When a friend asked me if I wanted to accompany her to a weekend in Geneva, how could I say no? I had never been before but I had been told Switzerland is insanely beautiful. So the day after we got back from Sevilla we met again in the airport, for a new adventure.
Although cold enough for coats, the weather was sunny and glorious. It was a pleasure to walk around the city, take in the sights, and relax in the wintery sun.
We researched what food the Swiss are famous for: unsurprisingly it was mainly cheese and chocolate. If you ever visit, do not say no to fondue. It is hardly healthy, as served with potatoes and bread and not much else, but it is the best thing for any cheese/carb lover. We had it twice, the first night we went traditional, but on my last night we tried goats cheese fondue which was amazing.
It is a city of scenery: we were surrounded by the mountains, and the lake was a beautiful clear mirror. The parks were heaven to relax in, and the architecture was as beautiful as Parisian architecture.
Top sights: the cathedral was a interesting mismatch of architecture, and of course seeing the United Nations was inspiring. We couldn’t go on a tour as it was the weekend, but that is something on my bucket list!
There are also many museums: we saw the museum of historical art, but the Watch museum was highly recommended, and there was also a Voltaire museum and Red Cross museum which I would love to see if I return.
A few tips: Before you leave baggage claim at the airport there is a machine next to the train ticket machine which provides free bus tickets from the airport. Tbh no bus driver ever checked any ticket, but it is useful to have just in case.
Everyone knows Switzerland is expensive. Meals, either lunch or dinner can cost between 20 and 40 francs, and that’s if you pick the cheap options. So booking accommodation in which you can cook, or buying breakfast and lunch to eat in the beautiful parks is a wise option as it costs about a tenth of restaurant prices.
Usually when I visit an expensive European city I budget about 50 euros a day, francs are nearly the same rate but even double this was cutting my budget fine. I remember once meeting a guy who claimed he spent £18 on a hot chocolate in Switzerland. Wherever he went it must have been the greatest hot chocolate in the world, because you shouldn’t expect to pay more than the equivalent of £5 for a hot drink. Still expensive, but not unbearably so. Plus the coffee tends to be pretty good.
Geneva isn’t large – the bus system is good, but it is easy to walk around and impossible to get lost. It was the first time in nearly two years I travelled to a city that I haven’t lived in the country, (in other words not the UK or Spain) so I was excited to experience it again. And to try and remember my high school French, but I still kept saying “si” instead of “oui”…
I fell in love with Geneva. It was so relaxing, and beautiful, and a definite recommendation to anyone. In general the locals were friendly, we felt very safe even when walking home (together) late at night, waiters and waitresses were very accommodating, and our Airbnb flat was great and in a brilliant area for both bars and peace and quiet (and also had a cat!)
My university is organising a study trip to Geneva to see the United Nations. Although I don’t think I’ll return so soon, it is definitely a city I’d be more than happy to see again.