Geneva ()

The spectacular Swiss city of Geneva is a combination of Alpine beauty and bustling metropolitan life. Located on the southern shores of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) in the southwest corner of Switzerland near the French border, it is the second-largest city in the country. Encompassed by towering mountains, including the infamous Mont Blanc, Geneva is home to the United Nations and Red Cross/Red Crescent headquarters. Although it’s notoriously expensive to visit, there are quite a few things to see and do without breaking the budget. Here are five fun and fabulous things to do on your visit to this fantastic city.

Hit up the lake. As the long summer days begin to shorten, the weather is still perfect for spending a day or two on the lake. Rent a paddleboard, kayak or boat and spend an afternoon crisscrossing your way between France and Switzerland (the border runs through the middle of the lake). For ultimate relaxation, hop on one of the boat tours at the harbor. Be sure to check out the Jet d’Eau, a high-pressure fountain of water shooting up 140 meters into the air.

Walk through one of the many museums. Are your kids rolling their eyes at the thought of walking through yet another museum? Fear not! Geneva has more than 30 different ones to explore. The Patek Phillipe Museum details the history of Swiss watches and has hundreds of them on display dating back to the 16th century. The International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent is also worth a visit. This interactive museum delves into the fascinating history and sometimes harrowing work of the Red Cross.

Visit La Jonction. If you’ve had your fill of museums, take a walk toward the Rhône River and follow it west to La Jonction. This spot is where the Rhône and Arve Rivers converge. While it may not usually be noteworthy, the color difference between the two is striking. The clear waters of one merge with the murkier waters of the other, creating a beautiful (and Instagram-worthy) phenomenon.

Wander your way through Parc des Bastions. One of my favorite things about Europe is the insane amount of green space and parks. This fun-filled park is located right in the middle of the city center adjacent to the University of Geneva. Visitors can walk through the lavish gardens, view the statues at the Reformation Wall or people watch from the lounge chairs sprinkled around the park. Challenge your family to a battle of wits at one of the life-size chess boards.

Find unique treasures at Marché des Plainpalais. Only open Thursday through Sunday, this market near La Jonction and the city center is a great place for vintage finds and Swiss memorabilia. While offering antiques and handmade wares, it transforms into a farmer’s market and foodie’s paradise over the weekend. It’s a great way to shop and eat your way through Geneva without overspending.

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