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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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


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
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