Whilst Geneva is not typically high on the majority of traveller’s bucket lists when they come to Europe, especially those tourists who go chasing Instagrammable places – Geneva is a lovely city with some very nice Instagram spots to discover.
It is nestled by the Alps and the Jura Mountains and you can see incredible views over to Mont Blanc from the centre. Geneva has a distinctly French feel to the place, being so close to the French border.
Many people may be put off Geneva, or Switzerland in general, due to how expensive it is. Switzerland is a very expensive country, and Geneva is one of the most expensive cities in the world!
However there are many ways you can explore Geneva on a budget and almost all of the Instagram spots listed below are free to visit!
Geneva also has a really nice feel to it – it has a relaxed vibe and feels more like a large town as opposed to a city. I definitely recommend going if you have the chance!
GENEVA INSTAGRAM SPOTS
1. Jet D’Eau
Stroll around Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), in the centre of Geneva, and you can’t miss the impressive Jet d’eau water fountain.
Jet D’Eau is one of Geneva’s most instantly recognisable sights and easily Geneva’s most famous landmark, with the water jetting a whopping 140 metres into the air. It is the highest water fountain in Europe, and one of the tallest fountains in the world!
Wherever you view the fountain from it is stunning, but my favourite place to view the Jet d’eau is on the opposite side of the river to the fountain – by the Geneva-Pâquis jetty off Quai du Mont Blanc as you can see all the beautiful buildings behind.
Click here for the closest Google maps location! (it is where I took the photo below!). This location makes for one of the best Instagram spots in Geneva!
A boat cruise along Lake Geneva is a really great activity to do when the weather is good! Check out the two boat cruises here:
If you wander around the lake, especially the part nearest Jet D’Eau, you’ll find several small beaches along the lake, which are a great place to relax in the summer.
2. Bains de Pâquis
Just a short stroll from the Geneva-Pâquis jetty are the Bains de Pâquis – some lovely public outdoor baths located on a pier on Lake Geneva. When it is winter in Geneva these public baths turn into saunas which is quite cool!
The Bains de Pâquis are a really great place to visit when you are in Geneva! They are popular amongst both locals and tourists and are open every day (weather dependent)!
The beach here is 500 metres long and you can actually swim in the crystal clear waters of the lake and sunbathe on the sand during the summer! And with an entrance fee of just 2CHF (around $2USD) this is an activity that is also easy on the pockets.
If it seems like that may be a bit too cold for you, check out the hammam or go for a massage and visit the sauna.
There is also a restaurant here if you are peckish and want to admire the Instagrammable views of Lake Geneva!
GENEVA INSTAGRAM SPOTS
3. Promenade de la Treille
Geneva is home to the world’s longest wooden bench! Built in 1767, La Treille bench is over 120 metres long.
You can find it next to the Old Town of Geneva, in the beautiful Promenade de la Treille.
It is set on a hill and actually runs along the Old Town walls, so there are lots of viewing platforms and the views from here are so beautiful, with the mountains and typical Swiss houses in the background!
It is a pretty popular place for people to relax, have picnics and enjoy the beautiful view! Click here for the Google maps location.
4. The Old Town
Geneva’s Old Town is really picturesque and full of history. Stroll around the cobbled streets and beautiful buildings, you can even stop by at one of the many coffee shops.
This beautiful fountain can be found opposite Hotel les Armures, off Rue du Puits-Saint-Pierre. Click here for the Google maps location.
GENEVA INSTAGRAM SPOTS
5. Ancien Arsenal
The Old Arsenal (Ancien Arsenal) is also located in the heart of The Old Town and are very impressive to see! The Old Arsenal is a former military installation that was previously used for storing gunpowder and arms.
There are five cannons here that were previously used to defend Geneva from attackers.
Geneva’s Old Town has some lovely architecture, so wander round and explore all the beautiful buildings!
6. Flower Clock
The Flower Clock, located on the western edge of the Jardin Anglais (English Park), is another spot in Geneva that is photographed a lot. It is a symbol of Geneva and is very impressive, and up until 2005 it was the largest flower clock in the world!
It is a giant colourful flower bed with over 6,500 flowers and shrubs making up the clock face, all of which bloom during different times of the year.
A clock mechanism is underneath the flower bed, with moving hands on top, so it functions as a clock. The Flower Clock was first created in 1755 by Carl Linnaeus – a Swedish Scientist working at the University, who wanted to interest students in the biorhythm of flowers.
The current Flower Clock was unveiled in 1955 and also serves as an acknowledgement that Switzerland is where the finest, most precise watches in the world are made.
The Jardin Anglais, where the Flower Clock is located, is also worth exploring. Bring a picnic and relax here if it’s a sunny day!
GENEVA INSTAGRAM SPOTS
7. St Pierre Cathedral
For a stunning view of Geneva and the lake, head up the tower of St Pierre’s Cathedral – Geneva’s main Cathedral located in the Old Town.
Personally I love seeing a city from above, and this is probably the best place to enjoy a birds eye view of Geneva. Entrance into the Cathedral is free, but if you wish to go up the tower it will cost you 5 CHF (around $5 USD).
It is definitely worth it to go up the tower – the view was stunning and I had it all to myself! The climb wasn’t too strenuous either. Head up the South Tower for the best view (see the picture below).
See the Google maps location of St Pierre Cathedral here.
