Manor is a huge department store near Cornavin. It has a wonderful food department - akin to M&S or higher quality. The entire floor is taken up with deli counters and wonderful fresh food.
The bakery section is particularly good and you can also watch them make enormous ciabatta sandwiches (1m x 2m) that they then cut up, or roll out croissants to bake on the premises.
If you also go upstairs there is a wonderful cafe/restaurant in a self-service canteen style which is a great place to have breakfast (try the Birchermeusli), lunch (the fried fish is yummy) or tea (coffee and cakes...mmmm). The food is all prepared in front of you, and often cooked for you, but the price is very reasonable, and if you are lucky you can get a seat with a great view across the rooftops to the Saleve.
And then you can do shopping on three more floors filled with everything from beauty products and clothes to electrical items.
Rue de Chantepoulet
I spent a very hot weekend in Geneva recently and found the perfect cure to the heat - Les bains des Paquis is a city beach on the shores of Lac Leman. Entry is two CHF for unlimited time. In addition to the pebble beach and the lake, there is a restaurant (which serves an excellent salade Greque), a hammam with massage services and a games area.
Sounds tacky? I thought it would be, but it wasn't! Swimming in the lake in the height of the summer with city views all around, the jet d'eau in the background and the snow-capped mountains in the distance is really something else.
It's on the same side of Lac Leman as the Cornavin station. Walk down to the Quai Mont Blanc and head left (towards the parc mon repos), the bains des Paquis are clear signposted and are accessed via a bridge.
If you plan to travel using Swiss trains (and I would recommend this) then you could consider buying something called a 'halb-tax' before you purchase any tickets.
It costs around 200chf (that might be a year or so out of date) but once you have it you can purchase train tickets - first or second class - at half price.
So, for example, a trip from Zurich to Milan in first-class would drop from around 300 to 150 chf.
So, if you plan to travel, say, more than three times it pays for itself. I have another tip of a similar nature: Swiss trains are a lot cleaner, newer and better serviced than Italian ones, so if you are travelling from Switzerland to Italy (which is a great journey) then either ask at the ticket counter who is the operator, try to get 'SBB' trains (the Swiss ones) rather than TrenItalia.
Another good operator is CISAlpino which I believe is some kind of joint operation.
Although a touristy town, Grindelwald makes a perfect base for a good week's worth of walking with footpaths in all directions from the town and the ability to do circular routes. The walking can be as demanding as you wish. Needless to say the views are great.
A lido jutting out into the lake. Perfect when Geneva is hot and you are feeling envious of the ducks paddling around - you can join them. Entry is super cheap, there is a good cafe serving substantial salads and terrines and showers/ loos/ changing rooms. There are different sectioned off swimming areas, some deeper, some shallower (and with a pebbly beach for little ones). Super relaxing and quite fun to be bobbing around next to a family of ducks. It's open from early til 8pm and they also have a hammam and massage facilities (but think hammam is currently being refurbished and you definitely need to book for massages).
Quai du Mont-Blanc 30
The best way to spend a hot day in Zurich is lake or river swimming. The state website lists the daily water temperatures and facilities available at each Seebad or Flussbad, and by night many turn into relaxed bars.
When you land at Geneva airport, just before you leave the baggage reclaim area, there is a machine by the door that gives you free travel in Geneva for 90 minutes anywhere in the city.
You have to get it BEFORE you leave baggage reclaim though. Once out the door, turn left in arrivals lounge and go all the way to the end into the Station. Walk in a little way and turn 180 degrees and go up the stairs behind you and come out right at the bus stop and get the number 10 which takes you to Gare Cornavin (the main station in Geneva).
Geneva Airport, in the Baggage Reclaim area just before the doors to leave.
The co-op on Rue du Commerce has sensibly-priced souvenirs for the tourist and of course the obligatory Swiss chocolate. It's also a great place to buy lunch.
Rue du Commerce - a 30 min walk from Cornavin train station
The Jet d'eau is the most famous landmark in Geneva and it's quite impressive as it shoots water to a height of 400ft.
It's better if you walk along the jetty which extends from the port to the fountain itself.
The Jet d'eau is on the Rive Gauche side of Lake Geneva - a 30 min walk from Cornavin train station
If you want to see the UN building then I recommend that you hop onto Tram 13/15 from outside Cornavin train station heading for Nations - aim to get there before 8am as there is practically nobody there at this time and the hordes of tourists don't descend upon Place des Nations until 9.00am.
Don't miss the massive wooden chair - a monument to landmine victims.
Place des Nations
Trams 13 and 15 depart from a stand directly outside Cornavin train station
Tram fare is 3 CHF for a one hour ticket (this is perectly adequate if you only want to see the outside of the UN building and not do the whole tour)
Flying into Geneva, I spent the next ten days on a grand tour of the lake.
After one night in Geneva I hired a touring bike and set off with my tent round the Swiss side of the lake with stops at Nyon, Montreux and Lausanne.
Had some amazing lunches by the ports and decided to get a boat back to Geneva. Then found a company doing tours on the French side of the lake, even up into the Alps, which is still amazing even without the snow.
Each year Basel in Switzerland holds its Fastnacht which is three days of processions, small bands wandering the streets playing piccolos and drums and people in costume reciting stories in cafes. There is a lot of fun and mayhem with a lot of confetti thrown (being Swiss it is cleaned up very quickly.) This year the carnival starts on 14th March it always begins at 4am in the market place. Everywhere is very dark and quiet then at 4am precisely a procession of lanterns comes into the square, the drummers start drumming and the piccolos are played.The square is filled with light and sound. It is magical and a true feast for eyes and ears.
I lived in Basel some years ago and have never forgotten the magic of their carnival.
After a bracking walk along Lake Zurich in winter this is one of the best places to find a warm drink or even a glass of champagne and while away some time. Set in the heart of the old town this Cafe-Conditorei serves an excellent selection teas and coffees, the hot chocolate with cream on top is particularly good. Set on three different levels, each with a distinct feel, with the cafe at the front with an amazing selection of sweet treats on offer and a smart bar at the rear. My favorite place to find a seat is the luxuriously appointed middle level. Gold-gilted chairs with soft velvety cusions, low-beamed ceiling and plush carpet all add to the cosy atmosphere. If you are lucky someone will be playing the piano to help you while away your time.
The last stop on the way back from the Klein Matterhorn, and a great place to be after a hard day on the slopes. There's always a fantastic atmosphere, with live music, and a lively crowd, and a great mix of ages and nationalities. Skiing in is relatively easy, but skiing out again may prove more tricky, especially if you've sampled one of their skis laden with toffee vodka shots!
On Run 50 from Klein Matterhorn
tel. 027 966 35 10
Take the Gornegrat ski train up fom Zermatt (sit on the right for the best views on the way up) and head over to the right towards the village of Findeln. The village is made up of traditionally built huts and has several small restaurants, only accessible on foot or skis which are great for a lunchtime ski bar stop. My favourite is El Paradies which serves excellent, reasonably priced (cheaper than in town) food and drink and has I think the best view of the Matterhorn in the whole of the Zermatt area.
Findeln village, accessible by ski lifts form Zermatt (can get there on foot) The village and restaurant are signposted on the piste.
Google map: tinyurl.com/yjcbk6v
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