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Geneva, the second largest city in Switzerland, is located at the south-western end of Lake Geneva. It is surrounded by mountains, the Alps and the Jura, and has the River Rhone running through it. Switzerland has always been a neutral country and this has led to the headquarters of many international organisations such as the Red Cross and the World Health Organisation being located there.
Geneva is said to have the second highest standard of living in the world making it an expensive city to visit. It is certainly not the place to go for a budget holiday. Best approached from the lake, this attractive city is set against a backdrop of hills and mountains and a foreground of shimmering water.
Geneva is a cosmopolitan city having many foreign residents employed by the international organisations. It is a safe, clean, well organised town with many interesting sightseeing opportunities and a wealth of leisure activities.
A Geneva holiday appeals to a wide variety of visitors. There are those who wish to explore the city with its museums, churches, shops and parks. For more energetic visitors there is hiking in the hills from spring until autumn and skiing in the winter, while on the lake and in the river there are water sports.
A Geneva holiday can be taken at any time of year. In winter the weather is cold and the temperature is often below freezing. Once the mercury begins to rise in April, it soon becomes hot and, although there is less rain from June to September, summers can be humid. Skiers can use Geneva as a base as there is transport from the city to some of the best skiing destinations.
Geneva is a bustling, affluent city with much to interest holidaymakers. It is a pleasure to explore as its streets are safe and clean and its transport system is reliable.
In the middle of the old town, with its narrow cobbled streets and high stone buildings, is the Cathedral of St. Peter. The old town is also the location of Geneva’s oldest house Maison Tavel which is now a museum.
The Jet d’eau is the fountain with the world’s highest jets of water which shoot into the air to a height of one hundred and forty metres.
With over thirty museum and art galleries in the city the cultural appetite of visitors should be satiated.
A Geneva holiday offers many leisure activities from cruising on the lake to canoeing down the river, from walking in the parks to hiking in the hills and from swimming in the Bains de Paquis to riding the gondola up the hill where there is a fantastic view over the city and lake.
Geneva nightlife has something for everyone. There are many bars and club with discos providing a broad spectrum of music to cater for most tastes. ‘Shakers’, a very popular venue in the old town, serves excellent cocktails and has a large dance floor.
Fifteen kilometres from Geneva is the Casino de Divonne which is one of the best in the area.
There are many opportunities for shopping in Geneva but it can be an expensive pastime especially if you are looking for clothes. Swiss specialities are chocolate, watches and clocks, jewellery and of course Swiss army knives. On Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays there is a large flea market at Plainpalais. The Rue de Marche is one of the busiest streets where you can purchase almost anything. It is possibly the best place to look for holiday mementoes.
Geneva, with a huge number of restaurants, takes the title of culinary capital of Switzerland. This is due, in part, to the large international community which has influenced the variety of cuisine. In the narrow streets of the old town there are many traditional cafes and bistros where you can enjoy a tasty meal at a reasonable price.
Tipping is expected and is roughly ten percent.