How we spent one day in Geneva

How we spent one day in Geneva

Geneva, Switzerland is pretty centrally located in Europe. If you are interested in spending some time there or if you’ll be passing through, check out this post. This is how we spent one day in Geneva.

A free transportation pass?! After struggling to sleep for 8 hours as we journeyed east to Switzerland, we were eager to get out of the airport. Taking off our shoes, brushing our teeth, and changing our clothes never sounded so luxurious. This was why we were so excited that our hotel gave us the Geneva Free Transportation pass — all available through email. Take a screen shot and you were able to pull up an image of your pass on your travels via train, bus, and water taxi throughout the city!

This was just one example of what Geneva felt like to us. It was clean, historical, catered to travelers of all languages, and embraced nature and water. Geneva is on the western edge of Switzerland right on Lake Geneva. It makes it a convenient location to start your “hiking the Alps” journey, your European train travel adventures, or your flights to the Mediterranean islands.

We landed in Geneva, went through customs, took the 15 minute train ride to the city, and walked 5 minutes with our luggage to our hotel. It was the smoothest commute after an international flight ever!

Anyway, if you have a full day layover in Geneva, or you’re thinking of spending time here on your Swiss trip, here’s how we spent 1 day in Geneva.

How we spent one day in Geneva


We had a long journey to Switzerland from NYC. We were definitely tired. But we didn’t want to fall asleep too early.

Once we took the train into the city, we found a cafe right inside the train station to grab a cafe and just breath for a bit. We also had to pull up our hotel information to see if we could check-in early. After denying airline coffee, struggling to sleep for the last many hours, an espresso sounded like a slice of Heaven.

Taking a coffee break is also a great way to orient yourself to your surroundings. For example, right away, I was reminded that Geneva was primarily a French-speaking city. I knew this, but it took a moment to prepare for my ordering skills in my beginner-level French. After doing a “fair” job ordering 2 espressos, he just responded in English — causing me to both: (1) sigh with relief and (2) be disappointed from the lack of “success” I felt in solving a challenge.

There are numerous cafes throughout the city. We found that Geneva was similar to Italy in it’s breakfast (as much of Europe is). If you need to eat breakfast outside of your hotel, you will find an assortment of cafe’s with croissants and other pastries. You aren’t in America anymore where eggs are a breakfast-must.

We checked-in early to our hotel. We stayed at Vision Apartments Geneva (booked through Booking). Vision Apartments was a perfect place for us. We were trying to find a comfortable stay but didn’t want to break the bank. Afterall, we were about to head to Italy for 2 weeks for our honeymoon, and wanted to save our splurges for Lake Como views, and a bit of Florence luxury.


I am no where near an expert in Geneva tourism or Switzerland travel. I’m sure there was sooooo much more we could have done with our day in Geneva. But we spent the afternoon doing what we do best on our travels: wandering, sipping coffee, eating food, people watching, and dissecting each of those moments with each other.

The first thing we wanted to do in the afternoon was walk to the lake. We saw the lake from our airplane and from the train. I am drawn to water. I’m not sure what it is: maybe growing up a simple drive away from Lake Superior has caused me to put lakes at the top of beauty hierarchies.

Once walked 5-6 blocks from our hotel to the lake, we quickly realized how many bridges there were over the Rhone River, right near where it meets Lake Geneva. There were pedestrian bridges, car bridges, people walking their dogs over bridges and individuals bicycling with their children over bridges. We decided to wander across one pedestrian bridge towards the Old Town and see what we could find.

There are numerous outdoor cafes along the water. That was our next stop. Although an afternoon cappuccino is frowned upon in Italy, it just felt right while jet-lagged in Switzerland.

After cappuccinos and miles of walking we decided we had to experience the water taxi. AND we could do it for free. These cute yellow boats take people across the river to different destinations on the lake. Although it was a quick ride, it was great to be surrounded by the city from the water.


Because we were jet-legged our evening mostly consisted of finding some dinner, taking a shower, and pushing our eyes open until 8pm when we felt like it would be okay to succumb to sleep.

This means we weren’t very exciting on our first night in our European honeymoon.

We found some delicious pizza at a restaurant right near our hotel. After enjoying some DELICIOUS margarita pizza, we settled into our hotel room and called it a night.

Like I said before, there is so much more to do in Geneva. I’m sure we didn’t even scratch the surface. But for us, these 12 hours in the city were perfect, relaxing, and an enjoyable way to start our trip.


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