Geneva, the smallest of the most international cities will welcome you with a completely different look and feel during the winter. Even if you're only here for the weekend, there's so much you can see and do: from exploring the city and its museums before Content goes here a cosy dinner by the fireplace, to indulging yourself in a beautifully designed Spa with a view after tasting award-winning chocolate creations on a chocolate tour Geneva. Below are the top 10 things to experience recommended by a Geneva local.
1. Visit the Ethnography Museum – awarded the European Museum of the Year
Since its makeover in 2014, the Ethnography Museum has become my favourite museum of Geneva. I was more than delighted to see that in 2017 it received the prestigious European Museum of the Year Award. It was lauded as the perfect example of a “living museum”. It houses over 80,000 artifacts from across five continents. Around 1,000 of these objects are chosen for its permanent display.
2. Spa with a view
Bain-Bleu Hammam & Spa Geneve-Plage is a unique and stunning environment offering two different experiences: the Bath area and the Hammam. The Bath area with its two pools is a magical world of aquatic facilities with hot tubs, whirlpools, massage jets, massage beds, as well as a steam room and the pleasant Bistro Lounge with a panoramic terrace. The Hammam is a journey out of time with its steam rooms, scrub rooms, central basin, large room with hot stones and Oriental coffee – a unique experience of relaxation and well-being. Treatments and massages – upon booking – will nicely complete this relaxing moment.
3. Go on a chocolate tasting tour
What if I told you there's a chocolate tasting tour you can go on in Geneva? What better way to warm up and chase the winter-blues away than with chocolate! The delightful Chocolate Flavours Tours of Geneva will introduce your taste buds to some award-winning chocolate pralines, truffles ganaches and chocolate pastry from the best chocolatiers of Geneva. While exploring lesser-known sites of Geneva, on this 3 h chocolate tour you will also learn interesting stories and anecdotes about Geneva and Swiss chocolate history. Be sure to book your ticket in advance with Local Flavours Tours since spots for this delightful Geneva food tour sell out fast.
4. Half a day or a day in winter wonderland
One of the best things about Geneva is that within just a little bit over one hour you can find yourself in the mountains, enjoying all types of winter activities you could wish for, and then be back in the city in the evening for a night out. If you are into skiing and snowboarding you could check the all-inclusive SkiBus offer. If hitting the slopes is not your thing, you could opt for a stroll in the picturesque mountain town of Chamonix, or half-day of snowshoeing or sledging in Saint-Cergue in the Jura Mountains.
5. Journey through five centuries of watchmaking at Patek Philippe Museum
Discover how a passion for timepieces has brought together an extraordinary display of watches, musical automata and portrait miniatures from the 16th to the 19th century. The exhibition includes a great number of masterpieces that have left their mark on the history of horology.
6. Eat delicious food by the fire
After a full winter's day of exploring the city, what you need most is a nice, cosy evening with heart-warming food. Add to this the sound of the crackling fire and there is nothing better to help you wind down at the end of your day. Geneva has a broad range of dining options, from gourmet food to retro style eateries. Here are some of my favorite by-the-fire dining places:
Domaine de Chateauvieux
7. Explore the historic old town center
I guess every visit of Geneva should not miss exploring its old town. It is here that you will get the best understanding of the city's history and its past. Some of the things not to be missed are the charming Place du Bourg-de-Four, the iconic Saint-Pierre Cathedral, the Old Arsenal with its frescoes depicting Geneva's history. And of course at a certain point, my favourite way of exploring an old town, just get lost and explore its tiny winding streets and see what surprises you will come across.
8. Stop by a wine bar for a glass of local wine
Once you've had an overview of the city, and explored some of its museums, it's time to grab a glass of wine. You'll find an intimate wine bar called Le Rouge & Le Blanc with a gorgeous location along the shores of Lake Leman and set amid some of the city's most famous attractions. Take some time to enjoy a glass of something local with a plate of the cheese, the Swiss are so famous for. Don't hesitate to ask the knowledgeable staff for their recommendations.
9. Stroll through the magnificent parks of Geneva
Maybe a stroll through the park might not come first to your mind when thinking how to spend an afternoon in Geneva, so you might be surprised by their charm as most of Geneva's parks are situated along the lake with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Many of them were once grand estates that were later dedicated to the city. The Parc La Grange is the single largest green space in Geneva and some will agree to the fact it's also the most beautiful. Eaux Vives Park, just next door, is a sloping hillside park topped by an 18th century castle that now serves as a restaurant. You could stop here to treat yourself with a gourmet lunch or just a coffee with a view.
10. Live music
Those who say that there is nothing happening in Geneva are those that do not know the city. It is true that the information does not come to you easily, however there is always something interesting going on, from live music in the Ca-rouge club Chat Noir to alternative concerts at L'Usine or in the newly renovated l'Alhambra theater concerts ranging from Brazilian 'electrotropical' and African drumming, to salsa, Afro-Caribbean and R&B.