Known as the ‘smallest of big cities’, Geneva is a noble, scenic addition to a verifiable host of attractive continental cities. It boasts a cozy population of just 200,000 natives, and holds a large amount of international prestige and power, due to over twenty prominent international organizations making their home there. Away from international nobility, though, Geneva’s a great city to spend some time in, awash with beautiful scenery (it’s not called ‘the city of parks’ for nothing, you know), a host of adventures and activities to embark on, and the omnipresent, inviting shores of Lake Geneva lapping at your feet (not literally).
While the most obvious answer to the question ‘how do you have the best three days in Geneva?’ would be to thoroughly bankrupt yourself, this doesn’t have to be the case. It has a reputation for being expensive, and much of it is, but like anywhere, if you’re creative enough, you can get by on a budget. If you dream of super-villain status and want to keep it cheap, you could also try and steal some eradicated fatal diseases from the World Health Organizations’ vaulted headquarters, which is an exciting and free way to liven up any flagging Geneva visit! Check out BUCKiTDREAM to get inspired by other travelers’ tales and stories from Switzerland’s second most populous city, and make sure to keep that trusty BUCKiTDREAM planner handy, as we take you through the best ways to spend your three-day getaway!
Climbing Mont Salève is a must-do straight out of the gate. Located just 20km from Geneva town center, the mountain is practically a playground for sports lovers. All sorts of activities can be found on the slopes, from plain ol’ hiking and mountain-biking to the more extreme paragliding and skiing, Mont Salève is set up for any season. There are some stunning views of Geneva to be found at the summit too, and you don’t even have to walk it; there’s a charming, unique cable car that will ferry you to the top if you don’t fancy the (fairly steep) hike, and will undoubtedly provide some breathtaking panoramas as you ascend.
The other playground the city has to offer is, of course, Lake Geneva. You can tackle a number of varied and exciting water-sports on the lakefront, including paddle-boating, SUPing (stand up paddle boarding for the uninitiated) or the more adventurous jet skiing. Or if you fancy a lazy swoon around the beautiful waters in a boat, there are many on offer to hire and while away an afternoon.
For the more culturally minded visitor (Geneva is a pretty cultured city after all), there’s the esteemed Musée d’ethnographie de Genève, which is devoted to the field of ethnography, a systematic, scientific study of people and their cultures, habits and mutual differences. The fascinating museum is one of the most esteemed in the world on the subject, and there’s no better home for it than the heavily and varied internationally-influenced Geneva.
If you just prefer to take your three-day breaks nice and easy and fancy a simple, tried and tested ramble through the city, there’s a number of relaxing walking tours on offer. Like many European cities, Geneva has a rather fetching old quarter, which combines an engaging slice of history with a pleasant urban ramble.
Three days worth of exploring and adventuring can bring on quite an appetite, but have no fear; Geneva is packed full of gastronomical delights. The delightful Café du Marché at La Potinière is situated on the banks of Lake Geneva and features a beautiful English garden and a tempting menu of local delights. The Cottage Café is another highlight, especially for breakfast; the menu is simple and homely, but the results are exquisite; once again, the café features a wonderful outdoor seating area, which, if the weather’s on your side, is much preferable to the indoor option. Ou Bien Encore is another gorgeous little café much favored by Geneva locals, offering a wide selection of innovative savory dishes prepared with the finest local ingredients, including tempting pastries and cakes that can be sampled and enjoyed at any hour of the day. The hot chocolate’s not bad either!
When it comes to places to stay, the four-star boutique Hotel La Cours is an optimum choice for those who have a bit of cash to splash around. Located right near Geneva’s Old Town yet brimming with modern trimmings and designs, a stay at Hotel La Cours means you’re doing Geneva in style. Coming complete with standard rooms, suites, and even apartments, this gorgeous little hotel has an option for every traveler. If the budget won’t allow such excess, there’s always the option of a hostel; but make sure to book well in advance, as these can fill up very quickly, and they’re not as plentiful as they are in other European cities.
All in all, Geneva can be a smart choice for a three-day European break, and making the most of this refined, fascinating and adventurous city is not a difficult task at all! So if Geneva’s filling up a spot on your traveling bucket list, get set to tick it off; and have a fantastic time while you’re at it!