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Type of sights

Heritage building(s)


Name and address


CH-1204 Genève


Geodetic coordinates

46.202601 6.149391


387 m


Fountain on Lake Geneva
Fountain on Lake Geneva
Place du Bourg de Four in Geneva
Place du Bourg de Four in Geneva
Rue de la Madeleine 15, Genève. Temple de la Madeleine.
Rue de la Madeleine 15, Genève. Temple de la Madeleine.
Cathedral St. Peter, Geneva
Cathedral St. Peter, Geneva

Geneva (/dʒᵻˈniːvə/, French: Genève [ʒə.nɛv], Arpitan: Genèva [dzəˈnɛva], German: Genf [ɡɛnf], Italian: Ginevra [dʒiˈneːvra], Romansh: Genevra) is the second most populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland.

The municipality (ville de Genève) has a population (as of December 2014) of 197,376.

Geneva is a global city, a financial center, and worldwide center for diplomacy due to the presence of numerous international organizations, including the headquarters of many of the agencies of the United Nations and the Red Cross. Geneva is the city that hosts the highest number of international organizations in the world. It is also the place where the Geneva Conventions were signed, which chiefly concern the treatment of wartime non-combatants and prisoners of war.

Geneva was ranked as the world's ninth most important financial centre for competitiveness by the Global Financial Centres Index. A 2009 survey by Mercer found that Geneva has the third-highest quality of life of any city in the world. The city has been referred to as the world's most compact metropolisand the "Peace Capital". In 2009 and 2011, Geneva was ranked as, respectively, the fourth and fifth most expensive city in the world.


