Sat on the shores of the magnificent (-ly cold) Lake Geneva, the city itself is now an EU and financial heartland – hardly a shock for Switzerland – and dismissed by many as being nice, but also expensive and a little on the dull side. Having said that, there is plenty to do, it’s just a case of finding the cash to make the most of it.
Speaking a bit of French is a major plus when it comes to uncovering the cities less obvious charms, and avoiding the tourist spots that litter the shores (though, if it’s running, you will want to check out the powerful, pumping 140m fountain that sits at the city end of the lake). The St Pierre Cathedral as an essential stop off in a city that lives and breathes the protestant side of Christianity. The cathedral is also an archaeological spot, and connected via and underground passage to an interesting museum exploring its ancient origins.
The nearby CERN laboratories (recently featured in a Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons) explore the limits of modern physics by colliding high-speed particles, and allow visitors to explore an explanatory exhibition and occasionally view the 27km tunnel, too. In terms of other major sights, though, Geneva is pretty and dated but lacks many truly inspiring destinations to explore within the city limits.
There are plenty of lively events to get involved in, with the city showings its fixation with wine in May by opening up the surrounding wineries for exploration, while in June a mammoth three day music festival drenches the city in over 40 stages, showcasing music of every possible style. Cross the nearby border into France, stopping at the Telepherique De Salve, and you’ll find a picture-postcard panorama of the Alps, including the towering Mount Blanc (Europe’s highest peak).
One of Europe’s capitals makes a great spot from which to launch a more thorough explanation of a truly stunning country, but in truth – unless you have money to burn – falls more than a bit flat in its own right. Having said that, it’s still worth a day or two of your time.
The capital of the Departement de Haute-Savoie, Annecy, is a small medieval city located at the foot of the Alps along the shores of a lake with the same name. It is about 40km away from Gene…