Geneva has been named Europe’s Leading City Break Destination for the third time at the World Travel Awards and, as any guest at Hotel d’Angleterre will know, it’s a richly deserved accolade. With its naturally beautiful backdrop of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps, buzzing cultural scene, rich history, fantastic food and drink and wealth of year round activities, Geneva has all the right ingredients for a fantastic city break. Here’s how to make the most of your visit to Switzerland’s second largest city.
What to eat
Bordering both France and Italy, Switzerland’s gastronomic influences are deliciously diverse. The country is known for its superlative cheese and chocolate but visitors can also enjoy Afternoon Tea at Hotel d’Angleterre, where a selection of tasty finger sandwiches and patisserie is served with traditional, freshly baked scones with jam and Gruyere double cream. Later on, head to one of Geneva’s plethora of excellent fine dining restaurants for dinner. Prepare for a gourmet experience at Windows, which combines views of the lake and major landmarks such as the Jet d’Eau and Mont Blanc with an impressive and lengthy wine list and menu by Michael Coquelle. Feast on duck foie gras au torchon with candied apple, cider and spicy brioche bread; sample the white truffle risotto; or enjoy the perfectly cooked Dover sole. Leave room for one of the spectacular desserts, like the meringue dome with flambéed banana compote and a coconut and lime sorbet.
What to see
Geneva is so spoilt for historical monuments, museums, art galleries, live music and acclaimed theatre, that the only challenge will be fitting in all the things you want to see and do during your stay. Take a guided tour around Palais des Nations; originally built as the headquarters of the League of Nations, it’s been owned by the United Nations since the 1960s. Visitors on the tour also have access to the surrounding 46-hectare park.
The award-winning Musee d’ Ethnographie de Geneve is well worth a visit too, as one of Switzerland’s foremost ethnographic museums it offers a fascinating look at the myriad of cultures that have inhabited earth throughout history and includes over 1,000 objects on display. Those with a geeky side won’t be able to resist the pull of CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research that opened near Geneva in 1954. The guided tours are particularly popular, providing a tantalising glimpse of the ground-breaking projects taking place here.
Art lovers in Geneva will not be disappointed either. Along with the city’s excellent Centre for Contemporary Art and Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, the Quartier des Bains neighbourhood is a renowned artistic enclave. It’s the location for many of the Geneva’s most respected art galleries and special Nuit des Bains are scheduled throughout the year, when galleries stay open late to allow visitors to view their latest exhibitions.
What to do
Winter is the time for making the most of Geneva’s proximity to the Alps and world-class ski resorts of Verbier, Gstaad, Chamonix and Megève. Cross-country skiers will also relish the terrain of the Jura Mountains; just 45 minutes drive from Geneva. In warmer weather, a boat trip on the Lake is a must, as is a visit to the nearby vineyards of Lavaux. Back in the centre of Geneva, stroll around the city to take in its 2000 years of history. Walk from the Place du Bourg-de-Four, which is the epicentre of Geneva’s Old Town, with its picturesque collection of 17th century buildings, to the elegant Place du Molard on the left bank before taking a short stroll to admire the Flower Clock in the nearby English Garden. As one of Europe’s greenest cities, Geneva is home to an impressive 50 parks so there’s plenty of opportunity to relax amidst the buzz of city life. Those in search of a little retail therapy are in luck as Geneva is a centre of Swiss watchmaking and the city has an extraordinary range of jewellery and watch boutiques, including prestigious Swiss brands such as Patek Philipp, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Blancpain.
Make the most of a city break in Geneva at the luxuriously appointed Hotel d’Angleterre.