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48 hours in Geneva

Chocoholics, shopoholics, watchaholics and foodies – everyone’s catered to in this bustling European capital, says Kerry-Ann Henrico

  • Geneva
    The birthplace of the Red Cross and home to the UN’s headquarters, Geneva is known as The Capital of Peace.Image Credit: Supplied picture
  • Geneva
    The majestic Mandarin Oriental is within walking distance of all of the city’s main attractions.Image Credit: Supplied picture
  • Geneva
    Lake Geneva has attracted many famous residents, including Charlie Chaplin and Freddie Mercury.Image Credit: Supplied picture
  • Geneva
    Head to Rue du Rhône for some retail therapy.Image Credit: Supplied picture

Where to stay
For the ultimate in luxury, stay at the exquisite Mandarin Oriental on the River Rhône. Ideally located close to the Old Town, and within walking distance of various cultural hot spots, this five-star hotel boasts the city’s very first Michelin-starred restaurant, Rasoi by Vineet.

What to do
If you have limited time, a guided tour is a great way to see the city – book one at Visit one of the international organisations like the United Nations or Red Cross and discover interesting facts about the city’s history. The Swiss are renowned for their watch craftsmanship and chocolates, so make time for a tour – check out the Patek Philippe Museum ( and the oldest Swiss chocolatier, Favarger. It offers hour-long tours – see how chocolate is made, plus sample a selection for yourself. Visit

What to see
Take in the gorgeous scenery of snow-capped mountains with a stroll on the Lake Geneva shore path, which stretches 34km around the lake – don’t miss one of the largest fountains in the world, the Jet d’Eau. A popular starting point is the downtown stretch, where the promenade joins the path. Or hire a bike and cycle the shore path. Get bikes delivered to your hotel via (Dh350 per day). Visit the famed Parc La Grange and check out its roses (more than 200 varieties) and Geneva Botanical Gardens, with its koi pond, flower garden and herbarium.

Where to shop
Geneva is well known for its shopping and boasts an array of luxury boutiques. Manor, the biggest department store chain in Switzerland, offers everything from fashion and jewellery to Swiss delicacies and souvenirs. Globus department store stocks designer labels and high-end jewellery, while Rue du Rhône is the ultimate shopping paradise with plenty of boutiques within walking distance of each other, including more than 800 watch and jewellery boutiques.

Where to eat
For a true taste of Switzerland, dine at Les Armures located in the hotel of the same name. It serves traditional rustic cuisine, both Swiss and French, in a relaxed atmosphere. Two dishes to try: the famous Swiss fondue, which is rich and comforting; and raclette, another traditional cheese-based dish, served on a hot griddle. The cheese is melted, then scraped off on to your plate and served with an assortment of cold cuts, potatoes, pickles and vegetables. Delicious!

How to get there
Swiss International Air Lines flies daily to Geneva from Dubai. Treat yourself to business class and enjoy fully reclining chairs with massage function, fab in-flight entertainment, excellent food prepared by gourmet chefs and an enviable lounge to relax in before the flight. Prices start at Dh3,500, or Dh15,730 for business class.

My country

“Eat at Cottage Café and 5 Portes, and visit the UN and Jardin Botanique.”
 —Katherina Ebert

“I loved the ice cream while visiting Jet d’Eau and chicken ravioli from street cafés. Cheese fondue is the most delicious. You want to go on eating it till you can’t take one more bite.”
 —Sabeen Mansoor

“Check out the Leopard Room bar at La Reserve Hotel.”
 —Sarah Alexandra Morris