Geneva - a city where you can enjoy the best of the natural world and human endeavour alike!
Geneva, despite its relatively small size (under half a million inhabitants), is a city that has always punched above its weight on the world stage. A cradle of the Protestant Reformation under the leadership of Jean Calvin, Geneva is now also known for the plethora of international organizations and NGOs that are headquartered here, including many UN agencies, the Red Cross, the WHO, CERN and the ILO.
Due to its highly cosmopolitan populace, the city is well-served by regular flights from many major international destinations. Geneva airport is, as you would expect, a model of efficiency - you can even travel to the city centre (4km distant) absolutely free by train or bus! It's worth noting that this free travel on public transport also extends to those staying in hotels or youth hostels, who are entitled to a free day pass on the local transport network.
Geneva being an all-year round business and holiday destination, airplane ticket prices will not vary enormously - it's best to check out the Air France special offers page to try to grab the best deals. You can also find useful information on baggage allowances and other formalities.
Switzerland is famous for its natural beauty, and Lake Geneva and its surrounding mountains don't disappoint. If you have the time, a great day trip to make is to head up to Mont Salève, (actually located in neighbouring France), by cable car. You'll get gorgeous views over Geneva and the surrounding countryside below in return.
Geneva is also a city of ideas and ideals. The Cathédrale de St Pierre, where Jean Calvin preached contains the International museum of the Reformation as well as the so-called 'archaeological site', which lets you delve down through hundreds of years of Geneva's past. An even more monumental building houses the Palace of Nations, once the seat of the League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations. Guided tours are available of this enormous complex, which in European terms is second in size only to the Palace of Versailles.
Geneva - a city where craftsmanship flourishes in all its forms
The Swiss are famed for their artistry in many fields, so it should come as no surprise that Geneva holds many examples of their craftsmanship:
- The famous flower clock in the English Garden
- The Jet d'Eau fountain
- The Gaudi-esque architecture of 'Les Schtroumpfs' buildings
- The Patek Philippe museum
The Jet d'Eau is one of Geneva's most recognizable landmarks and is a must no matter how short or long your stay in the city. Originally designed as a safety valve for a hydraulic power network, the fountain, one of the biggest in the world, is now purely aesthetic in purpose and it makes for an impressive sight, especially when illuminated at night. It can be accessed from a jetty, or why not view it from a different angle by embarking on a short boat journey across the lake? For those with time to get out of the city, there's a host of exciting leisure activities throughout the year, including the famous Montreux Jazz festival, hill-walking in the Alps, world-class skiing, wine trails, paragliding and rafting…