I am really enjoying how easy it is to zip around Europe on the train. It has been a nice break from the stress of air travel. From where I am in Provence I jumped on the train at Avignon and three hours later I arrived for a short weekend getaway to Geneva. Here is what I learned from my visit. Geneva in the summer is amazing. A very welcomed break from the heat of Provence. It’s clean. It’s beautiful. The blue-green views of Lake Geneva from anywhere you are is like having a backdrop painted by a great European master. Because it is such an international destination you have amazing restaurants and hotels. The public transportation is fast, easy, safe, reliable and free for visitors! The city is not actually a big as you might think and if you stay in the hub everything is easily walkable. Perhaps though, my new favorite thing about Geneva is how quickly you can go from the bustle of city life to the country where biking in vineyards makes the sweetest escape.
Here is a guide to some of my favorite places for a weekend in Geneva:
Restaurant parc des eaux vives– With stunning views of Lake Geneva this restaurant is situated in a 16th century manor house on gorgeous manicured grounds serving local farm to table plates. I had the fish caught fresh from Lake Geneva!
Izumi– My favorite place in Geneva, I always eat here! Located at the top of the Four Seasons right in the heart of Geneva, this Japanese fusion restaurant has amazing 360 degree rooftop views. Not that they need amazing views because it’s one of the best sushi restaurants in the world. *Just a note- it’s very small and very popular so you must make a reservation.
Café du Marché– If you make it out to the charming neighborhood of Carouge this was an amazing cafe with seasonal fresh dishes and cool decor vibes.
Alma– New, cool, trendy and hip is how I would describe this Peruvian restaurant in Geneva’s wonderfully walkable Eaux-Vives neighborhood.
Au Vieux Carouge– Really small, local, no frills, 100% swiss fondue. You’ll leave smelling like cheese but loving every minute of it. *You must order the meringue in double cream dessert. Still haunts me to this day. Also, because of it’s small size you need a reservation.
Les Armures– Another fondue place we loved (and famously visited by the Clintons) with a bigger menu but still true to the heart and soul of local swiss food.
Domaine de Châteauvieux– If you want something really, really special and gastronomic this place is outstanding and set in the most beautiful location in a 16th century Chateau and vineyard.
Vieille Ville– Geneva’s Old Town is a beautiful and charming area with many historic sights hundreds if not thousands of years old, cafes, shopping and beautiful public spaces.
The Vineyards- we easily took the #18 tram from the main train station to CERN (20 mins) where E-Bike Tours is located and hoped on electronic bikes to ride off into the countryside ultimately ending at a local winery where we spent the afternoon tasting the local terroir.
Lake Geneva- Perhaps the main attraction, their are so many ways you can enjoy the lake from sunbathing with the locals by the lighthouse to boating options. We took a dinner cruise around the lake on a historic steam vessel on the Geneve Jardin-Anglais line. We also watched the famous Bol D’Or Mirabeau sailboat race from the water on a chartered trip with Geneva Boats.
Carouge– The “Greenwich Village of Geneva” is a cool, hip, and artistic historic neighborhood with artisan shops, cafes and a wonderful Saturday farmer’s market.
Mount Salève– You can pop over from Switzerland to France and take a cable car up to the top of Mount Salève with awesome views of Geneva as well as great nature hiking trails.
Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues– My favorite of all the hotels we have stayed on our trips of Geneva by far. It’s historic and glamorous and romantic. Your rooms have views of Lake Geneva and it’s perfectly situated in the city making it easy to get anywhere quickly. Geneva has the most number of five star luxury hotels (which are all in a line along the lake) but there is something about this one that makes it the best of all. Or maybe I just really love places that look like royal palaces…