Top sights Geneva

Top sights Geneva

Are you looking for the hottest sights in Geneva? With MyCityHighlight – Sightseeing like a local – you'll find the top sights in Geneva from the point of view of our local City Manager. You also have the opportunity to contact our city managers directly if you have any questions. Enjoy your trip with MyCityHighlight, your guide to the city of Geneva.

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Carouge

Sights

Carouge is a quiet and lovely district in Geneva (actually an independent city!). It is really worth it to go for a walk in those charming little streets, filled with terraces and small shops.
Carouge originally belonged to the Kingdom of Sardegna (Italy) in the 18th century, which explains the typical southern architecture. It was created because the king of Sardegna wanted it to be a strong opponent to Geneva, which used to be an independent republic by that time. The city of Carouge never became as important as Geneva but it still has a long history and you can find out more about it in the Museum of Carouge.
Today Carouge is known to be the artisitic quarter of Geneva and offers a good nightlife, too (for example the famous bar/concert hall Le Chat Noir). The city is full of little art stores and small boutiques and bakeries. A perfect spot for a sunny afternoon!
You can easily reach Carouge by tram and your ticket includes the rides to and from this charming village!
On some Sundays the city of Carouge offers free tours through the Old Town of the city.

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Pointe de la Jonction

Sights

La Jonction is the spot where the two rivers of Geneva: the river Rhône and the river Arve meet. This river junction shows you an unusual natural phenomenon: the two rivers are of different colour and get together with very different floating speeds. The Arve is more sandy and fast, which produces its brown color, whereas the Rhône is more of a dark blue and floats very slowly. La Jonction is defintely a must-see in Geneva.

You can hike or cycle towards the bridge of La Jonction. The best viewing point is to be found in the middle of the bridge high above the two rivers. On your way towards the junction, you will come across a few cafés and restaurants along the hiking paths where you can have a little break and a drink in the sunshine.

And now as you saw the two rivers, you might want to try some rafting or canoeing on Genevas waters - there is a lot of possibilities to spend some time in and around the water in this city!

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Belvédère Lord Byron

Sights

The Belvédère Lord Byron is one of the most beautiful views on Geneva's bay. It is located in a nice neighborhood named Cologny, surrounded with luxurious villas. The little park is right next to the Diodati villa, where Lord Byron stayed with Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. The novel was created here, after a contest organized by Lord Byron and his friends. This contest was set up, because the friends were forced to stay indoors nearly all summer long, as the weather was too bad to go outside. Therefore everyone of them tried to write the most horrific story they could imagine!
The novel about Dr. Frankenstein and the monster he created takes place in Geneva and when the monster runs away it runs towards Mont Salève, the mountain where Genevans like to spend their sundays!
Besides the Bay of Geneva with the Jet d’Eau, you can also see the international quarter of Geneva with the Palais des Nations, the United Nations Headquarter on the other side of the lake.

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Saint-Pierre Cathedral

Sights

The Cathedral of Saint Peter is located right in the center of the old town and combines the architectural styles of Romanesque and Gothic. The basic construction of the church lasted for a century, from ~1150s until ~1250s! Since 1535 the church has been dedicated to protestant religion, therefore you won’t find a lot of decorations inside anymore. Anyways: don’t miss the Chapel of the Macchabaes, which was restored in catholic style. This is how you can get a good idea of what the Cathedral looked like in former times.

The towers can also be visited and you have a beautiful view on Geneva. (If it’s not too cloudy you als have a fantastic view of the mountains surrounding the city!)

Admission to the Cathedral and the Chapel of the Macchabaes is free. Access to the towers (view on Geneva) :
Adults: 5,- CHF
until 16 years old: 2,- CHF

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Molard square and tower

Sights

The Place du Molard (Molard Square) and the Tower of Molard lie between the shopping streets of Geneva. The square is filled with terraces from several good restaurants around here. A flower stand and a charming fountain make it a lively square. Originally, the square was a port, protected by the Molard tower. The tower is part of the old fortification walls of Geneva which were all destroyed in the middle of the 19th century. On the tower you can see painted friezes telling the history of Middle Age and Reformation, as well as a sign saying «Geneva, city of refugees».
In the tower itself you can find a good wine bar. This is a really nice spot to spent an evening with friends. There is also a beautiful artwork on the ground of Place du Molard - keep your eyes open and/or read more about it if you search for the Highlight “Artwork on Place du Molard”.

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Notre Dame Basilica

Sights

The Church Notre-Dame de Genève lies close to the Gare Cornavin. Built in 1857, the Notre-Dame basilica is today a church with a neo-Gothic architecture. Its stained-glass windows are especially noteworthy.

The official name of the church is Notre-Dame de l'Immaculée Conception which means “Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception”. It is the most important roman-catholic church in the city. Practicing the catholic faith used to be forbidden in Geneva until 1801.
Therefore it is today one of the oldest catholic churches in the city. The amazing and big church was renovated once in 1978 and once in 1986 - so today the interior as well as the outer facade are in a really good condition.

