Geneva Travel Guide

The city of Geneva is the second-most populous city in Switzerland and is located on the shores of Lake Geneva, which forms part of the French-Swiss border. Geneva's location at the crossroads of many important European trade routes has led to it being called "the port of Europe." In addition, its proximity to France, Italy, and Germany has made it one of Europe's most influential cities culturally and economically. Geneva Switzerland

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Geneva is the birthplace of Calvinism and the Red Cross, it's also known for being one of the most expensive cities in the world. The city has been a major center for banking and finance since medieval times, making it one of the world's wealthiest today due to its position as a global center for many commodities like precious metals or diamonds.

Geneva has an area of 23 square kilometers and a population of over 190 thousand people.


Aerial view of Geneva and the Jet D'Eau fountain

Geneva is a city in the Swiss canton of Geneva, located where Lake Geneva (French: Lac Léman) meets the Rhône River. The official language is French, but there are many different languages spoken here including English. The origin of the name "Geneva" is unknown, though it may be from Latin Genava or Ginevra, meaning "Juno's grove" (from gignere 'beget' and vare 'forest'). The city was first recorded in 1219 as Genevra.


Aerial View of Geneva and the Jet D'Eau

Geneva, Switzerland is a city and a municipality in the canton of Geneva, Switzerland. The city is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva, and the international airports of Cointrin and Geneva-Cointrin are located within the city limits.

The western part around Eaux-Vives corresponds quite well to the oldest surviving part of town; this area has been settled since at least 4300 BC. Around 1500 BC, a fortified town was built at Meyrin (now part of downtown Geneva). It flourished until it was destroyed by troops from Bern in 1430 CE. Later on in its history it became home to many watchtowers used by both sides during various battles being waged over control over this strategic region between France and Italy.

Major Area

Aerial view of Geneva city old town in Switzerland

It's located within the Canton of Geneva, where it serves as both a major area and capital city. Geneva is an international center for politics, diplomacy, finance, commerce and tourism—and its history goes back thousands of years.


The Lake of Geneva and the Cityscape of Geneva at Sunset

Genevans are known for their hospitality and friendliness. The city has a population of 175,000 people and is home to a large number of international organizations and diplomatic missions.


In terms of religion, Geneva is a secular city. However, it's also home to several international organizations with religious roots and affiliations:
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Geneva (seat)
  • World Council of Churches (headquarters)
  • World Alliance of Reformed Churches (secretariat)


French is the official language of Geneva. Italian is the most commonly spoken language in Geneva and is spoken by a majority of people.German is the second most spoken language, followed by English.


Aerial View of Geneva

The city of Geneva was founded by Romans in the 1st century BC. It was later a part of the Kingdom of Burgundy, which was annexed by France in 1477. The city became a part of the Holy Roman Empire in 1515 and changed hands again for several hundred years until it finally ended up with France in 1798.

In 1815, Geneva became an autonomous canton within Switzerland and has remained so ever since.

Geneva is also known as 'city of peace' due its history of neutrality during wartime periods: there were no battles fought within its walls between 1519-1792 because it was recognized by both sides as neutral territory; during World War II it was not occupied by any belligerent powers but instead served as mediator between them so they could meet without fear from interference from either side; then again during Cold War era when all countries except Switzerland belonged either side NATO vs Warsaw Pact alliance respectively.


Aerial view of Leman lake - Geneva city in Switzerland

Geneva is located at 46° North, 6° East. It has an average elevation of 500 meters (1,640 feet).

The country's topography includes lowlands in the western and eastern plains, with rolling hills in between. The Jura Mountains border the western and north-western regions of Switzerland, while the Alps cover most of its southern region. To date, Geneva's highest point is Dufour Peak at 2,469 meters (8,113 feet).

Geographically speaking, Geneva is located in temperate continental climate zone with four distinct seasons. The average temperature ranges from 12°C to 5°C (53°F to 41°F) annually; winters are cold but not very severe while summers tend to be warm or hot depending on where you are staying or traveling within the city during your time here!

What is the Climate like in Geneva?

Blue Sky and Clouds in Summer of Geneva

Geneva has a humid continental climate, with four distinct seasons. The average temperature deviation between the hottest month (July) and the coldest month (January) is 0.6 degrees Celsius.

Due to its location on the shores of Lake Geneva and its elevation—at an average altitude of 535 meters above sea level—Geneva is also known as one of Europe's sunniest cities, receiving approximately 150 days of sunshine per year.


Geneva Finance Center

As the second most important financial center in the world and home to numerous international organizations, it's no surprise that Geneva is a major economic hub. As of 2018, over 300 banks were operating out of this city alone. Geneva is also a center for diplomacy and international affairs: there are about 20 foreign embassies here as well as many other related institutions such as research centers and think tanks. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) was founded here in 1909 with support from the Rockefeller Foundation; today it has become one of Europe's leading technical universities with close ties to MIT via student exchanges and joint research projects.

