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Top Architectural Sights (Self Guided), Geneva

Geneva has always been very much appreciated by tourists, as it provides a variety of attractions. Everyone, who comes to Geneva is fascinated by its medieval look and the marvelous buildings, which are a mix of French and German influences. Take this walking tour if you are interested in learning more about some of the top architectural wonders of Geneva.
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Top Architectural Sights Map

Guide Name: Top Architectural Sights
Guide Location: Switzerland » Geneva (See other walking tours in Geneva)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Author: john
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Hôtel de Ville
  • Ancien Arsenal
  • Maison Tavel House Museum
  • Cathédrale de St. Pierre
  • Murs des Réformateurs
  • Grand-Théâter
  • Tour de l'Ile
  • The Smurfs Buildings
Hôtel de Ville

1) Hôtel de Ville

The Hotel de Ville serves as Geneva’s Town Hall, and the meeting place for representatives of the Republic and Canton of Geneva. This hotel is also of great historic importance, as here, many historical treaties have been signed. The 16th century architectural design boasts three stories of neoclassical design, with a large courtyard and a paved ramp, enclosed within a square tower.
Ancien Arsenal

2) Ancien Arsenal

The Ancien Arsenal used to be a militarily strategic building in Geneva, due to its use as storage for arms and gun powder. The building’s architecture makes it look like a fortified mansion, with five cannons that are always ready to defend the city. Today, the Old Arsenal building houses the State Archives.
Maison Tavel House Museum

3) Maison Tavel House Museum

The Maison Tavel is considered to be one of the oldest houses in Geneva, and at the same time, a true representation of the medieval architecture from the 11th century. The name Tavel House comes from a rich family in Geneva that rebuilt the building after it had been severely damaged by fire. The House is perfectly complimentary to the urban look of the modern Geneva. Today, the Maison Tavel is a remarkable museum that showcases the history of Geneva.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 11 am - 6 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Cathédrale de St. Pierre

4) Cathédrale de St. Pierre (must see)

The Cathédrale de St. Pierre is probably one of the best-known holy buildings in Geneva. The Cathedral is located in the old part of the city of Geneva, thus making it a must-see attraction. Its history dates back to the 11th century, hence why its architecture combines a mix of Roman, Gothic and Neoclassical styles. The church has also been used by the reformist movement for its daily sermons. Underneath the cathedral there's an interesting archaeological site.

Inside the cathedral one can find an exquisite little chapel with astonishing carved figures and a beautiful organ - Chapel of the Maccabees.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 10am-5:30pm; Sun: 12pm-5:30pm (Oct-May); Mon-Sat: 9am-6:30pm; Sun: 12pm-6:30pm; carillon concert: 5pm; organ concert: 6pm (Jun-Sep)
Free admission. Last entry to the tower: half an hour before Cathedral's closing time.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Murs des Réformateurs

5) Murs des Réformateurs

The Murs des Réformateurs was erected in 1909 in order to pay tribute to the reformist movement and its major figures: Jean Calvin, Théodore de Bèze and Guillaume Farel. The reformation wall is regarded as a religious site since it depicts important periods of time in the evolution of the movement, on its bas-reliefs, as well as different notable personalities that contributed to this movement.
Sight description based on wikipedia

6) Grand-Théâter

The Place Neuve is the area where you'll find the picturesque building of Grand-Théâter, a replica of the Paris Garnier Opera House. This theater is regarded as one of the architectural masterpieces of 19th century Geneva, and is nicely designed in a Neo-Baroque style. As with many other opera houses, the Grand Théâtre de Genève is both a venue and an institution. The venue is a majestic building, towering over Place Neuve, officially opened in 1876, partly destroyed by fire in 1951 and reopened in 1962, after extensive refurbishments, which houses the largest stage in Switzerland. As an institution, it is the largest production and host theatre in French-speaking Switzerland, featuring opera and dance performances, recitals, concerts and, occasionally, theater. During the 17th and early 18th centuries, Geneva was heavily influenced by Calvinist orthodoxy and it was not until the middle 1760s that the city agreed to the building of the Théâtre de Rosimond, Geneva's first opera house. Under the influence of Voltaire opera began to flourish at La Grange aux Etrangers and its successor theatre, the Théâtre de Neuve, both of which were located outside the walls of the city.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Tour de l'Ile

7) Tour de l'Ile

Tour de l'Ile is the remains of a fortified castle from the 14th century, which played an important role in the defense of the city. The tower is located between the banks of the river Rhône, thus the military stationed there were able to watch for enemies that were coming from the North. The Tour de L’Ile counts itself as one of the best amongst the cultural and architectural heritage sites of Geneva.
The Smurfs Buildings

8) The Smurfs Buildings

You'll discover this unusual housing complex with curved walls and surprising colours in the lively Grottes district behind the railway station. Three architects planned and built these residences between1982 and 1984, inspired by the Spanish artist Gaudi. There are reliefed balconies, wrought iron railings and… not a single straight line. The comparison between these buildings and the many-faceted, multicoloured mushroom houses of the blue comic strip characters could not be denied. No wonder the housing complex is called ’The Smurfs’!

Walking Tours in Geneva, Switzerland

Create Your Own Walk in Geneva

Create Your Own Walk in Geneva

Creating your own self-guided walk in Geneva is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Geneva History Museums Tour

Geneva History Museums Tour

Geneva is a magnificent city with a great number of museums that offer a full spectrum of the city’s history. These showcases will enable you to discover the prehistoric Switzerland, and see how the city changed under Roman rule. There are views of medieval Geneva, as well. Take this tour to explore the historical insights of Switzerland and the city of Geneva.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Best Swiss Watch Shops Tour

Best Swiss Watch Shops Tour

Swiss watches are known as the best, when it comes to quality and precision. Some world-famous brands, such as Patek Phillipe, Swatch, Omega and Piaget were designed and masterminded in Geneva. The watch industry in Geneva dates back to the 16th century, and since then, it has developed rapidly and now makes the most desired watches. Take this tour to choose your watch from the best watch shops in...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles
Historical Churches

Historical Churches

Geneva’s spiritual life boasts a great number of religious sites that are of historical and cultural value to the city. The city is also the place where the reformist movement started to grow, having theologian Jean Calvin as its leader. Take this tour, whether you are a keen church goer or simply interested in places of spirituality, and visit the most important religious sites of Geneva.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Geneva Introduction Walk

Geneva Introduction Walk

Geneva is a beautiful city that is worth visiting at any time of the year, as its beauty remains the same throughout the seasons. Mostly known as the city of watches and jewelery making, it has many more attractions to be discovered once you get there. The top landmarks of Geneva include the famous Jet D’eau and the Flower Clock. Take this tour to explore the top landmarks of the city of Geneva.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Tempting Chocolate Shops Tour

Tempting Chocolate Shops Tour

Chocolate started to gain popularity in Switzerland at the beginning of the 16th century, and over the centuries it has developed and became a highly appreciated Swiss commodity all around the world. Almost every city or town in Switzerland has at least one chocolate shop, so Geneva is no exception. Take this tour to taste some of the finest Swiss chocolate in Geneva.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Geneva Art Museums Tour

Geneva Art Museums Tour

Geneva is the home of many interesting and impressive art museums. Some of them are unique in the world. A great part of the valuable collections was donated by passionate Genevian collectors, who have managed to obtain the rarest examples of both antique and contemporary art. Large exhibitions of Fine Arts and Oriental Art are most impressive. Take the following tour to discover the most popular...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles