European Getaway: Geneva, Switzerland

Spots like London, Paris, and Rome have star power, but they’re not the only European cities worth your summer vacation. Geneva is one of those spots that can fall off of the radar when folks start planning a European getaway.

But give it a few days, and it’s a city that knows how to show off.. in a good way. The Jet d’Eau fountain, is the city’s landmark. The centerpiece of the harbor, it shoots almost 460 feet into the air, so views are easy to come by. Simply go for a stroll along the lake; maybe go for a cruise if you’re in the mood.

The harbor is a beautiful area of the city, but fountain views aren’t limited to the lake area. If you’re willing to work a little, this is what’s waiting at the top of St. Peter’s Cathedral. It’s 157 steps up, so there’s definitely a little effort on your part, but you forget all about it when you get a look at the view.

The cathedral is located in Geneva’s historic old town, an area that oozes charm thanks to its winding streets and scenic finds like this spot. The Swiss claim this green bench is the longest wooden bench in the world. It runs nearly 400 feet. Have a seat and you can take in the mountain panorama of France. If you like what you see, think about a visit.

It’s easier than most would think.

Less than a half-hour bus ride away you can cross the border into France and hop aboard a cable car that whisks you up the mountain more than 3,600 feet, in less than 5-minutes. The Mont-Salève Cable Car has been operating since 1932; try to stand along a window because the ride up is scenic, but if it’s a full car, don’t worry about it much because it’s when you step off that you really have that wow moment. And you’ll catch sight of that fountain again. Except, now you’re in France looking at Geneva below. Have a picnic, go for a hike, watch the paragliders make what they do look incredibly easy. On a nice sunny day, it’s easy to lose track of time up here.

Depending on how long you will be in Geneva, and what you want to see, it’s worth looking at the Geneva Pass. A 24-hour pass covers everything we’ve talked about so far, including public transportation. Rates start at just $26.

Geneva is famous for its watchmaking history, and its long list of pricy brands. But if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind souvenir, you can make your own watch. At Initium you get to pick everything, from the color and style of the watch hands, to bands – there’s more than 250 bands to choose from. But it’s an investment, timepieces start at $1700.

For a more budget-friendly, but equally famous souvenir, you can build your own Swiss Army Knife at the Victorinox Store & Museum. There’s oh so many pieces, and a very specific order in which you fit them together, but wow it will make you appreciate that handy tool even more. Finishing touches include picking your favorite color, and having it engraved. The total cost $35.

And when in Switzerland there has to be fondue. Cheese and bread to start. Do your best to save room for the chocolate and fruit that comes after. You’ll find it on plenty of menus. This is Edelweiss Restaurant. Yes, maybe a bit touristy, but in a delicious, fun way.

For more about Dana’s adventures and writing, follow her on Instagram @danarebmann and Twitter @drebmann.

Dana’s trip was hosted by Geneva Tourism, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.

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