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1 Perfect One Day in Geneva Itinerary

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Greetings, Internet Stranger and welcome to a one day Geneva itinerary! If Geneva accomplished nothing else in its long history, it would still be renowned for its contributions to diplomacy. There’s a reason the rules concerning how we can treat POWs are the Geneva Conventions.

Now, the place most people associate with Geneva and diplomacy is the Palais des Nations. But you know this better as the United Nations Office at Geneva. And on this one day in Geneva itinerary, you get to see it!

But the history of Geneva and diplomacy goes back further than the United Nations. Come with me for a day exploring the international wonders of Geneva. We will see broken chairs, we will learn about US Presidents, and we’ll listen to something that the Swiss think is jazz. Let’s not waste any more time!

one day in Geneva itinerary

One Day in Geneva Itinerary

Where to Stay?

After Zurich, Geneva is one of the most expensive cities in Europe. So I had to budget very carefully when I enjoyed my one day in Geneva itinerary, and that meant staying in a hostel. Fortunately I found a quality room at Geneva Hostel. I chose a shared room with other ladies, but there were private rooms as well.

All of my roommates were polite and friendly, even that one girl who never wore clothes. (In fairness to her, if I’d had her body, I’d never wear clothes anywhere.) But I can’t guarantee that the girl will be staying at the hostel when you are there. 

If you want a great deal on this hotel, click here. And if you’d rather explore great deals on over 200 other hotels in Geneva, click here! This search engine will help you find the perfect place to stay during your one day in Geneva itinerary. With plenty of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something for your schedule and budget.

one day in Geneva itinerary

One Day in Geneva Itinerary

Morning: United Nations Tour

As a New Yorker, I do have to point out that the United Nations headquarters isn’t in Geneva; it’s in the Big Apple. But that doesn’t mean the Palais des Nations isn’t important and fascinating! No one day in Geneva itinerary is complete without a tour here. The building was originally used as the headquarters of the League of Nations, which was the precursor to the United Nations.

You can go ahead and reserve your spot on the tour right here.

All you need is a valid ID and you’ll be all set to learn…

Three fun facts about the united nations at geneva

one day in Geneva itinerary
1) who’s in the united nations? UNO WHO

There is one question I can guarantee your tour guide will ask you on your tour, and that is “How many member states are in the United Nations.” I’m going to help you cheat because I like you, and I have no scruples. As of the year 2022, there are 193 member states

But don’t forget the trick to this question! The United Nations also has two observer states that aren’t official member countries. I correctly guessed that one was The Vatican, but I couldn’t figure out the second. (It’s Palestine. If you think I’m getting into Palestine’s international status on this blog, you are insane. I would be answering angry emails for years.)

one day in Geneva itinerary
2) what’s up with the logo?

So one half of the United Nations’ logo is pretty obvious. The olive branch symbolizes peace. But what is going on with that weird map? Our guide said that it’s meant to show the perspective of the world from the North Pole. This is so none of the United Nations member states feel left out.

It’s a hard job making sure all the member states feel included. One of the sticking points can be language. The United Nations has six official languages. Our group guessed all of them fairly quickly: English, Russian, French, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic.

I asked if this meant a diplomat from a country that doesn’t speak one of those languages, like Japan or Brazil, would have to speak one. The guide said ideally yes.

I already speak two of the official member languages, and I also know some Japanese. Now I have a new master plan. First I become fluent in Japanese. Then I move to Japan and become a Japanese diplomat. Next I become the Japanese representative to the United Nations. And last, I rule the world!

one day in Geneva itinerary
3) ack! what is this?

You wouldn’t think a ceiling could be this controversial. But you also wouldn’t think the United Nations would have a ceiling that looks like it’s covered in Martian mold, and you would be wrong there.

This ceiling was created by a Spanish abstract artist for one of the United Nations’ meeting rooms. Also it cost 23 million dollars. Our guide says it was paid for by the United Arab Emirates. That seems like a recipe for corruption for me, but what do I know about international diplomacy?

one day in Geneva itinerary

One Day in Geneva Itinerary

Afternoon: International Geneva Tour

The Palais des Nations is the most famous diplomatic building in Geneva, but it’s certainly not the only one. The whole neighborhood surrounding UNOG is full of buildings of diplomatic interest. Fortunately, there is a pay what you wish tour of the International Geneva. 

It’s done by the same tour company I used for the Heart of Geneva tour. I give you my same disclaimer: Free tours are NOT free. The guide usually has to pay a small fee to the tour company for each person who takes the tour.

