Here’s what to see in Geneva if you’re traveling for just one or two days
When you live in Porto you know that Winter whether means heavy rain that your umbrella cannot survive, or dead cold sunny days where you cannot feel your legs in the morning. And since we wanted to experience that beautiful Christmas landscape, typical from Central Europe once more, we decided to meet a friend couple in Geneva, Switzerland the past weekend.
With only one-and-a-half day to explore such a beautiful city we made sure to bring some comfortable shoes (and some extra socks too) to walk our asses out and get to see the best spots. If you’re planning to do the same anytime soon, you should keep on reading.
Geneva’s Old Town is considered to be one of the largest in Europe, and it is certainly one of the most impressive I have seen so far. Since it’s built on a hill that leads to the Rhone River, the streets are narrow and lined with historic architecture.
Every time you look up you are literally stunned by grey-stone Antique buildings which reminded me of Bruges, Belgium somehow. Besides, the landscape at the tallest spots is magnificent.
The main square is called Place du-Bourg-de-Four where you can find plenty of boutiques, cafes, bars and restaurants which come to life at Night.
By the way, we were also pretty lucky to experience L’Escalade, a local celebration held annually, on which Geneva citizens defeated troops sent by Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy during the night of 11–12 December 1602. That meant medieval interpretations and bands around the Old Town! A plus.
St. Pierre Cathedral
The St. Pierre Cathedral is an authentic masterpiece. It took around 100 years to be completed and features a neo-classical facade, two square towers and a stunning green spire.
Although we didn’t get inside, the outside structure was enough to realize its beautiful Romanesque architecture and Gothic influences, which take us back to a century of history, art and archaeological findings. Definitely worth checking out.
The Reformation Wall
Located in Parc des Bastions near the University of Geneve, is this group of four 4.57-meter-high statues known as The Reformation Wall. The wall stretches for 99.06 meters and is meant to represent the city’s connection to the reformist movement.
In the center, the movement’s most important figures – William Farel, John Calvin, Theodore Beza and John Knox – who happen to be Geneva citizens as well. Along the wall you can also find the reformist motto “After Darkness, Light” written in Latin.
An outstanding piece surrounded by a beautiful small park, where we could roller skate and break a few bones in the ice. Nice!
Located in Jardin Anglais is this stunning flower bed known as The Flower Clock. For 45 years it was considered to be Europe’s largest, featuring a 5 meters diameter and a 2.5-meters-long Seconds hand.
While adorable greenery resembles the clock’s structure and numbers from above, its mechanism is hidden under the soil. And since 1955 the clock is replanted every season with beautiful new shrubs and flowers. Even covered in snow it was lovely to see.
This is probably one of Geneva’s biggest landmarks, and you can literally see it from several areas in the city which is pretty cool. The Jet d’Eau is basically a large fountain that shoots water up to 140 meters in the air through a speed of 200km/h.
Considered to be one of the largest fountains in the world, Jet d’Eau attracts thousands of tourists every year. Since it’s located at the point where the Lake Geneva empties into the Rhone River, its surrounding landscape is also something to admire.
It is possible to get up close to the fountain by taking the stone jetty located in the left side of the lake, just be careful when taking a selfie tho.
Installed in Place des Nations, is the magnificent Broken Chair designed by Daniel Berset in 1997. In request to the Handicap International organization, this interesting sculpture is meant to represent the victims of landmines, and encourage states to banish these war munitions.
Although it only features three legs, it stands proudly reaching a height of 12 meters from the ground. It was definitely a very interesting place to visit.
Musée Ariana is devoted entirely to kilncraft, and is one of the most important in Europe. It includes over 20000 objects and collections of ceramics, ranging from pottery, stoneware, porcelain and china. Besides, the entry is absolutely free.
What I found most interesting about it, was its incredible architectural style (because I understand little about ceramics). Completed in 1890 by Gustav Rvilliod, Musée Ariana features impressive neo-classical and neo-baroque characteristics that will make you grab your camera every single time. Absolutely beautiful.
Also here’s where to stay and eat if you’re on a budget. In case you don’t know, if you do stay in any hotel or hostel, you are immediately given a free public transportation pass to use throughout the city. Better say no to Airbnb or renting a car there.
Hope you enjoyed this small Geneva travel guide and manage to get the best out of this amazing town on your short trip. Let me know any other suggestions down below. See you next time!