When you think of Switzerland, images of fairytale-like rolling hills, snow-capped mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and quaint, colorful towns fill your mind. However, I found out firsthand that the cities of Switzerland are just as remarkable as the countryside during a family trip to Geneva.

These towns offer an additional incentive for tourists who want to see more than just the natural wonders of Switzerland.


Under a clear, brilliant blue sky, our red-eye flight from New York City arrived safely at Genève Aéroport. Taxis made the roughly 20-minute ride from the airport into downtown quickly and comfortably.

However, the train is a wonderful option (one can get a free ticket at the airport) if you are not burdened by luggage, as it will drop you off in the center of the city in about seven minutes.


After refueling for a moment, we emerged onto Rue de Lausanne, a bustling city street with the addition of sleek trolleys whizzing back and forth. Keep in mind that all guests of Geneva’s hotels, hostels, and campgrounds are entitled to a free public transit card valid throughout the city.

We decided to travel to Geneva, Switzerland, on the southwestern point of Lac Léman, also known as Lake Geneva. The lake was formed in a crescent by the Rhône River. Switzerland’s biggest lake is also the largest Alpine lake, and its southern shore borders France.

We could see the icy summits of the Swiss and French Mountains in the distance. Once we got to the walkway by the lake, we were surrounded by beautiful views. In the clear, blue water, dozens of vessels and yachts floated, and graceful, silent swans passed by.

I was sitting on a seat with my friend, taking in the scenery, when I let out a startled exclamation. I had seen the Jet d’ Eau, the Geneva Water Fountain, which is unlike any other fountain and serves as the city’s most recognizable symbol.

It was constructed in 1886 to relieve and regulate the pressure of a hydraulic plant, but its beauty quickly attracted admirers. These days, the water rises an incredible 460 feet, and on cool spring and autumn nights, it’s lit up with lights.

Sitting on a bench near the pond will also give you a good view of the Mont Blanc Bridge, also known as the Pont du Mont Blanc and another famous landmark in Geneva. The bridge spans the Rhne River where it begins its journey away from Lake Geneva, joining the city’s eastern and western halves. Photographers will find the pedestrian walkways of the bridge, adorned with flags in neat groups, to be the ideal setting for their subjects.


Geneva’s Old Town, or Vieille Ville, has a rich and varied past spanning over two millennia. It is a beautiful maze of winding alleys, charming plazas, eclectic museums, and numerous architectural treasures. Cafes, eateries, and hotels have sprung up all over Switzerland’s oldest historical city. Taking a mini train excursion, which we found to be a joyful and enjoyable ride, was a great way to get an overview of the Old Town.

The imposing Saint Pierre Church, also known as St. Peter’s Cathedral in English, towers over the historic district. There was a church on the site as early as the 4th century, but the current cathedral wasn’t constructed until 1160-1252, with subsequent additions and reconstructions continuing into the 18th century.

Its various architectural flourishes, from Gothic arches to Neoclassical columns and pediments, all embody this spirit. In the 16th century, it became the church of John Calvin, the Reformation’s leading theorist and leader, and it was transformed from a Roman Catholic cathedral into a Reformed Protestant church.

The Chapel of the Maccabees, with its breathtakingly painted ceilings and magical stained glass windows, and Calvin’s chair are two sights that no visitor should skip.

The church is in the center of Old Town, and only a short distance away are two other attractions. An impressive restoration was completed by the city of Geneva in 1963 on the Maison Tavel, a private house built in the 14th century that had been destroyed by fire and had changed hands many times before becoming the Museum of Urban History and Daily Life in 1986.

Look at the carved heads and turrets on the structure for a while. Explore the vaulted 12th-century cellars, the 18th- and 19th-century apartments that have been faithfully recreated, and the many rotating and permanent displays if you have the time.

We checked out the five historic cannons known as L’ancien arsenal, which were used to protect Geneva in the past. The State Archives are housed in what was originally a granary in the 17th century and later served as a military storage facility. Amazing wall frescoes depicting important moments in Geneva’s past serve as a backdrop for the cannons.


When our feet finally gave out from all the walking, we found relief in Bastions Park. The city of Geneva is recognized as one of Europe’s greenest thanks to the efforts of its local government and environmental advocates, as stated on the website

As Geneva’s first botanical park, the Parc des Bastions features more than just beautiful landscaping. You can’t help but notice the colossal chess pieces as soon as you enter the park. Important Geneva landmark, the Reformation Wall can be found here.

There are portraits of Reformation leaders like John Calvin, John Knox, Guillaume Farel, and Thèodore de Bèze carved into the white marble monument that stretches for more than 300 feet.

Go to Geneva’s English Garden, also known as Le Jardin Anglaise, to see the city’s signature flower masterpiece. In 1955, landscape engineer Armand Auberson created the Flower Clock, also known as L’ Horloge Fleurie.

The clock, made of thousands of plants and blossoms, was created to honor the excellence of Geneva’s timepiece industry. The park itself was established in 1855, and it is a tranquil urban haven with winding pathways and century-old trees that are crowned by the magnificent Four Seasons fountain.

We paused for a photo op next to a colossal bronze statue of two women dressed in classical garb and gazing out over the lake. The National Monument, situated in the English Garden and designed by sculptor Robert Dorer in 1869, features these two women with their arms around each other, symbolizing the union of Geneva and Helvetia, the personification of Switzerland.

The Duke of Brunswick, Charles d’Este-Guelph, desired a grand send-off and a fitting monument after his death, so he had the Brunswick Monument constructed in 1873. It is now a historical landmark because its neo-Gothic style and architecture are based on the Scaligeri family tomb in Verona, which dates back to the 4th century A.D.


There is no shortage of museums in Geneva; some can be seen while strolling through the historic district or one of the city’s many beautiful parks, while others merit their own dedicated excursion. These are the institutions by which all others are measured.

The International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent tells the tale of humanitarianism and honors its founder, Henri Dunant, the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901. Going to the museum was one of the most fascinating and thought-provoking things I’ve ever done.

An emotional and often personal experience of the work done by this organization during times of war, conflict, and natural catastrophe is provided through the many exhibits and interactive displays.

The historic Palais des Nations, better known around the globe as the United Nations, is directly across the street from the Red Cross Museum. The Art Deco building from the 1930s that once housed the League of Nations should also be visited for at least a little while.

Instead of taking a guided trip, we opted to explore Place des Nations on our own. The open plaza in front of the UN building is stunning, and it features numerous waterfalls that are programmed to perform elaborate routines.

Broken Chair, a towering work of art, is sure to grab your attention. To encourage countries to sign a treaty banning landmines, a giant red chair with a broken limb was constructed.

Ariana Park, where the UN is located, is enormous, and the museum it’s named after, Ariana, is an architectural marvel that displays “arts of fire” items. Over a dozen millennia of Swiss, European, Middle Eastern, and Asian ceramic and glasswork are on display.

Works by contemporary ceramic and glass artists can be found here alongside classics like Delft earthenware, blue porcelain figures and objects, Meissen porcelain, and stained glass.

The Patek Philippe Museum was built as a tribute to the Swiss timepiece industry and is the only museum of its kind in the world. Explore clocks and watches from the 16th century and beyond, and you’ll soon forget how much time has passed.

Travel through four stories to learn about and admire not only historic and contemporary timepieces, but also the machinery and tools that went into making them.

Furthermore, the jewelry and snuffboxes, which are bejeweled and painted, will leave you gasping for air. Unfortunately, photography is not permitted within the exhibit.

Follow us on