Geneva was never a city that was high on my bucket list, especially when the first reaction that people have when you say you’re going there is ‘nice, but Switzerland is so expensive!’ If you live in the likes of Gibraltar or London, then the prices there won’t scare you much and there are always ‘hidden gems’ where you can get a cheap deal or at least value for your money. If you’re planning a trip to the swiss city, here are my recommendations on where to stay, what and where to eat and what to do in Geneva.
Where to stay
Geneva is relatively small, meaning that as long as you get a hotel in the city centre you will be able to reach most points of interest by foot. We stayed at the Auteil Manotel Hotel, which was a few minutes walk from the main train station and about 5 minutes from the bus station.
The 4 star hotel cost around £160 a night during the spring season and my favourite thing about our stay had to be the bed and pillows. I felt like I was sleeping on a marshmallow! I also love hotels that do a bit extra for their guests (in the form of treats) so it was great to find a bar of swiss chocolate, some fruit and a bottle of red wine was left for us. Our room also had a big terrace facing the train tracks, which we thought might have been too noisy but to be honest with the door shut we didn’t hear anything.
What and where to eat
I could just make this article about cheese and chocolate, but we actually did eat other things which I will share. One thing has to be said, we did not have a single bad meal in Geneva. The only thing I was disappointed with was my £8 oat shaken Starbucks latte (self-inflicted for spending that at a chain coffee place).
For breakfast, head to the Cottage Cafe nice and early and grab yourself one of their ‘open sandwiches’ and a coffee for under £10. It’s a very quaint little place and you get great views of the city and river behind you. If you want to splash out a bit more, I had a ‘Oui Monsieur’ at Birdie Cafe which was lovely and cheesy, but also cost me £16.
For cheese lovers, I 100% recommend you make a reservation at Cafe du Soleil for their cheese fondue. This place was filled with tourists and locals, and if we wouldn’t have pre-booked we would have probably been waiting outside for a while. The menu says that the cheese fondue is priced at around £20 per person, but we thought surely it isn’t going to cost us £40 to eat melted cheese if there’s two of us. We asked the waiter if we could just order one portion and that was fine, and they still gave us 10 slices of bread and a pot of fondue to share. We also split a steak and chips and this was also delicious, this got dipped into the cheese too!
Another place which is known for their cheese is Restaurant Les Armures. This is found in the old town and you will be able to try swiss cheeses like gruyère and raclette.
If you fancy something a little different, then Masala House do really good indian food. You’ll find that Geneva is a melting pot of cultures, and as you walk down the streets you’ll see there is a bit of everything when it comes to cuisine!
What to do
Geneva hasn’t got a long list of landmarks to see, but some points of interest which you might want to mark on your Google Maps are:
- Jet D’Eau
- Temple de Saint-Pierre
- Jardin Anglais (English Garden)
- Place du Bourg-de-Four
- Botanical Gardens
- Quai du Mont-Blanc
The main event of our trip to Geneva, was a 3 hour chocolate tasting tour with Local Flavours Tours. If you select the 2:30pm tour, then I suggest you just have breakfast and treat this tour as your lunch because you will end up very satisfied.
This tour will take you through some of the best artisan chocolate shops in Geneva, and of course let you try a range of chocolate in all different forms. We had hot chocolate, truffles, unique flavour creations, ruby chocolate, a chocolate patisserie and then got to select some on our own. What’s great about this is not only is it an immersive way to learn about the history of chocolate in Switzerland, but it’s also a great way to get your bearings around the city with a walking tour!
The tour is slightly on the pricier side at 98CHF (around £87) per person, but if you factor in all the chocolate you eat you’d probably be spending over half of that buying them individually at the shops.
I know this article is titled ‘A Guide to Geneva’, but if you find yourself with time to spare then I really recommend catching a Flixbus to the French town of Annecy. The trip will only set you back 10 euros and you will get there in under an hour. If you haven’t heard of Annecy, just think Venice mixed with Beauty and the Beast! It really is one of the most picturesque places I’ve been to. Here you need to try a raclette baguette from La Fermette and try a tartiflette (a dish made of potatoes, cheese, bacon and everything delicious). You can find this dish on almost every menu in Annecy.
I hope you have found this article useful, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to send me a message on one of my socials!