Geneva indeed holds its own charm. Nestled by the crystal-clear Lac Leman (or Lake Geneva for the uninformed tourists), it is a medium-sized city with world class attractions. The city center is small enough to be enjoyed on foot, and yet, it does have some of the most efficient transportation system around, just like the rest of Switzerland. There are train, bus as well as tram services throughout the city and its suburban areas.
For me, it’s hard to tell where exactly the city center is. Geneva certainly lacks any skyscraping structures. Most would agree that the central point in the city would be somewhere around the left and right banks of the Rhône river. There are ample of open spaces along the river bank as well as at the lake edge for strolling and enjoying the sceneries. One of the most famous attractions in Geneva, l’Horloge Fleurie (or the Flower Clock), is located close to Lac Leman’s shoreline. I have visited Geneva during a wet winter, and I found out the flowers were gone. Nonetheless, I managed to see the flowers in full bloom during my next visit during summer.
Another prominent landmark of Geneva has to be the Jet d’Eau (or the "water jet). It is basically a fountain that shoots fresh water from Lac Leman some tens of meters up. Again, Jet d’Eau does not operate in winter, hence one needs to visit during spring or summer to see the magnificent jet fountain.
Geneva also boasts the grandiose view of the Savoy Mountains and, occasionally Mt Blanc on a very clear day. Nonetheless, during my two visits to Geneva, the weather was not exactly cooperating.
Some people argue that Lac Leman has the clearest and the bluest water out of Switzerland’s many freshwater lakes. I could understand why, judging from how crystal-clear the Rhône river is despite passing through the busy commercial district before flowing into the massive lake. You can easily see the bottom of the river when walking across the bridges of Mont Blanc or Bergues, and there are plenty of white swans floating around, totally unruffled by the busy streets above.
If you are getting bored with the city center, there are a number of CGN boats departing from the city’s main jetty to the rustic villages of Yvoire, Thonon-les-Baines or Evian, which are across the border into France. For longer boat rides, there are also lake cruise services to Nyon, Lausanne and Montreux, which I highly recommend for more breathtaking view of Lac Leman and rustic Swiss villages.
Transportation system in Geneva is extremely efficient and hassle-free. Geneva Airport at Cointrin is well integrated with the city’s main railway line. A few floors down from the arrival hall, you will find the airport’s train station. For about CHF5 and 20 minutes later, you will be at Cornavin main train terminal, which is a walking distance to most tourist attractions in Geneva.