  • Jet d'Eau, the Rade (visible from most of the Lac Léman waterfront). daily 10:00-23:00. One of the crowning symbols of Geneva is the monumental Jet d'Eau, a fountain of water pumped 140m into the air. The spectacular plume was once an occasional pressure release for hydro-power generation on the Rhône River, but people liked it so much that in 1891 the city created a permanent pumped fountain. It's beautifully lit at night. Best viewed from a distance — the surrounding half kilometer is soaked with water. However, the more adventurous might want to try the pathway leading right up to the Jet d'eau -- prepare to get enjoyably wet! Free.
  • Cathédrale St-Pierre and Calvin's auditorium, Place St. Pierre (At the highest point in the Old Town). Jun-Sep, M-Sa 9AM-7PM, Su 11AM-7PM; Oct-May, M-Sa 10AM-noon and 2PM-5PM, Su 11AM-12:30PM and 1:30PM-5PM. The new Espace Saint Pierre pass includes entrance to all three sites of Cour Saint-Pierre, a noteworthy space of unique spiritual and cultural importance. The Cathedral and its towers, originally Catholic, both embody the high point of the Reformed tradition and explore the origins of Christianity with an extensive archaeological site and they are now complemented by the International Museum of the Reformation on the ground floor of the Maison Mallet. An underground passage, reopened when the Museum was created, connects the two buildings. The archeological tour beneath the cathedral is excellent for archeology fans it explains the origins not only of the cathedral but the reason for Geneva's location back to pre-Roman times. Those willing to climb the steps of the Cathedral's towers will be rewarded with magnificent views of Geneva and the lake. Nearby, the Auditoire, where Calvin taught, completes a complex that is both representative of the past and open to current questions. The new Espace Saint-Pierre thus aims to contribute to our understanding of today’s world – between tradition and modernity, cultural experimentation and spiritual practice. These three buildings invite the visitor to explore the city’s history. Religious denominations aside, Espace Saint Pierre represents a spirit that continues to guide the city and citizens of Geneva today. For schedules and information about free live organ performances in the cathedral, go to the website Concerts cathédrale. Adults 16CHF (Seniors, Disabled, Students aged 16-25, and groups of more than 15 qualify for a 10CHF pass, children aged 7-16 qualify for an 8CHF pass. Entry to the church itself is free, of course, but donations are welcome.).
  • Old Town (Vieille Ville). Aside of the cathedral the Old town in general is worth walking around in for a hour or two. Among the highlights are the city hall with the cannons in the little square opposite to it, Rousseau's birth house and various antique shops with all sorts of interesting stuff in the windows. A word of warning to people with physical disabilities: the Old town, is situated on a hill with quite steep streets leading up to it. 
  • Palais des Nations, 14, Avenue de la Paix (Number 8 bus, stop at Appia),  +41 22 917 4896. Open daily Apr-Oct 10AM-noon and 2PM-4PM; Jul-Aug 10AM-5PM; the rest of the year M-F 10AM-noon and 2PM-4PM (except over the Christmas period). Originally built to house the League of Nations, the Palais is worth visiting just to take in the magnificent Assembly Hall, in addition to the large collection of public art, the library, and the landscaped grounds. Visits are by guided tours only. For most of the year there are two or four of them per day, in the summer months they are arranged depending on the number of visitors. Enter the complex at the Appia gate, and go through passport and security check. From there you will go to one desk to get a "visitor" badge, then downstairs to purchase the actual ticket. After this you should exit the building, go to the left and slightly downhill to Building E, enter through door E39 and wait in the lobby until the tour starts. There is a quite good souvenir shop from where you can also send post cards with UN stamps, as well as a small "cinema" showing video clips of UN's work to keep you entertained while waiting. On the tour itself you must follow the guide at all times. 12CHF each for adults. (groups of 20 adults or more qualify for a 20% discount; private tour of 1-14 adults 127.50CHF; 10CHF each for students, senior citizens, and disabled persons; 4CHF for schoolchildren; free for children under six years old). 
  • Quartier des Grottes, Place des Grottes (north of Gare Cornavin). An area with interesting shops and most importantly, a series of residential buildings called "les Schtroumpfs" (1982-1984), where the architects tried to avoid all straight lines, leading to an unconventional Gaudi-like appearance. Free. 
  • Monument Brunswick, Quai du Mont-Blanc. An impressive monument, constructed in 1873 as a Mausoleum for the Duke of Brunswick, as a replica of the tomb of the Scaligeri family in Verona (14th century). Also worth visiting for the 5 star hotels and the cars in front of them. Free. 
  • Île Rousseau, Pont des Bergues. Small island where the lake ends and river Rhône begins named after the famous philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau - of course there's a statue of him there too. Free. 
  • L'Ile. Worth visiting for the old Tour de L'Ile, the remains of a fortified castle erected in the 13th century. Free. 
  • Place Neuve. See the impressive Grand Theatre (1879, renovated after a fire in 1951), the Conservatoire de musique, and the Musée Rath. Also visit the Parc des Bastions, which includes a large wall ("Mur des Réformateurs") showing some of the famous people of the Reformation movement. 
  • Eaux-Vives. While many of Geneva's buildings are similar in style to what you would find in French cities, the Mairie of Eaux-Vives is a great example of the typical Swiss architecture you would find in cities like Zürich. If you're interested in modern architecture, also visit Rue Saint-Laurent for "La Clarté", an avant-garde building designed by Le Corbusier in 1931/32 — one of 17 Corbusier buildings to be listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Another interesting attraction here is the Russian Orthodox Church built 1859-1866 with its golden cupolas. 
  • Carouge. A district of Geneva that once belonged to the Kingdom of Sardinia and hence retains a distinct Italian flavour. 
  • Jardin botanique (Main entrance: corner of Rue de Lausanne and Avenue de la Paix, take bus 8, 11, or 25). At the botanical garden you can see flowers, plants and trees both from the Alps and from other parts of the world. The palm house also hosts tropical vegetation. In the northern part of the park there is a zoo spread over a quite large area with birds and some Alpine mammals such as goats and deer. free. 

