Updated: Jul 25, 2022
Geneva is celebrated as an effortlessly bourgeois city with one of the highest standards of living in the world. Life is expensive here. There’s no doubt about that. But there’s more to this ritzy, diplomatic French-speaking city than melted cheese, fine chocolate and exquisite watches.
Finding Geneva’s hidden gems require genuine curiosity, making friends with locals, treating them to classy cocktails and hoping they’ll give up their secrets. We’ve done all the hard work for you. Get under Geneva’s luxurious skin and explore the city’s best-kept secrets with us. It’s nice to be on the inside!
The hint is in the name: Le Frigo, or “The Fridge”. Look for Bleu Nuit, a chic bistro in the hip district of Plainpalais, serving up locally sourced wines and a small menu of refined, in-season dishes. But that’s not what you’re here for. Upon entering, head straight to the back of the restaurant, open the vintage refrigerator door (yes, seriously) and step inside. You’ve arrived at Geneva’s original speakeasy!
This tiny hidden bar is famed for its creative cocktails, rare whiskeys and artisanal eaux-de-vie. Can’t decide? Rock up to the bar and tell them what you like. The friendly mixology maestro will fashion a bespoke cocktail just for you. Sip, savour and soak up the cool ambience. And enjoy the look of shock on the diners’ faces when you walk out of the fridge.
La Pharmacie EAUXVIVES
La Pharmacie EAUXVIVES is not exactly a secret in Geneva. Nor is it just a retail store that dispenses conventional medicine. Located in the lively Eaux-Vives neighbourhood, this pharmacy has been around for over 30 years and is considered the field expert in natural care and functional medicine. The dark wooden shelves and cabinets showcase an impressive line of herbal remedies in capsules, tinctures, tonics, syrups, elixirs and ointments.
Upstairs in the laboratories, pharmacists, naturopaths and herbalists are busy preparing medical prescriptions and formulating custom herbal treatments for various ailments. Whether you’re here to seek personalised advice, to explore natural ways to a healthier life, or to simply admire the vintage apothecary vibe, expect to wait in line. After all, good things come to those who wait.
The Statue of Frankenstein's Monster
Geneva, a bright city that hides a dark, dirty secret in plain sight. We followed the footsteps of English author Mary Shelley to see how Geneva inspired the story of Frankenstein – arguably the first true science fiction book ever. It led us to Plaine de Plainpalais. A life-size lunging zombie statue of Frankenstein's monster looms over the north-east part of the plaza, erected in memory of the well-loved horror novel written in 1818 when Shelley was just 18 years old.
More than two centuries later, her depiction of Victor Frankenstein, a mad scientist whose unorthodox scientific experiments resulted in the creation and downfall of his eponymous creature, still resonates today, echoing our anxiety and apprehension surrounding the increasing power of modern science and technology.
If you feel the need for some calm & relaxation after a visit to this statue, check out our list of Secret Spots to Meditate and Practice Mindfulness in Geneva, Switzerland.
Flanked by the majestic Alps and considered one of the most international cities in Europe, Geneva is the perfect destination for expats from all corners of the world. In the midst of the city yet hidden away from tourist crowds, and with history seeping through its walls, you will find the vaulted cellars of Les Caves. Built at the end of the 17th century, this converted wine cellar is a beautifully unique setting to elevate the mind and the body.
A refined and atypical place in the heart of Geneva, Les Caves host recurring events several times a month dedicated to the over 25s. You can enjoy good cocktails and succulent dishes prepared by a caterer during the GRAND AFTERWORK DES EAUX-VIVES, one Thursday a month. While a refined but festive and good-natured atmosphere illuminates Les Caves several Saturdays a month. We sway to all types of music during the “ChiƆ” events on Saturday!