Nestling on the shores of Lake Geneva and with a population of 204,946, Geneva is a destination where history and culture blend harmoniously. Famous for being home to numerous international organisations and the headquarters of the Red Cross, Geneva is a global crossroads. Its cobbled streets, elegant squares and lush green parks offer an idyllic setting in which to lose yourself and discover the unique soul of this Swiss city just 30 minutes fromAnnecy.
History and heritage
A world capital
Geneva is one of the five richest cities in the world, and it also shines as the host of the largest number of international organisations. The canton of Geneva is home to no fewer than 39 international organisations and 431 non-governmental organisations (NGOs). These institutions include
- The European headquarters of the United Nations
- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
- The World Trade Organisation (WTO)
- The World Health Organisation (WHO)
- The International Labour Organisation
Geneva and New York are the two key locations for international cooperation on a global scale, and Geneva stands out as the leader in terms of institutions, meetings and congresses dedicated to this objective.
This city is the jewel of French-speaking Switzerland. Nicknamed “the smallest of the great capitals”, it is the heart of the canton that bears its name. Despite its size, Geneva is a cosmopolitan metropolis that emerges from miles of unspoilt countryside along the motorway.
A city at the heart of the water
Nestling between the Salève and Jura mountains, Geneva lies at the centre of a valley, surrounded by water. Its name, a gift from the ancient Celtic languages, reflects its aquatic identity. “Gen” means mouth and “Ava” means water. Together, they form Geneva’s strong link with the rivers. The powerful currents of the Rhône and the Arve flow through the city like arteries, mingling in a dance before joining the peaceful waters of Lake Geneva.
Elegant districts line the shores of this remarkable lake, which shrinks in size as the miles go by. Geneva and the lake are so closely linked that some locals even call it “the lake of Geneva”. In English, “lac Léman” simply becomes “lake Geneva”! This deep connection between city and water gives Geneva a unique sparkle.
The Geneva job market
If the number of cross-border commuters continues to rise (+7.1% by 2022), it’s because the job market is doing well in Geneva. Unemployment remains low at 2.2%. Despite this, some sectors are facing labour shortages. According to one study, there will be 100,000 vacancies in Switzerland in February 2023.
During your stay in Geneva, you may need a comfortable place to rest. Here are some of the hotels waiting to welcome you to the heart of this friendly city.
Swiss Luxury Apartments
With a fine balance of quality, comfort and value for money, the Swiss Luxury Apartments offers luxurious accommodation and a range of services, such as free parking and a shuttle service, designed especially for travellers.
From €447 per night.
This elegantly renovated 5-star hotel boasts breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Geneva and the majestic Mont Blanc. Spacious rooms and a welcome drink await you in this unique location.
From €468 per night.
Located in the heart of Geneva, a short distance from the UN Palais des Nations, the Hotel Beau Rivage offers a warm welcome. The atrium invites you to relax, while the panoramic terrace patiently awaits the mild summer days to offer you an enchanting setting.
From €654 per night.
Hotel D Geneva
In the centre of Geneva, this privileged hotel offers a continental breakfast to start the day. Take advantage of the 24-hour reception, room service and gym. Accommodation offers charming views of the city.
From €178 per night.
Activities and visits
Geneva is a city rich in varied experiences for all visitors. Here are some of the activities not to be missed:
There are many cultural and indoor activities to choose from:
Visiting museums – Geneva is packed with fascinating museums, such as the Museum of Art and History, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, and the Patek Philippe Museum for watch enthusiasts.
Cathédrale Saint-Pierre – This imposing cathedral is a symbol of Geneva. You can climb the tower for a panoramic view of the city. The interior is adorned with magnificent stained glass windows and sculptures.
Discover international organisations – Visit the offices of the United Nations, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other international institutions.
Geneva offers an exciting range of activities, historical discoveries and outdoor adventures, making every moment spent in the city a memorable experience.
Admire the Jet d’Eau – The Jet d’Eau fountain is one of Geneva’s most recognisable symbols. It shoots water impressively high into the sky, creating a striking and refreshing spectacle. Take the time to stop and admire this aquatic wonder from different vantage points, including the banks of the lake.
Go for a walk – Enjoy a stroll along Lake Geneva. It’s a popular activity with locals and visitors alike, and a great way to discover Geneva’s natural beauty.
Enjoy the lake – It offers a multitude of activities to explore including cruises, canoeing, paddle boarding, sailing, water skiing or simply swimming.
Explore Old Geneva – Immerse yourself in the city’s history as you stroll through the picturesque streets of Old Geneva.
Stroll through the parks – Take a stroll through the Parc des Bastions, where you can play chess on giant outdoor chessboards, or explore the Parc La Perle-du-Lac with its stunning views.
Stroll through the neighbourhoods – Explore districts such as Carouge, with its bohemian atmosphere, or the lively banks of the Rhône for an authentic experience of Geneva life.
Geneva has a vibrant cultural scene with a multitude of events throughout the year. Immerse yourself in this cultural effervescence by exploring a variety of options:
Theatrical shows – Attend theatrical performances in prestigious theatres such as the Grand Théâtre de Genève. From classic plays to contemporary creations, there’s something for everyone.
A variety of concerts – Music lovers will be delighted by a range of concerts, from classical performances to concerts of contemporary music, jazz and pop. The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and other local ensembles perform regularly.
Lively festivals – Geneva hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year. For example, the Geneva International Film Festival in November, which celebrates cinema with screenings of international films and related events, the Festival du rire in April featuring Swiss and international comedians, and numerous music festivals.
Themed cultural events – Many events focus on specific themes. For example, the Nuit des musées is a lively evening exploring the city’s museums.
Traditional festivals – Immerse yourself in local festivities, such as the traditional Christmas markets, the Escalade festival in December, which commemorates a historic event with parades, costumes and festivities, or Feu Ô Lac in May, a drone-based light show, with plenty of concerts and entertainment.
Conferences and debates – With its international role, Geneva is a prime venue for conferences and debates on subjects ranging from human rights to science.
Check out Geneva’s cultural calendar for upcoming events.
Don’t hesitate to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the sporting events that take place in Geneva every year. Here are the three main events you can enjoy:
The Generali Genève Marathon – Renowned for its beauty among European marathons and its speed among Swiss races. The first part of the course takes you through the countryside, while the second passes through the heart of Geneva.
The CHI 5* de Genève – For lovers of equestrianism, this is an event not to be missed. It brings together the world’s best riders in December at Palexpo for the Geneva International Horse Show Jumping Competition, or CHI.
The Gonet Geneva Open – A renowned tennis tournament that attracts players ranked in the world’s top 20. Names such as Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic and even Roger Federer have competed in this tournament. The athletes themselves regard the Gonet Geneva Open as one of the most prestigious tournaments of the year.
Whether you’re a fan of art, music, sport, local gastronomy or simply nature, Geneva offers a rich range of events and activities to brighten up your stay!