Lonely Planet Writer

Why this Swiss city is Europe’s best city break destination

Europeans wondering where they should spend their next weekend away need look no further than the Swiss city of Geneva.

The Old Town during springtime in Geneva, Switzerland. Image by GlobalVision Communication / GlobalFlyCam / Getty Images

The country’s second-largest city was voted Europe’s leading city break destination for the third time in four years at the World Travel Awards 2017 in St. Petersburg. The awards are considered “the Oscars for the tourism industry” and placed Geneva as Europe’s top spot for a short holiday.

Geneva is perhaps best known as home to the headquarters for international organizations like the World Trade Organization and World Health Organization, as well as being home to large branches of the United National and the World Bank. But the slick and beautiful destination is also a vibrant and cultural hot spot for the locals, students and tons of international workers who call it home.

In the running against cities like Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Rome, the Swiss city came out ahead, with Geneva Tourism explaining that it offers high-quality services without facing some of the downsides of mass tourism that are prevalent in other European cities.

The lakeside city also offers visitors a chance to enjoy the shores of Lake Geneva, as well as providing easy access to the Alps. The local tourism board has also created a number of services for travellers, such as free public transport and access to reduced rates on activities with the Geneva Pass.

Also honoured at the World Travel Awards was the notorious Irish prison on Spike Island, which was named Europe’s top tourist attraction.