What to do in Geneva this weekend or next?
March 18, 2013 9:31 AM   Subscribe

My fiancee and I will be in Geneva this weekend and next, and will have time each Saturday to do stuff. So what should we do? We've been to the city before but never really did much beyond attending conferences and eating right around the train station area. We are interested in historical/cultural activities or just walking around and looking at things. We also welcome restaurant suggestions.
posted by benbenson to Travel & Transportation around Geneva, Switzerland (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The telepherique up to Mont Saleve takes you to a lovely place for a walk with spectacular views--and there's a pretty good restaurant up there for lunch, too.
posted by yoink at 10:10 AM on March 18, 2013

Oh, and a drive out to the Chateau de Chillon gives you lots of lovely views with a really fun castle to clamber around as a destination. See Byron's signature on a pillar in the dungeon! Read Byron's "The Prisoner of Chillon" before you go.
posted by yoink at 10:12 AM on March 18, 2013

You should go to the cathedral in the old city, and if you like museums there is a pretty good one right next to the church that is focused on the protestant reformation. I have also heard good things about the patek philippe museum, if you want to learn about high end swiss watches . . .
posted by thesnowyslaps at 10:52 AM on March 18, 2013

I second the Chateau de Chillon rec (I took the train but I think it is a long walk from the train, maybe not fun in the summer). I haven't actually been to Geneva but I'm passing through in a little while and a friend who used to work there recommended the Tavel House museum, and the restaurant Cafe du Bourg de Four.
posted by mskyle at 12:26 PM on March 18, 2013

Er and by summer I mean winter.
posted by mskyle at 12:36 PM on March 18, 2013

Best answer: Not sure if you're interested in science/tech, but if you are, I highly recommend the CERN tour. When I was in Switzerland a few years back and had a Saturday free I went and found it very interesting. Acccording to the schedule it looks like it'll be closed next weekend (presumably for Easter) so this weekend would be the day to see it.
posted by barc0001 at 2:34 PM on March 18, 2013

Response by poster: barc0001, that is amazing, but they're fully booked for this weekend too. Darn!
posted by benbenson at 2:48 PM on March 18, 2013

Best answer: I love the cathedral in the old city too. You can climb up the tower and get a great view across the lake.

I also recommend:
  • The History of Science Museum, which is in the middle of a large park by the lake. It's definitely where I would take a first-time visitor to Geneva.
  • The Botanic Gardens.
  • The Red Cross Museum, which is unfortunately closed for refurbishment until May, sorry!
  • Taking the little yellow ferries (Mouettes Genevoises) across the lake. They are integrated with the public transport system and cost the same as a bus.
  • The CERN tour and/or their exhibitions (shown in barc0001's link) are marvellous if you are interested in science at all.
  • Walking around the old town will probably entertain you for quite a while. There are lots of arts and antiques shops but on my last trip there, this scientific antiques shop was the hit of the day. It's an Aladdin's cave of curious and wonderful things, honestly.

posted by daisyk at 2:53 PM on March 18, 2013

Best answer: I knew I'd forgotten something. You can take a guided tour of the beautiful Palais des Nations building at the UN, too.
posted by daisyk at 3:05 PM on March 18, 2013

Daisyk, that link for the antique shop scratches an itch I've had for a while! I went by the storefront when we were wandering around town one Sunday but it was closed so I had to settle for a couple of pictures from the outside. I always wondered if it was just a shop or if there was more to it and at the time couldn't find more information on it. My sad elementary school french wasn't really up to the task of the window placards at the time either.
posted by barc0001 at 10:16 PM on March 18, 2013

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