Geneva | A modern and pulsating city with an exciting history of Celts, dukes, and thinkers that continues to echo in every corner, and you will surely fall in love with the five places you can’t miss during your visit to Geneva.
You must know that you are or will travel to the second city of Switzerland by size and importance. It has 200 thousand inhabitants, but it is perfect to walk it on foot. The origin of its name is Celtic and it always tops the lists of the cities with the highest quality of life. It is, was and will be the headquarters of more than 250 international organizations, so its population is the most cosmopolitan. And in spite of so much movement, it is “the capital of peace”. Here I’m listing five things to do in Geneva.
- Maison Travel
We think it’s the perfect place to start. There the Museum of urban history works since 1986. It is an old bourgeois mansion, where all the exhibits illustrate the daily life of the Genevans from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.
Each piece of furniture, ornamentation, and detail tells a fascinating story. You can see belongings of the Counts (of Geneva and Savoy), silver and tin dishes, kitchen utensils, etc. In the basement, evocations of commerce are exhibited, like ancient systems of weights and coins.
- Saint-Pierre Cathedral (Geneva Cathedral)
A few meters from the Maison Tavel and overlooking the city from the top of the historic center, you can visit the Cathedral of Geneva. Its origins go back to the XII, and in it, you can see different architectural styles, such as Gothic, Romanesque and Neoclassical, united in perfect harmony.
It is also full of history and will be the first of many places where they talk to you about Calvin, the leader of the Protestant Reformation, since this was his “mother church”, being able to see here a wooden chair that he used. Also from here, if you dare to climb the 157 steps of the north tower, you will have one of the best views of Geneva.
- Monument to the Reformation (Wall of the reformers)
Cross the Promenade de la Treille park to reach the Parc des Bastions. In its center, you will be surprised by one of the tourist icons of Geneva … and of history! If it is a question of famous walls, it is still on the list of those of Berlin and that of the Laments. You will find a stone wall almost 100 meters long and nine meters high, decorated with the statues of the “guardians” of the Protestant Reformation.
It was built at the beginning of the 20th century to remember the fourth centenary of the birth of Calvin. Its construction was possible thanks to the contribution of faithful Protestants from different parts of the world. Both the large statues of the front and side, and each of the details of the bas-reliefs, tell the events of the religious upheaval in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, pay tribute to its protagonists and leave anyone breathless to be captivated for the beauty and the story of this Monument, which transcends any cult or devotion.
Do not leave the park without visiting the Place Neuve, which is located at the exit and is considered the cultural epicenter of Geneva. If you are a friend of art, take some time to explore it. You will visit the Conservatory of Music (1858), the Rath Museum (1826) and the Grand Theater (1879).
- Patek Philippe Museum
In addition to the Reformation, international treaties and drinking, if anything has made Geneva famous, are its watches, its expensive and sophisticated watches, which are the result of five centuries of craftwork by great masters who have spent a lot of time measuring the time, among them Patek Phillip, whose brand today is already an emporium.
What was a wristwatch-like in 1800? What have been the most laborious clocks in history? And how small can a clock be? You will find the answers in a beautiful four-story museum, which chronicles the chronological evolution of the invention in its five centuries of life. You will leave with the feeling that you have not seen watches, but real jewels, because the Patek Phillipe museum turns chronometry into art.
- English Garden and Geneva Lake Geneva
The best time to visit the English Garden (Jardin Anglais) is early in the morning. We recommend you at least two hours to relax in this natural icon of Geneva. The generous green space of 2.5 hectares on the shores of Lake Geneva will delight you with its different gardens (English style, of course), groves and its monumental fountain.
The places you should not miss this park are the Flower Clock (symbol of the Geneva watch industry that exposes more than 12 thousand plants chosen by experts in mosaic), the National Monument (inaugurated in 1869, commemorates the accession of Geneva to Switzerland), the old music kiosk (if you go in summer, there are usually night concerts) and theatre-Saisons fountain (in the heart of the Park since 1862).
Once you have walked and enjoyed every corner of the Garden, get close to the shore of the Lake and you will understand why the Celts called it “Lem an” (“Big Water”). You are embraced by the Alps, so from any point along your route, you can take some unforgettable postcards of your trip to Geneva. But it is not only to see and take photos, since depending on the time of year, but you can also swim, dive, paddle and windsurf. Who said that Geneva is just history and culture?
Once you have finished your visit, a few meters from the English Garden, you will see the Molard Tower, which was part of the ancient walls that surrounded and protected the city.