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