A Fresh Perspective: The Good Life Guide to Geneva

Inspired by its mountainous setting, Geneva has long been a city of soaring intellectualism. With its outdoorsy vibe, it’s also the perfect place to get high on the good life.

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Built on both ideas and ideals, Geneva is a fiercely dynamic city dedicated to the art of living well and living right. It's in Geneva that the United Nations, World Health Organisation, International Committee of the Red Cross and hundreds of other NGOs and non-profits thrash out peace agreements, humanitarian law and radical environmental policies. But as we explore Geneva, watching residents paddleboarding on the silken lake, picnicking on international street food on the banks of the Rhône, feasting on fondue after a lakeside sauna and basking in the city's abundant artistic and architectural riches, it's clear that Geneva takes the good life seriously on all levels. Aspiration is everywhere you go, and a city break here feels like a crash course in how to be a happier, healthier, more cultured and cerebral human.

The first thing that strikes first-time visitors to Geneva is the startling beauty of the city, which curls around the south-western shores of Lake Geneva (or Lac Léman, as it's known locally) near the French border. But Lake Geneva, the Rhône and Arve rivers, and the surrounding Alps and Jura mountains are more than just a pretty backdrop; residents swim in the natural waters on their lunch breaks and scale the peaks at weekends. At Pointe de la Jonction, where the Rhône and Arve merge, locals lounge around on the grass and swim in the bright blue waters of the (warmer) Rhône, sipping Calanda beers and grilling fish.

Looking out across Geneva Lake across the city rooftops
A unique bridge design in Geneva

Views across Geneva, left, and distinctive street design. | Photo credit: Kevin Faingnaert

A 30-minute walk away, at Bains des Pâquis, the pier leads to a no-frills swimming area and lakeside sauna complex, home to La Buvette des Bains, a cheap-and-cheerful (for Geneva) community-run café dishing up oysters and fondue. People whizz around town on bikes and e-bikes, while on weekends they take off on the same two wheels into the surrounding vineyards and hills. Nature isn't just scenery in Switzerland - it's a playground you are expected to hurl yourself at with gusto, and at every available opportunity.

Geneva Unpacked: A City Address Book

Where to Stay


Hôtel Longemalle

Thanks to the international community, Geneva has no shortage of luxurious four- and five-star hotels. The Longemalle is the chicest of the bunch, renovated in 2019 with a smart blend of antique and mid- century furniture and design flourishes, plus a hit Lebanese restaurant, Balila.


13 Place Longemalle, 1204 Geneva


Auberge Communale de Carouge

A 10-minute tram ride from the historic city centre, this 13-room boutique hotel positions you among the bistros, ateliers and independent shops of Carouge - a hip, culture-revering neighbourhood built by Italian architects in the late 18th century.


Rue Ancienne 39, 1227 Carouge Geneve

The Lowdown

Seeking more recommendations for hotels in Geneva? Head to myswitzerland.com or purchase Volume 37: Craft today and receive A Creative's Guide to Switzerland, an 80-page SUITCASE travel companion to Zurich, Basel, Lausanne and Montreux Riviera, and Geneva.

Main photo credit: Kevin Faingnaert. This article contains affiliate links, which means SUITCASE may earn a small commission if you click through and book.