1 – Jet d’Eau
Geneva’s famous hydraulic water jet welcomes you even as your plane is flying over the lake, ready to land. The Jet d’Eau was actually created by accident in 1886, when the safety valve designed to prevent overpressure by allowing water to escape, shot a 30 metre jet of water into the air. In 1891, its possibilities as a tourist attraction were recognized and it was moved to its present location. Thus, it takes place #1 on our list of 10 Best things to do in Geneva. Since 2003, it has been shooting the equivalent of four bathtubs of water (132 gallons) into the air every second! It is only turned off in case of frost or strong wind; for special occasions, it is also lit with changing floodlights. Keep your camera on ready mode as you might catch a small rainbow on it!
2 – Geneva Old Town and Cathedral of St. Pierre
The cobbled streets and well maintained mediaeval buildings of Geneva’s old town bear witness to a history spanning over two milleniums, though the origins of the town date from at least 58 BC. Must-see places include the Place du Bourg-du-Four (central square and former trading place of the Romans!), the Maison Tavel and the imposing Cathedral of St. Pierre (built 1160 – 1252) where you can climb the internal tower for a rewarding overview of the city. On the other side you can have a seat on the longest bench in the world (120 meters!) overlooking Parc de Bastion! Don’t forget to pass by “parc de l’observatoire” where you can enjoy a beautiful cite of Geneva downtown and Jet d’Eau, steps away from the shinning golden domes of the Russian church.
3 – UN, Red Cross & Red Crescent museum
4 – Carouge old town
5 – Patek Phillippe Museum
6 – Bains de Pâquis
Geneva`s “Pâquis Baths” are located on the artificial peninsula in the “Les Pâquis” area on the “Rive Droite” of the lake. They are highly popular with tourists and locals alike, comprising lakeside mini beaches for sunbathing and a quick dip in the summer as well as hammams, saunas and turkish baths for the winter. The area is full of bars, restaurants and hotels as well as a lively nightlife.
7 – CERN (Meyrin)
For a unique twist to your Geneva experience you should check out CERN (European Commission for Nuclear Research). Founded in 1954 as a joint venture of 12 countries, CERN is less commonly known for creating the www “World Wide Web”! It’s also home to the 27 km long Hadron Collider – the largest particle accelerator in the world. Only two of its exhibitions are open to the public (the “Microcosm” and the “Globe of Science and Innovation”). Tours are available Monday through Saturday, but reservation is highly recommended as it gets filled out quickly!
8 – Plainpalais Flea Market
9 – Botanical gardens
Geneva’s lovely Botanical Gardens is a must visit place for families with kids, same as for couples on romantic walks or anyone who needs to rest his busy mind and enjoy the tranqulity of beautiful nature. Geneva’s first botanical gardens were created in 1817 as an expression of the then prevailing naturalist trend. The garden is home to over 16,000 different species of plants, trees and shrubs blooming at different seasons to ensure the all-year round feast for the eyes. This large museum of greenery is organized through different sectors such as the Greenhouses, Rockery, Arboretum and Winter Garden.