Mountains, rolling hills, large lakes, skyscrapers, exotic food, abundance of accommodation, lovely people and awesome weather, what more would a tourist ask for? Switzerland, located in the Heart of Europe, has it all and nature lovers are never going to make a mistake of not visiting this country. One of the most famous destinations in Switzerland is Geneva, which offers everything a tourist desires. Geneva, the second most populous city in Switzerland, is situated among the banks of Lake Geneva at the foot of the Alps. Geneva was chosen as the headquarters of the League of Nations, the forerunner of the UN in 1919 and today it has its European headquarters in Geneva.
The climate of Geneva is quite temperate with all seasons. Summers remain hot and winters remain cool with no extreme temperatures. Summers hit the city between June and September and maintain an ideal level of heat. The temperature hovers between 22 C and 25 C. Towards the end of the season, rain falls quite frequently, with thunderstorms sometimes. December to February is the winter time and temperature hovers between 4 C to -2 C. The best time to visit Geneva is in July and August when the weather is mild and breezy.
How to get here?
Geneva is located right in the centre of Europe; therefore it is connected by all means of transport to other countries. However, best way to come here is by air as there are many intercontinental and low cost airlines that fly to Geneva’s International Airport. Geneva also has three railway stations at the center of Europe’s rail network. Geneva’s main railway station is just three hours from Paris if you travel by France’s high speed Trains TGV. Outside the airport or railway station, you can easily get means of transport to reach downtown.
Accommodation and Food
There are more than 130 hotels in all price ranges in Geneva. You can easily book luxury hotels with a view of the Mont Blanc or close to the lake or to conference centers. There is the New Midi, 4 star hotel, situated in the heart of town, just 500 metres from the railway station. There are other good options like Hotel Bristol, Hotel La Cour Des Augustins, Hotel Caroline, The Grand Hotel Kempinski and many more. You can also get some cheap apartments and youth hostels here. Most famous is the Auberge de jeunesse Geneve, which offers good accommodation with extremely reasonable rates.
With over 900 restaurants, Geneva is the capital of cuisine in Switzerland. Most famous dishes include fondue, raclette, lake fish, smoked sausage and a great variety of casseroles. All the restaurants here represent five continents and more than 30 ethnic cuisines. Geneva is not at all sleepy at night also and you can step in theatres, cabarets, clubs and lounges all night long. Silencio, Shaker’s Club, Le Palais Mascotte, B Club and La Nostalgica are some of the famous bars here which offer some unique variety of cocktails and food.
Jet d’eau is a huge fountain located on the Geneva Lake and considered as one of the famous landmarks of Geneva city. It is one of the tallest fountains in whole world as its engines pump more than 500 liters of water per second to the height of 140 metres. The admission is free but the opening is subject to weather conditions because the water stream can splash whole area around fountain if the wind is blowing strongly. It was built in 1886 to control and release the excess pressure of the hydraulic plant nearby. It is surely a must watch.
Palace of Nations
Palace of Nations is known as a Diplomatic Center, built between 1929 and 1936, and it is the European headquarters of the United Nations. It has become the symbol of International Geneva and millions of visitors take the tour of the Palace every year. The Palace of Nations is located at Avenue de la Parix and can be accessed easily from the nearby railway station, Cornavin. The Palace remains open from 8 am to 5 Pm and you will need a security pass to enter, which is to be worn at all times on the premises.
Reformation Wall is located in the Parc des Bastions and features 15 foot tall statues of four Geneva Luminaries. The wall is 325 feet long and 30 feet high and was constructed between 1909 and 1917 to commemorate the 400th birthday of Jean Calvin. The four luminaries were Guillaume Farel, John Calvin, Theodore Beza and John Knox.
Geneva Motor Show
Geneva Motor Show is held every year in March and the visitors get a chance to see the new models and concept cars of the year from entire spectrum. The show is held at the Geneva Palexpo, showcasing Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, SEAT, Skoda, Jaguar and many other cars. The recent Motor Show was held from 6th to 16th of March, 2014 and if you missed it, then be there next year.
Fetes de Geneve
Fetes de Geneve is an annual event held in summer which displays the traditional Geneva Festival Fireworks. This event started back in 1923 when flower decorated cars drove through the city. Now, fireworks have become the signature event of the festival. The celebrations last till wee hours in the morning and by sunrise the city is cleaned like before.
Geneva is surely one of the most diverse cities in the world because of the various activities that take place in the city. So, just plan a holiday to Geneva.