For the business aviation community, Geneva is synonymous with the annual event we all know as EBACE (European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition). Since EBACE is held every May in Geneva, this is the perfect time to learn more about this global destination. The canton (Switzerland is made up of 26 member states, each referred to as a “canton”) is situated among the Swiss Alps, the Jura Mountains, and Lake Geneva (also called “Lac Leman”). The peak season for visiting anywhere in Switzerland is from July through August for the summer, and December through April for skiing.
Geneva is located in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, so be ready to brush up on some key terms to help start a conversation since only a portion of the canton’s residents know English. The United Nations Office at Geneva, along with meetings like the Geneva Summit, has earned the canton recognition for being a leader in global politics. Geneva International Airport (LSGG) is the main airport serving the area and handles both commercial and private aviation. If you are operating to Geneva during a time that a political event is scheduled, special operating procedures may be in place. In-flight catering arrangements should be made at least 48 hours in advance during peak vacation times, or when a high-profile event is being held.
While spending time in Geneva between flights, there are several locations to visit depending on which outdoor activities you prefer. Lake Geneva, and its landmark Jet d’Eau, is a popular place to enjoy a scenic walk or train ride or spend time sailing. If you are in town during winter, there are hundreds of ski resorts just a short trip away. Aside from EBACE, Geneva has annual events celebrating the unique local history and is also host to other, globally recognized annual events. Fetes de Geneve, International Exhibition of Inventions, l’Escalade, and Fete de la Musique are just a few of the events you can find throughout the year.
Geneva has a long history, and the local historical sites are sure to delight. Among the most highly rated places is the Archeological Site at Saint-Pierre Cathedral. While visiting this site, you will be able to view excavations from as far back as the 1st century. The Palais des Nations is the visitor’s center for the United Nations Office at Geneva. While at the Palais, you will be able to visit several rooms where historical negotiations have been held. Geneva is also home to several museums, including the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, and the Olympic Museum. Make sure to check any museum’s website or give them a call before making plans to visit because they tend to be closed a couple of days a week. Likewise, shopping in Geneva is best when you first check the store hours, as many stores close for a two-hour lunch break, close early on Saturdays, and do not open on Sundays. Geneva has a variety of shops to browse and include specialty items like watches, chocolate, antiques, and clothing boutiques. Switzerland has long been known for unsurpassed quality of watches, and several of the world’s top watchmakers are in Geneva.
Dining in Geneva is a foodie’s paradise, with ten restaurants in the canton having earned stars in the prestigious Michelin rating system. Rasoi by Vineet’s Indian cuisine, Le Chat Botte’s French cuisine, and Le Cigalon’s seafood have earned them all a coveted Michelin star. If you want to dine at these popular establishments, it is best to make reservations as soon as you are able to. For a more casual dining experience, Le Radar de pOche and Le Gruyerien are highly-rated.
When it comes to luxury, Geneva’s hotels raise the bar; Hotel d’Angleterre has even been voted “Best Hotel in the World.” The Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva, the Mandarin Oriental Geneva, and the Eastwest Hotel Geneva are some of the most highly rated accommodations in the area. Hotels in Geneva are known to be costly, so be ready for spending more than you may be used to. Hotel Bel Esperance, Hotel Kipling, and Ibis Geneve Center Nations Hotel all have some of the more economical rates found in Geneva. For a day at the spa, La Reserve Geneve – Hotel and Spa, Spa La Mer in the Hotel President Wilson, and Le Lausanne Palace and Spa all boast a variety of treatments that will leave you feeling rejuvenated.
Geneva is a unique location with a lot of history, upscale dining, and beautiful places to visit. Making sure to plan private aviation catering ahead in advance during peak times, making plans to keep occupied on days that several businesses are closed, and having extra cash to prepare for higher prices will make you able to relax and enjoy your time in Switzerland.
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