How to Spend 24 hours in Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva from the air
Geneva from the air | © Alexey M/WikiCommons
Sean Mowbray

Transiting through Geneva but don’t know what to do with your time? The city is small, compact and easily navigable so you can tour most of the main sights in a short space of time. Discover our tips on how to spend 24 hours in Geneva and get the most out of your trip.

9am – Take a stroll along the lakefront

So you’ve made your way from the airport to Gare Cornavin, checked into your hotel and dropped off your bags. What next? Why not stretch your legs along Geneva’s lakefront and enjoy views of the iconic Jet d’Eau. On a clear day you may catch a glimpse of Mont Blanc glistening in the distance beyond the French Alps. Head along the Quai Wilson to the Parc Mon Repos to revitalise yourself with fresh air and stop for a coffee or refreshment at La Perle du Lac. If you’re up for a more energetic tour you can also rent a bike to explore the cycle-friendly lakefront.

The Jet d’Eau from Geneva’s lakefront

12pm – Lunch at Café du Paris

Go back into town to the Central Station and turn off on to Rue du Mont-Blanc and make for Café de Paris to enjoy some of the best meat in Geneva. Lunch is served with the specialty burger – entrecôte au beurre Café de Paris, fries and salad. It’s an easy choice as they serve nothing else. If this doesn’t sound to your liking then there are many other top-class restaurants offering lunches that’ll linger long on your taste buds.

3pm – Tour the shops

From Rue du Mont-Blanc you can continue directly down to the Pont du Mont- Blanc, cross the bridge and head to Rue du Rhône, Rue du Marché and Rue de la Croix d’or: together they make up Geneva’s main shopping district. These three streets are packed with designer brand stores selling luxury items at the height of fashion, as well as the finest jewellery and Swiss watches. If you’re in the market for a perfect gift, or just want to browse then look no further than these three streets.

7pm – Dine out in Geneva’s old town

If you’re travelling during the ski season (around November – March) you’ll want to try some fondue. Head to Restaurant Les Armures in the old town to sample this authentic Swiss cuisine. They serve delicious cheese fondue, washed down with white wine. Afterwards take a stroll through the picturesque old town and see the 12th Century St. Pierre Cathedral lit up at night. If you’re here during the summer, then fondue is best avoided but other typical Swiss dishes are found in many of the restaurants in the old town.

St Pierre Cathedral

8am – Have breakfast at a local market

Before saying goodbye to Geneva, skip your hotel breakfast and go to one of Geneva’s local markets instead. Plainpalais is the biggest and closest to the city centre, while Carouge market, in the city’s Italian district, is smaller with a more local feel to it. Both have a mix of flea market style stalls and food carts serving up international food or locally grown produce. Both markets take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays from around 8am to 4-5pm.

Carouge’s market in full swing

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