FREE WALK GENEVA – FREE Guided city walks
by Kelly Marcisz
The best way to learn about any city is from the locals, however, most expats quickly realise that it’s not so easy to meet Swiss people in Geneva! Free Walk Geneva strives to change that and offers tourists and expats the opportunity to discover the city through the eyes of a local.
WHO IS FREE WALK GENEVA?
Free Walk Geneva is part of a bigger non-profit organization Free Walk Switzerland that was started by a small group of friends in Zurich. These free walking tours aim to be informative and entertaining with the convenience of no upfront bookings or payments.
The tours are run on a donation basis, so you get to decide how much the tour was worth. All guides are local volunteers who love their city and enjoy sharing their inside knowledge with you. Free Walk Switzerland has tours operating in most of Switzerland’s major cities, including Zurich, Bern, Lucerne, Basel, Lugano and Lausanne. Zurich and Geneva are the only two cities that have a daily tour (good news for those quiet Sundays in Geneva!)
FREE TOURS IN GENEVA
Free Walk Geneva has two main tours: The Heart of Geneva tour and the International tour.
HEART OF GENEVA
The Heart of Geneva tour meets every day at 11am at Tour de L’llle, Pont de I’Il at Place Bel-Air. The tour lasts between 2 to 2.5 hours and takes you past Place Neuve, the Reformation Wall, St Peter’s Cathedral, ICRC First Headquarters, City Hall, Place du Molard, the Flower Clock and the Jet d’Eau.
The International Geneva tour meets every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 3pm in front of the Broken Chair, Place des Nations. Again the tour lasts between 2 to 2.5 hours and takes tourists to see the United Nations HQ, ICRC Headquarters, World Health Organization, International Organization of Migration, World Trade Organization and more!
The tour guides are very friendly and easy to spot as they have a flag with the Free Walk Geneva logo, so no one gets left behind!
GIVE IT A TRY! – OUR REVIEW
Although I’ve been living in Geneva for seven months and feel quite familiar with the sights of the city, I felt it would be fun to discover a little more as well as brush up on some insider knowledge before my family comes to visit!
The Heart of Geneva tour intrigued me the most as it covered many of my favorite spots.
Alex, was our bubbly tour guide who captivated the big group of tourists who gathered at Place Bel-Air. Born in Geneva, Alex lives in the city and is one of 15 active guides at Free Walk Geneva. The team is diverse with guides from all over the world including Spain, Germany, USA, Canada, England and even Uruguay!
What does Alex love most about Geneva?
After living in the city for 18 years, like most young people, he felt the need to escape the bubble that is Geneva and discover the rest of the world. However, for him Geneva is a city that you really grow to appreciate once you return from travelling – as it is a clean, safe and truly beautiful city with all forms of nature right on its doorstep. (Yes, we couldn’t agree more)
What I loved about the tour is that, although you are taken to sights and monuments you see all the time, Alex could give us unique and interesting insights into these places that we’d otherwise never know.
For example did you know that Geneva has over 30 different parks and that it was home to many famous writers, philosophers and political figures?
I learned about the first feminist in Geneva as well as other famous figures like Henry Dunant.
The tour is a fun mixture of facts, history and interesting gossip that ensures tourists are kept entertained throughout. I would recommend it if you are keen to dig a little deeper into Geneva history and also for expats wanting to impress and entertain their visiting guests.
TOP TIP: Wear comfortable walking shoes, a hat and sunblock in summer. Bring water too! Also remember to bring cash for a donation/tip.
Check out their website for more details on their tours in Geneva and the rest of Switzerland www.freewalk.ch or you can email them firstname.lastname@example.org