A Charming Walking Tour of Old Town Geneva, Switzerland (with map)

Updated: September 12, 2020 | Contains affiliate links

Geneva, Switzerland - City PanoramaI visited Geneva on four different occasions and on almost every visit it happened that I was coming to Geneva from France. What an interesting feeling that was every time I arrived in Geneva. It definitely felt like I was in a completely different country, even though everyone was speaking French in Geneva, Switzerland never felt like France. From the way people wait at the street lights to cross the street to the way people are driving, Geneva feels completely different that any city I visited in France. Traffic, even though very heavy in Geneva, is a lot more ordered, streets are cleaner and even cars are spotless in Geneva.

Walking in Geneva is one of my favorite things to do in this beautiful city. In particular, I love strolling through the medieval old town Geneva area, look at the small restaurants and walk its cobblestone streets. Come along with me on a relaxing walking tour of Geneva, Switzerland.

My favorite things to see in old town Geneva

Old Town Geneva walking tour map
Walking tour map of Old Town Geneva
Green: walk, Red: see

Where is Geneva’s old town?

For me, walking in Geneva starts where old town Geneva starts, which is at Pont du Mont Blanc and goes up the hill to Saint Peter’s Cathedral and down on the other side of the hill at Bastions Park. I know there are many other things to see, but these are my favorite things to see when I visit Geneva.

So let’s put on some confortabile walking shoes and start our walking tour of old town Geneva.

1. Pont du Mont Blanc


City panorama from Mont Blanc Bridge.
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Geneva’s old town can be easily visited on foot starting anywhere around the boat dock on Lake Geneva close to the Mont Blanc bridge.

Crossing the Mont Blanc Bridge on foot provides great panoramas of Lake Leaman (Lake Geneva) and the famous water jet.

2. English Garden and Flower Clock

Geneva, Switzerland - English Garden
Water fountain in the English Garden in Geneva, Switzerland
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Crossing the bridge (Pont du Mont Blanc) you’ll get to the English Garden with the famous flower clock and a sculpted bronze water fountain. The large flower clock is very much associated with Geneva because of its location.

The English Garden is a delightful place for walking and enjoying a quieter, beautiful place with great views of Mont Blanc Bridge and Geneva’s center.

3. Saint Peter’s Cathedral


The old covered passageway to Saint Peter Cathedral
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Our walking tour of Geneva continues by crossing the street (Quai de General Guisan) and going up the hill (on Place du Port and Rue de la Fontaine). Here you can visit the old protestant church of Temple de la Madeleine. Then we continue up the old stairs passage and end up behind Saint Peter’s cathedral. You can easily miss this old passageway (Pasage des Degres des Poules), so pay attention on your right as you walk uphill so you don’t miss the entrance.
The passageway will bring you behind the imposing St Peter’s Cathedral which is the symbol of the Christian Reformation.

St Peter’s Cathedral is a former Catholic Church built in the late 12th century and modified across the century. During the Christian Reformation movement ithas been modified and converted into a Protestant church. This church is mostly associated with John Calvin and his ministry in Geneva.

It is worth taking your time visiting the inside of St Peter’s and climbing in the church tower. You will get a glimpse of Geneva during the Great changes in Geneva during the Reformation.

Geneva, Switzerland - Saint Peter Cathedral is the church where John Calvin preached most of his life
Saint Peter Cathedral is the church where John Calvin preached most of his life
Photo by: Torbjorn Toby Jorgensen
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A short walk from Saint Peter’s courtyard it’s Geneva City Hall which is interesting to visit. From City Hall you can easily walk down to the Bastions Park where the Reformation Wall is located.

Saint Peter Cathedral tower provides beautiful panoramic views of Geneva
Saint Peter Cathedral tower provides beautiful panoramic views of Geneva
See my photos from Geneva, Switzerland

Depending on how much time you have for your walking tour of Geneva, you can go down the stairs on the left of St Peter’s Cathedral to the Terrasse Agrippa which is a small platform that will give you some beautiful views of Geneva old town.

4. Place de Bourg de Four

Old town Geneva is very small and compact and therefore you will not find large public squares. However, Place de Bourg de Four is a beautiful small square filled with a few restaurants and lots of shopping. Used as Geneva’s old cattle market since the 9th century, Place de Bourg de Four is a beautiful place to stop and enjoy. We loved spending some time here resting a little bit, relaxing at Cafe la Clemence and drinking some coffee.

5. Bastions Park

Geneva, Switzerland - Bastions Park
Bastions Park in the fall is beautiful in Geneva, Switzerland
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The Bastions Park is just a relaxing park in the middle of Geneva. We love this park especially in the fall when leaves start falling, it’s very romantic and relaxing at the same time. I think Bastions Park is romantic because it’s very relaxing and beautiful.

6. Place de Neuve

Place de Neuve with old old buildings from old town Geneva în the background
Place de Neuve with old old buildings from old town Geneva în the background
See my photos from Geneva

We continue our walking tour of old town Geneva by coming out of the Bastions park into Place de Neuve, which is a large and busy square. Rath Museum, located just across Place de Neuve, is a smaller museum hosting beautiful history and art exhibits. Free to visit the first Sunday of each month, Rath Museum is a good place to enjoy history and art in a quiet place.

7. The Old Island Tower


Street musician playing an instrument in front of the old Tour de L’Ile
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Continuing our walking tour of old town Geneva, through Place de Neuve and slightly to the right, we walk on the beautiful Rue de Corraterie, back towards the river. This is a beautiful street for walking and shopping as you slowly descend back to River Rhone. After passing Place de Bel-Air you will come to the Tower Island (Tour d’Ille).

Plan Your Trip to Geneva

Over the years I have gathered a list of my best resources for planning my next visit to Geneva, Switzerland. I have included external links to the local boat and train companies as well as great offers from my partners. Everything listed below is top quality and I recommend every link.

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2 Comments

  1. Dianne Thyret

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