Top 10 Things To Do In Lake Geneva, Switzerland

Going to Lake Geneva? Here are the 10 Best Things To Do in Geneva Switzerland. Use this guide to help plan your itinerary so you don’t miss anything in Geneva!

Lake Geneva Switzerland

If Switzerland is on your bucket list, you’ll definitely want to make sure you visit Geneva, the capital of chocolate, luxury watches, Swiss Army Knives, and world peace.

Lake Geneva Switzerland

Lake Geneva Things To Do

Lake Geneva is western Europe’s largest lake. It’s a beautiful turquoise glacier lake that is fed by the surrounding snowy Alps.

From Geneva you can see Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. The combined views of lake and alpine mountains are stunning!

From Lake Geneva the Alps are ready to be explored. A visit to Mont Blanc is the perfect day trip from Geneva — it’s only one hour away!

Lake Geneva Switzerland

To help plan your trip, here are the 10 Best Things To Do In Geneva:

Lake Geneva Switzerland

1. Walk along the shores of Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva Switzerland

Lake Geneva is so striking to see in person. At first glance it has a uniquely swirled look with vibrant shades of blue, green, and aqua. Seriously stunning. This happens because the waters from the glaciers in the French Alps are bright turquoise and flow directly into the deep blue waters of the Rhone River, which is fed by the lake. The two colors mix together and give the lake an extraordinary marbled look!

Lake Geneva Switzerland

Here’s the junction where the two rivers come together. Isn’t it amazing?

2. See the Jet d’Eau at Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva Switzerland

The famous water jet of Geneva has such a fascinating story behind it. The jet is not just a tourist attraction, but is actually significant to how the city was founded and explains why Geneva (and thus, Switzerland) became famous for peace, watches and chocolate.

Why Is Geneva famous for Watches and Chocolate?

The story dates all the way back to the 1500s, when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church and started the Protestant Reformation.

Another prominent figure in the Reformation, John Calvin, moved to Geneva and became a leader of the movement in Switzerland. The reformation taught Faith Alone, Scripture Alone. All art was removed from churches so worshippers could focus solely on scripture. Jewelry and lavish displays of wealth were also banned. Prominent gold and diamond jewelers found themselves out of work.

However watches were considered practical, so they were still allowed. Watches were now the only way the people of Geneva had to show their wealth. The former gold and diamond jewelers switched to making watches, and thus began the luxury watch industry in Geneva.

Lake Geneva Switzerland

But how does the water jet come into play? Even back in the 1800s, Geneva was using hydroelectric power. They built a hydraulic plant and used the water from the lake and the river to power the machines to make watches and chocolate. On the evenings and weekends, when the shops were closed, the power built up and needed an outlet. The engineers diverted the water into a jet which shot into the air like a geyser. Even as far back as the 1800s tourists have been coming from all over to see the famous water jet in Geneva!

Today the jet is a prominent feature in Geneva’s skyline. It is taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Statue of Liberty, and Big Ben! It is turned on by hand every morning by a jet caretaker at exactly 9am, according to a precise Swiss watch, of course!

3. Explore Old Town Geneva

Lake Geneva Switzerland

Take a walk through Lake Geneva’s colorful old town and discover hidden gems on every corner.

Lake Geneva Switzerland

Stroll down charming pedestrian streets filled with fun shops, luxury watch boutiques, and chocolate galore!

Lake Geneva Switzerland

Be sure to stop by the famous Flower Clock! :)

4. Climb the Tower at St. Pierre Cathedral

Lake Geneva Switzerland

The St. Pierre Cathedral in Geneva is the church where John Calvin lead the Protestant Reformation. Inside the church there is still a wooden chair once used by Calvin.

Lake Geneva Switzerland

You can also go up to the top of the two towers for the best panoramic view of Lake Geneva.

Lake Geneva Switzerland

There is a north and a south tower. Be sure to go to the north tower so you can go outside for an unrestricted view.

Lake Geneva Switzerland

You can save your steps and skip the south tower — it’s the same view but behind windows. :)

Lake Geneva Switzerland

Postcard perfect view of the water jet on Lake Geneva!

5. Have a Picnic in the Park

Lake Geneva Switzerland

Pull up a blanket or sit on the world’s longest wooden bench, grab some snacks from Migros or Coop and spend a lovely afternoon in the park or on the shores of Lake Geneva. On a nice day you’ll see all the locals doing it!

6. See the United Nations

Lake Geneva Switzerland

The European Headquarters of the United Nations is in Geneva, Switzerland. To many, the name Geneva is associated with peace and human rights. A particular state of mind prevails with the locals and gives Geneva a unique aura, known as the Geneva Spirit.

7. Visit the very first Red Cross

Lake Geneva Switzerland

The Red Cross is an international humanitarian movement with over 97 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide. Their mission is to protect human life, ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering.

In Geneva you can see the very first Red Cross building and visit the museum, which offers you a stirring looking into the history of humanitarian action. Interactive exhibitions display 150 years of humanitarian history and allow you to track current Red Cross operations around the world.

