Geneva is one of Europe’s major tourist hubs, offering superb lakeside views, massive majestic mountains and superb skiing. All of this is within easy reach of one of Europe’s busiest airports, which actually spans two countries.
With some of France’s finest ski resorts and mountain hang-outs also easily accessible from the city, it is worth seeing what Geneva can offer. There is plenty going on in the French-speaking part of Switzerland without the skiing and leisure opportunities that the Alps offer anyway.
The cultural and arts scene in the city buzzes throughout the last few months of the year, while Christmas in this picturesque part of the world is picture postcard magical.
Visitors to Geneva in September can busy themselves with the Nuits des Bains, an art festival centred on the city’s Rue des Bains. Many galleries have late openings, and much of the art on show is from local artists.
Some of those events will doubtless be accompanied by a few glasses of local wine, and anyone who enjoys what they find in their glass can explore it further at the Fête des Vendanges Russin. This festival occurs in the village of Russin, very close to Geneva, and first took place in the early 1960s.
The local wine is available to sample, along with much local food, all among a carnival atmosphere. Must, a drink made from the first pressing of the grapes, is a highlight of this mid-September event too.
For visitors and residents who prefer something a little more high voltage, the Geneva Supercross in December should provide an entertaining end to the year. This most exciting of Geneva events is held at the Palexpo, and features 30 top motorcyclists engaging in exciting feats. Live bands and other entertainment help keep excitement levels high away from the track.
Another treat for sports fans occurs at the lakeside in late December, when the Coupe de Noël. This most eccentric of Geneva events has been taking place each year since 1934. A 125-metre swimming race which takes place in Lake Geneva, the Cup is open to anyone over the age of 13. It should be remembered that the lake temperature in winter is only around four or five degrees Celsius though, and the air temperature can be as low as minus 15.
Cultural events such as film festivals and classical music competitions are held in Geneva over the winter, but the biggest event is the International Motor Show which takes place at the Palexpo Exhibition Centre. With over 700,000 visitors expected at this showcase for the global motor industry, it is wise to plan a trip well in advance.