Learn about Geneva’s history at the Maison Tavel
Right in the heart of Geneva’s old town sits the Maison Tavel, a prized depository of the city’s history. Located in a remarkable medieval building, this ‘Museum of Urban History and Daily Life’ retraces the past of the city in detail, from the first buildings to the modern day. It also houses the celebrated Relief Magnin, a 30 m² model depicting Geneva in 1850. A cultural and historic treasure trove that’s entirely free to visit!
Take a breather in Geneva’s Botanical Gardens
Open all year round and completely free of charge, Geneva’s Botanical Gardens are nothing short of a living museum. This lush 28-hectare oasis is home to no fewer than 12,000 plant species from five continents! Its many winding paths lead past three-hundred-year-old trees, tropical plant houses and rockeries specially designed for Alpine plants. It’s a free stroll in the park and a scientific day out all at once! And 2017 has plenty of surprises in store to mark the Garden’s bicentenary!
Visit the Voltaire museum
Offering free admission, the Voltaire museum in the Parc des Délices is a genuine institution. Run by Geneva’s Municipal Library, it is entirely dedicated to the works of the celebrated French writer, with a permanent collection featuring both furniture and objects belonging to Voltaire, as well as a library of the Enlightenment’s greatest works. The museum’s location is no accident: this is where the writer lived during his stay in Geneva from 1755 to 1760.
Swim in the Bains des Pâquis
Since 1872, the Bains des Pâquis have been the place to go on hot summer days in Geneva. Their location means they act as a veritable bridge between the city centre and Lake Geneva. The pools and beaches command stunning views over the city’s architectural landmarks and the immense expanse of the lake. Today, the Bains are run by an association, but are still extremely affordable: admission and swimming costs a mere CHF 2 (less than €2) per adult, with plenty of other activities on offer, from a sauna to massages and swimming lessons.
Sail on the lake in a Genevan Mouette
The Genevan Mouettes are the little yellow boats that criss-cross the Genevan port. While the locals see them as an everyday mode of public transport, visitors use the boats to explore the bay of Lake Geneva. Whether you’re simply crossing from one side to another or indulging in a mini-cruise, the various routes offer superb views of the city, its fountain and its monuments. And best of all, it hardly costs a thing: just CHF 2 to cross over and CHF 3 for an hour’s trip out on the water.
And to round off your trip, why not visit Geneva’s famous Art and History Museum – one of Switzerland’s largest museums! It charts the development of art in painting, sculpture and objects over several millennia. Set in a delightful location in the Old Town, the permanent collections are free of charge.
There’s plenty to do as a tourist in Geneva!
So which is it to be? Relaxation, culture, exploration or nature? They’re all free!