What to do in Geneva with only 3 hours

We took an early train from Fribourg (Canton of Fribourg) to Geneva, where we had three hours until our next train departed to Bonn, Germany. Naturally, we tried to cram in as many things as possible.

Because it was so early, very few shops were open and there weren’t a lot of people around. I would love to go back and spend a few days in Geneva – and definitely get the bus out to CERN (which was closed to the public while we were there).

  1. St. Pierre Cathedral (St Peter’s Cathedral) and archaeological site

The cathedral is worth visiting whether you’re interested in history, architecture or just the spectacular views of Geneva. It’s worth the 4 CHF to climb up to the North and South towers.

Cathedral opening hours:

1st October – 31st May:
Mon-Sat: 10am – 5:30pm
Sunday: 12pm – 5:30pm

1st June – 30th September:
Mon-Sat: 9 am – 6:30pm
Sunday: 12pm – 6:30pm

The cathedral was built between 1160 – 1252 AD on the site of a 6th Century basilica


The Archaeological Site

Excavations began in 1976 and uncovered the remains of a basilica including mosaic paintings and rooms, floors and walls dating back to the 4th Century.

I didn’t end up visiting the archaeological site because it didn’t open until 10 am and we needed to head back to the train station. I was really disappointed I didn’t have the time to go inside, so it’ll be on the plan for the next visit.









2. Lake Geneva and Jardin Anglais (English garden)

The lake front and garden is a nice place to have early morning stroll. Fortunately, the weather was nice and it wasn’t too cold in September.


L’horloge fleurie (flower clock) is located near Lake Geneva in the Jardin Anglais. The clock looks different in each season because of the 6,500 flowers that are planted there and bloom at different times of the year.


3. Jet d’Eau (water jet)

Located in Lake Geneva, the Jet d’Eau can reach a height of 140 metres, shooting 500 litres of water every second at 200 kilometres per hour! It didn’t start until 10 am during our visit and I really wanted to see it from St Pierre Cathedral but didn’t have the time to wait. Instead, we walked along the lake until it started so we could take photos.

The 2016 operating hours were:

2 May – 11 Sept. 10:00 – 22:30
12 Sept. – 23 Oct. 9:00 – 23:15
24 Oct. – 23 Nov. Closed for yearly maintenance
24 Nov. – 5 March 2017 10:00 – 16:00



4. Grab some delicious Swiss chocolate

We stopped at Läderach and grabbed a small sample pack of various chocolates for 15 CHF. I wish we’d gotta a bigger pack because they didn’t last long!

We also stopped at the supermarket at the train station to stock up on a selection of chocolate to take home.

The only cheese we had with us was from our visit to Gruyère but it had to be eaten as it can’t be taken into New Zealand or Australia. If you can find cheese that you can take through customs, then definitely do it!

5. Grab some schnapps

We stopped at the train station liquor store and ended up buying five bottles of schnapps and had to carry them for the rest of our trip and all the way home. Schnapps are great to have with a cheese fondue, or with anything really!



Even though it was a flying visit, I enjoyed the time spent in the city. I would absolutely go back to Geneva, as there are lots of other things to see and do!

Thanks for reading!


All images are my own unless otherwise attributed.
All opinions are my own.
All prices were accurate as of September 2015.
This post contains no affiliate links.




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