Museums and galleries

  • International Museum of the Reformation, 4, rue du Cloître (Bus n° 36 to Cathédrale/ Bus n° 2, 7, 20, stop Molard/ Tram 12, 16, stop Molard),  +41 22 310 2431. Open daily, except Monday, 10:00-17:00. Closed on 24, 25 and 31 December and on 1 January. Open Easter, Pentecost, and Jeune Federal Mondays. Access for disabled visitors. Installed on the ground floor of the magnificent Maison Mallet (next to Saint-Pierre Cathedral), this new Museum presents the main spiritual and cultural elements of the Reformation. Unique objects, manuscripts, rare books, engravings, and paintings illustrate the close ties between Geneva and the Reformation. State-of-the-art technology welcomes a modern audience: films, a music room, and demonstrations, including many for children, invite visitors to both rediscover the past and imagine the future. 10CHF for Adults; Seniors, Disabled, Students from 16-25 years old qualify for a 7CHF admission fee; Children age 7-16 years old and groups of 15 or more qualify for a CHF5 admission fee; Children under 7 are free. For another CHF3, you can explore the archaeological site beneath the cathedral and climb the tower inside the cathedral, which has some amazing views of the city. 
  • Museum of the International Committee of the Red Cross, 17, Avenue de la Paix (8, F, V, or Z bus to Appia from the central station),  +41 22 748 9525. Open Daily, except Monday, from 10:00-17:00. Closed on 24, 25 and 31 December and on 1 January. Access for disabled visitors. The Museum of the I.C.R.C. is located in the basement of the headquarters and shows photos and objects related to the organization's service to humanity during countless wars and natural disasters, and presents stories of victims. However as of July 2014 at least much of the permanent exhibition is not an ordinary museum, but probably supposed to be more of an "experience", one might even call it a theme park - not really appropriate for such a serious topic. You will be given an audio guide that is activated when going through different rooms and touching screens - these are malfunctioning quite frequently. There are also educative tasks/games for the visitors to play as well as postmodern works of art. Overall, the museum is largely a rather confusing experience and given the offhand expectations you probably have, this museum will probably not be the high point of your visit to Geneva. CHF15 for Adults. Children, I.C.R.C. members, the elderly, and others qualify for a CHF7 admission fee. 
  • Musée ARIANA, Avenue de la Paix 10 (About midway between Place des Nations and the entrances to the Palais and the I.C.R.C),  +41 22 418 5450. Open daily (except Tuesdays) 11AM-5PM. Occupying a big chunk of what would otherwise be the UN campus, the Ariana Museum offers a huge collection (16,000 pieces) of ceramics from around Europe and the Far East. 8CHF. 
  • Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers 10 (Number 1 bus to Ecole des Medécins),  +41 22 320 6122. Tu-F Noon-6PM. Sa-Su 11AM-6PM. Late modern, post-modern, and contemporary works by internationally known artists, as well as a special collection of Swiss conceptual work. 8CHF. 
  • Musée d'Histoire Naturelle, Route de Malagnou 1 (Bus 1-8 (arrêts Tranchées & Muséum) 20-27 (arrêt Muséum), trams 12-16 (arrêt Villereuse)),  +41 22 418 6300. Tu-Su 9:30AM-5PM. Geneva has a nice museum which is worth a visit, especially if you have youth and children. Free. 
  • Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Rue Charles-Galland 2,  +41 22 418 2600. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. Extensive art and archaeological-historical collections. Painting gallery extends back to the early Renaissance, but is most extensive in Swiss-French and Impressionist works. Free, except special exhibits. 
  • Fondation Baur, Musée des Arts d’Extrême-Orient, 8 rue Munier-Romilly,  +41 22 704 3282. Tu-Su 2PM-6PM. The largest collections of Far Eastern art open to the public in Switzerland. Temporary exhibitions are regularly organized several times a year. 10CHF. 
  • Patek Philippe Museum, 7 Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers,  +41 22 807 0910. Tu-Fr 2PM-6PM, Sa 10AM-6PM. Four floors of stunningly beautiful watches and clocks from the last centuries, both Patek Philippe and other brands. There is also a section presenting watchmaking in practice. Bags (even shopping bags) are banned in the museum so leave them in your hotel room or somewhere else! Adults 10CHF, Seniors/people with disabilities/unemployed/students 7CHF, under 18 y.o. free. 
  • Musée d'histoire des sciences, Villa Bartholoni, 128 rue de Lausanne (buses 8 and 25, located in the Perle du Lac park.). Museum dedicated to scientists who've lived and worked in Geneva. You can see old equipment from telescopes to galvanometers and glass eyes. free. 
  • Maison Tavel, 6 Rue du Puits-Saint-Pierre (in the old town, near the city hall and the cathedral). Three floors presenting the history of Geneva from the Middle Ages until the 19th century. There's an entrance fee to the temporary exhibitions in the basement. free. 


  • Genève Plage (buses 2 and 6). There are many smaller places where to swim in either the rivers or the lake, but the largest one is Genève Plage (literally "Geneva Beach") at the eastern bank of the lake. It's a nice place to swim, enjoy the sun, play, barbecue, or just hang out. 


Inside the range of 4 km:

  •   Hôtel NʹvY, Rue de Richemont 18, Genève, PC X
  •   Hôtel Les Nations, Rue du Grand-Pré 62, Genève, PC VIII - X

    "... our hotel has a private underground car park, secured with an access card. We also have space for the bicycles there."

  •   Hotel Eden, Rue de Lausanne 135, Genève, PC IX - X

    "... Although we have parking spaces, these are not individually closed. They are located in an underground car park in a private building directly opposite the hotel.
    We can store the bikes in the basement of the hotel. This is secured, but there are 10 steps to climb with the bikes and then 20 steps down."


Inside the range of 4 km:

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