view of geneva

Activities & Recreation

There’s so much to do and enjoy in and around Geneva. Whether it’s exploring the magnificent expanse of Lake Geneva, the soaring Alps, the city’s fascinating museums, the beautiful botanical gardens, the colourful outdoor markets or world-famous chocolate creations. It's all here.

 

Photo credit: ©GenèveTourisme; © www.geneve.com

town view in winter

Old Town

Geneva has the largest historic city centre in Switzerland, hiding a Gothic labyrinth of cobbled streets, authentic buildings embellished with beautiful facades and picturesque squares.

A short walk from the city centre is Geneva's theatre district and cultural centre where you can see the oldest house in the city, Maison Tavel, and the beautiful Bastions Park with its famous Reformation Wall. The area has lots of ancestral cafés and restaurants, art galleries, museums and, of course, shops.

Climb 157 steps to the top of the historical Saint Peter's Cathedral tower for a breathtaking panorama of the city of Calvin and its beautiful lake.

the beach

The Beach

Join the locals at the Bains des Pâquis for a swim in the lake – even in winter! Look out for the delicious cheese fondue. Visit the area’s biggest beach Genève-Plage on the other side of the lake – its swimming area has an Olympic-sized swimming pool, paddling pools, slides and high dives in an idyllic setting.

More recently, the new Eaux-Vives beach opened, offering stunning views of the Jet d'Eau fountain and Geneva's bay.

Or just enjoy the lovely waterfront parks for a picnic or a quick nap under the trees!

cocktail scene

Cocktail Scene

Geneva has a thriving cocktail scene. Enjoy a mojito on the terrace of MO Bar, sample the inventive creations of the mixologists at the speakeasy-style Le Verre à Monique in Quartier des Bains, or head to the stylish Rooftop 42 on Rue du Rhône for a drink with a view.

pinic with a view

Picnic with a view

At an altitude of 1,000 metres. Mont Salève. 19km.

Take a short trip out of town and hike the trails on this nearby mountain before stopping for a picnic at the top, overlooking the city far below. You're likely to see paragliders launching themselves into the air.

vineyard view

Excursion

One hour away. Montreux. 90km.

The pearl of the Swiss Riviera, Montreux is best known for its international jazz festival, but it offers much more than that. The lakeside promenade is considered one of the most beautiful in Switzerland. Stroll along it towards the alluring Château de Chillon, which juts out onto the lake and looks like something in a fairy tale.

Top tip: the drive from Geneva sweeps past the beautiful Lavaux vineyards, some of the oldest grape plantations in Switzerland and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stop in the pretty medieval village of Lutry to walk along the promenade and check out the Whisky Time boutique with its vast selection of single-malt whiskies.

Yvoire

Excursion

30 minutes away. Yvoire. 30km.

An easy day trip from Geneva is the wonderfully preserved medieval town of Yvoire on the French shore of Lake Geneva. With its ramparts, gates and 11th-century church, this fortified market village is considered one of the prettiest places in France.

Visit in the summer to see the streets filled with flowers and discover the 1,500 plants in the Jardin des Cinq Sens sensory gardens inspired by those in medieval times.

Top tip: it’s easy to drive to Yvoire, but a more peaceful and leisurely way to get there is by boat. Simply take the train to Nyon and cross the lake to Yvoire with the Compagnie Générale de Navigation.

Outdoors Sports

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Geneva is a delight for nature and outdoor sports fanatics. Whatever your skill level, whether you’re a runner, a cyclist, a swimmer, a hiker, a skier or simply a sporty person, there are many activities for you in and outside the city.

You can choose to be guided and led by experts or professional trainers or just get out there on your own and explore this marvellous region. Our concierge team would be pleased to help you plan a unique and unforgettable itinerary and recommend some ‘must-do’ experiences and the ‘must-see’ spots.

Geneva is a biking-friendly city with specific and secure lanes on most of its roads.

Whether you're a sports enthusiastic or not, you may choose to visit Geneva and its countryside by bike or e-bike and enjoy nice stops like the international district, the Botanical Gardens, the Old Town, the Parc des Bastions or the Mont Salève. Or you could just simply admire breathtaking views while pedalling along the lake's shores.

Top tip: ask our concierge team for one of our bikes and let them plan an exciting tour for you in and around Geneva combining your route with local cultural or culinary activities like wine and chocolate tasting, literature breaks, vineyards spots and historical sights.

There’s lots of fun to be had with water sports on Lake Geneva, whether you’re looking to relax or get the adrenalin pumping. Activities include stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing, water skiing, wake foiling, rafting, kayaking, canoeing… And of course there's boating, from simple pedalos to e-boats or sailboats. Open-water swimming is popular, too, and then there’s fishing. Get a skipper or guide to take you to the best spots and show you how to catch char, fera, perch, pike and trout. Bring your catch back and our chef will be happy to cook it for you!

Top tip: after all your exercise, treat yourself to a nice cocktail in one of the lovely terraces on the lake shores with a view of the iconic Jet d'Eau at sunset.

Head into the mountains to marvel at the beauty of the surrounding landscape of the French Alps and Jura Massif. Relish the fresh air and reconnect body and mind while getting into shape. If you’re after a different kind of hike with the family, get a guide to help you explore new places. There are even hikes to help you sharpen your senses!

Here are some examples of nearby hiking spots.

Easy level
The Vuache Mountain, Savigny/Dingy-en-Vuache, France. 1,000 metres. One-hour drive from hotel.

Signal des Voirons, Saint-Cergues/Machilly, France. 1,480 metres. One-hour drive from hotel.

Intermediate level
Mount of Sous Dine, Saint-Sixt, France. 2,004 metres. One-hour drive from hotel.

Peak of Sur Cou, Saint-Sixt, France. 1,809 metres. Just under an hour’s drive from hotel. The Dôle, Vaud/Jura, Switzerland. 1,677 metres. One-hour drive from hotel.

Lake of Lessy close to the Aravis Massif, France. 1,781 metres. One-hour drive from hotel.

Hard level
Mont Salève, France. 1,379 metres. 45-minute drive from hotel.

Cret of the Neige and Reculet, the two highest peaks in the Jura, France, 1,720 metres. 1.5-hour drive from hotel.

Experience the thrill of a spectacular and unforgettable paragliding tandem flight taking off from Mont Salève in France and landing in Switzerland.

For your comfort and safety, you’re well attached to the pilot positioned behind you, and lift-off is from a low-sloping meadow.

It’s an amazing bird’s eye view of the horizon of the Alps, the majestic Mont Blanc mountain peak, the Jura Massif, the beautiful city of Geneva and the deep blue-turquoise of the Léman lake.

Geneva is the ideal city for runners. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced athlete, it’s easy to use the beautiful parks, fields and forests, and finish your course with a refreshing swim in the lake.

You can choose to challenge yourself back into shape by running alone or with an exclusive coach. You can meet your personal trainer at the hotel and plan a run through the cobbled streets of the Old Town, by the lake or on the track of Geneva's marathon route.

Top tip: combine running and sightseeing with a running guide who’ll show you the highlights and best views of Geneva – at a pace that suits you. You can book with our concierge team.

Head out of Geneva into the mountains for an incredible day at a French or Swiss ski resort. It isn’t just skiing or snowboarding, there’s also dog sledding, skijoring, speed riding, ice climbing, Nordic skiing, panoramic flights, snowshoe hiking and winter biking! You can book with our concierge team.

Here are some examples of renowned ski resorts nearby.

  • Chamonix, France. 1.25-hour drive from hotel.
  • Megève, France. 1.25-hour drive from hotel.
  • Courchevel, Méribel, Val Thorens-the 3 Valleys, France. 2.25-hour drive from hotel.
  • Gstaad, Switzerland. 2.5-hour drive from hotel.
  • Verbier, Switzerland. 2.25-hour drive from hotel.

Top tip: start your day dog sledding in Chamonix – get to know the dogs, prepare the sled and lead your team throughout the paths and woods like a real professional sled driver. After that, break for lunch in some of the best restaurants in town, like the Hameau Albert 1er or the Maison Carrier. Maybe then take a cable car up to Mont Blanc’s Aiguille du Midi for some breathtaking views of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. If you have a head for heights, try the Pas dans le Vide glass box or platform for an unforgettable picture!

Time for yourself

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Keep healthy and refreshed with our fully-equipped fitness centre, sauna and hammam. You can have personal training sessions or yoga classes with a private coach or on your own using an online video. Or just pamper yourself with a massage or beauty treatment.

Rejuvenate and unwind with the ambassador for Swiss expertise in anti-aging cosmetic treatments. Bellefontaine products contain natural and precious ingredients from the Alps and the most cutting-edge discoveries in biotechnology.

Whether your goal is general fitness, weight loss, body sculpting, recovery from injuries or to improve your athletic performance, a personal trainer can design a bespoke, personalised training programme specially created to achieve your short-term goals in our exclusive training space.

Contact us to arrange a tailor-made session with our professional coaches.

Outdoor classes are available as well.

Renowned for the positive benefits it can bring, whether you are a beginner or an expert, whether you prefer dynamic, restorative or any other style of yoga, whether you look for a single course or multiple lessons, we are delighted to coordinate your private one-to-one class with a dedicated mentor in our yoga studio.

Family Time

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Geneva is the perfect destination for a memorable family holiday.

The hotel features spacious family rooms as well as a variety of connecting options. The Kids Club will put a smile on every Little Fan’s face with its various activities for creative minds or little athletes throughout the day.

Children will love Geneva’s beaches in the summer, including the Baby Plage for the youngest ones. There’s also sledding in the nearby ski resorts in the winter, tree climbing, canoeing on the Rhône, as well as guided family tours or fun hikes.

Babysitters can be hired, and pushchairs, car seats and cribs are available.

For our Little Fans aged from 2 to 12 years old there’s the delightful Kids Club in partnership with Bubbles Kids Club. There are artistic and creative workshops like piñata and drawing, various sports ranging from gymnastics to dance or martial arts, and some delicious snacks prepared by our chef. Whether you’re a hotel guest or not, it’s possible to hire this exclusive space for your children's party.

Opening:
Sunday: 9:30am to 3:30pm
For additional or specific days/times and other requests, ask reception or the concierge team.

Kids Club access is complimentary for our hotel guests. There is a CHF55 charge per child for our Yakumanka guests, including access to the Kids Club and children's lunch menu.

We offer comfortable and functional family rooms and suites from 64 to 133 square metres, including connecting options, with different views of the Rhône river, city centre and gardens.

Special amenities await our Little Fans. Our pastry chef can prepare unique and tasty surprises like chocolate and meringue lollipops for the little ones or chocolate iPhones for the teens. To make your stay even more memorable, we can also personalise these amenities following your children's preferences and hobbies.

What's on the menu for children? The chef knows how to please our Little Fans with tasty menus and healthy, scrumptious recipes.

Geneva is a gem for easily accessible family activities, offering sports options, and cultural and culinary experiences.

Here are some examples.

  • Have a little train tour to discover Geneva.
  • Swim in the lake from one of the stunning beaches.
  • Take a pedal-boat tour or have fun on motorised miniature boats (British ferries, cruise ships, or Mississippi steamships).
  • Ski or become a perfect dog sled driver.
  • Walk through the parks in Geneva like the Park of the Bâtie, the Teppes of Verbois nature reserve, the Park of Merlet, or the Botanical Gardens with over 12,000 species.
  • Take in some heights at the Treetop Adventure Park of the Evaux.
  • Become a real detective in one of the city’s several escape games or do a workshop on being a fine chocolate taster.

You’re sure to find stunning possibilities to please everyone in the family, share precious moments together and, above all, create unforgettable and magical souvenirs.

Geneva's DNA

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Geneva is your resort city.

An introduction to our city with some fun facts

  • The Jet d’Eau water fountain was never intended to be a fountain – it was originally a safety valve for a hydraulic power network.
  • Public transportation is free of charge for all hotel guests, including the scenic little yellow passenger ferries.
  • Geneva has the longest wooden bench in the world.
  • Summer animations include a complimentary open-air cinema and sunrise morning concerts.
  • The World Wide Web was created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 while working at CERN in Geneva.
  • The first Swiss wristwatch was made in Geneva in 1868.
  • Two rivers meet in Geneva: the Rhône and the Arve.

In summer 2021, a special resort city offer awaits you

Receive your Geneva Resort Pass upon check-in, granting you complimentary access and discounts to 100 different partners, including cultural, sports, relaxing and adventure activities while discovering Geneva and its surroundings.

Duration: 1 July – 31 August 2021.

It was in the mid-16th century that Geneva's luxury watchmaking industry and its unique pieces were born. Since then, Geneva’s watch industry has become a world leader with an international reputation in luxury watchmaking and the strategic hub for watch retailers.

Museums, workshops and prestigious events held in the high-class boutiques in the Rue du Rhône will introduce you to a world of unique know-how, precision and elegance. You’ll discover how fine-quality work, innovation and competition have made Geneva tick for centuries.

Top tip: visit a watchmaking works or attend a workshop to learn, understand and assemble your own watch. It’s a unique experience that our concierge team will be delighted to arrange for you.

Geneva is a wonderland for chocolate fanatics.

Indulge in classic chocolate bars, original and fine-tasting truffles, or delightful pastries and fruits with melting chocolate hearts. Immerse yourself in Switzerland’s chocolate culture on a tour that shares the secrets around the origins and manufacturing of chocolate as well as the Swiss chocolate history.

Top tip: become an expert chocolatier for half a day by joining the teams of a local chocolatier in a workshop where you’ll learn how chocolate becomes such a special sweet and make your own piece of chocolate art!

Our concierge team can book you a session.

Despite its charming size, Geneva more than competes with London and Paris as a major shopping destination in Europe.

Geneva specialises in fine, sophisticated and very expensive items. All along the Rue du Rhône and Rue du Marché, you can admire the internationally renowned brands of high-end clothes boutiques, watchmakers and jewellery shops.

You can also venture down the more hidden and secret streets and alleys of the Old Town, starting with the Grande Rue where you’ll discover surprising stores with unique items, and antique shops that are like museums with plenty of relics dating back to the Middle Ages.

Don’t be afraid to get lost; every turn promises a new surprise!

In 1859, a certain Henry Dunant witnessed the aftermath of the Battle of Solferino. As a result, he became the co-founder of a neutral and impartial organisation to protect and assist war victims later known as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The founding of the ICRC led to the first international humanitarian treaty, the Geneva Convention of 1864. After World War I, the League of Nations and the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva were established.

In 1945 after World War II, Geneva become the European headquarters of the United Nations followed by a dozen other UN bodies such as ITU, UNHCR, WHO and WMO. Geneva definitely has a compelling history of international cooperation.

Some key numbers showing how Geneva is international

  • 177 states represented by a Permanent Mission based in Geneva.
  • 39 international organisations.
  • 431 non-governmental organisations.

Geneva is home to many public and private museums, from antiques to modern art, and galleries and art centres, all nested in a maze of streets and picturesque squares. Here are some recommendations.

  • Maison Tavel, the oldest house in the city.
  • International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum.
  • International Museum of the Reformation.
  • Patek Philippe Museum.
  • Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMCO)

Beyond Geneva:

  • The incredible Globe of Science and Innovation, CERN, in Meyrin, a 20-minute drive from the hotel.
  • The phenomenal Chaplin's World, a 1.25-hour drive from the hotel.

For the musical arts, the Grand Théâtre de Genève is the largest artistic structure in French-speaking Switzerland. The theatre hosts lyrical and choreographic art productions based on the stagione (season) model and not on the repertory system. You can also enjoy performances of concerts and recitals.