In addition, the organ of the church is very famous for its touching sound. Maybe you can manage to hear when its played!

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Passage Malbuisson

Sights

The Passage Malbuisson is a small shopping passage and gallery between the old town and the Geneva Lake. It is completely covered and a good choice if you need to spent some rainy hours. If you walk through the passage you will find a few nice boutiques and some watch stores. Additionally, there are some good cafés and chocolate stores here. But one of the most important things to see here can be found if you take a look up to the arches:
You’ll discover a very curious object combining automatons and horology! Every hour, the 16 chiming clocks play a traditional Genevan tune and below the dial, a door opens on each side of the clock for a parade of 42 bronze figurines and 13 horses.
Although this artwork is a bit hidden, it is definitely something not to miss during your stay here in Geneva!

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Niton rocks (Pierres du Niton)

Sights

The Niton Rocks (french: “Pierre du Niton) are two rocks in the middle of the Lake Geneva. These rocks have been here since the glacier melt after the glacial era. Today the Niton Rocks are used as a reference to calculate every height in Switzerland: it has been set that those rocks are situated 373,6 meters above the sea level. The first time the stones were used as refrence was in 1845 by General Guillaume-Henri Dufour. (He was an important cartograph and also a co-founder of the Red Cross. You can find his statue on the Place de Neuve!) In those years, the height of the rocks was set to 376,86m. If you compare to todays height, you can see that Mr Dufour was just a few meters wrong!
You can see the Niton Rocks from the Quai Gustave-Ador in the English Garden of Geneva. Very often birds sit on the rocks and enjoy the sunshine. The Jet d’Eau is also very close and with a bit of luck, you will see the fountain, the birds and a rainbow around the stones. Just like a fairytale!

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Jet d'eau fountain

Sights

The Jet d’Eau is highest fountain of Switzerland and is located in the middle of the Geneva Bay. For sure, the Jet d'eau is the landmark of Geneva, the picture everybody knows and the photo everybody wants to take! You can see the fountain from different spots all over the city, as it’s the highest point within Geneva. Some of the best views are provided from Bâins des Paquis, the Jardin Anglais or of course from the lake. Take one of the small boats (Les Mouettes) that serve as a ferry (Line 2 and 3 go closest to the Jet). These boats are included in your public transportation pass.

The Jet d’Eau fountain goes up 140m high in the sky, with a 200km/h speed. This is more than impressive! The fountain is often illuminated at night, and even colored on special occasions.

It is switched off during the night and sometimes due to bad weather conditions.

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Penthes Castle (Château de Penthes)

Sights

The Château de Penthes or Penthes Castle is an old castle with a gourmet restaurant and a museum. It is situated close to the city of Geneva and has an exceptional location overlooking Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc.
In the 14th century this area belonged to the Lords of Visency in the county of Gex (France). Over the centuries the castle went through different hands until the city of Geneva bought it in 1972. The last private owner was an industrail from Geneva.
Today the Château de Penthes houses for example the Museum of the Swiss Abroad - guided tours on request. Additionally, there is a café-restaurant with high class gastronomy and a beautiful sunny terrace and a cozy interieur. If you only want to have a coffee this place is also a good choice. You can go for a walk afterwards through the beautiful park surrounding the Château de Penthes.

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Broken Chair

Sights

The monumental wooden artwork "Broken Chair", symbolizes the fight against landmines.
On the Place des Nations, in front of the UN, it is based on only three legs. The NGO Handicap International and the swiss artist Daniel Berset erected this piece of art to remind us that landmines continue to claim many victims. On the Broken Chair Website the monument is explained with the following words: “Visible from the Palace of Nations’ “ambassadors' court”, made of Douglas fir wood, Broken Chair stands in delicate balance on three legs – the fourth having been violently blown off as if by an explosive charge. A way of showing that even mutilated, victims of war violence are still standing tall, with dignity.”

The Broken Chair was created in 1997 and is 12m high. Today it is claimed to be one of the most important artworks of the 21st century. The monument was completely renovated in 2017.

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Russian church

Sights

The Russian Church of Geneva is a real masterpiece!
Its sublime golden domes sparkles above the city and even on a rainy day the view of the towers is incredible!

The construction of this orthodox church goes back to the 19th century. It has 9 golden domes and the architecture reminds of the ancient Moscow style. The Russian Church lies close to the Museum of Arts and History and is unfortunately not open for visitors.
The russian-orthodox church of Geneva received the permission to built a Church in 1859 and they started to built the beautiful chapel with the financial help of Anna Feodorowna Constantia, the sister-in-law of Tsar Alexander I.

The golden domes were renovated in 1966 and are a perfect reference point to orientate in this area of the city.

Nowadays the Russian Church is not only used by the russian-orthodox population of Geneva, but also by Serbs, Coptic Christians, Bulgarians and several other Orthodox groups who are lacking their own church in Geneva.

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