Geneva is widely considered one of the healthiest places in the world in which to live. It sits astride the River Rhône where it flows from Lake Geneva, and the whole city is framed by a dramatic backdrop of mountains. On a stroll around Geneva you will find green parks, colourful gardens, lakeside promenades and the dramatic Jet d'Eau, which shoots water 460ft (140m) into the sky from the end of a picturesque pier.
This is Switzerland's most cosmopolitan city, with a reputation for religious and political tolerance that dates back more than five hundred years.
Geneva offered a foothold for the religious teachings of John Calvin and provided several 'years of recreation' for Lenin. However, neither of these thinkers seems to have left their mark of austerity on the city today: grand houses perch imperiously on the banks of the lake, home to a bobbing armada of luxury yachts, and chauffeur-driven limousines glide effortlessly down palatial avenues from designer boutiques to exclusive jewellers.
The city is an important banking centre and home to thousands of international delegates and diplomats. For business travellers, our Corporate Travel Managers for Geneva can recommend plenty to see and enjoy in your downtime between deals. A host of museums and fine galleries is supplemented by a lively cultural calendar that includes the torch-lit, costumed celebration of l'Escalade in December.
For leisure travellers Geneva is the gateway to Switzerland's luxury ski resorts and offers more restaurants per capita than New York City. Local Geneva specialities include fresh fish from the lake and a variety of pork dishes, including petit salé (salt pork) and longeole (pork sausage). And, of course, there are fondues!
A shopping spree in Geneva is like no other. Swiss jewellery and watches, fine local wines and chocolate are of irresistible quality, and in the shopping malls, boutiques and wonderful flea markets there is plenty more to discover.
Geneva is situated at a high altitude, which helps temper the prevailing continental climate. Summers are pleasantly warm and winters relatively mild. Rain can fall all year round, and occasionally the city suffers from the attentions of a very harsh north wind, known as the bise. However, average summer temperatures still come in above 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit) while the winter months average over 2 degrees Celsius (35 degrees Fahrenheit).
The three official languages are Swiss German, French and Italian. Most people also speak English.
Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, but entry may be gained by EU nationals holding EU nationals holding a valid national identity card. Otherwise, you will need a passport valid for three months beyond the length of stay (or for the duration of stay for EU nationals), which must have been issued within the previous 10 years. You may need a visa to stay in the country for more than 90 days. Please check rules around visa requirements before you travel, as they may change regularly.
Switzerland enjoys one of the lowest crime rates of any country, and yet there has been an increase in reports of theft especially in larger cities and at airports, so you are advised to take the normal precautions.
If you are in Geneva as part of a skiing holiday, bear in mind the risk of flooding, landslides and avalanches in mountainous regions. Before travelling, check the local weather forecast for latest information, including any possible dangerous weather conditions.
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