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Book a flight to Geneva with Qatar Airways and experience a modern European metropolis that retains much of its old-world charm.
The birthplace of luxury watch-making, Geneva is the centre of international diplomacy and finance. Renowned for its snow-capped Alps and delectable chocolates, it is also a cultural haven, where you can hear just about every language in the world.
If quality R&R is what you’re looking for, look no further beyond this piece of paradise. Lakefront promenades, breathtaking views and impressive buildings make for a fascinating stroll. You can also eat your way around the globe, thanks to a burst of culinary flavours that are sure to satisfy every palate.
Geneva has a total land area of less than 16km. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in attractions. On Lake Geneva, it will be hard for you to miss the Jet d’Eau, one of the tallest fountains in the world, at 140 metres. It has been a crowd-drawer since 1891, with its jet spewing 500 litres of water per second, at a speed of 200kph.
The historic cathedral of St. Pierre, a magnificent structure that combines several architectural influences, is a sight to behold. Put on your walking shoes and climb the 157 steps to the top of the cathedral’s towers, where you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the city.
You can also satisfy your cultural curiosity at one of Geneva’s several museums and galleries, the largest of which is the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire. It has more than 7,000 exhibits on display, from prehistoric artefacts to modern masterpieces. No trip to Geneva is complete without visiting the Bâtiment des Forces Motrices, an old hydroelectric station in the middle of Rhône River that has been converted into a cultural centre.
Get a feel of the city’s Bohemian character when you visit the Quartier des Grottes, a neighbourhood featuring quirky buildings. It has a long history of social resistance, with residents thwarting several government attempts to demolish and modernise the area. Today, artists, poets, artisans and young professionals call Grottes home. It also features several cafés, restaurants, studios and second-hand bookshops.
Travelling to Geneva is an ideal opportunity to switch off and just commune with nature. Take a stroll through the city’s sprawling green spaces. Parc des Bastions and Parc de la Grange are full of walking paths and feature attractions such as fountains and a giant chessboard. Alternatively, you can hire a bicycle and see the city at your own pace.
There are also major events like the motor show in March, and the music festival in June, which are worth attending. Another area suited for sedate activities is the Carouge, a Mediterranean-style hamlet known as Geneva’s “Little Italy”. It has several restaurants, cafés, a museum, and an Olympic-sized swimming pool, if you want to take a dip.
Swiss cuisine has been influenced by traditions and tastes from Germany, France and Italy. Café du Soleil, located in Place du Petit-Saconnex, reputedly serves the best fondue in Geneva. Fondue is a dish of melted cheese served in a ceramic pot – heated with a lamp – in which you dip pieces of bread using a long-stemmed fork. Raclette is also a popular Swiss dish made by heating a wheel of cheese and scraping the melted part on jacket potatoes, gherkins and onions.
A gourmand’s paradise, Geneva is home to several Michelin-starred restaurants. As a cosmopolitan city, it is also a perfect location to sample the world’s dishes. The area around the railway station is packed with budget outlets, but there are many mid- to top-range venues nearer to the centre. For a taste of the real Geneva, head for Edelweiss Manotel, which has live traditional music to accompany your meal.
You can buy some of the world’s best chocolates from specialty stores during your trip to Geneva. If you’re looking for fine jewellery and designer timepieces, then you’ve come to the right place. The city is home to a plethora of boutique shops and centuries-old luxury brands.
For souvenirs, such as cuckoo clocks, make your way to the streets that connect the lake with Gare de Genève Cornavin. For more generic, high-ticket brand shopping, look out for department stores in the city centre that specialise in clothing and electronics.
Essential facts about Geneva
Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip