Geneva is a picturesque city that brims with attractions and activities for expats of all ages who are looking to enjoy some of the finer things in life. Seasonal activities are vastly different and range from a warm day at the lake to an alpine ski trip in winter. Thanks to its central geographic location, it is also an ideal base to explore the rest of the Western Europe.
When it comes to shopping, Geneva is a paradise for luxury brand names and expats will have no trouble spending their hard-earned francs. Despite its size, it rivals shopping meccas such a Paris with its wide variety of luxury goods. The parallel Rue de Marche and Rue de Rhone are the main shopping streets and are marked with retailers, watchmakers and cafes.
There are also options for those who don’t want to spend a fortune. The Place de la Madeleine is great for finding clothing and book bargains, while the Plaine de Plainpalais is home to Geneva’s largest flea market and stocks everything from fresh fruits and vegetable to leather goods.
In general, shops in Geneva don’t stay open until late in the evening, and most places close between 12pm and 2pm for lunch during the week. On Saturdays, grocery shops only stay open until 6pm and most places in Geneva are closed on a Sunday. Many choose to do their weekly grocery shopping across the border in French towns such as Annemasse or Ferney-Voltaire, where shops are open until 12pm on a Sunday.
Geneva isn’t necessarily known for its lively party scene, but there are still plenty of opportunities to grab a drink, meet new people and enjoy a night out. Revelers should be prepared to pay, though as Geneva’s prices can be exorbitant.
Plaine de Plainpalais is popular with younger crowds, with Rue de l’École-de-Médecine often crowded by students from the nearby medical college. Place de I’lle, on the Rhone River has some expensive bars and some excellent views of the city. Place du Marche and Rue Vautier in the Carouge area are also popular hangouts with many bars and clubs.
Foodies will be spoilt for choice in Geneva. The city boasts of more than 1000 restaurants and is undoubtedly Switzerland’s cuisine capital. Some areas that expats can explore for restaurants and cafes are around the lake, the Paquis, Eaux-Vives and Carouge.
Expats should endeavor to try local specialties such as fondue, raclette, lake fish dishes and smoked sausage. However, those looking for familiar tastes from home shouldn’t struggle to find what they’re looking for. As a cosmopolitan city with many different cultures, expats will be able to sample food from around the world.
There is much for expats with a sense of adventure and love of the great outdoors to experience. Geneva is perfectly placed for winter sports and mountain adventures in the Swiss Alps, with more than 200 ski resorts within 60 miles of the city limits.
Other activities on offer include wakeboarding and sailing om Lake Geneva, mountain biking, rock climbing and rafting on the two rivers that run through the city. For those who don’t wish to travel far, the parks of Geneva offer open space and greenery on their doorstep.