The snow is slowly melting and the sun is getting back its bite, so that can only mean one thing… Summer.
If you haven’t experienced a Geneva summer, get ready, it’s hands down my favourite time of year (that could have something to do with the fact I am from Queensland, Australia). We have come up with a few summer suggestions for you, things we thoroughly enjoyed last year and a few things we wished we had known earlier. This is by no means everything, Geneva is a hive of activity in the Summer, so please feel free to share other suggestions with us.
1) Bridge Jumping – Jonction Pontoons
Its safe to say we spent most afternoons post work hanging/picnicking/drinking in and around Jonction last year. Find a cosy space on one of the pontoons, or simply a spot by the lake, and enjoy the summer afternoons. For those a little more adventurous, try bridge jumping (it is also a common sight to see people with bags full of work clothes, jumping into the lake and letting the current take them home). During the day things are much quieter, and it’s a great place to relax and catch some sun. There is also a great bar just next to the bridge, with a street full of outdoor seats, but be careful the mojitos are strong!
2) Bike rides – Hermance and Versoix
One of my first pieces of advice to someone new in Geneva is “get a bike”, it’s by far the easiest way to get around. I love nothing more then packing up my bike basket with delicious market purchases and heading off along the lake (downtown Geneva lake area can be super busy in the summer and sometimes it is nice to head somewhere a little quieter). My favourite spots to cycle, picnic, swim and escape some of the crowds are Hermance and Versoix. If heading to Hermance, take a detour through the vineyards, cycle the back streets (all run parallel to the bus route and are a little quieter car/bus wise) and enjoy the beautiful views of the lake, you’ll be more likely to find a quiet spot to swim and relax along the way. Versoix, the next village along the lake heading towards Lausanne and a personal favourite weekend destination. It’s normally quieter, particularly on Sundays (but go prepared as there is very little open if you get hungry).
Need to buy a bike? Check out below, I have a little bike buying guide
When I first arrived in Geneva, I realised pretty quickly I needed to get my hands on a bike, after months and months of endless searching I finally found my bike, I was looking for a second hand, vintage bike that wasn’t too expensive… Not always easy. Here, I will share some recommendations of bike shops/people selling bikes.
1) The man at the flea markets (Second hand bikes)
I purchased my first bike here and couldn’t have been happier. Normally located on the Remor/Migros side of the markets, you can’t miss him, during the summer he has bikes everywhere (even hanging from the trees sometimes). Bikes vary in price depending on condition, but he normally tinkers on the bike before you take it away (my bike came with new brakes and a little check up before I took it home). He is also one to remember if you need something for your bike, for example I purchased a chain guard and a kick stand from him. As with anything at the markets, you aren’t always guaranteed to find something, but if you want a second hand, cheaper bike then have a look here.
2) Sold – Carouge (Second hand and new bikes)
Sold is a new and second hand sports shop that changes stock depending on the season, in the summer they are full of bikes, both new and second hand. Also great for any bike accessories (baskets, good quality locks etc). Outside you will find most of their second hand bikes all varying in price depending on condition. Sold is also fantastic for any bike additions you may need, they will properly fit your baskets, kick stands, lights, anything. I find sold is my one stop shop when I need something for my bike. Check out their website here.
3) Riikka from The Urban Bike Store (New Jopo bikes)
If you are looking for a new bike with heaps of personality then look no further then Jopo. These Finnish bikes are super cute (I have a red one and I absolutely love it). Riikka stocks everything you will need for your Jopo including bells, baskets and fabulous accessories. Check out their webpage and blog here. Riikka in collaboration with The Square is having a Jopo pop-up store to launch the new Spring colours, check out our Facebook or Twitter for more information and also check out the Urban Bike Store.
4) Genève Roule
In the summer it’s possible to rent bikes from the various Genève Roule “hangers” located all around the city. For a small fee you can borrow a bike for the day and head off anywhere around Geneva and beyond. For more information, pricing and locations check out their website here.
5) Various other bike shops I have stumbled across…
A little list of some other places (selling mainly new bikes) to look at. There are plenty more, but these are just a couple.
Hot Point – http://www.hotpoint.ch/ – Located near the Paquis, Hot Point sell new bikes (road bikes, mountain bikes, fixed-gear), mainly well known brands. Also stock all your bike accessories.
– Bikes to Fold – Bike shop in Carouge selling Brompton Bikes and other folding bikes – http://www.bikes2fold.com/index.html
– BMC (Swiss bike brand) – Bike shop next door to Remor selling BMC Bikes, everyone in the shop is seriously lovely and more then happy to assist with all your BMC bike questions.
6) Other ideas…
– Check out some of the expat forums, normally you can find someone who is moving and is looking to sell their bike.
Very important word of advice… If you have a bike in Geneva, any bike, cheap or not, make sure you have a really good quality lock, bike theft is a big problem here and the inconvenience of having a bike stolen far outweighs the initial cost of a good quality lock.