A jewel box of a city perched on a picture-perfect lake, Geneva almost overwhelms with its beauty.
Two decades in the Swiss city has left Viktoria Carpigo with a wealth of insider tips and personal experience she’s willing to share. Follow along as Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Beau-Rivage Genève’s public relations and events associate guides us on our next adventure.
What’s the best way to explore Geneva in one day?
One of my favorite ways to start the day is with a hike up Mont Salève, on French terrain, only about a 20-minute drive from Geneva. The views on a clear day over the lake and canton of Geneva are breathtaking.
If you’re feeling less sporty, the cable car is an alternative to go up or down the mountain. If it’s mid-season, like the month of November, make sure to double-check that the cable car is running. I had a good laugh arriving at the top of the mountain in the sudden pouring rain, and realizing I had no choice but to hike down the slippery path, as the cable car was closed.
In the afternoon, stroll through the old town, pop into the small antique shops or art galleries and have a coffee or local beer on the Place du Bourg-de-Four, on the terrace of La Clémence, where the Genevois [locals] hang out and gossip.
The Parc des Eaux-Vives, one of the most beautiful parks in Geneva, is the place to unwind and admire the beautiful views over the lake. If there is a light breeze, walk through the park to the Jet d’Eau and rent a small Yngling sailing boat or pedalo [paddle boat] at Les Corsaires for a sunset aperitif cruise.
What are some of the city’s more under-the-radar attractions?
Geneva is home to innovative wine-growers and is, in fact, the third-biggest wine-growing area of Switzerland. The best known is Mandement, with vineyards from Satigny to Peissy, presenting the most remarkable views over the lake.
Every year, Open Wineries day is the perfect occasion to discover with family and friends the Genevan wineries and their winemakers. This year, the Caves Ouvertes [Open Wineries] will be held on Saturday, May 25.
What else is going on this spring?
The city of Geneva will be hosting this year the second edition of GemGenève from May 9 to the 12. GemGenève is a show to reveal the true spirit of the international world of gem and jewelry trading, organized by industry insiders and renowned Geneva-based dealers, Thomas Faerber and Ronny Totah.
It’s an amazing exclusive event, definitely worth going to admire the beautiful sparkles. Young talents of the jewelry industry are also present to show their collections — a fascinating and creative space of inspiration and beauty.
After all that exploring, where can we go to grab drinks and bites?
The Eaux-Vives district is buzzing with bars and restaurants. [Small-plates concept] Eat Me and [modern Indian venue] Inda-Bar are my favorite restaurants for a trendy and bustling atmosphere. Don’t forget to order Take a Bao at EatMe and the Basilic Instinct cocktail at Inda-Bar.
Nico & Co. is a great after-work spot along the Rhône river in the heart of town. It’s the place to find the cool, beautiful crowd and music, and last rays of sunshine of the day. And if you’re feeling a little peckish, there is always a delicious focaccia or mortadella plate to share.
What’s one bucket-list item we have to try while in Geneva?
During the winter, after a day at work, why not enjoy your evening with a few descents under the moonlight? Put on your ski boots and head off [for] night skiing and a fondue dinner about 30 minutes from Geneva in the small town of Saint-Cergue.