8. Make Your Own Geneva Watch

Lake Geneva Switzerland

At Bucherer, a high-end watch boutique in Geneva, you have the exclusive opportunity to learn the inner-workings of a luxury Swiss watch. You can take a workshop that will show you how and give you the tools to disassemble and then reassemble a Swiss watch!

9. Assemble & Engrave your very own Swiss Army Knife

Lake Geneva Switzerland

This was one of the most fun and meaningful activities we did in Geneva. What is a more perfect souvenir than your very own Swiss Army Knife that you assembled and personalized in Switzerland??!

Lake Geneva Switzerland

At the Victorinox Flagship store in Geneva, you can do just that.

Lake Geneva Switzerland

You can pick your blades and accessories, assemble it yourself (with an expert guide of course! :)) and even pick your cover color and engrave it with a special inscription so you’ll never forget your trip to Geneva. Seriously the best souvenir ever.

Lake Geneva Switzerland

You even get a diploma at the end.

10. Spend a Morning at the Farmer’s Market

Lake Geneva Switzerland

Carouge is a quiet, Mediterranean style neighborhood in Geneva with colorful buildings, local cafes, and charming boutiques.

Lake Geneva Switzerland

Every Wednesday and Saturday morning, a farmer’s market is held on the Place du Marché.

Lake Geneva Switzerland

Here you can find the freshest flowers, fruits and vegetables.

Lake Geneva Switzerland

There are even some fun food trucks with local street fare.

Lake Geneva Switzerland

I could not get over all the beautiful flowers!

Lake Geneva Switzerland

Such striking colors.

Lake Geneva Switzerland

There were also some of the most exotic vegetables I’ve ever seen!! Can you name these three veggies??!

Lake Geneva Switzerland

Geneva was such an unexpected surprise. I love history and I learned so much here. There were so many fun things to see and do. And I brought home the best souvenirs — fine Swiss chocolates, a personalized Swiss Army Knife, beautiful photos and wonderful memories.

Read MoreBest Restaurants in Geneva + Best Lake Geneva Hotels


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24 Responses
  1. Greg

    Geneva is the perfect city for the weekend. Beautiful, peaceful and with lots of attractions. I really liked the view from the top of Saleve and swimming in the lake.

  2. Kiyana

    My friends and I will be in Geneva this weekend and we were completely clueless about what to do/see. Your post gave us all of the ideas! Thank you so so much!

  3. Geni

    Thank you so much. I’ve bee researching what to do in Geneva and this was more along the lines of the things I would like to do than what I’ve been reading about. It was informative and yet succinct. And the photos are beautiful! Have a wonderful day.

  4. Nora

    What a lovely article! I’m going to Geneva at March and it’s great to find some new places and things to explore from blogs. Thanks for sharing your tips and experience. :)

  5. Paulina

    Hi there! I’m on my way to Geneva and would love to know more about the watch activity and the Swiss army knife activity. Do you have any pricing or contact information? Any additional information would be wonderful. Thank you so much!

  6. Lisa Ku

    I’m planning on going to Geneva and looking forward to visiting the Victorinox store because of your post!! I was wondering if you have the information on Bucherer’s workshop. I’m interested, but can’t seem to find any details on it. Loved this post! Thanks.

  7. Katerina Papathanasi

    I really enjoyed your article?I am planning a trip to Geneva and your piece and photos are truly inspiring!!

    Thank u!

  8. Prateek

    I am in Geneva right now and I have exactly one day. Dropped in just to see what all I can fit in. Looks like the Jet and Swiss Army knife seems like good options! Very helpful read. Thanks! :) P

  9. nago

    My God, I have to visit Geneva after watching this wonderful report, but the problem that is facing me now is the high cost of travel, but on the spring holiday I will definitely visit it

  10. Vanessa

    Thank you for such lovely tips.
    I emailed the concierge at Bucherer for the Watch assembling workshop. Was that how you booked it?

    Thank you

  11. Gerard Lee

    We are traveling to Europe in May and one of our stops is Geneva.
    Do you have to book the Swiss army knife visit you mentioned or is it a walk in?

    Thank you,

    From Trinidad and Tobago.

  12. Kathy

    Hello and thanks for the tips! We are heading to Geneva in April. Any suggestions where to stay? Also – curious about the watchmaking workshop but not finding any info. Any help? Much appreciated!

  13. Nikki

    I am so glad you gave Geneve its proper credit! I love living here and always encourage my American friends to visit (and the ones that do never oppose once they get here)! The food/wine/atmosphere in Geneva is second to none, and I’m so glad I stumbled upon this blog which highlights some of its greatest attributes! 

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Meet Kevin & Amanda

Kevin and Amanda

We love to travel and to eat! Here we share our favorite quick and easy recipes, plus travel tips and guides for our favorite places around the world. If you have any questions about what camera I use or how I edit my photos, check out my photography tutorials.


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