Watches, chocolate, cheese, banks and neutrality are the first associations for Switzerland. It’s a rich and drop-dead gorgeous country that captivates everybody with its natural beauty, hundreds of glacial lakes, glaciers and eternally white mountain peaks that are almost impossible to describe. And there on the shores of the largest European alpine lake, at the point where River Rhône outflows from it, lies the city of Geneva overlooking the highest peak of Europe (Mon Blanc – 4810m).
Some people consider Geneva more significant than the capital city of Bern. With its unique history, refined shops, exclusive hotels and excellent restaurants, it is the seat of the world’s jet-set and the dream of every tourist. It succeeds in nourishing the cosmopolitan spirit and charm of alpine towns simultaneously. The city where the reform movement of John (Jean) Calvin originated from, the city in which Jean Jacques Rousseau was born, and where the International Committee of the Red Cross is based, today is one of the UN headquarters, the headquarters of the World Health Organization, as well as of numerous other international organizations.
The city of Geneva was mentioned even by Caesar in Latin texts, only it was spelt Genava probably coming from the Celtic genawa in the sense of a bending river or estuary. In Middle Latin, the medieval city of Geneva was known as pagus major Genevensis or Comitatus Genevensis (also Gebennensis). After 1400 it became the Genevois, province of Savoy. Geneva is also known as the “capital of peace”, because of its humanitarian tradition and cosmopolitan flair. And with 20% of its land devoted to parks, this city certainly earns the nickname of the “city of parks”.
When travelling to Switzerland, not visiting Geneva would be a sin. If you are arriving at the airport, our advice is to rent a limousine in Geneva for a full experience of the “world’s smallest metropolis”.
As you are landing by a plane to the Geneva airport, you are landing your eyes on the spectacle that is Jet d’Eau. Although it was built for technical purposes, today it is an outstanding landmark of the city. The 140m-tall structure shoots 500 litres of lake water into the air every second at a speed of almost 200 kilometres per hour. If you happen to be there when the city marks some humanitarian event, you will find it illuminated pink, blue or some other colour.
While you are there at the Lake Geneva, you can cool down during hot summer days in its stunningly clear water, or you can soak up in the sun on its many beautiful beaches, drink your cocktail and enjoy the gorgeous view. The shore of Lake Geneva is spotted with grandiose chateaus. Hillside vineyards rise from the lake, giving a rare glimpse into the world of Swiss wine. If you are a pro-active person, you can do some sports activities on the lake like waterskiing, canoeing, sailing and parasailing, and more. You can also take a boat to the Chateau de Chillon and admire the beauty of the castle.
For winter lovers, Swiss mountains offer pretty much every type of snow-based activities. The Canton of Vaud extends from the Jura, which backs Geneva so dramatically, to the Vaud Alps. There is skiing for all levels, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, mountain hiking, and the scenery there is magnificent. Before you arrive, hire a limo service in Geneva. It will await you at the airport, help you with the luggage and take you all the way up to the cable cars which will then pull you up to the mountain resort you booked.
If you are a couple on a romantic trip to Geneva, our recommendation is to stay in the Hotel d’Angleterre, the most romantic and luxurious one. You know what else would be romantic? To rent a limousine and take your significant other to embark on a panoramic sightseeing tour of the city. You can gaze out of the window at remarkable landmarks like:
A limo service can arrange for you a trip to the “Balcony of Geneva”, Mont Saleve, where you can commence stunning panoramic vistas over the city of Geneva and on a clear day of the Jura Mountains and the Mont Blanc. Or you can climb aboard and travel through the Swiss countryside to the picturesque medieval village of Gruyères. As you descend to Montreux, admire sweeping vistas of green hills, flower-filled meadows and quaint houses. When you arrive at the Maison du Gruyère, you can discover the secrets of cheese making, and at the Maison Cailler, a traditional chocolate factory, relish chocolate samples as you hear about its history. After that, go to medieval Gruyère Castle, visit the HR Giger Museum, and marvel at the collection of Tibet Museum.
Between the two limousine tours around Lake Geneva, you can respite in some of the many top-notch restaurants. In the warmer months of the year, sit out on the terrace and enjoy the spectacular scenery. After an equally amazing meal, get whisked a thousand years back into the times of ancient Geneva. Old Town is an ancient maze of narrow streets and picturesque squares, filled with historical sights, museums, galleries, restaurants and cafés. Must see places are famous St. Peter’s Cathedral, Maison Travel – a history museum, the Old Arsenal placed in front, the Treille Promenade and Place du Bourg-de-Four. Rue du Marche, the shopping street, is unavoidable. Its exclusive boutiques simply lurk spending some money.
In the very centre of Geneva’s Old Town, once there was an ancient Roman marketplace where they used to trade wares. Today it is known as the Bourg-de-Four Square, decorated by simple marble medieval fountains. There you will find souvenir shops, newspaper stands, an ice cream parlour combined with an Italian restaurant, and many cafes and restaurants. The most famous are Café de Bourg-de-Four, Restaurant au Carnivore and La Clémence. In a cosy tourist shop with a sweet name – Chocolates Tea Room, you can try some of its wide collection of nummy Swiss chocolates. At Christmas time, the square is highlighted by rows of lamps. It is romantic and astonishingly beautiful.
For the lovers of art, culture and science, Geneva is one of the world’s most important centres. Although Old Town of Geneva oozes both history and culture, do not miss to visit the Reformation Wall, where embedded within the wall stand four luminaries of the Reformation: John Calvin, John Knox, William Farel and Theodore Beza. You can complete your education about the Swiss Reformation at the International Museum of the Reformation, International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
Two other interesting landmarks are the Patek Philippe Museum, dedicated to the works of master watchmakers, a museum with a collection of jewellery watches and musical clocks, and the Bodmer Foundation, a museum-library that boasts a collection of limited edition books and original manuscripts
Geneva is also an important centre for science and innovations. If you are lucky enough to take a tour of the CERN, the cutting-edge physics they do there will blow your mind. If not, you can go to the Globe Science and Innovation, a breathtaking wooden structure which contains a permanent exhibit of their most significant contributions to the field of science. Your inner child will be thrilled!
For art lovers, there is the Bains District, home to a number of world-renowned galleries. The place is considered a European platform for modern art. Other worthwhile spots, among many, are:
To get the most of the city, we recommend you to hire a limousine in Geneva. Call us prior to your arrival to arrange the trip. We have many varieties of vehicles in our fleet and our chauffeurs are highly experienced and complaisant. No matter the occasion of your visit to Geneva, our limo service is always there to welcome you and help you have a time of your life!