Geneva, Switzerland

12 Instagrammable places in Geneva

Marina Nefedova Marina Nefedova 08 April 2021
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Switzerland in general and Geneva in particular always stand a little apart from the well-trodden tourist trails. You can experiment: ask the first 10 people what cities and countries they want to go to. For sure, the list will include New York, London, Paris, and Rome, very likely China or India. 50/50 – Latin America and Indochina. And whether Geneva, Basel, or Zurich will be on the list is not a fact. Switzerland is not banal.

The complex of myths is formulated in the program "Heads and tails": expensive, Swiss banks, Alps, lakes, watches, cheese, and chocolate. More advanced people may remember the Swiss guard guarding the Pope, the jewelry and watch salons, and the fact that Switzerland has not participated in military conflicts since time immemorial and has remained neutral.

In fact, it is really a very expensive country, with its way of life, strikingly different from its neighbors (and from the whole world, for that matter), and the amazing beauty of the Alpine nature. It's worth seeing.

lake in geneva

Switzerland is a confederation, the basic principles of which were laid down in 1291. The confederation consists of a territorial entity – the cantons of Switzerland. 0 cantons and 6 semi-cantons, but these are the details that need to be dealt with separately. In Switzerland, everything is not like in other countries.

There is no capital in Switzerland. There is Zurich – the country's business and financial center and there is Geneva - the largest city and the canton's capital of the same name. Legally, there is no capital in Switzerland. The de facto government of the confederation has been sitting in the small - Bern for 170 years, and this is where the attributes of Bern as capital ends.

So, Geneva. The center of Europe. The capital of the canton of the same name and the largest city of the confederation. And the most international: 28% of the Geneva population are foreigners. Therefore, you will like it if your acquaintance with the country begins with a trip to Geneva. And when we travel, of course, we take a lot of photos.

Like any other tourist center, Geneva has top Geneva attractions and Instagrammable places for the most beautiful, most recognizable photos. So if you're running your own Instagram, you should go there!

1. Jet d'Eau

Jet deau

Our list "what to see in Geneva" opens the symbol of Switzerland - Jet d'Eau.  It is one of the highest fountains in the world, its height reaches 140 meters. The fountain was built in 1886, it flows from the middle of the lake and it is certainly one of the most recognizable Geneva sights. A photo with a view of the fountain must-have for any traveler who has visited Geneva. The fountain has a great Instagrammable view from almost anywhere on the promenade, so you can have a wonderful time in Geneva by organizing a spontaneous picnic on the lake (and immortalizing the event on your Instagram).

2. The Bains des Paquis

bains des paquis

Since Geneva is located on a lake and Switzerland, as you know, is a country of crystal clear lakes, many of the Geneva sights are somehow connected with water. The Bains des Paquis is one of the best Geneva attractions, which is loved not only by tourists but also by the citizens themselves. These are the most popular public outdoor baths in the heart of the city, on an artificial island connected to the "mainland" by a bridge.  Quite an unexpected attraction, but it's gorgeous. 

Bains des Paquis is a beach, natural pools, Hamam, baths, SPA, and a famous restaurant with fine cuisine, and of course, Instagrammable views and swans swimming around. The entrance fee is only 2 francs, which is also very nice.

For many regular guests of Geneva, this is one of the most favorite Instagrammable places. Most tourists are surprised by the opportunity to swim in the lake's purest water in the heart of the city. The restaurant is famous for its champagne and fondue, but this is not the only thing worth trying there. If you are traveling in the summer, then spend some of your time in Geneva on the beach. You will have a wonderful experience and most liked Instagram photos in a historical place. In a sense, a visit to these baths is about the same as a "trip to the waters" in Baden-Baden. An exquisite holiday in the spirit of the Russian aristocracy of the past centuries. In winter, Bains des Paquis features saunas and interesting atmospheric photos of the ice-covered water slides.

