Geneva is perhaps one of those cities many want to visit,but somehow don’t get or take the opportunity to explore. We all know about Genevas international position as a city of peace since many powerful international organisations have their offices there. But we did also discover another side of this polished city.
First off, the city is beautiful, although it is not the most beautiful city we have visited in Europe, it is magnetic. It is also by far one of the most expensive cities we have visited.
We stayed at the Hotel Bristol at Mont Blanc, and mind you the price for a decent-4 star is stiff. TIP:Some hotels offer their guests free travel pass for public transport for your entire stay. This is a nice gesture, as it is probably the only free thing in Geneva.
We rented a car and drove along the stunning coastline, it was a great way to explore beautiful landscapes and other regions outside Geneva.
We spent most of our time in the Old town and City centre.The Old town is very nice with its narrow streets and beautiful aged architecture and where you will find many restaurants, cafes, art galleries, niche shops and boutiques.
Because Geneva has many international residents – the restaurant and entertainment scene is quite diverse. In the Old town, we had our lunch at the La Bottega Trattoria, a simple and trendy place where many locals have their lunch/brunch.
For dinner we visited Cafè des Bains, is has large art paintings on the walls, so you can enjoy good food and art at the same time. There is also an attached bar/lounge that serves good drinks. We loved the restaurant Izumi, It is one of the best Japanese restaurants we have been to. It is also beautifully located on the rooftop of the Four seasons hotel – giving an amazing view over the city. The service was perfect, but the prices…. they HURT!! TIP:Book well in advance.
Having drinks in Geneva is just something that people do,especially after work. So there are loads of bars and cafès ready to serve you good drinks. We went to Bottle Brothers, a popular spot for locals and foreigners alike. It is located in the trendy area Eaux-Vives.
As far as shopping, you will find most international luxury brands, high street brands and more at the fashionable Rue de Rhone and close by streets. If a watch enthusiast – then Geneva is your haven. There are SO many exclusive watch stores in this city. For art, the Museum of modern and contemporary art can be worth checking out.
We thought the south side of the river was the more interesting and nicer part of the city. We liked the areas Bains and Eaux-Vives.
While roaming the city, we found ourselves up-close with Geneva’s liberal sex industry or Red light district in the Pâquis area, which was surprising because we had a glorified impression of Geneva being this really proper city. We witnessed, in broad daylight, sex “shopping” and prostitutes openly doing their business.It was interesting to have seen this side of Geneva.
All in all – we enjoyed our stay in Geneva and would visit again and wouldn’t mind living there for a couple of years, if we ever got the opportunity.