JC Travels: Postcards from Geneva, Switzerland
The land of the Swiss is one I’ve been wanting to visit for aaaaages! It’s actually one of the only countries I’ve not visited in Western Europe (just Luxembourg left) so I was very excited to visit in July. For awhile, the price warnings I’ve heard has put me off Switzerland but when I heard my dad was heading there for a conference from Australia, I knew that we needed to pop over for a visit!
We decided on 4 days, heading out on Friday morning – flying from Gatwick into Geneva which was a quick flight on EasyJet. I was worrying about the weather as I’ve really not been doing well on my city breaks this year (hello rain in Berlin, Jersey and Bordeaux) but luckily this time the forecast was beaming, basically 30 degrees and sun the entire time we were there.
And the weather definitely put a show on – it was boiling! I always imagine Switzerland as a cold country so it was rather different to see it with the sun beaming. It definitely is expensive but we managed to get into an Ibis near the main train station for about £90 a night which wasn’t too bad. If you want to upgrade your visit and make it a luxury trip, check out these Geneva Hotels and you won’t be disappointed. We dumped our stuff and headed out to explore.
The thing which really hit me about Geneva was the real mix of cultures – it’s very close to France so there is definitely a French influence, especially in the old town. But I also got more of a German feel in parts too. We had a good wander around, up to the Cathedral on the top of the town.
Geneva of course, is famous for its giant lake – and the big fountain! We had a good walk down by the lakeside and it was beautiful (though very hot). There was a very relaxed feel, the population in Geneva is actually quite small (especially by London standards) so it was rather peaceful.
One of the things I was most excited for in Switzerland was, of course, the food! I was basically dedicated to only eating chocolate and cheese for the majority of the holiday. So for the first night I booked us into Cafe Du Soleil which had awesome recommendations for the best fondue in Town. And let me tell you, it was soooooo goooood. Like omg I just want to eat it all again right now. Thick, creamy but still with a bite cheese, then fresh crusty bread which you break up and scoop it all up with.
One of those dishes which you know is terrible for you but is so, SO worth it. I think I managed to have it 3 times in 4 days, so basically winning at holidays right there.
On our second day we decided to go further afield and rent a car. I’ve always heard amazing things about Chamonix and the Mount Blanc region, especially as I’ve not seen much of the Alps, I was keen to get exploring. It’s only a quick drive, around an hour and was absolutely STUNNING. Like one of those places that I can’t even explain, you just need to look at the snaps and be amazed.
We had a bit of a drive around, Paul headed up the cable car (which did not go well, so no more on that one!!) and I continued my eating fest with crepes and hot chocolates (even in the sunshine). Though we did go on a little hike to try and offset it, and I got the most steps on my Fitbit ever!
For our remaining time, we spent it exploring more of Geneva – we did a free walking tour which was fab and gave us some insight into the history of Switzerland. We also headed up to the United Nations and to CERN (which I tried desperately to book in a tour for but failed). But it was still worth a visit and a good option if the weather isn’t great. That said, always make sure you check the opening days for museums as Geneva does basically shut down for Sunday and Mondays (which always seems mad to me!).
Of course, there always has to be something which doesn’t go smoothly on holiday and on Monday night, our flight home was cancelled due to problems at Gatwick. Which led to our 4 day holiday being reluctantly extended, with the only way home, for us to fly to Zurich at 6am the next day, spend 9 hours in Zurich before then heading back to Heathrow. So, making the most of a bad situation, we then also got to explore Zurich! But more on that in another post.
Overall, I really liked Switzerland, but man was it expensive! Especially with the unexpected extra day, I felt like I was bleeding money and as someone who lives in London, that has to mean something. So even though I probably won’t rush back (maybe when my luck on the lottery changes), I do recommend doing at least a short trip – mainly to eat cheese fondue.
Have you been to Switzerland? What did you enjoy there?