Nestled between Alpine peaks and the largest lake in Western Europe, Geneva offers an abundance of outdoor activities. First enjoy a morning walk along the quay, spotting boats and marvelling at row upon row of designer shops. Later, you could explore the Old Town’s cobbled alleys and ancient architecture, including breathtaking views from St Peter’s cathedral. And for active families? A pedalo boat around the lake, wild swimming or simply exploring the city’s numerous beautiful parks. So read on to discover our top recommendations for Geneva sightseeing with kids.
Let’s explore great things to do in Geneva with your children:
1. Saint Pierre Cathedral
First, number one on many visitors lists of Things to Do in Geneva is climb the tower of the Saint Pierre cathedral. Children and adults alike will be wowed by the panoramic views of the city. Soak up the centuries of history in the beautiful interior too. And don’t forget to explore the hidden staircases at the back of the tower.
2. Museum of Art and History
A really popular museum with children, where they can enjoy story times, workshops and interactive family tours. The museum has also a huge variety of subjects to pique their interest, from Greco-Roman mythology and ancient Egypt to the history of costume, weapons and armour. In addition, the museum also runs special sessions for toddlers (3 to 5 years) several times a month. So just check the website for a calendar of upcoming events
3. Natural History Museum
Another museum which is really geared towards children, they are sure to love this interactive space. Spread over three floors, the museum explores a wide range of subjects including the evolution of mankind, extinct animals and astronomy. Furthermore, kids will love the earthquake simulator and amazing moon stones, donated by NASA. And don’t miss Janus, the two-headed Turtle who has become something of an icon for the museum!
4. Franz Carl Weber Toy Store
These multi-story toy stores are famous in Switzerland, and consequently a popular visitor attraction as they are one of oldest toy brands in the world. Their beautiful store in the heart of Geneva is indeed situated between the old town and the lake. It boasts three levels of books, games and toys which will delight children of all ages. Overall, a great place to visit on your last day so they can pick up a souvenir.
5. Chocolate Shop
Last but not least, Switzerland has a long history of chocolate making. So one of the most popular things to do in Geneva is visiting a chocolate shop. Favarger is indeed one of the best in town. Established 1826, the beautifully presented shop tempts passers by with tastings and samples, which the kids will love. And if you want to know more about the chocolate making process, you can visit their factory for a tour. (Tours must be booked in advance.)
6. Admire Jet d’Eau
An icon of the city, this 140 metre high fountain is sure to delight young children and adults alike. Watch the rainbow of colours light up the water after dark, and don’t forget to take a photo! In addition, the Flower Clock and the English Garden are very nearby, so you could combine this with seeing Jet d’Eau. In addition, the English Garden is a popular spot for picnics in summer, and there’s often a funfair on this side of the lake too.
7. Take to the Water
You cannot visit Geneva without going on Lac Leman – the options to take to the water are almost endless. Young children will simply enjoy catching one of the yellow “mouette” ferries from one side of the lake to the other. Or perhaps you’d like to hire a pedalo or book a sightseeing cruise? And of course there’s always wild swimming, for those who can brave the cold! There are dedicated places to swim with lifeguards in summer, the most central of these is the Bains des Pâquis. Or if you have very young children, try the small sandy “baby plage” which is dedicated to little ones.
8. Botanical Gardens
Next on our list for Geneva sightseeing is the Botanical Gardens – a beautiful space where you can escape the city hub and let the kids run off some steam. In addition to the pretty manicured gardens you’ll find a small animal enclosure, wooden play equipment and a merry go round. So that’s sure to keep the children happy.
9. Bastions Park
Geneva’s most famous public park is a lovely spot to spend a sunny day. Firstly it is famous for its Reformation Wall – a memorial to the 16th century Reformers of the Catholic church. As well this historic homage, visitors can enjoy giant chess board, a great playground, ping pong tables and an ice rink in winter. And after all that activity you can refuel at the elegant pavilion restaurant.
10. Le Bois de la Batie
Another great park, and this one has a zoo! Le Bois de la Batie is popular with local parents for its large playground and paddling pool in the summer. There is also a free zoo on site where you can see local animals like the Mountain Ibex, as well as deer, goats and sheep. Perfect venue for a great sightseeing in Geneva.
If you’re travelling in Winter, you might be looking for things to do in Geneva indoors too. Luckily this French speaking city has numerous undercover attractions suitable for families. So will you choose an interactive museum, an ancient cathedral or a famous chocolate shop?
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