11. Geneva, Switzerland

Pretty(ish) in pink

It was always going to be difficult for wherever followed Lucerne to impress as much as that Swiss jewel did, and despite its best efforts, Geneva just didn’t quite hit the mark with me.

Having spent a couple of days there, one gets the impression that Geneva is more interested in bankers and businesses than tourists and travellers, the swathe of fancy hotels and wallet-burning restaurants a constant reminder that this is an expensive city in an expensive country. So expensive, in fact, that Domino’s pizza became my preferred option not because it was an occasional treat, but because it was the cheapest hot meal I could find.

But while the city itself may be overpriced and not as pretty to walk around as some, it does have its highlights.

Wander away from the city centre on a fine spring day, and Lake Geneva contributes towards an enchanting blend of blues and greens, making a stroll along the shoreline a refreshing, if a tad windy, experience.

The colourful theme is extended in its parks, too, including the whites and deep purples of Parc Moynier in spring bloom, and the unexpected pinks of the flamingos strutting their stuff at the Jardin Botanique.

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Despite these spectacles, it’s hard to get away from the price of absolutely everything – from food to hotels to even a single ride on a tram, although the hotel I stayed in helpfully gave me a free pass for the public transport system for the duration of my stay. So unless you’re not concerned about money, I can’t really recommend coming here.

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Geneva offers plenty of ways to unwind, from a friendly game of chess…

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…to some close-up bird spotting in one of its parks.

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