In addition to being a major financial center, Geneva also serves as an important tourist destination due its proximity to several popular ski resorts including Chamonix-Mont Blanc at France's border; Les Diablerets at Switzerland's border; Andermatt at Liechtenstein's borders; Zermatt which lies within Switzerland but has its own separate train station due to its remote location up in the Swiss Alps; Verbier which is located just below Chamonix-Mont Blanc on France's side while being connected by cable car directly into town itself – these towns all offer different terrain types depending on where they're located: you'll find long black runs through dense pine forests up high (Chamonix), shorter steep icy slopes down low by lakeside (Verbier), or even cross country skiing during winter months when temperatures drop below zero degrees Celsius!

Geneva is a great city for tourism. There are several museums and art galleries to visit, including the Museum of Art and History and the Centre de la Vieille Charité.

Geneva is a great city for business. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has been held in Geneva since 1971, bringing together thousands of participants who discuss issues related to economics, international politics, social development and technology. In addition to being home to many international organizations such as the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), World Trade Organization (WTO), International Committee on Red Cross (ICRC) and International Labour Organization (ILO). More than 300 multinational companies have their European headquarters here such as Nestlé Group SA or Novartis AG whose brands are recognized all over the world.


Geneva and the Jet D'Eau

Geneva is also home to several universities, including the following:
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL)
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ)
  • University of Geneva
  • University of Lausanne (UNIL)
  • University of Fribourg (Unifr)

Universities and Colleges

  • University of Geneva
  • University of Lausanne
  • University of Neuchatel
  • University of Fribourg
  • University of St. Gallen
  • Western Switzerland Institute for Higher Education (ISFH)


Cathedral Saint-Pierre with Full Moon in Geneva

The political climate in Geneva is very different from that of most other countries. Instead of being a nation-state, it is actually a city-state, meaning that its sovereignty isn't recognized by other countries (such as the United States or France). As such, you can expect to see many international organizations headquartered here—the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations are among them—and this will give you an idea of what life here is like: multilingualism, multiculturalism and multilateralism are all part of daily life for people living in Geneva.

It's also worth noting that Switzerland has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe due to its strict gun control laws; this means residents feel safe walking around at night without fearing for their lives!


General Dufour Statue - Grand Opera and Rath Museum Geneva

Geneva is a city of culture. The city is home to many museums, including the International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, which was founded by Henry Dunant in 1863 and contains an extensive collection of historical artifacts related to humanitarian aid and peacekeeping operations around the world.

It also hosts several annual festivals including "Fête de la Francophonie", an event celebrating French-speaking countries and cultures; "Musique dans tous ses états", a festival featuring classical music performances from all over the world; "Jazz à Montreux", a jazz festival held annually at Montreux Jazz Festival castle; "Journées du Patrimoine" ("Heritage Days"), a celebration of Swiss heritage with free entrance into many historic sites around Geneva; and "Mosaïcultures," an international horticultural exhibition for garden enthusiasts.


Geneva is a city of sport. It has hosted a number of major sporting events, including the 1995 European Figure Skating Championships and the 2002 European Gymnastics Championships. The city is also home to many sports facilities such as the Patinoire de Genève (ice rink), Stade de Genève (a multipurpose stadium with running track) and Palexpo convention center.

The city's football team, Servette FC, was founded in 1890 but dissolved due to financial difficulties in 2011;[4] however it was re-founded in 2014.[5] Geneva hosts annual international tournaments such as the Coupe Suisse de télévision sportive féminine ("Swiss female television sports cup") which takes place every year since 1972;[6] as well as other events such as Tour d'Europe on skates.[7][8]

The headquarters of Gaelic Athletic Association are located in Dublin while their central board meets once every four years at Croke Park stadium during All Ireland finals day when they award medals alongside representatives from each county participating in these games.[9][10][11][12][13]


  • Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMCO)
  • Museum of the History of Geneva (MHG)
  • Museum of the History of Science (MHES)
  • CERN museum
  • Swiss Transport Museum
  • Musée Ariana


Jet d'eau in Geneva Lake

Geneva is the home of the United Nations, and many international conferences and congresses are held in this city all year long. The most famous ones include:
  • The International Labour Organisation (ILO) International Labour Conference (ILC)
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Congress
  • World Economic Forum annual meeting


Panoramic view of Montreux and Lake Geneva

Geneva is world-renowned for its cuisine, which is a large part of the reason why it was chosen to be the headquarters of the United Nations in 1946.

You can find any type of cuisine you're looking for in Geneva. The city has establishments dedicated to traditional French food and American cuisine, as well as many other types of food from around the globe.

