Ultimate fun under the sun 🌞 A guide to the best summer things to do in Geneva
Welcome to the vibrant city of Geneva where the summer sun casting a golden glow over the stunning Swiss landscape is a true sight for sore eyes!
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply want some fun under the sun, you’ll love Geneva as a summer destination.
#1 Soak up the sun at Geneva’s beaches 🏖️
Yes, you read that right! Geneva’s, in fact, home to some stunning lakeside beaches offering you great spots for sunbathing, swimming, and summer picnics and card-game marathons under the sun. One of the most popular beaches is Bains des Pâquis, a unique man-made beach located in the heart of the city. You can take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Geneva, sunbathe on the sandy beach, or grab some refreshing drinks and snacks at the beachside café. It’s a local favorite and a must for some real summer fun.
#2 Cruise along Lake Geneva 🚢
Lake Geneva is the largest lake in Western Europe. What better way to explore its clear waters than by taking a fun cruise? Hop on a boat that will take you along the picturesque shoreline of Lake Geneva, passing by stunning villas, historic landmarks, and majestic mountains. You can choose your kind of cruise: from short sightseeing cruises to longer ones with dining options.
#3 Enjoy water sports on Lake Geneva 🏄🏽
Except for relaxing cruises and beach lounging, Lake Geneva also offers you the chance to try some thrilling water sports for that extra adrenaline pump with the stunning backdrop of the Alps. Try some paddleboarding, windsurfing, or wakeboarding on the lake’s crystal-clear waters. You can also go for an exhilarating jet-ski ride or rent a boat and explore the lake at your own pace.
#4 Chill at the Bains des Pâquis 🌊
Your visit to Geneva in the summer will be half complete without a trip to the Bains des Pâquis. Located on a pier in Lake Geneva, this iconic spot (a popular place for locals, too) offers you a great mix of relaxation and local culture. Dive in the lake’s refreshing waters, lounge on the wooden decks, or indulge in a sauna or Turkish bath at the traditional wooden bathhouses.
#5 Bike along Lake Geneva 🚴♂️
With its well-maintained cycling paths and gorgeous lake views, Geneva is a paradise for all of you cyclists. Rent a bike and pedal your way along the shores of Lake Geneva, taking in the beautiful scenery and feeling the gentle breeze on your face. You can stop at one of the many parks or gardens along the way for a picnic or simply relax and enjoy the serene surroundings.
Feeling more adventurous? Bike all the way to the nearby French border. And did you know that Geneva is surrounded by picturesque vineyards that produce some of Switzerland’s finest wines? Explore them on 2 wheels.
#6 Go on a wine tasting tour 🍇
Calling all wine lovers! While visiting the stunning vineyards that dot the rolling hills surrounding Geneva, you can also go to local wineries. Learn about the winemaking process and try some of the region’s best wines, including the famous Swiss Chasselas, a crisp and refreshing white wine. Some wineries offer guided tours of their vineyards, as well, so that you can soak in the breathtaking scenery while sipping on delicious wines.
#7 Explore the Old Town 👣
Geneva’s Old Town is just full of culture and charm. Stroll through its cobblestone streets lined with medieval buildings, explore its narrow alleyways, and discover its many hidden nooks. Visit the iconic St. Pierre Cathedral (make sure you climb up all the way to the top for panoramic views of the city!), wander around the Place du Bourg-de-Four, one of the oldest marketplaces in Geneva, or check out the Maison Tavel, the oldest private residence in Geneva turned into a museum.
#8 Relax in beautiful parks 🏞️
Head to Parc des Bastions, in the heart of the city, which is a favorite spot among locals and visitors. This park is home to the iconic Reformation Wall, a monumental tribute to the Protestant Reformation, and offers you beautiful lawns—ideal for a peaceful afternoon nap under the shade of the trees.
You can also check out Parc de la Grange on the shores of Lake Geneva. This park is known for its stunning rose garden which comes into full bloom during the summer months creating a super colorful and fragrant setting.
