"" Switzerland Things to Do Tip by CorvetteChic

Switzerland Things to Do: 774 reviews and 1,281 photos

Comfortably encamped on the shore of Lake Geneva, this spic-and-span city belongs to the international community as much as it belongs to the Swiss: over 200 international organisations are headquartered here; one in three residents are non-Swiss; and just about every global problem from nuclear proliferation to ethnic cleansing has done a star turn at Geneva's famously neutral negotiating tables. The global affairs it tries to make sense of may be murky, distressing and dangerous, but the city itself is pristine, efficient and safe. Some punters have gone as far as to complain about sterility, but then some people wouldn't recognise a good thing if it waved a dozen flags and shouted in their ear.

The city enjoys a fine location, and strolls around the lake and boating excursions are hugely enjoyable. The cable car up Mont Salève offers the complete picturesque panorama. The Rhône River runs through the city with the old part of town lying on the south side. The centre of town is dominated by the partially Romanesque, partially Gothic Cathedral St Pierre. John Calvin preached here from 1536 to 1564 and the body of the church matches the austerity of his teachings. The nearby Place du Bourg-de-Four is the oldest square in Geneva. It was once a Roman forum, evolved into a medieval marketplace, and is now destined for a future as the loci of touristy shops.

Fortunately, there's plenty of culture to combat the kitsch. The Museum of Art & History has a vast and varied collection including paintings, sculpture, weapons and archaeology. The compact Petit Palais has an excellent and focussed collection of modern art. The International Red Cross & Red Crescent Museum offers a vivid multimedia trawl through atrocities perpetuated by humanity in recent history. Other museums include the catchy Museum of Old Musical Instruments, the Horology Museum and the Voltaire Museum.

Geneva has decent nightlife, but it ain't cheap. The presence of so many diplomats, international administrators and bankers also means that prices for food and accommodation can be high. A handful of hostels and budget hotels can be found on both sides of the river. Inexpensive restaurants are concentrated in the vicinity of the university, and north and west of Gare de Cornavin.

Address: Geneva

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  • Written Aug 24, 2002
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