Planning to spend 2 days in Geneva? Keep reading for the full itinerary.
Located in the southwestern corner of Switzerland, Geneva is the country’s second most populous city – and one of the most influential in the world.
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Home to the headquarters of the International Red Cross and United Nations Office, it also houses the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Aside from its importance in international diplomacy, it is a global finance hub, with hundreds of banks and commodity trading companies.
Rich in culture, history, and ancient architecture, it boasts plenty of natural beauty, too. The Rhone and Arve flow through its center and Lake Geneva reflects the Alps, providing some of the most breathtaking scenery to be found anywhere.
With a Cosmopolitan atmosphere and a distinctly French influence (particularly when it comes to food), Geneva is a city with a lot to offer its visitors.
If you are planning a short visit 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 just what to do and see each morning and afternoon of your visit – and we’ve even recommended some of our favorite places to eat, too!
Tip: To keep costs down during your 2 days in Geneva it’s worth investing in the Geneva Pass. It includes free or discounted entry to more than 40 attractions and free public transport!
Many of the sights mentioned in the itinerary are included so you’ll find it will pay for itself very quickly. You can buy the pass for either 24, 48, or 72 hours.
On the first of your two days in Geneva, you’ll be visiting its charming Old Town, trying Switzerland’s most famous dish, and enjoying some of the area’s natural beauty.
Many of Geneva’s main attractions are concentrated in the cobblestoned streets of its Old Town, so this makes the perfect place to start your visit.
The first stop is the historic St. Pierre’s Cathedral, it dates back to the 12th century and underwent a great deal of renovation during the 1535 Reformation. The architecture is quite mixed, combining Roman, Gothic, and neoclassical styles.
Climbing the stone steps behind the cathedral will take you to a passage containing ancient frescoes, mosaics, and columns. You can also see an incredibly well-preserved chair used by John Calvin
The highlight of visiting the cathedral is climbing the 157 steps inside its tower. You’ll have to pay a small fee to do so, but the stunning views of Geneva and the Alps you’ll get from the top are definitely worth it!
Something to note, though, is that the steps are very steep and narrow – and turning around is virtually impossible. Don’t start climbing unless you’re sure you’ll be able to make it to the top!
After visiting the cathedral, take a short walk to the Place Bourg-de-Four. This cobblestoned square is the oldest in the city and a lovely place to stop for a coffee and watch the world go by.
Another 5-minute stroll will take you to the Barbier-Mueller Museum. It’s very small and you can easily get around it in half an hour, but its unique collection of African, Oceanic, and Asian artifacts is worth seeing!
After that it’s time for some retail therapy and Geneva is one of the best places in the world for luxury brands. Head to the Rue du Rhone and you’ll find Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and many more.
By now you’ll have 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 from which to choose.
After lunch, take a stroll along the left bank of the Rhone River. In addition to stunning views of Lake Geneva, you’ll see verdant lawns and lots of beautiful foliage.
Cross to the right bank and the views change, with mountains in the distance and plenty of opulent mansions to admire!
At the lakeside promenade, you can see the fascinating Jet d’Eau up close. When it was created in 1886, its job was to control and release the pressure from a hydraulic plant.
This impressive jet of water is visible from a distance but it’s only when you get close that you really appreciate the power that sends it 495 feet (140 meters) into the air.
The Jardin Anglais (English Garden) is your next stop. It is home to the famous Flower Clock – a clock face made entirely from flowers.
It has been tended since 1955, when it was created to honor the city’s watchmakers.
After a brief visit to the beautiful Parc de La Grange, take the 15-minute walk to the Museum of Natural History. With four floors of exhibits, it’s a must-see during your 2 days in Geneva, especially if you’re traveling with kids.
But if it’s a lovely day and you’d rather stay outside, why not book a cruise along Lake Geneva instead? It’s pretty cool to see both the Lake and the Alps from the water – and it gives you the chance to rest your aching feet!
To finish your day in style, reserve a table at The Bayview by Michel Roth. With lovely views of the Lake and Alps, this Michelin-starred restaurant serves locally sourced food in a sophisticated setting.
