Planning to spend 2 days in Geneva? Read on for the full itinerary.
Located in the southwestern corner of Switzerland, Geneva is the second most populous city in the country and one of the most prestigious cities in the world.
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It is home to the headquarters of the Red Cross and the Office of the United Nations, which also houses the European Organization for Nuclear Research. In addition to its importance in international diplomacy, it is a global financial center with hundreds of banks and commodity trading companies.
With ancient culture, history and architecture, it also has many natural beauties. The Rhône and Arve rivers flow through its center, and Lake Geneva reflects the Alps, the most spectacular scenery to be found anywhere.
With a cosmopolitan atmosphere and a clear French influence (especially when it comes to food), Geneva is a city that has a lot to offer its visitors.
If you’re planning a short trip and wondering what to do in Geneva in 2 days, then check out our itinerary to make the most of your stay.
We’ve suggested what to do and see each morning and afternoon of your trip – and we’ve even recommended some of our favorite places to eat!
Tip: To reduce costs during your 2 days in Geneva, it is worth investing in Geneva crossing. It includes free or discounted admission to over 40 attractions and free public transportation!
Many of the attractions mentioned in the itinerary are included, so you will see that it will pay for itself very quickly. You can buy a ticket for 24, 48 or 72 hours.
During your first two working days in Geneva, you will visit its beautiful Old Town, try famous Swiss cuisine and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
In the morning
Many of Geneva’s main attractions are concentrated in the cobbled streets of its old town, so it’s the perfect place to start your tour.
The first stop is the historic Pier Cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century and underwent extensive renovations during the 1535 Reformation. The architecture is very mixed, combining Romanesque, Gothic and Neoclassical styles.
Climbing the stone steps behind the cathedral leads you to a passageway with ancient frescoes, mosaics and columns. You can also see the incredibly well-preserved chair used by John Calvin
The highlight of visiting the cathedral is climbing the 157 steps inside its tower. You have to pay a small fee for this, but the breathtaking views of Geneva and the Alps you get from the top are definitely worth it!
But one thing to note is that the steps are very steep and narrow – and it is practically impossible to turn around. Don’t start climbing unless you’re sure you can get to the top!
After visiting the cathedral, take a short walk to the place Bourg-de-Four. This cobbled square is the oldest in the city and is a lovely place to stop for a coffee and watch the world go by.
Another 5 minute walk will take you to the Barbie-Müller Museum. It’s very small and you can easily walk around it in half an hour, but its unique collection of African, Oceanic and Asian artefacts is worth a visit!
Then it’s time for some retail therapy, and Geneva is one of the best places in the world for luxury brands. Head to Rue du Rhone and you’ll find Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and much more.
By now you’ve worked up an appetite, so visit the Auberge de Savièse for lunch. Here, the specialty is cheese fondue and there is a good range of fondue dishes to choose from.
After lunch, take a stroll along the left bank of the Rhone River. In addition to the stunning views of Lake Geneva, you will see lots of green grass and beautiful plants.
Cross to the right bank and the scenery changes with the mountains in the distance and many magnificent palaces to admire!
On the lakeside promenade, you can see the impressive Jet d’Eau up close. When it was established in 1886, its function was to control and release the pressure from the hydroelectric power plant.
This impressive jet of water is visible from a distance, but it’s only when you get up close that you truly appreciate the power that sends it 495 feet (140 meters) into the air.
The Jardin Anglais (English Garden) is your next stop. The house is home to the famous flower clock – a clock made entirely of flowers.
It has been maintained since 1955, when it was founded in honor of the watchmakers of the city.
After a short trip to Parc de la Grange, take a 15-minute walk to the Natural History Museum. With four floors of exhibitions, it is a must-see during your 2 days in Geneva, especially if you are traveling with children.
But if it’s a beautiful day and you want to stay outside, why not book a cruise along Lake Geneva instead of? It’s amazing to see both the lake and the Alps from the water – and it gives you a chance to rest your aching feet!
To end your day in style, reserve a table at The Bayview by Michelle Roth. With beautiful views of the lake and the Alps, this Michelin-starred restaurant serves local cuisine in a sophisticated setting.
