The charming Swiss city of Geneva serves Europe, and the world, as a peaceful diplomat. It's home to the European headquarters of the United Nations, the World Health Organisation, the Red Cross, and 200 more international organisations. The city gently hugs the stunning Lake Geneva, and it's not hard to see why this sophisticated city is a beacon of world peace and internationalisation. Walking through the city, you'll find streets lined with boutiques, chocolatiers, luxury hotels, and jewellers.
Currently, there are no direct flights to Geneva from Australia. However, Air China, Etihad, Emirates and Qatar offer flights with only one stopover. Most other airlines require two layovers. Although a second layover may add 10 to 20 hours to your travel time, it can sometimes save you hundreds of dollars on airfares.-
Geneva Airport is well situated for travellers, only 4km from the city centre. There are various transfer options available, including a few free options.
Passengers landing at Geneva Airport are entitled to a free 80-minute timed ticket to use on Geneva's public transport network, Unireso. The free tickets are available from a ticket machine in the baggage claim area of the airport.
Train: Trains depart every 10-20 minutes from the airport to Geneva central railway station, Gare Cornavin, where you connect to another train or bus to your destination. The train to Gare Cornavin is only 6 minutes.
Bus: Several buses service the airport, stopping at various locations around Geneva, including Gare Cornavin. The buses operate every 8-15 minutes.
Taxi: Taxis are readily available at the airport. A trip to downtown Geneva will cost from $50 to 60AUD.
Hotel Shuttle: Free hotel shuttles are available to 9 partnering hotels in Geneva, including the Best Western, Holiday Inn, Ibis, and Crowne Plaza.
All foreign visitors in Geneva are eligible to use Unireso, Geneva's public transport system, completely free of charge! When checking into your accommodation, you will receive a 'Geneva Transport Card'. Use this card to get around Geneva for the duration of your stay. It includes buses, trams, trains, and yellow taxi-boats.
Jet d'Eau: This water fountain in Lake Geneva shoots an incredible 140 metre-high jet of water into the air. You can see the impressive tower of water from nearly anywhere, but to appreciate the full force of the 7 tonnes of water in the air, head to the pier closest to the fountain. Don't forget your umbrella!
CERN: No holiday to Geneva is complete without a visit to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). You might know it as the home of the world's biggest machine, the 27km long Large Hydron Collider, that smashes particles together with mindboggling force. The best way to wrap your head around the particle physics experiments conducted at CERN is with a guided tour.
Palais des Nations: The Palais des Nations is the European headquarters of the United Nations. Take a tour of this monumental building to sneak a peak of multilateral diplomacy from behind the scenes. You'll also learn about the fascinating history of the UN, and its vital role in current international affairs.
St Pierre Cathedral: An icon of Geneva's old town, this part-Romanesque, part-Gothic Cathedral has 850 years of history. Climb the 156 steps to the top of the southern tower for a fantastic panoramic view of the city.
Vieille Ville: Take a stroll around Geneva's old town, Vieille Ville, a charming labyrinth of historic buildings, now home to cafes, art galleries and quaint boutiques. Don't miss Place du Bourg-de-Four, the oldest landmark in Geneva.
Salève: Ironically, for the best view of this beautiful Swiss city, you'll have to leave the country. The Salève is a mountain in France, only 20 minutes from Geneva, that affords excellent views of Lake Geneva and the surrounding mountains. You can take a cable car to the peak, or for the more adventurous, hike the two-hour trail to the top.
Don't leave Geneva without trying these indulgent Swiss dishes:
Fondue: You must try this quintessential Swiss dish. Fondue is as much of an experience as it is a meal. Take turns dipping bread, pickles, and other vegetables into a delicious pot of bubbling melted cheese, seasoned with wine and garlic. What could be better? Try it at the historic Cafe du Soliel.
Raclette: This dish is like Fondue's cousin, if you will. Raclette consists of heating the cheese, scraping off the melted part, then smothering it over baked potatoes and other grilled meats and vegetables. Try it at Restaurant Les Armures.
Swiss chocolate: Swiss chocolatiers have been producing high-quality chocolates for over 200 years. The use of rich and creamy alpine milk is what makes Swiss chocolate so indulgent and silky. Try exquisite chocolate cakes, tarts, and hot chocolate at Gilles Desplanches.