So if you don’t give the guide a tip, they will actually lose money! If you don’t want your guide to lose money, tip them well. I usually tip 20 euros/dollars.

And with that caveat, I present to you…

Approximately top 5: international geneva edition

one day in Geneva itinerary
1) Lunch at Eric Emery

There will be plenty of time in between the tour and the United Nations visit to get lunch. In general, I think I’m pretty good at finding non-touristic places to eat. Every once in a while I blow it, but by and large my instincts are solid.

I feel especially braggy about this discovery of Eric Emery because there really aren’t a lot of places to get lunch near UNOG. Unlike the UN workers, I can’t eat lunch at their cafeteria. Just be warned that I have no idea if the staff speaks English. I only spoke to them in French.

Eric Emery is noted for their baked goods and salads. As the French say, it was a scorchingly hot day, so I opted for the Two Sauce Salad with chicken and shrimp. The chicken salad was served with a vinaigrette and the shrimp with cocktail sauce. Clever idea! It’s like the dieter’s version of surf and turf.

one day in Geneva itinerary

Because it was so hot, I felt house-made ice cream would be a better option than a pastry. The house-made nut ice cream tasted exactly like someone froze a batch of creamy nut butter. You could tell there were no additives at all.

Also I apologize for the quality of this photo of my ice cream. What was I going for here? Ice cream looks nice in front of a fence? I’m a writer, not a photographer.

one day in Geneva itinerary
2) Broken Chair

Now it’s the time on our One Day in Geneva Itinerary for the tour to start! Our guide was an American, so I’ll call her Betsy. Betsy started us off in front of this bit of propaganda known as the Broken Chair.

Don’t worry because it was propaganda in support of an anti-landmine treaty that had been in front of the United Nations. I hope opposing landmines is something all readers of my blog can get behind. If you get closer to the chair, the connection between it and landmines becomes clearer.

one day in geneva itinerary

I found this quite moving, although apparently not everyone did because many countries didn’t sign the anti-landmine treaty. I find that very depressing. If the UN can’t get everyone to agree on opposing landmines, what can they get us all to agree on?

one day in geneva itinerary
3) Musee Ariana

This museum, which obviously you can’t visit during the tour, is dedicated to glass and ceramics. It is called the Musee Ariana because the founder, one Gustave Revilliod, named it after his mother. That is so sweet! If I have a son, he definitely has to name a museum after me. 

Gustave Revilliod seems like a pretty cool guy because he donated both the museum and the surrounding park to Geneva after his death. He had three conditions. The first was that the park had to be open to the public. (Reasonable.) Second, he had to be buried in the park. (Creepy.) And last, peacocks always had to be kept in the park. (AMAZING!) I feel like Revilliod and I could have been good friends.

one day in geneva itinerary
4) Maison de la Paix

Since ideally the International Quarter of Geneva is all about doing good, let me show you one of the greenest buildings in Switzerland. The Maison de la Paix is the headquarters of Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, but that’s not important right now. What is important is that this building is powered almost entirely by solar energy.

Because of the “petal shape” of the sections of the building and the special shades it is equipped with, it is able to use natural sunshine to light and heat the building. Maybe if my apartment building were shaped like a petal I wouldn’t always have to call 311 on my landlord for turning my heat off for no reason. Let’s all live like the Swiss!

one day in geneva itinerary

The United Nations is far from the only diplomatic organization that operates in Geneva. You can see the headquarters of the World Health Organization in the distance here.

If you thought I included this for any other reason except to make a Clue reference, then UNO know WHO I am, Internet Stranger! I live for my 80s film references!
6) Palais Wilson

The Palais Wilson was the original headquarters of the League of Nations before the United Nations. It was named after President Woodrow Wilson, which makes sense because the League of Nations was his baby.

At first, I was upset when I heard the name “Palais Wilson” because presidents aren’t supposed to have palaces or titles. I was really relieved to learn Wilson hadn’t secretly been crowned King of Switzerland. He was kind of a megalomaniac, so you never know.

one day in geneva itinerary
7) mouettes across lake geneva

Once the tour was over, Betsy helpfully showed me how to take a little pleasure cruise across Lake Geneva. There are yellow water taxis called mouettes that ferry you from one side to the other for only a few CHF!

It is truly a miracle to find something that cheap in Geneva! I assume it’s thanks to Gustave Revilliod and his peacocks somehow.

one day in geneva itinerary

One Day in Geneva Itinerary

Late Afternoon: Parc de la Grange

As I’ve said an embarrassing number of times on this blog, I believe the time between the hours of 5 and 7 should be reserved for rest and relaxation. And what better way to get some Swiss R and R on our One Day in Geneva Itinerary than in this stunning park! It has amazing flowers.

