One day in Geneva

I booked flights to Geneva purely so I could stuff myself with a delicious cheese fondue!

I love to travel for my birthday. As I couldn’t take time off in 2023, my requirements were somewhere that I could visit at the weekend and somewhere that had either good cheese or good chocolate. Switzerland seemed the obvious choice, and I found a bargain on flights, so it was time to plan one day in Geneva!

Despite Switzerland’s reputation as being expensive, this was actually a very affordable trip. It cost me £70 in total for return flights and accommodation. My flight left early on Saturday morning (landing just after 9am) and I flew home the next day at 10am. Even though I only had just over 24 hours in Geneva, I had a fantastic time.

Arriving in Geneva

Getting around Geneva was super easy with the transport card.

As we approached the airport, the views from the plane were absolutely stunning. We were flying over the mountains and it was gorgeous. Unfortunately I wasn’t in a window seat, so I had to keep leaning forward to get glimpses out of the window. The best views seemed to be on the left side of the plane when approaching from the west. Once we arrived and reached the terminal, there were beautiful views of the mountains in the distance.

To get from the airport to the city was extremely easy. As you leave the terminal, there is a transport hub where you can get trains or buses. We walked outside to catch our bus and it was right there waiting for us. Geneva offer free transport cards for those staying at approved accommodation. so we were able to walk straight on. The cards are digital, so we each had them downloaded to our phone. They allow you to use all the public transport in Geneva.

Geneva Free Walking Tour

The beautiful view from near the meeting point for the walking tour.

The free walking tour in Geneva starts at 11am, so that gave us plenty of time to get to the meeting point then go grab ourselves a tasty treat while we waited. Just beside the start point are several patisseries so, we picked one to have a tasty treat at; then made our way back to the meeting point to be nice and early.

Unfortunately, the guide never showed up! Slowly the groups of tourists started giving up. Once it was clear that nobody was coming, we decided to just explore ourselves. I looked up a couple places on my phone then we set off for our first stop, which was the Reformation Wall.

Geneva’s Reformation Wall

Photo of statues of four men representing the four figures of Calvinism.
The centre of the Reformation Wall.

The Reformation Wall is over 100 years old and tells the story of the Protestant Reformation. In the centre it depicts the four main figures of Calvinism, who are John Calvin, William Farel, Theodore Beza and John Knox. The rest of the wall is full of sculptures and informational panels about the reformation. The languages of the inscriptions varies, so even if you don’t understand French there are some in English.

The Wall is located in the grounds of Geneva University in a lovely park. At the entrance, there are large chess boards with huge pieces available to play games for free. When I visited, there were several games in progress with people gathered to watch them.

The Old Town

A street full of flags in the old town.

After leaving the Reformation Wall, it was time to head to Geneva’s old town on our way to St. Pierre’s Cathedral. The old town is absolutely charming and it was delightful to just wander the streets. I found a used bookstore, so of course had to take a slight detour to visit that. All the books were in French though, so I won’t make a post about it. It was still lovely to visit though, with some cute accessories, and I loved the layout of the shelves. I bought myself two books and now I need to improve my French enough to be able to read them!

One thing I loved about Geneva was all the free water fountains. Lots of them had cute designs on the spout and signs saying the water was drinkable. Definitely look closely at them as you explore.

Lake Geneva

The Jet d’Eau

After exploring the Old Town, we made our way to the lakeside to get some good views of the Jet d’Eau. This was first built in 1886, with the current one dating to 1951. The water shoots an impressive 140m into the air and is really nice to just stand and watch for a while.

We walked through the Jardin Anglais before crossing Pont du Mont-Blanc to make our way to the Christmas markets.

Geneva’s Christmas Market

I love a good souvenir mug from Christmas markets!

The main Christmas market in Geneva is located on Quai du Mont-Blanc. As it’s such a small area each stall holder gets one week, so the stalls will change throughout the Christmas period.

While I was there, there was a huge selection of food stalls covering a wide range of cuisine. There was a chocolate stall that gave me a very detailed explanation in French about the cacao beans and how they make the chocolate that I couldn’t fully understand. We went to visit around 2pm and then again in the evening and it was definitely much, much busier at night. If you plan on visiting the Christmas markets in Geneva then definitely try and visit in the afternoon before the crowds arrive.

I’d made reservations at Le Chalet à Fondue which was part of the Christmas market. It was quite reasonably priced compared to the restaurants I’d looked at, and although it was quite crowded we had plenty of space and, more importantly, plenty of cheese! With unlimited bread we made a valiant effort but eventually had to admit defeat when we had almost reached the bottom of the pan. The fondue was incredible though, and I would more than happily go back to Switzerland just to have fondue again!


Our hotel was space themed.

I chose to stay at a MEININGER hotel as I’ve previously stayed with them in Berlin and for four people it was a bargain. It worked out to £35 each for a 4-bed private room which was great. After visiting the Christmas markets we went to check in and had a short nap before heading back out in the evening for the fondue.

The hotel is near a shopping centre that has two supermarkets so was able to grab water and some snacks from there.


Couldn’t resist getting a photo of myself at the Toblerone section at Geneva airport.

People might be wondering if one day in Geneva is enough and well, it depends why you’re there! I wanted to explore a new city and eat large amounts of cheese and for that it certainly delivered. I was a bit disappointed to not get to do the walking tour, as I feel that would have helped me enjoy the city more, but I loved exploring it myself. It’s definitely somewhere I’d like to come back to, but perhaps in summer to enjoy exploring the surrounding countryside.

As far as Christmas markets go, although it’s small I thought it was charming and had a great time. That was the main reason for my trip, and so if that’s what you’re visiting for then one day in Geneva is enough time for that.

While visiting, I got a free transport pass through my hotel, so that is also a huge bonus. Next time, I’d love to fully use that to explore more of the city. There are still lots of places I didn’t have time to visit, like the botanic gardens and all the museums, so I’ll definitely want to come back again in the future!

Have you visited Geneva? What would you recommend if you only had one day?

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