If you're feeling adventurous, try some Swiss specialties like fondue or raclette. Or, if you want something more familiar and relaxed, you can eat at one of many Irish pubs or Italian restaurants.


Ferry in Leman Lake Geneva

Geneva is very well connected to the rest of Switzerland, France and Italy by road, rail and air. The city has an excellent public transport system that can take you just about anywhere in Geneva within minutes. If you prefer to walk around town instead of taking the tram or bus, Geneva is a beautiful city so do not miss out on exploring it on foot!


  • Geneva is a very safe city.
  • It has a good health system.
  • There are many parks and green spaces in the city of Geneva.
  • You can visit many museums in Geneva, like the Musée d'art et d'histoire (Art and History Museum), or the Musée Ariana (Ariana Museum).
  • There are also art galleries in Geneva where you can buy paintings from famous artists who lived in Geneva, such as Henry James Pradier and Fernand Khnopff.


Geneva is a leader in solar energy, both in terms of the amount of power produced and the amount of money it brings to the city's economy. In 2016 alone, solar panels generated over 2 gigawatts (2 billion watts) of electricity—enough to power all 675,000 homes in Geneva. This has helped Geneva become one of Europe's most environmentally friendly cities: It was ranked as one of five "greenest" cities on the continent by European Green Capital Award administrators.

In addition to its leadership in solar energy production and sustainability, Geneva also boasts leadership roles in other forms:

Notable People

St. Pierre Cathedral in Geneva

Geneva is also home to many notable people, including:
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, philosopher and writer
  • Albert Einstein, physicist who developed the theory of relativity
  • Carl Jung, psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology and was one of the first great explorers of the collective unconsciousness
  • Georges Favre, politician who served as President of the Republic from 1978 until 1988. He was born in Geneva on February 18th 1933. He received a Degree in Law at University Paris X Nanterre before being elected mayor of his birthplace in 1972 and becoming deputy at the Grand Council (the parliament) in 1976 where he was responsible for social affairs. He then served as president until 1993 while continuing his work with UNICEF as well as being involved with various other organisations such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch. During this time he also published several books including "Démocratie générale" which dealt with both local government and international affairs.*Claude Debussy (1862–1918), composer; Charles de Gaulle(1890–1970), French general; Mary Shelley(1797–1851), author; Jules Romains (1885–1972), novelist/playwright


Geneva is a beautiful city with a lot to offer. It is rich in history and culture, but also has many modern amenities. The weather is great year round and it's easy to get around by using public transportation or renting a car at the airport. With so much going on there are plenty of activities for everyone! So if you're looking for an exciting vacation, we recommend making Geneva Switzerland your next destination!

The museums are some of the best in the world, there are lots of things to do for families and couples alike, there is plenty of shopping too. So why not plan your trip now?

Please view more great landscape images of Geneva

Aerial view of Leman lake and Geneva

Aerial view of Leman lake and Geneva

Aerial panoramic view of the city of Vevey at Lake Geneva with vineyards of famous Lavaux wine region on a beautiful sunny day with blue sky and clouds in summer

Canton of Vaud Switzerland

Ferry Lines in Geneva.jpg

Ferry Lines in Geneva.jpg

Geneva and Leman Lake

Geneva and Leman Lake

Geneva City and Lake Leman in A Panoramic View

Geneva City and Lake Leman in A Panoramic View

Geneva City Center

Geneva City Center

Geneva Yacht Club

Geneva Yacht Club

Harbor Shores Lake Geneva

Harbor Shores Lake Geneva

Jet d'eau Geneva Switzerland

Jet d'eau Geneva Switzerland

Jet d'eau in Geneva Switzerland

Jet d'eau in Geneva Switzerland

Jet d'eau Leman Lake Geneva

Jet d'eau Leman Lake Geneva

Landscape of Lavaux Vineyard Terrace hiking trail, Lake Geneva and Swiss mountains, Lavaux-Oron district, Switzerland

Landscape of Lavaux Vineyard Terrace

Leman Lake and Swiss Alps

Leman Lake and Swiss Alps

Panoramic view of Geneva skyline with famous Jet d'Eau fountain and traditional boat at harbor district in beautiful evening light at sunset, Canton of Geneva, Switzerland

Panoramic view of Geneva skyline with famous Jet d'Eau fountain

The Lake of Geneva and the Cityscape of Geneva at Sunset.jpg

The Lake of Geneva and the Cityscape of Geneva at Sunset.jpg

The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces UNESCO World Heritage Site near Lausanne, Switzerland along Lake Geneva

The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces UNESCO World Heritage Lausanne

Vineyards at Geneva lake in Lavaux Area Switzerland

Vineyards at Geneva lake in Lavaux Area Switzerland