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A Geneva travel guide – progressive art, lakeside dining and dazzling Alpine views

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Only a Geneva city break timed with Swiss precision can take in all its dynamic art galleries, lakefront parks with Mont Blanc views, and a cobbled Old Town crammed with bustling brasseries and designer boutiques. Book a Geneva hotel to find a cultured, self-confident city with a great outdoors.

Art and opera

Get an early start from your Geneva hotel to beat the crowds to the cavernous Art and History Musuem, where the stellar collection shifts from Egyptian artefacts to Monet's impressionist landscapes. The star attraction is Konrad Witz' 15th-century altarpiece The Miraculous Draught of Fishes. MAMCO is a 1950s factory turned contemporary art gallery with an exciting programme of temporary exhibitions. History buffs can follow the steps down from St Peter's Cathedral to an archaeological site with late-Roman mosaics. Dress up for an evening opera or ballet at the graceful Grand Theatre.

Eclectic dining

The Pâquis district packs a world of flavours into its streets, from unassuming Indian and Thai curry houses to Portuguese patisseries and great-value pizzerias. Nearby Quai du Mont-Blanc attracts well-to-do locals, serving French and pan-Asian cuisine in design-driven restaurants with sweeping lake views. Explore the Old Town's cobbled lanes for wood-panelled bistros and brasseries serving Swiss-French fare like fondue and stuffed pig trotters with local Chasselas wines. For fresh fish in intimate surrounds or alfresco dining, try low-key Carouge. Don’t forget to take home some melt-in-the-mouth pavés glacés, cobblestone-shaped truffles, for a lingering taste of a Geneva city break. 

 

Lakeside relaxation

A promenade skirts Lake Geneva's shore, flanked with flowery parks and shingly bays. Stroll through the fountain-dotted Perle du Lac park to the Botanical Gardens, where pink flamingos strut, or the Ariana Park where peacocks fan their feathers. Seagulls wheel above the laid-back Bain des Pâquis boardwalk, recognisable by its white lighthouse, where urbanites cool off in the lake in summer and warm up in the hammam in winter. For Swiss-style pampering, head to the After the Rain Spa to bathe in chocolate before a cocoa bean oil massage. The Floral Clock grows with time in the English Garden, a prime picnic spot with views to the French Alps and 140 metre-high Jet d'Eau fountain.