Geneva: a true Christmas winter wonderland

Sunday, 9 December 2014 1:18 PM

Geneva, famous as a cultural hub and a centre of international diplomacy, is also the perfect location for a luxurious and festive city break. Read our guide to find out more about Christmas getaways in this part of the world.

All about Geneva's shops

People planning to do their Christmas shopping while taking in some stunning Alpine scenery and European sophistication should look no further than this cosmopolitan Swiss metropolis, which benefits from a stunning lakeside location.

Visitors will find boutiques selling the latest fashions from top designer brands, as well as plenty of stores offering those famous Swiss specialities - watches and chocolates. Despite its relatively small size, Geneva rivals many of Europe's larger destinations for its retail options and window shopping is a popular pastime among residents of the city.

Even if you do not plan to buy anything, spending a few hours browsing the shop fronts on the Rue de la Confederation and Rue du Mont Blanc is a great way to explore central Geneva. As well as the city centre's endless opportunities for retail therapy, Geneva has a number of Christmas markets that can provide ideas for outlandish gifts and last-minute stocking fillers in abundance, including the following...

- Place de la Fusterie

The city's main Christmas market is located at the central Place de la Fusterie, where a collection of wooden chalets are erected to create a charming festive village. Shoppers will find plenty of local arts and crafts, as well as delicious treats such as gingerbread.

Like Geneva itself, the Christmas market here prides itself on its international feel, so expect to find items from all over the world on sale.

- Montreux Christmas Market

The Montreux Christmas Market provides the perfect excuse for visitors to rent a car to explore Geneva on a Christmas break. Montreux, a picturesque town at the foot of the Alps, is located about 90 miles away on the other side of Lake Geneva.

Although best-known for the international jazz festival it stages every summer, the town also hosts a stunning festive market as part of its Christmas celebrations. The market features more than 140 decorated and illuminated chalets set up on the lake quayside, with shoppers encouraged to sample local delicacies and enjoy a mug of mulled wine as they make their way around.

With live music adding to the festive atmosphere, Montreux's Christmas market encourages many holidaymakers to head out of Geneva and spend time exploring the wider area. As well as the delights of Montreux, the city is surrounded by gorgeous Alpine countryside that is perfect for day trips.

Other attractions

Visitors who find they've ticked off every item on their Christmas shopping list with time to spare can relax and take in some of Geneva's other attractions.

The Jet d'Eau, a lakeshore fountain that sends a plume of water 140 metres into the air, is a symbol of the city. This spectacular water feature is visible throughout Geneva, although many people choose to get closer via a boat cruise on the lake or by viewing it from the Bains des Paquis, a popular city centre 'beach'.

Holidaymakers who want to learn more about the city are advised to visit the Old Town, where the famous St Pierre Cathedral is located. People can choose to follow their own route or sign up for one of the many guided tours available. The steep and winding streets of this area contain many historical treasures, and provide a beguiling contrast to Geneva's sleek city centre.

Stop off at one of Geneva's chocolate shops

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If you are looking for a chic holiday with a difference, head to Geneva. Known for its expensive but well designed watches, skiing and gorgeous scenery, the Swiss city is also the perfect place for foodies who like their dishes to be top-notch.

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Geneva is a cultural and refined city in Switzerland that is the perfect place to head to if you like your holidays to be that little bit luxurious. It's fantastic for romantic breaks, holidays with friends and getaways with the family alike.

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For a luxurious getaway that combines fine food and wine with a refined atmosphere and top cultural sights, look no further than Geneva in Switzerland. The city is certainly stylish and makes for the perfect holiday, no matter how short it might be.

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