The good thing about Geneva is that as far as Geneva is concerned, you can probably see the whole of the city, from head to toe in about two to three days. Then of course if you happen to stay longer then there are many surrounding places you can go to such as skiing in Verbier or a culture trip to Gruyères. However in this post I will concentrate more on a complete tour guide for you to explore Geneva in only 3 days.
Breakfast: Les Merveilleuses de Fred is one of the affordable yet incredibly tasty cafés in Geneva. It is half Café half patisserie and they bake daily wonderful delicacies by using authentic French recipes. Come here to try one of their wonderful raisin or chocolate Brioches and a coffee before your day of exploring Geneva. It is located in Planpalais.
Following from the breakfast, walk through Parc des Bastions in Place de Neuve. You can walk directly through to Parc des Bastions from the right hand side of the café Les Merveilleuses de Fred. In the Park des Bastions you will see on the right hand side one of the campuses of the University of Geneva. Furthermore, further down the park you will see the important Reformation Wall, which was put up to commemorate important figures of the reformation and the Palais Eynard, home to the executive authorities of the city. On your way out back to Place de Neuve you will pass by the gigantic chess sets (have a game if you wish).
From Place de Neuve you can see a hill going upwards on your right hand side. You walk up the hill to the top and you will find yourself entering the Old Town of Geneva, a place filled with the heart and soul of Geneva. In this part of the city you will see St. Pauls Cathedral, the most important example of Romanesque/Gothic architecture in Geneva, Maison Tavel which is the oldest building of the city and Place de Bourg de Four, one of the oldest squares of the city which is surrounded by beautiful little cafés.
From Place de Bourg de Four you follow Rue des Chaudronniers you will reach a roundabout. Go straight on down Rue Charles-Galland and you will end up in front of the Museum of modern Art and History. It is free entry and I honestly fell in love with some of the art masterpieces inside. After your tour walk back out the front way and straight down the Park in front of you. This little park is called “Park de l’observatoire”, and offers a spectacular view over the city and the River.
Lunch: If you like Sushi then I recommend going to Wasabi, located on Rue du Marché. They offer a wide selection of sushi, both take away and eating in and they make it for you on the spot. It is a quick option and good value for money.
Another option is Qibi, located on Rue de la Mairie 2. This place offers a variety of healthy, vegetarian and vegan options as well as chicken, fish and red meats. When I went to Qibi I chose their spelt risotto with seasonal vegetables, vegetal nuts cream, beluga lentils vinaigrette and it was absolutely delicious. The portions are not enormous but they are just enough to fill you up. Qibi also offers a wide selection of handcrafted juices, so chose your combination and taste thier refreshing and most delicious juices.
In the afternoon I would suggest going to the Natural History Museum situated at a 5 minute walk up from Rive Roundabout. You walk up Boulevard Helvetique and follow the road to the left up Rue Ferdinand-Hodler and turn left down Rue de Villereuse. I fell in love with this museum; it is both a fun and enriching experience where you learn about many different species and rocks.
From this museum, you walk three minutes to the bus stop Muséum and take bus n.8 to Nations. This square is home to the famous Palais des Nations. The United Nations building organizes daily tours, which will show you around the ins and outs of this important organization.
Dinner: For dinner I would recommend going to Da Paolo, my favorite Italian restaurant in Geneva. The restaurant has great prices for some top quality Italian food. Their menu is very varied and you can opt for their pizzas such as Capricciosa (tomato, mozzarella, ham, eggs, mushrooms and oregano) Campagnola (cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, onions, garlicand oregano) Gigi (tomato, mozzarella, peppers, artichokes, mushrooms, capers and orgenao) or my personal favorite the Vegetarian option (cherry tomatos, mozzarella, mushrooms, peppers, artichokes, spinach, olives, capers and oregano). Of course you can also opt for their pasta, meat and fish; not to mention their fabulous range of deserts.
Evening: If you fancy a cocktail or a glass of wine then make your way to Rooftop 42, the best bar in Geneva. Located in Rue du Rhône 42, this rooftop bar will really give you an insight into the Swiss fine life.
Breakfast: Have breakfast in Mizzica located in Rue du Pont-Neuf 5, Carouge. This is an Italian Sicilian café that specializes in Sicilian delicacies. Come here to taste the best coffee in Switzerland coupled with the famous Cannolo Siciliano.
Take a stroll through Carouge admiring the little Italian style boutiques and architecture whilst passing by A.Pougnier Genève, one of the top patisseries of Geneva. This patisserie has been open since 1950 and ever since generations of pâtissiers have been working hard making some incredibly tasty cakes. They produce wonders such as Madeleines, Macarones, Eclaires and Entremets.
Mont Salève is definitely a must if you are in Geneva, as you will experience a view over the city like no other no matter the weather or the season. Since you will find yourself already in Carouge, walk up to Carouge Rondeau and take bus n.41 to La Mouille. From here follow the road by crossing the little village. You follow the road down until you reach the main road and then follow the signs to Veyrier Douane. Option n.2 is slightly easier to follow as you take bus n.41 until Veyrier-Ecole and change with bus n. 8 (Direction OMS) for one stop, and get off at Veyrier Douane. The walk from here will be shorter and you will already see signs pointing towards Mont Salève. When you arrive to the Teléphérique office, you will catch a cable car up to the top. A return ticket costs 11.80 Euros (The Salève is in France so remember to have some euros) and for individuals from 17-25 years old a return ticket costs 8.60 Euros. (If you have a travel pass then a return will cost you 6.30 Euros). In roughly ten minutes you will be up on the mountain looking down on Geneva. To return back to Carouge simply follow the previous directions but in the opposite way.