During your second two days in Geneva, you will visit some of the city’s most important global organizations and spend the afternoon relaxing in its gardens.
In the morning
Head straight to Geneva International this morning.
Your first stop is the Palace of Nations in Ariana Park. Part of the United Nations, it’s a very impressive place to visit – but you have to book a trip in advance
During the tour, you will learn more about what the UN actually does and see the rooms where important meetings are held. You’ll also get a closer look at the building’s design and see some of the amazing art that’s inside.
In front of the Palace of Nations is the famous broken course. This wooden chair is 39 feet (12 meters) tall and has a broken leg, symbolizing the campaign against landmines and the memory of those who died.
Afterwards, visit the International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
It is one of Geneva’s most popular attractions, with exhibitions and presentations where you can learn more about the humanitarian work of the Red Cross. Many of the displays are interactive and free audio guides are available.
Just opposite the Red Cross Museum is the Ariana Museum, the perfect place to end the morning. It is dedicated to ceramics and glass and contains more than 27,000 pieces from all over the world.
In the afternoon you will visit 3 beautiful places in Geneva.
The first is the beautiful Conservatory and Botanical Garden, which covers 28 hectares and contains more than 12,000 species of plants. It also has one of the largest herbariums in the world, as well as several small houses with animals and birds.
From there, go to the peninsula of the artificial lake Bains des Paquis. It is a 25-minute walk from the Botanical Garden, or you can take bus number 1.
This outdoor bath is a beautiful place to relax and swim, with a lighthouse and a beach for sunbathing.
If you travel in winter, you can enjoy the saunas instead! You also get a very nice view of the Jet d’Eau.
To finish your afternoon, cross the bridge over the Rhone and visit the Parc des Bastions. This green space is like an urban oasis with a beautiful tree-lined promenade at its heart.
Popular with locals, it’s a great place to soak up the city atmosphere and maybe play a game of chess or giant checkers. Here, you can also see the Reformation Wall with statues and sculptures honoring the people of the Protestant Reformation.
After a day of sightseeing, it’s time to wrap up your weekend in Geneva with an evening of food and fun.
A local favorite is the Brasserie des Halles de L’ile, located on an island in the Rhone River. After dinner at the restaurant, you can dance to the resident DJ and enjoy drinks late into the night.
Is 2 days in Geneva enough?
So is it possible to see the best of Geneva in 2 days?
While it is a lively city with many attractions, it is easy to get around and has one of the best public transport systems in the world.
This makes it possible to fit a lot into your 2-day trip – and if you follow this itinerary, you’ll definitely see the most interesting sights and soak up the atmosphere of the city.
Just remember that you need two full days to see everything here. If you arrive in Geneva late or have an early departure time, consider adding an extra night to your stay.
Where to stay in Geneva
There is no doubt that Geneva is one of the most expensive destinations in the world to visit, but there are still some affordable accommodations available.
Here are some of our favorite options to fit any budget.
Best budget accommodation
In Ibis Genève Lac Center is a smart budget hotel a short walk from the Old Town. The train station, bus and tram stops are also nearby.
All rooms are air-conditioned and have free WiFi, and a continental or buffet breakfast is available.
Best mid-range accommodation
Located in the heart of Geneva, The Hotel Astoria Features on-site English-style pub serving lunch and dinner along with beer!
Each air-conditioned room has a flat-screen satellite TV, a minibar and a private bathroom, and there is a free internet point in the lobby.
The best luxury accommodation
If you really want to spend your weekend in Geneva in the lap of luxury, look no further The Ritz-Carlton de la Paix Hotel.
This historic hotel has been recently renovated and offers stunning rooms decorated with beautiful fabrics. Each room offers views of the lake or Mont Blanc area and includes a minibar, Illy coffee machine, free Wi-Fi and Diptique toiletries.
There is also a restaurant serving international fusion cuisine with local ingredients and ‘Fiskebar’ serving Scandinavian inspired cuisine.
Final thoughts on this itinerary for two days in Geneva
Two days in Geneva is the perfect time to soak up a bit of everything, from its museums and important buildings to its natural scenery and amazing cuisine.
We hope this guide has helped you figure out how to make the most of your trip and enjoy every moment of your stay.
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