GENEVA INSTAGRAM SPOTS
8. Broken Chair
The Broken Chair art sculpture is one of Geneva’s most famous sculptures. It was unveiled in 1997 and was created to commemorate landmine victims, but also strength, vulnerability, fragility and resilience.
It has gained worldwide fame and stands at an impressive 12 metres tall with the 4th chair leg being broken halfway up.
It is located opposite the United Nations Building, and the bus will only take a few minutes (it’s free with your transport card!), or a walk from Lake Geneva takes about half an hour. See it’s location on Google maps here.
9. United Nations Headquarters
Equally, whilst you are here at The Broken Chair, take some photos of the impressive UN Headquarters and the many flags outside it – it is actually very popular with tourists! You can even take a tour inside the building if you wish – just beware the queues are long and you may have to wait a while!
10. Musee Ariana
A few minutes walk from the UN Building across Ariana Park is Musee Ariana. The museum features ceramics and glass, but even if that is not something you are interested in, the outside of the museum is beautiful and worth a photo!
11. Viaduc de la Jonction
About 3km from downtown Geneva is The Viaduct de la Jonction, which is a popular place for photographers. This railway viaduct lies above the confluence of the Arve and Rhone rivers.
What makes this place particularly unique is that the waters of the Rhone are very clear, and the waters of the Arve river running next to it are milky white. When the rivers join, the waters mix.
You can really really appreciate this natural phenomenon from the viaduct bridge, where you can see the two completely different shades of waters running alongside and merging into each other.
From here you can also get the snow capped mountains and Geneva in the background of your picture, which looks fantastic!
The waters of the River Arve (coming from the south) runs faster, moving the white sand with it: that’s why the water here appears milky white.
In contrast, the water of the Rhone River (coming from the north: the lake) runs a lot slower and the water is clear. On a sunny day, the colours look absolutely fantastic!
Come down to where the rivers join (called Port Junction) on a warm summer’s evening and you’ll find lots of young people here relaxing, swimming, listening and partying to the DJ here.
It’s quite a popular place as it is really close to the centre but also very close to nature. Click here to see it’s location on Google maps.
GENEVA INSTAGRAM SPOTS
CERN is a really great place to visit if you are interested in science, and what the universe is made of.
It’s completely free to visit, is really educational, and there are some cool Instagram spots here! Just be sure to book your tickets at least a couple of weeks in advance as they book out quickly!
Carouge is a neighbourhood very close to the centre of Geneva that has a distinctly Italian – specifically Sardinian vibe.
This Italian style town is full of Instagrammable quaint streets and lovely architecture, and it is the perfect place to go for some cheap wine and cheese! You’ll see many cute cafes where you can get a cheeseboard and accompanying wine for 5CHF.
There are also some lovely Sardinian pastry shops here, and as well as being famous for cheese, Carouge also has some of the best chocolate makers!
14. The Reformation Wall
Very close to the Promenade de la Treille is The Reformation Wall: a 30 foot high and 325 feet wide wall that is built into the Old City Walls and located inside Parc des Bastions. It features statues and bas-reliefs of heroes of the Protestant Reformation, and was built to commemorate freedom and democracy. The wall is very impressive as each statue is 15 feet tall!
It can get busy here, so arrive early if you want to take good photos.
Inside Bastion Park you will also find this giant chess game which can make for some fun Instagram shots!
INSTAGRAM SPOTS NEAR TO GENEVA:
The great thing about Geneva’s location is that it is so convenient and there are many stunning places that can be visited with a couple of hours drive! Geneva is extremely close to France, and even the Italian border, so check out the great day trips you can do:
15. Mont Blanc
A visit to the majestic Mont Blanc, located on the French/Italian/Swiss border can make for an excellent day trip from Geneva! Mont Blanc is the highest peak in Europe at an impressive 4,807 metres!
Check out these tours to Mont Blanc you can do from Geneva:
Remember to bring your passport with you as you will be crossing the Swiss-France border.
If you’ve seen all the above Geneva Instagram spots and have a half day to spare, I absolutely advise you to book a tour to visit the picturesque town of Annecy!
Whilst actually being in France, if you look on a map you will see just how close Annecy is to Geneva. It’s 40km away and will take around 45 minutes to get between the two by bus.
Annecy will undoubtedly take your breath away – it has beautifully coloured pedestrian streets and is known as the Venice of the Alps. The architecture here is stunning and the lively street markets have something for everyone!
There are so many Instagrammable spots in Annecy – it is such a charming town that is definitely worth a visit if you are in Geneva. Of course always remember to bring your passport and any necessary papers with you. Check out the tours below:
17. Chillon Castle
Chillon Castle (or Chateau Chillon as it is known) is another one of those absolutely stunning Instagram spots near Geneva. It is located on the other side of the picturesque Lake Geneva and is a very recognisable symbol of Switzerland.
Chateau Chillon is located on a small island in the lake, and it can get quite busy here in the summer months! In fact it is the most visited historic building in the whole of Switzerland, with around 400,000 people visiting here each year!
The tour below is the easiest and most convenient way for you to see Chateau Chillon. It takes you on the picturesque drive from Geneva to Chateau Chillon, with the chance to stop off at some beautiful vineyards and other Swiss lakeside towns along the way, as well as take a boat ride on the lake.
Geneva Instagram Spots Summary
I hope you enjoyed reading about all the Instagrammable places in Geneva! Geneva is a really lovely place to visit and I really hope you enjoy your time there!
If you’ll be travelling around Switzerland and heading to Zurich, check out my guide 24 Hours in Zurich!
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