One Day in Geneva Itinerary

It has what appears to be a deconstructed gazebo.

one day in geneva itinerary

The park also has a fountain that seems to be broken. I can’t be sure because I’m not a fountain expert.

one day in geneva itinerary

For some reason, there’s a cast-iron white balcony and a very heavy-looking vase.

one day in geneva itinerary

None of that seems practical for a park. They must have very different children in Switzerland than we do in NYC if this is the sort of thing they like to play with.

Best of all, the park is free! And it only cost two CHF to get here! Oh happy day!

One Day in Geneva Itinerary

one day in geneva itinerary

Evening: Hamburger and a Concert

I’ve spent a lot of time complaining about how expensive things are in Switzerland, so I’m happy to report good news. We’ve got a very budget-friendly evening ahead. First, let’s get dinner.

Inglewood is a local chain that serves delicious and creative hamburgers for a reasonable price (for Switzerland). “Big deal,” you might be thinking. Every city has fancy hamburgers nowadays. How true, Internet Stranger! But Inglewood puts its own special Swiss twists on the burgers.

I started with a local red ale called La Sorciere from La Brasserie des Murailles. La Sorciere translates to “The Witch”. I don’t know what’s so witchy about it, but I always like to support craft breweries. And I didn’t even know there was craft beer in Geneva. But I guess craft beer and glamburgers are everywhere now.

one day in geneva itinerary
24 hour treat: raclette burger

The burger was the best part of my meal for one simple reason: it was topped with raclette. Raclette, for those who have not had the pleasure, is a Swiss cheese made to be melted and served with potatoes, meat, and pickles. There is no better cheese to put on top of a hamburger. The Swiss win at cheeseburgers.

one day in geneva itinerary
24 hour treat: toblerone chocolate mousse

What else can I even say that would add to just hearing the name of this dish. Once you hear the beauteous phrase “toblerone chocolate mousse” you think, “Why hasn’t humanity been doing this for centuries?” If you’ve ever wondered, “How can I follow up a raclette cheeseburger?” this dessert is certainly the answer.

one day in geneva itinerary
24 hour treasure: musiques en ete

This part is only applicable if you are in Geneva in July or August. During those months, Parc de la Grange has a free summer concert series most evenings called Musiques en Ete. Put the words “free” and “Switzerland” in the same sentence and I am there.

Just be aware, you might be surprised by the concert. The group I went to see was billed as a “jazz” group but they sounded much more like R&B musicians to me. Are R&B and jazz the same thing in Switzerland?

Well, whatever the genre, there’s no better way to peace out of Geneva than with some lovely music in a gorgeous park.

One Day in Geneva Itinerary

What to Pack?

  • A cell charger so you can keep your cell phone charged for a full one day in Geneva itinerary.
  • The best travel adapter so you will be able to use American/Australian/British devices in Swiss electrical outlets during your one day in Geneva itinerary.
  • My favorite guidebook to Switzerland.
  • The most reliable travel umbrella that is small enough to fit in my purse, but strong enough to stand up to powerful winds.
  • These great TSA approved clear toiletries bags, so I can always keep spare toothpaste and travel sized toiletries in any carry-on.
  • My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you how travel can take you on a journey of self-discovery.
one day in geneva itinerary

One Day in Geneva Itinerary

How to Get There

Now, I wish I knew where you lived, Internet Stranger, because I could send you a box of Toblerones. But sadly, I do not, and so I can’t tell you exactly how to get from your home to your one day in Geneva itinerary.

But I can tell you that you can use a lovely airplane to get from my hometown NYC to Geneva, and I recommend Expedia for the best way to find the cheapest flight to Geneva at the best time of day. I couldn’t find a direct flight from NYC to Geneva, but it is easy to get a flight that only has one stop in a city like Lisbon or London.

You can even use Expedia to rent a car so you’ll be all set when you arrive at your destination. (I can’t drive, but if you can, this must be helpful.)

Just click here to start looking for the best possible deals on your flight, so you can head out to the one day in Geneva itinerary ASAP.

one day in geneva itinerary

That’s a Perfect One Day in Geneva Itinerary

What would you do on a One Day in Geneva Itinerary? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Geneva right now? What’s your favorite quote from the movie Clue? (If you haven’t seen Clue, you’re not allowed to read my blog.) And is 23 million dollars too much to pay for a ceiling? Please email me at and let me know!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have a One Day in Geneva Itinerary. If you want another One Day in Geneva Itinerary, try this itinerary!

1 Perfect One Day in Geneva Itinerary 1
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