3. Lake Geneva and Chillon Castle

chillon castle

Another recognizable symbol of Switzerland, the most famous and most visited attraction of the country - Chillon Castle-is also located near Geneva. The castle is located at the other end of Lake Geneva, so it is better to plan a full day on the lake and in the castle. The nearest towns to the castle are Montreux (4 km) and Villeneuve (2 km), which can be reached by train. And from there, go by boat or take a walk along the embankment, it is also very Instagrammable, and the walk will undoubtedly give you pleasure.

The first mention of the Chillon Castle dates back to 1005, but in general, the dates of creating the oldest parts of the castle are lost in the fog of history. The castle was originally created as a Roman outpost. From the 12th to the 16th centuries, the castle was the residence of the Counts of Savoy until, finally, the inhabitants of Bern captured it and turned it into a fortress. The castle is located on a rocky island. The mainland is connected only by a narrow bridge and in chivalrous times its location was excellent in terms of defensive characteristics.

In the XVI century, already during the Reformation, the castle was used as a prison, but this did not last long. It "ended badly" - it was captured by the inhabitants of the city of Bern prisoners were released.

Since the 18th century, when the rules of warfare changed significantly, the castle has been a famous tourist attraction, attracting romantic writers from all over Europe. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin, Lord Byron, Gustave Flaubert, and Alexandre Dumas-many people have been noted there, this list can go on for a long time.

This place is not to be missed, it is one of the most famous Geneva sights, and it is included in the list of the most visited Geneva attractions! Every year, the castle is visited by more than 400,000 people, but there is another option – practical Swiss rent it out for events, film shoots, and theatrical performances.

Wine tasting Geneva tours are popular with many people, but this is more entertainment than an opportunity to try something rare. And if you follow the list of events on the castle's website, you can get to an interesting concert or theater event.

4. Reformation Wall

statues

Another Geneva attraction is the monument of statues and bas-reliefs, dedicated to the 400th anniversary of Jean Calvin's birth and the 350th anniversary of the founding of the Academy of Geneva (University of Geneva).

The monument was opened in 1909 and was originally conceived as a tribute to the Reformation, freedom, and democracy. The monument looks very impressive and concise. This place is worth visiting just for the sake of most liked Instagram photos, even if you are not a connoisseur of history and are far from the Reformation issues.

5. Viaduc de la Jonction

viaduc de la jonction

A railway viaduct is located at the confluence of the Rhone and the Arve. This place is a real photographer's dream and an absolute landmark of Geneva. The clear waters of the Rhone merge with the milky white current of the Arve and all this is on the fore of Geneva and in the frame of the Alps.

You can get the perfect shots on a sunny day in the so-called "golden hours" of dawn – then the colors are still deep at night, but tinted with a pinkish-gold glow, you will get watercolors, refined colors. And at sunset, when the colors are most dramatic, you can get the maximum contrast and color depth. Professional photographers very much love this place, it is created for lyrical landscapes, fantasy, and art photos. Therefore, we include it in the list "what to see in Geneva".

6. Three-legged chair

three-legged chair

Right in front of the UN building, you will see one of the city's most famous sculptures – Daniel Berset's Broken Chair.

The sculpture symbolizes fragility and strength, resilience and vulnerability (the message is written in 6 languages) and was created and installed next to the United Nations building in 1997 to call for a ban on anti-personnel and cluster mines.

The sculpture should remind member states of their obligations to protect and assist civilians.

7. St. Pierre Cathedral-St. Peter's Cathedral

st peters cathedral

What is the historical center without the Main Cathedral? In Geneva, this is St. Peter's Cathedral. It is located on a hill in the Old Town, near several viewing platforms with interesting views. It is one of the best Instagrammable places for photoshoots, but, as you may have guessed, bourgeois and practical Geneva is not the city where lovers of cathedrals and churches should go. However, in the list "what to see in Geneva" this cathedral is always present.

8. Flower clock

flower clock

If you drive your Instagram, you can not pass the English Park and the Flower Clock located in it. The first version of the Flower Clock was created in 1755 by the Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus, who then taught at the Universities of Geneva. Carl Linnaeus' flower clock set itself a completely practical goal: to interest students in an amazing natural phenomenon - the biorhythm of the life of flowers.

