Top Things to do in the Geneva Old Town, Switzerland

(Last Updated On: September 14, 2017)

The Swiss city of Geneva home to several international organizations including UN, Red Cross and WHO is aptly known as a global city. But little does everyone know that this cosmopolitan city has a well preserved picturesque old town testimony to its 2,000-year-old history. Step onto the cobbled stone streets that will transport you back in time where tranquility rules and explore the amazing Geneva landmarks which make for the top things to do in Geneva old town.

The Old Town Geneva

St. Pierre Cathedral

The 12th-century St. Pierre Cathedral dominates a beautiful square in old town Geneva and was built on the location of a 6th-century basilica. The cathedral with lofty neoclassical facade features several architectural styles as it was rebuilt several times.

Top Things Old Town Geneva Switzerland

Do not miss the Maccabee chapel with its ornate interior and beautiful gothic paintings and the archaeological site located underneath the Cathedral which house the remains of the basilica and its mosaic paintings on which the magnificent St.Peter’s Cathedral stands today. A climb up the tower of the cathedral offers awe-inspiring views over the town of Geneva and Geneva Lake.

Top Things Old Town Geneva Switzerland

Museums of Old Town

The old town Geneva has some interesting museums. The historic building of Maison Tavel built in the 14th century is the oldest private dwelling in Geneva. The museum displays artifacts from urban history and everyday life in Geneva. The Barbier-Mueller Museum, founded in 1977 exhibits an extensive collection of artwork and sculptures representing the ancient and tribal art of the primitive civilizations. The International Museum of the Reformation located next to the St Pierre Cathedral displays information on the history of the Reformation.

Old Arsenal

The pillared building with cobbled stone floor houses five cannons dating back to 17th century. On the walls are three remarkable frescoes created by Alexandre Cingria portraying the history of Geneva. The Old Arsenal was originally built as a granary has also served as a military storehouse. The first floor of the building houses the Geneva State Archives.

Top Things Old Town Geneva Switzerland

Geneva Town Hall

The 15th-century town hall holds important parliament meetings and is the seat of government for Geneva Canton. The popular Alabama Room where the first Geneva Convention was adopted in 1864 is housed in the town hall. An interesting feature of the building is the ramp surrounding the building which made the upper floors accessible on foot as well as horseback.

Top Things Geneva Old Town

Top Things Old Town Geneva Switzerland

Agrippa-d’Aubigné Terrace

Walk around the cathedral taking in the charm of the beautiful buildings to Agrippa-d’Aubigné terrace. The terrace has wonderful views of the rooftops of the city. On a clear day, one can even get a view of the iconic Jet d’Eau fountain in the backdrop. There is also a small playground for children. Built on the ancient walls of the city the terrace is named after and is named after Théodore Agrippa-d’Aubigné a French poet and soldier.

Top Things Old Town Geneva Switzerland

Hop Onto a Mini-Train

A fairy tale electro-solar train snaking through the old town, lakeside Geneva and prominent parks and gardens around Geneva city center makes for a unique experience. The mini train started in 1995 is accompanied by audio commentary in different languages. Check for different routes and prices of the tour here.

Top Things Old Town Geneva Switzerland

Saunter the cobblestone Alleys

The cobblestone alleys of old town wind through lovely buildings that exude old world charm. The alleys are lined with many art galleries, book shops, antique shops, museums, cafes, and restaurants.

Top Things Old Town Geneva Switzerland

Take a stroll around the old town and explore the squares dotted with enchanting fountains, windows overflowing with vibrant blossoms, intricate designs and ornamentations on the lofty wooden doors and the signboards of the cafes.

Top Things Old Town Geneva Switzerland

What is your favorite part of Geneva old town? Do share with us in comments.

3 thoughts on “Top Things to do in the Geneva Old Town, Switzerland

  • June 10, 2017 at 12:18 am

    Geneva is such a gorgeous city in Switzerland, with such a rich history, and ohhh such beautiful architecture. I missed out on some of the sites you recommend so I need to add this to my next trip here. I’d love to try the solar fairytale train!

  • June 13, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    Great list and nice pictures! I have never been to Switzerland but the only thing I always hear about it is that it is really really I might need to save up a little before I go 😀


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