Things to do in Geneva


Switzerland is – predictably – extremely organised when it comes to public facilities, and Geneva, like the rest of the country, boasts a large network of cycling lanes and signposted bike routes. A meander along the shores of the lake is a must, but you’ll also find it takes little time to reach the Genevois countryside, much of which is well-suited to two-wheeled exploration. The website is stuffed with ideas for local cycle trails.


You can't come to Geneva and not venture onto the lake at some point. The number of cruising options is fairly extensive: find full-blown luxury cruises where fine dining accompanies the view, leisurely Sunday cruises, one-hour cruises, fondue cruises, lunch cruises, sunset cruises and the list goes on. For a historical boat trip, hop on board a vessel heading to the medieval city of Yvoire. The Compagnie Générale de Navigation (tel: 0848 811 848;, which operates the lake's main passenger boats, has a variety of enticing options. If time's an issue, at least make sure you jump on a Mouette (a public shuttle boat) for a quick scoot across the lake.


With lakes come fish, and it’s relatively simple to arrange an angling trip onto Geneva's clear waters. The Association École de Pêche sur le Léman (tel: 079 287 92 44; lays on full-day and half-day excursions for parties of up to four around Geneva’s lake, providing equipment and sharing tips. On return from the boat, tuck in to your freshly prepared catch at a restaurant in town.


Believe it or not, it is possible to go rafting through Geneva's city centre with local company Rafting Loisirs (tel: (22) 784 0205; Inflatable rafts cover an 8km (5 mile) route, taking in eight waterfalls along the way, along the Arve River. Take in the heart of Geneva itself, as well as the more rustic environs of the surrounding countryside, before arriving into the city and flowing into the Rhône River. The activity is available from April to October, and each raft can take between six and 10 people.


Geneva’s close proximity to the mountains means all sorts of outdoor activities are feasible – from climbing to paragliding – but it’s skiing and snowboarding that really draw the crowds. Geneva is situated within striking distance of some of the Alps' best resorts. Among them are Gstaad, Zermatt and Crans-Montana, as well as the French towns of Val d’Isère and Chamonix. If you want to test your sliding skills without going too far, head to the Jura resort of Les Rousses (, only 40 minutes from the city.

Beach life

Geography dictates that Switzerland will never be associated with beach holidays, but the whopping great body of water on Geneva’s doorstep means the summer months do offer plenty of beach-like activities. Join the locals for a swim in the lake at the Bains des Pâquis (, a 1930s-built public bathing area which also offers a hammam, spa treatments and a great little bar. Or test your balance by trying the latest trend, stand-up paddleboarding, with SUP Geneve (tel: 076 224 01;

Wine tasting

You probably don't think of Switzerland as a wine-producing nation, but that's because the Swiss are canny folk – rather than exporting their wine abroad, they drink most of it themselves. The vineyards on the sunny slopes above Lake Geneva hold plenty of wine tasting opportunities, especially in the UNESCO heritage region of Lavaux, which puts on a 'wine train' through the vines ( Visit Geneva in May and you may catch the annual caves ouvertes (open cellars), when local wine producers throw open their doors to the public for a day of wine tasting.