8 Best Things to Do in Geneva on a Rainy Day

Would you like to know what to do in Geneva when it rains? Where should you go when nature is the most beautiful thing to experience? The weather can be unpredictable sometimes, especially in spring and summer. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t explore the outdoors when it rains. You can, of course, go outside. Sometimes, however, it is just more comfortable to stay indoors when it is raining so much outside.

Geneva has lots to offer on a rainy day. When it just won’t stop raining, we’ve come up with a few fun ideas for you. The majority of these ideas are indoors, while others involve a mix of indoors and outdoors. Here are some we hope will interest you.

Without further ado, here are eight of the best things to do in Geneva on a rainy day. Here we go:

1. Visit St. Pierre Cathedral and the Old Town

Image of St. Peter’s Cathedral by TouringSwitzerland.com

Located atop a slight hill overlooking Geneva, St. Pierre Cathedral (or Cathédrale Saint-Pierre in French) is one of the most prominent landmarks in the city.​​ Ideally located in the Old Town, it is the ideal place to visit when it rains. John Calvin, a leader of the Protestant Reformation, often preached in this cathedral. John Calvin contributed significantly to the development of theological doctrines later known as Calvinism, including the doctrine of predestination and God’s sovereign authority.

The church was built from 1160 to 1252, and its architecture is a mix of Gothic and Ancient styles. Originally built as a Roman Catholic Cathedral, it has been a Reformed Protestant Church since the 16th century.

The north and south towers are open to the public. Although there are 157 steps leading to the top of its tower, the views that await you are worth it. It offers an excellent view of Geneva. There may be the sound of La Clémence, the most famous bell in the cathedral, which guards it with its prayers and weighs no less than 6 tons. 

The St. Peter’s Cathedral is one of Geneva’s most important landmarks, along with the Jet d’Eau Fountain.

If you would like to read more about St. Pierre Cathedral, you can check out our article here – Discover St. Pierre Cathedral in Geneva, Switzerland.


2. Check Out a Museum or Two in Geneva

Image of Ariana Museum by TouringSwitzerland.com

Museums? You’re right, museums! Museums are great places to visit during a rainy day. Geneva is home to many of them.

Geneva has so many museums. This will be a good choice to visit if you love exploring historical things and moments. Discover Geneva’s history at the historic Maison Tavel. Maison Tavel stands out as an iconic example of medieval civil architecture in Switzerland. The building was destroyed by fire in 1334. Afterward, the Tavel family, a noble Genevan family, reconstructed the house into an urban palace. In 1963, the City of Geneva acquired the house. The house was converted into a museum in 1986. Its six floors illustrate various aspects of Geneva’s daily life as well as the city’s urban development.

Another interesting museum is the International Museum of the Reformation. Artifacts, paintings, and documents tracing the Reformation are on display in this 18th-century mansion. (Author’s Note: It is undergoing renovations at the moment.)

Learn about art at the Ariana Museum, also known as the Musée Suisse de la Céramique et du Verre. About 28,000 objects date back about 1,200 years and are devoted to ceramics and glass art. You will see the historical, geographical, artistic, and technological diversity of glass and ceramic production in the last century here.

When you want to find out what is new in Geneva art, MAMCO is the place to go. It occupies an old factory building with 3000 m2 of exhibition space, making it Switzerland’s largest contemporary art museum. Christian Bernard directed the museum from 1994 to 2015. Lionel Bovier took over in 2016.

Enjoy the history of watchmaking at the Patek Philippe Museum. Over five centuries of watchmaking history are displayed in the museum, situated in a completely restored Art Deco building in Geneva’s Plainpalais neighborhood. This museum displays an extraordinary antique collection dating back to the 16th century. Additionally, it displays the Patek Philippe collection from 1839 onwards. This museum is a testament to the legacy of Patek Philippe’s genius.

Another museum worth visiting is the International Museum of the Red Cross.


3. Take a Tour of the Palais Des Nations (UN Geneva)

Image of UN Geneva by TouringSwitzerland.com

Visiting the United Nations facility in Geneva is also a good idea on a rainy day.

Located in the historic Palais des Nations, this United Nations facility is the second-largest in the world after United Nations Headquarters in New York. The building was constructed between 1929 and 1938 to serve as the headquarters of the League of Nations. Since 1946, it has been the home of the United Nations Office in Geneva.

The building is located in Geneva’s Ariana Park, a beautiful example of twentieth-century architecture. The public tour lasts for approximately 1 to 2 hours. Admission is reasonably priced.


4. Discover the Archaeological Site of Geneva

Image of Archeological Site in Geneva at St. Peter’s Cathedral from wikimedia

Geneva has a long history of archaeology, and they have preserved all their ancient secrets. 

If you are interested in learning more about ancient Geneva, you should visit St. Peter’s Cathedral’s Archaeological Site. This is one of the most important archeological sites north of the Alps. It is a fascinating place to explore, especially when it is raining outside.

There are remnants of many churches that preceded St. Peter’s Cathedral. The oldest dates from the late 4th century, providing evidence of Geneva’s role in the development of Christianity. Moreover, the excavations have revealed evidence of pre-Christian occupation of the hill, including wells, a grain processing area, a likely ceremonial building, and an Allobrogian tomb.


5. Warm Up With a Coffee at One of Geneva’s Cafes

Image of coffee and Gottlieber wafer in a Swiss Café by Markus Baumeler from Pixabay

If you find yourself experiencing rainy days and feeling cold in Geneva, then you should visit the cafes to keep warm.

You can find homemade hot drinks and pastries at Café Remor. The Ginger Juice at Café Art’s (Rue des Pâquis 17) is legendary. Boreal Coffee Shop, Birdie food & coffee, and Cottage Cafe are also top-rated cafes. 


6. Relax: Go to the Spa or Swim

Image of the Swimming Pool in Les Vernets from wikimedia

An excellent way to relax when it’s raining outside is to soak in the water or go to a spa.

Spend a relaxing day at the Bain-Bleu Hammam & Spa Genève-Plage if you want to relax with water. Bath-Bleu has indoor and outdoor pools, relaxation areas, and steam baths. It is the most sophisticated and tranquil place for you to enjoy spa and water activities.

Geneva is a great place for swimming and water sports thanks to its many public pools, both indoors and outdoors. There are 18 public swimming pools in the canton of Geneva. Thus, you have many choices.  In Varembé and Les Vernets there are two major public swimming pools. 


7. Shop, shop, shop in Geneva        

Image from henry911 from Pixabay

No matter what the weather is like, shopping is one of the world’s most popular activities. You will find a number of famous shopping streets in Geneva if you love to shop. For different items that you can purchase for yourself and your loved ones, you should visit the Rue du Rhône and the Rues Basses.

For a more local feel, there are some small boutiques to choose from. In addition, Geneva is home to some of the most well-known brands in the watch industry, including Patek Philippe, Rolex, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, and Baume & Mercier.


8. Explore the Botanical Garden in Geneva

Image of the Botanical Garden of Geneva from wikimedia

One last thing: if you love plants, you should visit the Geneva botanical garden. Even if it is raining, there are some greenhouses you can visit to remain dry during this wet weather.

You can explore different greenhouses and tropical plants in the botanical garden.