Lunch: For lunch, Hansé Café is a good shout if you fancy something quick and light such as a Bagel, Soup or Salad from their exquisite salad bar. (The salad is priced upon the weight so be conscious of this before you fill your plate with salad or you might be surprised at the high price). The Bagels vary from a vegetarian option of crème aux herbes, salads, crudités, onions, aubergines and courgettes or a smoked salmon bagel. They also have a wide selection of Soups, just ask the waitress for the Soup of Day.
Located in: Rue Ancienne 30
After Lunch go to the Patek Philippe Museum, a very important museum in terms of Swiss heritage as you will gather knowledge of one of the most prestigious Swiss creations. You take tram n.12 from Carouge Marché until Planpalais and then walk 7 minutes across the Plain of Planpalais to Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers 7. Prices are 10 CHF for Adults and 7 CHF for students. The museum displays the history of watches dating since 1500 and the foundation of the company of Patek Philippe in 1839 until their most recent collections.
From the Patek Philippe Museum walk back to Planpalais and take Tram n.18 until the end. You will reach Cern, home to the European Organization for Nuclear Research. This is where physicists and engineers research the structure of the Universe. You can visit their museum where you will learn all about physics and the Universe; it is a fun, interactive and intellectually stimulating museum.
Dinner: For Dinner, take the Tram n.18 all the way back to Carouge stopping in Ancienne. Here you will find a little, restaurant called vicolo 39 which is inside the Hotel Auberge Comunale de Carouge. This little restaurant is a very modest yet super traditional Italian restaurant which I only found my last day in being in Geneva. Their food is absolutely exquisite and I would definitely recommend eating here. The prices may be slightly higher than what you are used to but the food definitely compensates this. Their Risotto with porcini mushrooms, sausage and scamorza cheese is to die for and so is their Rigatoni alla Gricia. For something lighter opt for their cheese or salami platters accompanied by an aperol Spritz to get the full taste of an Italian Aperitivo.
Evening: After a long day of walking, if you still fancy having a drink I would recommend Qu’Importe, in Rue Ancient, 1, Carouge. This is a very tranquil bar situated in the heart of Carouge where you can sit down either inside or out on their patio whilst enjoying a glass of wine. They have a wide selection of wines coming from France, Italy and Switzerland.
Breakfast: You always save the best till last no? Well breakfast in Birdie is definitely the best. You have a wide variety of food to chose from based upon your hunger, and not to mention their range of coffies and juices. With the food you can opt for the full Birdie Brekkie which includes Avocado on toast topped with Smoked Salmon and Poached Egg, salad, butter coffee (the best kind of butter) and cheese. If you want something lighter then you can chose porridge, homemade granola or a slice of carrot cake. Concerning the drinks, Birdie pays special attention to their coffee, so sit and taste the difference between a normal brew and their special Aeropress coffee.
Located in: Rue des Bains 40.
From Birdie walk upwards towards Rue des Rois, until you reach Rue du Stand. Turn left and follow the road, which will lead you towards Bel Air. From Bel Air follow the river to the left until you reach Pont du Mont Blanc. This bridge connects Eaux-Vives from Paquis. On the right hand side of the bridge you will see the Jardin Anglais that holds the Horloge Fleurie. Take a moment to admire this clock made up entirely of flowers and then carry on following the lake across until you reach Genève-Quai Gustave Ador. From this Quai you can get a taxi boat straight to Genève Paquis.
On this boat trip you will manage to take great photos of the Jet D’Eau, Geneva’s landmark. Once you reach Paquis (3 minute boat ride) you walk down to the following Quai, which is called Bains de Paquis. Here is a little dock where many people lie in the sun in the warm weather. There also is the Buvette des Bains, which is known as the most famous place to have a Cheese Fondue.
Lunch: Hopefully you like cheese because you cannot come to Switzerland without tasting an authentic Cheese Fondue; and it doesn’t get more authentic than the Buvette des Bains. It is not a restaurant as such, it is more an outdoor “food market” with many benches where you sit down next to strangers but a proper fondue costs 23 CHF and you can share it between 3.
After the lunch take a boat ride to see the Mont Blanc. The ride takes 50 minutes and you will be taken around Lac leman until you reach the peak of the Mont Blanc. The company is CGN and for more information on ticket prices (which vary depending on the tour) have a look at their website: http://www.cgn.ch
When you return to the dock, take Bus n.1 to the Jardin Botanique. This was my favorite walk in Geneva as it is a full immersion into the beauty of Nature. There is nothing better than a calm walk through flowers and trees, especially in the warm weather.
Dinner: For Dinner, why not go to Christian Loboutin’s favorite restaurant? Le Grill, located in the Grand Hotel Kempinski Geneva offers a selection of beautifully cooked meat and fish with prices ranging from 40-140 CHF. The Rib-eye steak coupled with truffle potatoes and spinach sounds like a perfect way to end a three-day visit to Geneva.
Located: Quai du Mont Blanc, 19.
Evening: Go to the Grand Hotel Kempinski Geneva and enjoy a glass of wine on their rooftop FloorTwo Bar. The ambiance is very elegant and cosy with fun lighting and a selection of dance music from their own DJ.
Located: Quai du Mont Blanc, 19.