Travelers who have been in the halls of the palace notice a special atmosphere: visitors seem to be attached to something global and very important.

Tourists are allowed to enter ONN Palace only with a guide. It should be borne in mind that tours are conducted in only two languages: in English and French. You can get here yourself from the Geneva station by tram number 15. Be sure to bring your passport with you, otherwise you will simply not be allowed into the building. In total, a tour of the ONN Palace takes about 2.5 hours.

  • Entry cost for adults 12 ₣, for students 10 ₣, for children 6-18 years old 7 ₣.
  • The palace is open from Monday to Friday and offers the following hours for visiting: in the morning from 10:00 to 12:00 and in the afternoon from 14:00 to 16:00.
  • Address: 8-14 avenue de la Paix, Geneva 1211, Switzerland.

Sculpture Broken Chair Sculpture

What else to see in Geneva? Of course, the famous sculpture Broken Chair, located next to the ONN Palace. This composition was not installed on the square for decoration and has a deep meaning: it was created with the aim of abolishing the use of anti-personnel mines, due to which many people lose their lower limbs. The sculpture serves as a symbolic reminder to all politicians who are on business in Geneva. Initially, it was assumed that the Broken Chair will stand on the area for only three months, but the composition has been here for more than 20 years.

You can get to the sculpture on foot from the station in 20 minutes or take the tram number 15 or bus number 8 and disembark at the stop at the ONN Palace. In addition to the chair in the square, you can see a beautiful fountain and a cannon with a blindfold, as well as take a walk along the alley with flags near the building of ON.

Address: Place des Nations, Geneva 1202, Switzerland.

Bastion Park and Reformation Wall (Parc Des Bastions, Mur de la Reformation)

If you have only 1 day left to review Geneva sights, then be sure to pay attention in your guide to such a place as Bastion Park. Once the center of the city was surrounded by bastions, a small part of which was preserved in the form of a wall, where today a green park is laid out. This is a calm, quiet island near the Old Town, perfect for relaxing after a grueling excursion. It will be interesting to play big chess and checkers. The park is decorated with lush flower beds, small streams, arbors and fountains.

The Wall of Reformation with the monuments of the founding fathers of Protestantism (Jean Calvin, Oliver Cromwell and others) deserves special attention. The wall stretches along the entire park, and the area in front of it is lined with interesting mosaics. In winter, everyone has the opportunity to skate in the park. If you are hungry, you can have a meal at small food stalls located at the entrance to the park.

Address: Promenade Des Bastions 1204, Geneva, Switzerland.

Bourg du Four Square

The cozy square of a triangular shape, located in the Old Town, will be a great place to relax after a walk around the outskirts of Geneva. In the center of Bourg du Four is an old fountain of the 18th century with drinking water and a sculpture of a girl - a monument to victims of violence.

Around the square there are several cafes and small restaurants, as well as retail shops located in old, but restored buildings. In general, this is a secluded historical corner where you can make a stop and sit at a table in a cafe with a glass of soft drink.

Address: Intersection of rue Verdaine | rue des Chaudronniers, rue Etienne-Dumont, Geneva 1204, Switzerland.

Ethnographic Museum of Geneva (Musee D’ethnographie de Geneve)

This is one of the latest museums in Geneva, will appeal to all lovers of history and ethnography. Here you will have the opportunity to look at the household items of the Swiss, which were used in different eras. The museum has a permanent exhibition, and admission to it is completely free. However, the gallery often hosts temporary exhibitions and some of them require a separate fee.

Typically, this attraction has few visitors. At the entrance, tourists are offered an audio guide. After visiting the exhibits, everyone has the opportunity to relax in a miniature cafe at the gallery.

  • Opening hours: from 11:00 to 18:00 (Tuesday-Saturday), from 11:00 to 16:00 (Sunday).
  • The facility is closed on Mondays and public holidays.
  • Address: boulevard Carl-Vogt 65, Geneva 1205, Switzerland.

Schedules and prices in the article are for February 2018.

Geneva, the sights of which tourists from all over the world seek to see, will give you a lot of new knowledge and impressions. Of course, to truly get to know the city and explore all its hidden corners, it will take more than one day. But with proper planning of excursions, you will have time to see a lot of interesting things in a day.

The sights of Geneva described in the article are marked on the map in Russian.

An interesting video by Alexander Kondrashov from Geneva and a little about prices in the city. How much do you think dinner costs in one of the best restaurants?

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