Carl Linnaeus studied plant biorhythms for many years, was the author of many works, lectured at the university and was generally a major expert in this matter. Now we would say that Carl Linnaeus conducted a large-scale and interesting reconstruction experiment-recreated Ancient Greece's flower clock.

In 1903, a clock with moving hands (and a mechanism hidden under a flower bed) was installed, and in 1955 it finally became a symbol of the city and a monument to watchmakers.

Nevertheless, this is a very interesting project, until 2005 it was the largest flower clock in the world and more than 6,500 flowering plants, and shrubs are used to create it.

9. UN Headquarters

un headquarters

A place for an amateur, but very popular with tourists. You can come here for a tour, stand in a huge queue, visit one of the four Headquarters directly, take epoch-making photos (me and my girlfriend at the UN Headquarters). And take a walk, take most liked Instagram photos of a Broken Chair, sit by the fountain, and all that.

10. The Trail boardwalk and the longest bench in the world

bridge over lake

The Trail Boardwalk is the oldest in the world. On it is the Trail bench - the longest wooden bench in the world (120 meters). It sounds rather banal, but in fact, it is a promenade that runs along the Old Town walls with many viewing platforms, Instagrammable corners, and, finally, the Main Chestnut Tree of the canton of Geneva - Treille.

Remember the movie "Groundhog Day", where the townspeople pull out a groundhog, and he either sees or does not see his shadow and then determines whether spring is coming soon? Here is something similar happening in Geneva. Switzerland is a country of precision, so when the first bud opens on the Main Chestnut Tree, the cantonal Parliament secretary, who oversees this process, declares, " Spring has come." The tradition is more than 200 years old, and it is one of the sweet and unusual customs of Geneva.

11. Carouge

house

This is a place for those who, walking around Geneva, miss Italy. An inexplicably popular tourist town in the neighborhood of Geneva. It's not Geneva anymore, but Carouge is just around the corner. It is a small Italian-style town near Geneva, very popular with street photo lovers, chocolate, cute Sardinian-style pastry shops and mini-cafes like "cheese and wine", where for 5 francs you can get a glass of wine and a plate of cheese varieties suitable for this wine.

There is nothing particularly interesting there, but it looks nice and there you can make a great street photoshoot in the Italian style, eat delicious food, take a walk, drink coffee and look for small Instagrammable courtyards, beautiful coffee shops, and chocolate shops – all like in Italy.

12. CERN - Conseil Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire

cern

The European Center for Nuclear Research, a completely free-to-visit attraction in Switzerland, is located near Geneva. The tour must be booked in advance, as did the heroes of the program "Heads and Tails", this can be done on the center's website.

This is massive and it's exciting. It's like all the science fiction movies put together at once and makes an unforgettable impression. You won't see anything like this anywhere else!

This is an active research center and, at the same time, a huge training base. There is no point in describing it. You need to see it with your own eyes.

After the release of John Brown's book "Angels and Demons", and most importantly, the film of the same name, CERN became a place of pilgrimage for millions of tourists from all over the world. The management of the center allowed to conduct excursions. Open to the public:

a) the permanent exhibition "Universe of Particles"

b) ATLAS Research Laboratory. Here is one of the most high-profile experiments of the century-the search for hypothetical particles-from the Higgs boson, called the "God particle," to the elements that make up dark matter.

The visit is free, but the flow of people who want to see the hadron collider is so large that it is better to book a tour several months in advance.

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Marina Nefedova

Marina's idols as a child were Tour Heyerdahl, Jacques Yves Cousteau, Francis Drake and Hodja Nasreddin. To see with her own eyes all those places that she read about in books - that's a dream that was worth realizing. Over the past 15 years, Marina has travelled to 52 countries, caught fish in the headwaters of the Nile in Central Africa, met the dawn in the Himalayas, learned to ride on blackboards in Bali and dived into the senates in the Yucatan.  She is passionate about energy practices of different peoples, yoga and water sports and in her spare time is very fond of boating around the Balearic Islands with old friends, where she lived for 2 years before moving to the Netherlands. Marina is involved in modern cinematography at a university in Amsterdam and is sure that every trip opens a new door to opportunities, and sometimes more than one.

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