Geneva Area Map
Geneva is split by the enormous Lake Geneva and the snaking Rhône River. Most of the city's attractions are found on the Rive Gauche, or the Left Bank and south side of the river. The Rive Droite, which refers to the Right Bank on the north side of the river, is known more for its international sights, including the Palace of Nations.
Old Town (Vieille Ville)
Accessible via tram Nos. 12, 14 and 18 at Bel-Air, Place de Neuve, Molard, Rive and Terrassière stops and via water taxi at Genève-Molard and Genève-Jardin-Anglais terminals.
Hugging the Rhône River, Geneva's Old Town neighborhood finds its center at the Place du Bourg-de-Four, a public square lined with picturesque cafes and shops. The famed 16th-century Protestant Reformer, John Calvin, used to offer fiery sermons from the pulpit of the St-Pierre Cathedral Geneva, which finds its home in Old Town. Find out about the history of Geneva's Reformation in the nearby International Museum of the Reformation (Musée International de la Réforme).
For more history and European art, make a trip to the Museum of Art and History (Musées d'art et d'histoire). And if you're in the mood for a leisurely walk, you might enjoy a stroll along the nearby Promenade de la Treille. One of the world's longest park benches (which is 413 feet long) can also be found here.
Rue du Rhône, which traces the south side of the Rhône River, is itself lined with designer storefronts, showcasing everything from Valentino couture to Cartier watches. For the history of fine watchmaking, head to the nearby Patek Philippe Museum. When you're ready to retire for the evening, you'll have several Old Town hotels to choose from, including the Hôtel Métropole Genève and the Hôtel de la Cigogne.
Accessible via tram No. 12 at Terrassière, Villereuse, Roches, Amandolier and Grange-Canal stops and via water taxi at Genève-Quai Gustave Ador, Genève-Eaux-Vives and Port Noir terminals.
To the east of Old Town and along the southern banks of Lake Geneva is Eaux-Vives, which is known for its sprawling Grange Park. The neighborhood also features the Museum of Natural History, where travelers can learn about various animals, plus the Jet d'Eau, a huge fountain that pumps water more than 450 feet into the air. Movie buffs, meanwhile, will want to catch a film at the popular indie cinema Scala. An array of restaurants, shops and hotels are available in the area as well.
Accessible via water taxi at Port Noir and La Belotte terminals.
Located north of Eaux-Vives, Cologny is famous for its patrons. Literary greats like Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley all stayed in one of the area's magnificent estates – the Villa Diodati – during the summer of 1816. Besides its literary claim to fame, Cologny also offers sweeping views of the lake and is home to the Geneve-Plage, where visitors can sunbathe on a pebble beach, play beach volleyball or go for a dip in one of several outdoor swimming pools (for a fee).
Accessible via tram Nos. 12, 14, 15 and 18 at Bel-Air, Coutance, Mercier, Lyon, Poterie, Servette and Cornavin stops and via water taxi at Genève-Mount Blanc terminal.
Located on the northern shore of the Rhône River, within view of Old Town, Grottes Saint-Gervais is where you'll find the city's main train station and the 19th-century Basilica Notre-Dame of Geneva. However, this area is not as popular with tourists because of its lack of top attractions. Area accommodation options range from budget properties to five-star hotels like the Hotel Rotary Geneva MGallery by Sofitel and the Mandarin Oriental Geneva.
Accessible via tram No. 15 at Môle, Butini, France and Nations stops and via water taxi at Genève-Pâquis and Genève-De-Châteaubriand terminals.
Pâquis-Nations overlooks Lake Geneva and sits northeast of Grottes Saint-Gervais. The neighborhood features several green spaces, including Ariana Park and the Conservatory and Botanical Garden Geneva, plus other must-visit sights like the Pâquis Baths and the Palace of Nations. If you want to stay in this part of the city, you'll find most hotels situated by Lausanne Street.
Geneva is a very safe city, as far as tourists go – though it does see some petty theft and vandalism, especially at train stations, airports and tram and bus stops. However, other cities in Europe (like London and Paris) have seen a spike in terrorism-related incidents, so it's best to avoid demonstrations and keep an eye on current events while staying in Geneva. To learn more about security concerns and safety tips for Switzerland, check out the U.S. State Department's website.
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