24 hours in Geneva

Date

Brian Johnston

Cyclists and cafe bars at the Vieille Ville (Old Town) Geneva, Switzerland.

Cyclists and cafe bars at the Vieille Ville (Old Town) Geneva, Switzerland. Photo: Alamy

$ PENNY-PINCH

One of the world's priciest cities doesn't have to be expensive. Get yourself a couple of croissants ($4) and a day bus ticket (tpg.ch; $9) and check out the Reformation Monument, 140-metre Jet d'Eau fountain and beautiful lake-shore parks. In the old town, learn about Genevese history at Maison Tavel (ville-ge.ch; free), parts of which date from 1303. Then duck into the Museum of Art and History

(ville-ge.ch; free) before enjoying cathedral tower views (saintpierre-geneve.ch; $4). Get the dish of the day at lakeshore Buvette des Bains (buvettedesbains.ch; $13). See the Museum of the Red Cross (redcrossmuseum.ch; $15) and have an early dinner at Manora cafeteria (manor.ch; $20). Sleep at the highly regarded youth hostel (yh-geneva.ch; $35).

TOTAL: $100

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$$ EASY DOES IT

After a breakfast of muesli and baguette at Le Pain Quotidien (lepainquotidien.ch; $25), wander along lakeshore promenades with views to the French Alps, and on through Parc Mon Repos before joining a tour of the Palais des Nations (unog.ch; $13), the United Nations' European headquarters. Nearby Musee Ariana (ville-ge.ch/ariana; free) houses one of Europe's best glass and porcelain collections in a 19th-century villa. Have salad, steak and endless fries at Cafe de Paris (cafe-de-paris.ch; $45). In the afternoon, take to a lake steamer for a cruise to the French mediaeval town of Yvoire (cgn.ch; $60). For dinner, the 1764 Brasserie de l'Hotel de Ville is so old-fashioned it's hip (hdvglozu.ch; $57). Sleep at stylish boutique Hotel Tiffany (hotel-tiffany.ch; $204).

TOTAL: $404

$$$ SPLASH OUT

Have a fine breakfast at cosy Cafe Metropole (cafemetropole.ch; $30) before admiring the splendid Brunswick Memorial and Geneva's old town, where you can enjoy a lake perch at Les Armures (hotel-les-armures.ch; $39). After your morning walk, get around by taxi (taxi-phone.ch; $46). In the afternoon, the Baur Collections (fondation-baur.ch; $11) showcase superb oriental art. Then take in the Patek Philippe Museum's (patekmuseum.com; $10) antique timepieces. At dinnertime, the regional French food at Le Chat-Botte (beau-rivage.ch; $140) is exquisite. For opera and ballet, head to the Grand Theatre (geneveopera.ch; $155 mid-range seats). Stay in style at Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues (fourseasons.com/geneva; $744).

TOTAL: $1175