#9 Visit Montreux & Chillon Castle 🏰
Did anyone say “history, culture, and natural beauty combined”? Montreux has all 3. Located just a short train ride from Geneva, it’s a picturesque town nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva known for its stunning scenery and vibrant cultural scene. Take a day trip to Montreux, explore its charm and visit Chillon Castle, a medieval fortress on a rocky island in Lake Geneva. Discover the castle’s maze of chambers, courtyards and towers and learn all about its rich history and legends.
#10 Join Geneva’s summer festivals & events 🎼📽️
From music festivals to outdoor concerts, cultural events to open-air markets, there’s always something exciting happening in Geneva during summer!
For all of you, music lovers: check out the Fête de la musique with 3 days full of workshops, concerts with world-famous artists and almost 450 free cultural activities, or the Montreux Jazz Festival, one of the world’s most prestigious music festivals, taking place just a short train ride from Geneva. There’s also the Musiques en été (Music in the Summer), in the heart of Parc La Grange, which combines a great mix of music genres: jazz, opera, folk, rock’n’roll or soul music.
And if you’re a foodie, the Geneva Street Food Festival is perfect for you. There, you can sample some delicious international cuisine from local food trucks.
Plus, for every cinephile out there, Geneva gives you an open-air movie festival, Ciné Transat, which takes place every summer in Perle-du-Lac Park.
#11 Hike in the wilderness 🥾
Geneva is surrounded by stunning nature with the Alps just a stone’s throw away and the summer months offer you a great chance to explore Geneva’s countryside on foot. For all of you, hiking enthusiasts, discover the nearby Jura Mountains or Mont Salève and enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Geneva and the Alps which you can also reach by a short cable car ride. You can even take a day trip to the famous Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, the highest peak in Europe, and admire the beauty of the French Alps.
#12 Discover some of Geneva’s top landmarks
⛲ Jet d’Eau: Prepare to be wowed as you witness the famous Jet d’Eau in action. This iconic fountain shoots water high up in the air at 140 m (about half the height of the Empire State Building!). Get your camera ready to capture that perfect Instagram shot with this magnificent backdrop.
🥀 Botanical Gardens: Need a breath of fresh air? The Botanical Gardens in Geneva are a nature lover’s oasis. Stroll through the lush greenery and colorful flowers, check out the garden’s herbarium (with 6 million samples!) and soak in the zen-like vibes. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and connect with nature during your summer getaway in Geneva.
🕰️ Flower Clock: Time flies when you’re having fun, and what better way to keep track of it than checking out the famous Flower Clock? This unique timepiece is more than a marvel of engineering; it’s also a true work of art with its intricate floral design.
🪑 Broken Chair: Prepare for a thought-provoking meetup with the Broken Chair, a powerful symbol of peace and disarmament. This striking sculpture stands tall in front of the United Nations headquarters, serving as a reminder of world peace.
For more fascinating fun facts about Geneva click on the link 🙂
#13 Try the Swiss cuisine 🍴
Indulge in Swiss cheese fondue, a yummy dish made with melted cheese and served with bread cubes for dipping, or try raclette, a traditional Swiss dish where the cheese is melted and scraped onto potatoes and served with pickles and onions. You can also sample local specialties, such as Zürcher Geschnetzeltes, a creamy veal dish served with Rösti—a traditional dish in Geneva, usually served as a garnish and made of boiled potatoes, onions and herbs. Wash it all down with a glass of local Swiss wine or a refreshing local beer, and you’ll be a real Genevan.
#14 Treat yourself to Swiss chocolate & cheese 🍫🧀
When in Geneva, you must visit local chocolatiers and fromageries to try delicious chocolates and cheese before you go. Take a guided chocolate or cheese tasting tour (sounds amazing, right?) and learn about the history and production process of these Swiss delicacies. And, of course, take some to bring back home, too.
With its photogenic landscapes, vibrant culture, and thrilling outdoor activities, Geneva is a summer paradise, whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, an adventure seeker, or simply someone who loves to soak in the sunshine!
If you’re looking for more things to do in Geneva, don’t forget to check out our other articles!