Once a refuge for freethinkers, Geneva is now a sleek cosmopolitan city strung along the southern tip of Europe’s largest Alpine lake. Full of young people and cultural flair, a holiday to this modern-day hub of luxury watches, delicious chocolate, slick banks and international cooperation beckons to foodies and history buffs alike.
Embedded between the snow-capped Alps and the calm bays where the Rhone leaves Lake Geneva, the French-speaking city is superbly traditional with its cobblestone streets and picture-perfect cafes. Meander through the Old Town, which is clustered on a hill around St. Peter’s Cathedral, and discover the ancient maze of small streets and quaint squares. Start in the centre at the Bourg-de-Four Square, where the Roman marketplace used to trade its wares, before heading for the flashy Rue du Rhone to browse the high-end boutiques and designer emporiums.
If you didn’t catch a glimpse of the iconic water fountain on your way into Geneva, walk along the lake’s rococo-like promenades to the Pont du Mont-Blanc or Promenade du Lac for an epic photograph of the jet d’eau. Continue your tour of Switzerland’s third largest city by visiting the peaceful Jardin Botanique. A wonderful result of the city’s early fascination with botany, the botanical garden is full to the brim with beds of roses, rock gardens and tropical greenhouses, as well as host to an aviary, deer park and seed bank.
When your feet cannot carry you any further, hop onto a bike or take to the water and go on a yellow taxi-boat, both fantastic ways of seeing the further-flung areas of this equable city.