Enjoying Geneva What's on in your new town?

Once you've settled in to your new home and covered all the essentials, it's time to get to know your new environment. Become familiar with the local culture, meet people with similar interests and make a dedicated effort to engage in activities that are important to you. Most importantly, stay open and receptive to new experiences.

Get to know Geneva and meet new people 

Because of Geneva's diverse population, there are plenty of opportunities to follow a variety of interests, share experiences, and meet new people. Local publications, expat groups and Geneva Tourism are good places to start. The American International Women's Club of Geneva and the Anglo-Swiss Club of Geneva are just a couple of the many clubs and community groups available in the city. Check for Meetups in your area and always remember to watch the Hello Switzerland Events page to learn about interesting upcoming events. 

Things to do in Geneva

Geneva consistently ranks amongst the top ten best places to live. It has international status and cosmopolitan character. It is also green and family friendly. Geneva has an excellent public transport system and its compactness makes it easily navigable by foot or bicycle. Use the Around Me feature on the Hello Switzerland app (on iPhone and Android) to locate points of interest in your vicinity. 

Genève Plage (FR), Baby Plage (FR) and the Bains des Pâquis are perfect places to have fun, relax and swim. Bain de Paquis also has a sauna and offers a fondue in the wintertime. CGN operates cruises on Lake Geneva (known in French as Lac Léman) to discover Lake Geneva from both the Swiss and French borders. The boats stop at many enchanting villages where you can disembark and explore.

Find other great suggestions in the Family activities in Geneva article. Otherwise, MySwitzerland is a great tool for discovering what to do and where to go in Geneva and Switzerland.  

Cultural activities in Geneva

Geneva is a buzzing city with a wide range of cultural activities (FR), theatres, museums, galleries, and live music venues. The many cinemas screen new releases in the original language with English subtitles.  

  • Victoria hall has opera and other concerts. 
  • MAMCO (FR), Geneva's contemporary art museum, has a fantastic, innovative collection. 
  • Fête de la Musique (FR) is a wonderful music festival that takes place all over the city in June. It is made up of free outdoor concerts, especially in the Parc la Grange (FR). 
  • The open air Orange Cinema screens films outdoors during the summer months. 
  • Ciné transat (FR) also hosts free outdoor film screenings at the Perle du Lac during the summer.  
  • Fête des vendanges de Russin (FR) celebrates the harvesting of the grapes in September. 
  • In May there is a wine tasting open day called Cave Ouvert. Local wineries open up and offer tastings directly from the wine barrels with bread and cheese for free. 
  • Another fun summer festival is the Fêtes de Geneve, which has free concerts, a fun fair, endless food stalls, and much more. 
  • Visit the Favarger chocolate factory and take a tour of the grounds.  

Eating out, restaurants & nightlife

The city of Geneva has a villagy feel to it and each neighbourhood has a distinct character. Plainpalais is a good area for going out to bars and wine bars. Carouge is the arts district. It has fantastic restaurants and an Italian feel. Eaux-Vives is the lively downtown left bank neighbourhood while Paquis, on the right bank, is near to the main train station and has an excellent, diverse selection of international cuisine. 

Sample local and international cuisine at the many delicious restaurants in town and continue the night by exploring clubs, discos and bars. Nightclubs are open until 05:00 or 06:00 but drinks can be quite pricey. Some prices are cheaper across the border in France but there is often not too much of a difference. Arrive home safely with the late-night bus service Noctambus (FR).  

Nearby Lausanne has a good restaurant and night scene, especially in the Flon district. Thus, it is common for people from Geneva to pop over to Lausanne to enjoy an evening.

Leisure and day trips in and around Geneva

  • There is a lot to explore in the Canton of Geneva, nearby cantons, and in neighbouring France. 
  • Visit the picturesque, historic town of Gruyère
  • Annency is a beautiful lakeside town in France with a pretty Old Town. 
  • The Lausanne Olympic Museum has been recently renovated and is now a must see, especially for sport enthusiasts. 
  • Have lunch in Montreux and visit the imposing Chillon Castle
  • Yvoire is a medieval town on the French side of the lake. It's a nice place to walk around and have dinner.  
  • Chamonix (Mont Blanc) is a beautiful place to visit just across the border. It is a popular destination for winter sports. 

Take the cable car (during the summer months), walk or drive up the Salève, Geneva's local mountain. It is right across the border in France and has an altitude of 1380m. There is a spectacular view of Geneva from the top, as well as a restaurant. 

If you need time out to rejuvenate, treat yourself to a getaway at a wellness centre. Two especially good options are the Valais thermal resorts in Ovronnaz (you can also ski here) and Saillon. With just a ten minutes trip across the border you can also find Vitam Migros, which has a wellness spa, sport facility, waterpark and shopping.

Author: Julie Eassom

Julie has worked in relocation for the last 6 years helping expats from all over the world. With personal experience and many years in Switzerland Julie enjoys the challenges in helping people to make a very stressful time enjoyable. She enjoys a busy social life and meeting new people.

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2 Comments
  • 10/1/13 5:30 PM

    Hi Kate what is a champagne fondue?

  • 9/4/13 3:36 PM

    A champagne fondue at the Bains des Pâquis is an absolute must during your stay in Geneva.

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