As easyJet announces a new winter route between London Southend Airport and Geneva, with flights every Saturday and Wednesday starting from Saturday, December 16, there’s never been a better time to book a five-day trip to one of Switzerland’s most iconic destinations.
But there’s one question that haunts all holiday makers – once you get there, how do you make the most of your trip? How do you tick the hidden gems off your list? Luckily, we’re here to help. In this guide, we present a day-by-day itinerary to ensure that you make the most of your long weekend in Geneva.
Day 1: Exploring Old Town
Upon arrival, settle into your accommodation and take a leisurely stroll along the scenic Lake Geneva promenade. Marvel at the iconic Jet d’Eau, the magnificent modern water fountain that springs from Lake Geneva itself.
Take a short walk south to explore the historic Old Town and visit St. Peter’s Cathedral, the largest church in the city, where you can climb to the top of the tower for breathtaking panoramic views.
After enjoying a stroll through the Old Town, you can’t go wrong with dinner at Restaurant Les Armures, providing traditional Swiss food in a warm, relaxing and rustic atmosphere with nods to the city’s history all around.
Day 2: Markets and museums
There’s no better way to start your day than with a croissant and coffee in the Place du Bourg-de-Four, one of the city’s oldest picturesque squares.
Stay south of the lake and head to Plaine de Plainpalais, a huge open space in the middle of the city. If you flew in on Saturday, the Plainpalais Farmers Market is in full swing on Sundays – it’s one of the biggest markets in the city! If vintage flea markets are more your thing, you’ll want to be there on Saturday while exploring the Old Town.
Head east just one street and you’ll find yourself in the Promenade des Bastions, the city’s oldest promenade, overlooking the grounds of the University of Geneva. There, you’ll find many of the city’s most famous attractions, including a giant chessboard and the Reformation Wall, a huge monument to the city’s role at the heart of the Protestant Reformation as the home to famous reformers like John Calvin.
You’re now just a short walk to the Maison Tavel, the oldest house in Geneva. This museum tells the story of the city over six incredible floors full of exhibitions and a look into life throughout the centuries. Also nearby is the Musée Barbier-Mueller, housing over 7,000 works of art and antiques from trivial and classical antiquity and The International Museum of the Reformation that explores Geneva’s role as a hub of radical religious dissent (top tip: museums are free on the first Sunday of the month).
For dinner, Café Papon overlooks the Promenade des Bastions, serving traditional French food since 1808. The terrace is great for sunny days in the shade of chestnut trees. If you’re looking for something special, head down to the seating in the restaurant’s ancient and atmospheric vaults below.
Day 3: Montreux
Now that you’ve explored the Old Town it’s time to broaden your horizons. Embark on a scenic 70-minute train journey from Geneva to Montreux, a charming town nestled along the shores of Lake Geneva. Explore the enchanting Chillon Castle, a mediaeval masterpiece sitting on a rocky island on the lake. Indulge in a leisurely stroll along Montreux’s picturesque lakeside promenade and relish the idyllic atmosphere.
If music’s your thing, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Montreux Jazz Festival Foundation, a tribute to the renowned music festival.
For memorable dining, La Rouvenaz is a popular restaurant in Montreux known for its fresh seafood. Return to Geneva in the evening, cherishing the memories of your day trip.
Day 4: The northern city
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Kick off your day with breakfast at one of Old Town’s beautiful cafés.
Then, head back up to the waterfront and hop on one of the city’s public boats (or head across the Pont du Mont-Blanc) to the Brunswick Monument. This mausoleum was built in stunning neo-Gothic style 1879 to commemorate Charles II, Duke of Brunswick. Climb to the top for incredible views of the city!
Looking for lunch? You’re in luck – the neighbourhood surrounding the Brunswick Memorial has plenty of great lunch options. From Lebanese food to fondue, burgers and Indian street food, you’re spoiled for choice.
Walk off lunch with a stroll along the waterfront and through Parc Mon Repos for some greenery, a breath of fresh air and more breathtaking views of the lake. If science is your thing, pop into the park’s Musée d’Histoire des Sciences, a small museum showcasing the history of science.
Now you’re on a short walk away from the Parc de l’Ariana, home of the United Nations Office. The park is also home to the Musée Ariana and its huge kiln-craft collection. So, if you’re more interested in pottery than politics, we’ve got you covered.
Just one kilometre from the park is the Café du Soleil, one of the city’s oldest bistros, serving Swiss food in a swanky interior with a leafy terrace to boot – the perfect place for your dinner.
If you fancy a drink, head back down to the waterfront. Love live music? Head to La Bretelle Bar Associatif with its vintage furniture and polaroid-covered walls. Le Bar des Bergues is a cocktail bar with an amazing classic interior in the Four Seasons Hotel. If you’re looking to end your day with Lake views, the Floor Two Bar is the place to be.
Day 5: Travelling home
Your time in Geneva is coming to an end, but you still have most of the day ahead of you. Relax, take your time to return to your favourite places and take it easy before you head back to the airport.
With this itinerary, you can fully immerse yourself in the wonders of Geneva in just a few days. From exploring cultural treasures to venturing into neighbouring towns and savouring culinary delights, you won’t forget this long weekend in a hurry. The city’s charm and allure is sure to leave a lasting impression as you bid farewell to this Swiss gem… until you book a return flight again in future, of course.
Inspired to book your break?