One of the most picturesque final approaches in Europe is the one into Geneva airport, which mostly lets you enjoy a wonderful mountain panorama combined with fantastic lake views as the plane smoothly glides towards the runway. Astonishingly, I had never had a layover here in the past 20 years. But that was just about to change.
It was the third overnight during a four nights Early Bird pattern, yet getting up at 3:30 am would not prevent me from exploring one of the few European cities that I had never really been to (except going back and forth). And since the cabin crew went along quite well, it was the three of us heading out together.
Most of our hotels are normally well located in or close to the city centers. Here in Geneva, we stay close to the airport. But with a fab gym and huge indoor pool as well as a close-by bus stop, it was actually a great compromise which also came with a free bus ticket to use the entire day. How wonderful is that?
So we did not lose much time after our arrival to the hotel at early afternoon, got changed and just moments later found ourselves already aboard Bus 5 with direction towards the city center. A good place to exit is Place de Cornavin which is right in front of the main train station.
From here it was just a 10 minutes walk down Rue des Alpes towards the lake. The famous Jet d´Eau (water fountain) is probably the most prominent site and a landmark for Geneva.
The fountain was originally built as a pressure relief valve for the water pipes that supplied the jewelry makers´machines and reaches around 140 meters in height. In 1891 it was transferred into the lake basin to become one of the city´s most photographed site.
From the Pont du Mont-Blanc you can take a beautiful 180 degree panorama of the city and the lake inlcuding the fountain.
Jardin Anglais is a beautiful public park right at the lake´s shore where people gathered to enjoy this beautiful and sunny winter´s day. From here, it was only a short hop over to the main shopping pedestrian zone called Rue de la Croix-d´Or. Switzerland is one of Europe´s most expensive countries and you can find all the big luxury brands, as well as main stream shops such as Zara, H&M and others all around this area.
Towering above the elegant scenery is the massive cathedral up the hill. This is where you will find the historic part of town of Geneva. Very reminiscent of a traditional French town.
The beautiful square Bourg-de-Four came just at perfect timing for a café au lait in the warm winter sun. The terrace of cafe La Clémence was so inviting and the hip and international crowd was absolutely fun to watch.
As it was already 3 pm, there was not much time left to walk these historic side streets before it would get dark again.
So without looking at a map, we decided to just stroll through the picturesque scenery, soaking up the beauty of each moment that was waiting behind each corner.
We made a quick stop at the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre Genève, which I found to be rather unspectacular from the inside though. I have to admit, that Gothic architecture is just partly my thing.
The Old Arsenal displays a series of canons decorated by mosaics portraying Caesar’s arrival in the city in 58 B.C. .
The Promenade de la Treille offers great views over the university and the mountain ranges in the background.
Unfortunately, it was already time to head back to the hotel. I would have loved to see a bit more of this beautiful Swiss city, but it looked like I needed to come back another time. At least, I could snap a few more photographic impressions on the way back towards the main station.
So, I would say a pretty neat destination for a romantic getaway combined with (expensive) shopping and French inspired cuisine, don´t you think? If you want to know more about what you can explore in town, click here.