If you haven’t heard: Geneva is so much more than the Swiss counterpart to, say, Monaco. Sure, you’ll still feel a sense of being transported into a fairytale-like setting where the world’s problems seem just so far away. But Geneva’s scene has expanded past its reputation for merely being a playground to the highest ranked diplomats in the world.
Today, adventuring for a weekend to this city may just be the perfect escape to a busy life. With Mont Blanc in the background, the French tradition is as alive and well here as is the Swiss—it’s the marriage of these two cultures that creates the ultimate destination in Geneva. So below, see what to do, what to eat, and where to stay during a weekend in Geneva, Switzerland.
What to Do:
Put on your walking shoes and embark on a journey with Geneva Greeter: an experience curated by a group of volunteer locals who offer *free* tailored walking tours based on what you’re most interested in. Be wary, though: first timers to the city should come prepared with a specific list of sights if you want a program that’s more structured. Otherwise, just come as you are and this particular grain of sightseeing could prove to be perfect for those who are more carefree when touring. Make sure to stop at the St. Pierre Cathedral, take a stroll alongside Lake Geneva, and hopefully (and most importantly) stop in to Läderach for exceptionally crafted Swiss chocolate.
For those who don’t know, Geneva is the watchmaking capital of the world. So for something a little less cardiovascular, try an introduction to watchmaking class with Initium. The company offers a range of experiences tailored to all levels of watchmakers, and in some cases participants can even take a watch home. For those who are giving it their first go, try a three-hour course to dip your toes in the water—there’s truly nothing more authentic to Geneva than this particular activity. After the class, consider topping off the experience with a shopping session in Geneva’s historic city centre or “Old Town.” The area offers an outpost of literally just about every premiere watch company in the world, so you’re options will seem delightfully endless.
Where to Eat:
For traditional Swiss and French dishes and of course, delectable desserts, lunch at Les Armures is an absolute must. The restaurant, known as one of the oldest in the city, has become one of the city’s top dining establishments. Located inside the five-star Hôtel Les Armures (alleged favorite to the Clinton family), the restaurant’s decor transports you into a Swiss chalet—very fitting given the fact that it’s located in the Old Town. Order the classic cheese fondue and the traditional veal dish.
For a festive dinner, a more unexpected stop might be the city’s new Peruvian hotspot Alma. The restaurant—designed by architect agency Ateliers Beau Regard and Philippe Cramer Interiors—invites patrons into a warm, bustling scene. A ceviche station immediately greets guests (and should be the first shared plate you order) and a lengthy bar proves as hot a destination as any of the space’s covetable tables (make sure to place your reservation in advance). Try the Ceviche Nikkei (tuna, tiger leche with soy, daikon and cucumber) and the Anticuchos Del Chef (mini skewers of grilled meat with sauce anticuchera).
Where to Stay:
Known for premiere stays worthy of literal kings and queens, the question of where to stay in Geneva depends on your take: do you want old or new luxury?
For Geneva’s crown jewel (and a taste of traditional luxury), book a stay at the five-star Beau Rivage Geneva. The hotel is on the famous Quai du Mont Blanc, opposite the renowned Jet d’Eau, and located just steps away from the Rue du Rhône, the prestigious shopping street and business centre. Staying here is truly a mark of status in the city and rightfully so: a palatial lobby invites visitors into a Genevan mansion, attentive service treats all guests like royalty, and delectable on-site dining options (French and Thai) tempt you to stay on campus for the entirety of your stay. The hotel also recently underwent a renovation to expand their top floor for duplex apartment suites that truly—for lack of better words—knock your socks off. They’re also known to cater to guests’ every need. Case and point: an extra A/C unit was installed in the hotel’s Eleanor Roosevelt suite for a guest who preferred their bathroom temperature to be extra cool.
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