Enjoy a summer staycation in Geneva
Come summer, Geneva turns into a city resort and bathes in a warm and golden atmosphere
1 Jul 2021

Summer is just around the corner and understandably, dreams of palm tree lined beaches and clownfish-filled waters are mitigated by thoughts of PCR tests and other covid-related anxieties. However, it may be time to reflect on what holidays are actually made of and to remember that it doesn’t take a plane to find solace… Thankfully, a new trend has arisen. It’s environmentally friendly, hassle-free and full of unexpected delights: say hello to the “Staycation”.

If summer holidays are about relaxing in the sun, getting pampered, charting new horizons and making new friends, save yourself the mislaid passport, the cramped flight and the jetlag and enjoy a staycation in your own city!

Foodie paradise

A proper summer starts with good food, chilled drinks and a place in the sun. As the temperature rises in Geneva, terraces blossom along the lakeside, on rooftops and in cosy alcoves all over the city. Revelling in a drink has never been so soothing… From smooth, DJ-infused waterside bars to quiet lush havens, scour the city and find your favourite café for a spot of people watching or a peaceful read away from the crowds. Whatever gorgeous patio you had in mind for your holiday, Geneva will provide.

Second, give your kitchen a rest: Geneva has a tastebud-tingling variety of restaurants, including local specialities, health-conscious veggie meals, exotic eateries and of course, a fine selection of mouth-watering Michelin-starred restaurants scattered all over the city. Disrupt your routine and indulge a little, treat yourself to a night in a hotel, a spa session or a fine dining experience! Plus, the city offers a Restôbar card for a gourmet discount…

There’s also a four-day Street Food Festival in September, featuring enticing stands and food trucks from all over the world, and a Rallye Gourmand in August, which consists of a 10km tour through the countryside with local delicacies and wine tasting – plus a juicy quiz of course.


Summer is all about the outdoors, with plenty of opportunities to enjoy the beautiful weather and romantics will certainly enjoy an open-air cinema by the lake. Grab your picnic blanket and cosy up to watch a classic movie under the stars at Ciné Transat or head to the opposite side of the lake for the latest blockbusters at the outdoor Allianz Cinema, which incidentally boasts breathtaking sunset views.

After the movie, try out some late-night vibes at the open-air lakeside nightclub Les Voiles or rediscover the iconic Bains des Pâquis in the middle of the harbour, which offers much more with its sheltered sandy beach, emerald-green waters, evening cocktails and poetic dawn performances.

Entertainment is obviously a huge part of a vacation too and Musique en été, featuring a string of open-air, live performances with classical ensembles and jazz, funk and pop acts from all over the world, will provide some opportunity to groove. Plus, La Bâtie will return this year in early September with a rich programme of cutting-edge live bands, theatre plays and dance works.

Get fit!

For those of a sportier persuasion, a yoga class in the middle of the colossal sequoias at Parc La Grange is an other-worldly experience in itself. Alternatively, Mont Salève offers a range of hiking trails and panoramic views of Lake Geneva and the surrounding mountains. Holidays are also about getting a new perspective on the world, so don’t hesitate to reach for the heights.

You might also like to explore the surrounding countryside, including the Canton’s many wineries, by bike or take a guided e-bike tour. Bike-hire is actually free for half a day from the Genève Roule points from mid-April to mid-October.

If your kids are looking forlorn, take them to the Parc des Evaux, the largest urban park in Switzerland featuring a treetop adventure park with eleven routes and the three longest parallel zip lines in Europe for daredevils of all ages.

Summer done right

What would summer be without a splash in the water? Lake Geneva is a popular hangout and whether you want to learn to sail, take a cruise on the lake, race around the harbour with a pedalo, test your balance on a stand-up paddleboard or simply pick your spot and dive in: the lake is on your doorstep, starting with Geneva’s sparkling new Plage des Eaux-Vives – a beautiful, public beach of grass, sand and stones for bathers and book-reading sun-tanners, where you can get a drink and a homemade delicacy from the passing Vélos de la Plage or at the new restaurant de la Plage des Eaux-Vives.

This staycation is also an opportunity to tick a couple of things off your bucket list, such as floating down the River Rhone from the Seujet dam all the way to Vernier. A Geneva classic. There you have it: All the things you’ll love about going somewhere new, minus the trip. Leave your laptop and turn off your smartphone, be a tourist in your own city. Stay in a hotel, indulge in a Michelin-star meal, learn to sail or hike the Mont Salève: enjoy your staycation in Geneva and rediscover the beauty and delights of summer in this stunning city!

* Adrien Genier is the CEO of Geneva Tourism.
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