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What to do and see in Geneva
What to do and see in Geneva

Geneva might not be the capital of Switzerland, but it is home to UNOG (The United Nations Office at Geneva), CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) and some of the world's most important financial institutions, Geneva is something of a European hub for development. However it is not all business here, from the famous chocolate to the beautifully historic Old Town, there is plenty to see and do in Geneva for pleasure too.

Visiting Geneva

Though a worthy destination in its own right, Geneva also acts as a gateway for most of French-speaking Switzerland, as well as for the Swiss Alps. This means that Geneva benefits from some great transport infrastructure - which will likely be first evident in landing at Geneva International Airport.

Geneva airports sits just 5km from the city centre, and is easily accessible from the Geneva Airport railway station, by bus or by taxi. If you pick up a ticket in the baggage claim area, you can travel into the city for free within 80 minutes of landing - provided you keep hold of your boarding pass for validation. In the city centre itself, you can quickly get from A to B with the efficient tram service, as well as with various bus, boat and train services.

It is worth noting that Geneva's currency is still the Swiss Franc - not the Euro. Bigger businesses may take Euros, but that is very much at their discretion, and you will be given change in Swiss Francs.

Also, don't be put off by the road signs if you're visiting Geneva! French may be the official language here, but English is widely spoken too thanks to the large international population that live and work in the city.

A true example of European elegance, Geneva is a beautiful city - regardless of whether you are here for a holiday or business trip. As such, why not extend that elegance into your hotel choice? Grand Hotel Kempinski Geneva is seated in the heart of the city, and can promise a warm welcome and a restful night, along with stunning views over Lake Geneva.

Scientific Geneva

Though technically based in a Geneva suburb, CERN - the European Organization for Nuclear Research - calls Geneva home, and is Europe's most important scientific research centre. Housing the largest particle physics lab in the world, CERN is trying to answer the big questions about our universe by looking at the very origins of matter.

All this means that CERN has helped establish Geneva's reputation as one of the most intelligent cities in the world. Over 2,000 scientists work at CERN - in fact, English is an official language here, along with French, as great minds from all over the world come to work here.

Fancy exploring CERN for yourself? Booking a guided tour online at least two weeks before your arrival could mean that you get to see the Large Hadron Collider up close - provided it's not running, of course. Though you might not be able to delve too deep into the CERN labs in the two hours you have to be shown around, science enthusiasts and young bright minds alike might be interested by the exhibitions hosted in the main entrance.

Geneva's cuisine

Thanks to the very international feel to the city, Geneva is a playground for flavours and dishes from across the world! You will find everything from Italian to Korean restaurants here, but if you are inclined to try something created a little closer to home, you could sample these typically Genevois dishes.

Cheese lovers could indulge on the raclette - a dish comprising of a unique kind of melted cheese, served over new potatoes with a gherkin, or even opt for a popular fondue. Fancy steering clear of dairy? Be sure to try potatoes prepared as rosti. The Swiss favourite side dish involves making patties out of grated potato, and frying them to crispy perfection.


Whether you are in the city for a long weekend or a little while longer, there is plenty to see and do to ensure you really soak up the Genevois culture.

Palais des Nations

Originally built to accommodate the League of Nations, Palais des Nations was, at one time, the HQ for the United Nations. Though that title is now bestowed on the New York Centre, Palais des Nations is still a vitally important part of the UN network. UNOG (The United Nations Office at Geneva) hosts some 8,000 meetings a year across many different UN organisations, including the World Health Organization and the World Bank.

What's more, you can see this important landmark for yourself on a guided tour through The Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room, the Assembly Hall and the Council Chamber - just be sure to book beforehand and bring ID with you.

Cathedrale de St-Pierre

Built in the 12th century, Cathedrale de St-Pierre (or, St Peter's Cathedral) is most well-known as being the adopted centre of the Reformed Protestant Church of Geneva, thanks to John Calvin - a leader of the Protestant Reformation in his time.

As well as having this religious importance for the Reformed Protestant Church, Cathedrale de St-Pierre is also historically intriguing, as parts have been found to date back to the Roman era. Within, you will find artifices painted by famous painters throughout the years, and you will explore what really is a must-visit venue in Geneva's Old Town.

We will also let you in on a little secret – you will get some of the finest views over Lake Geneva from the top of the outside tower here. Be sure to have some change to hand for a short tour - as well as a camera!

Salt Cinema

For an alternative evening spent under the stars, there's plenty of fun to be had at Salt Cinema - an outdoor movie theatre that sits on Port Noir. With a whole host of films programmed throughout the summer and beyond, there is something for all tastes here. Just remember to pack a blanket for the cooler evenings!

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