Google ‘Geneva is…’ and one of the first suggestions is ‘…so boring’. Poor Geneva. Not only is the city at the western end of Lac Léman frequently accused of being dull, but a recent federal study found it had more burglaries, noise pollution, crowded apartments and road accidents than any other Swiss city.
But it’s not all bad. According to Diana Orduna Casalis, a Mexican expat living in Geneva, the city of Calvin has plenty going for it – you just have to know where to look.
Blogging about her Swiss life at Livingeneva.com
, she writes: “When others see the bad side of this city, I will find an opportunity to show you the bright side of it!”
So here are Diana’s ten reasons why Geneva isn’t so bad after all.
1. It’s extremely well located
“My absolute favourite thing is definitely the geographic location of the city,” says Diana. “The lake, the mountains and the fact that it is in the middle of western Europe all make it a place where activities and getaways are endless.”
2. It’s a small big city
Eaux-Vives park. Photo: Olivier Miche/Geneva Tourism
“Geneva has parks, the lake, museums, great opera, international airport, bars, restaurants… without the constraints of a huge metropolis. You can get from one side to the other in 30 minutes, get to the airport in 20 minutes and be on the slopes in 45 minutes.”
3. The standard of living is high
“It is easy to walk, bike, take public transport to any place. And salaries are good, which means you make a good living with your earnings.”
4. It’s cosmopolitan
The United Nations building. Photo: Geneva Tourism
“I have visited all the main cities in Switzerland, and Geneva is the most cosmopolitan of all. With all the NGOs and international organizations you feel like everyone speaks five languages and comes from a different part of the world.”
5. It’s friendly
“I have made very good friends in Geneva. I have local friends that are Swiss-proud and love sharing special tips about their beautiful country. I have expat friends that are here for a short time and are willing to make the most of being in Geneva.
“I also meet also a lot of people through the blog, people passionate about what they do, bloggers, PR people, marketing specialists, business owners and they have all been super welcoming, open-minded and also they all want to make Geneva a cool place to live.”
6. It has great restaurants
Photo: Geneva Tourism
“I love the gastronomical choices we have in Geneva, there are many, many restaurants with exceptional quality in the city. I love discovering them on an ongoing basis. I particularly love Mexican restaurant El Catrín, Restaurant de L’Hôtel de Ville for fondue, and Le Chat-Botté for a Michelin-starred treat”.
7. It’s brilliant in summer
“Summer is fantastic! With extra-long days, terraces popping everywhere, the lake on its glorious days and dips at [bathing area] Bains des Pâquis. There are many activities to do such as stand-up paddleboarding, water-skiing and wind-surfing. And I love hanging out at the 5 Lounge bar on the rooftop of the Hotel Metropole to admire the view of Geneva.”
8. It’s cultured
Geneva's Museum of Contemporary Art in the Quartier des Bains. Photo: Geneva Tourism
“We have great museum choices, most of them for free. My favourite is Geneva history museum Maison Tavel in the Old Town. There are many art galleries in Geneva’s very own ‘Soho’, the Quartier des Bains. I also love the library of the Cité, which has tons of books, DVDs, travel guides and more, and it is free too!”
9. Each neighbourhood has its own character
“I enjoy Eaux-Vives and the Quartier des Bains. Both have their own feeling and ambiance. I like Eaux-Vives because of the bars, restaurants and closeness to the lake, while Quartier des Bains is more alternative with cafes and galleries, plus it has the Rhône river close by too. I also love strolling through the Old Town admiring the old buildings.”
10. It’s easy to get away
Passenger ferries from Geneva make day trips easy. Photo: Olivier Miche/Geneva Tourism
“The right shore of the lake, on the French side, is very nice, with Yvoire, Nernier, Evian all easy day trips. Also Annecy in France is gorgeous! On the Swiss side it’s easy to get to the Jura mountains, Montreux, Gruyères or even Gstaad.
“During winter skiing is very simple, there are tons of ski stations not far away, including La Clusaz, Grand Bornand, Flaine, Chamonix, Megeve and many more.”