During the second of your two days in Geneva you’ll be visiting some of the city’s important global organizations and then spending the afternoon relaxing in its parks.
Head straight to International Geneva this morning.
Your first stop is at the Palace of Nations in Ariana Park. Part of the United Nations, it is a very impressive place to visit – but you need to book a tour in advance.
During the tour, you’ll learn more about what the UN actually does and see the rooms where important meetings take place. You’ll also take a closer look at the design of the building and see some of the incredible art contained inside.
Opposite the Palace of Nations is the famous Broken Chair. This wooden chair is 39 feet (12 meters) tall and features a broken leg, symbolizing the campaign against landmines and in memory of those killed by them.
After that, visit the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum.
This is one of Geneva’s most popular attractions, with exhibitions and presentations through which you can learn more about the humanitarian work of the Red Cross. Lots of the displays are interactive and there are free audio guides.
Just opposite the Red Cross Museum is the Ariana Museum, the perfect place to end the morning. Devoted to ceramics and glass, it contains more than 27,000 pieces from all over the world.
This afternoon you’ll be visiting 3 of Geneva’s beauty spots.
The first is the lovely Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which occupies 28 hectares and features more than 12,000 species of flora. It also has one of the largest herbariums in the world, plus several small enclosures with animals and birds.
From there, head to the artificial lake peninsula of the Bains des Paquis. It’s a 25-minute walk from the Botanical Gardens, or you can take the number 1 bus.
This outdoor bath is a lovely place to relax and swim, with a lighthouse and a beach for sunbathing.
If you’re visiting in winter, you can enjoy the saunas instead! You also get a very cool view of the Jet d’Eau.
To complete your afternoon, cross the bridge over the Rhone and visit Parc des Bastions. This green space is like an oasis in the city, with a gorgeous tree-lined promenade running through its heart.
Popular with locals, it’s a good place to soak up the city’s atmosphere and maybe play a game of giant chess or checkers. While here, you can also see the Reformation Wall, with sculptures and statues honoring the people of the Protestant Reformation.
After a day of sightseeing, it’s time to round off your weekend in Geneva with an evening of food and fun.
A favorite with locals is the Brasserie des Halles de L’ile, located on an island on the Rhone River. After dinner in the restaurant, you can dance to the resident DJ and enjoy drinks late into the night.
Are 2 Days In Geneva Enough?
So is it possible to see the best of Geneva in 2 days?
While this is a lively city with lots of 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 visit – and if you follow this itinerary you’ll definitely be seeing the most famous sights and soaking up the city’s atmosphere.
Just remember you’ll need two full days to see everything mentioned here. If you arrive in Geneva late in the day or have an early departure time, consider adding an extra night to your stay.
Where To Stay In Geneva
There’s no doubt that Geneva is one of the most expensive destinations in the world to visit, but there is still some reasonably priced accommodation to be found.
Here are some of our favorite options to suit every budget.
Best Budget Accommodation
The Ibis Genève Centre Lac is a smart budget hotel within a short walk of the Old Town. The train station, bus, and tram stops are also nearby.
All rooms are air-conditioned and come with free wifi, and a continental or buffet breakfast is available.
Best Mid-Range Accommodation
Located in the heart of Geneva, the Hotel Astoria features its own on-site English-style pub serving lunches and dinners along with beer!
Each air-conditioned room features a flat-screen satellite TV, a minibar, and a private bathroom, with an internet point available in the lobby free of charge.
Best Luxury Accommodation
If you really want to spend your weekend in Geneva in the lap of luxury, look no further than The Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix.
This historic hotel has recently been renovated and offers stunning rooms exquisitely decorated in beautiful fabrics. Every room provides a view of the lake or Montblanc Square and features a minibar, an Illy coffee machine, free wifi, and Diptique toiletries.
There is also a restaurant serving international fusion cuisine made with local ingredients and the ‘Fiskebar’ offering Nordic-inspired cuisine.
Final Thoughts On This Itinerary For Two Days In Geneva
Two days in Geneva is the perfect amount of time to experience a little taste of everything, from its museums and important buildings to its natural scenery and wonderful cuisine.
We hope this guide has helped you decide how to make the best of your visit and that you enjoy every moment of your stay.
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