Length 8.9 km (5.5 miles), terrain: flat with two hills, gain 87 meters
Or shorten it to just 5-km if you leave out the last leg along the leg
Geneva running routes:
Geneva Old Town / Rive Gauche route
Geneva Rive Droite / UN route
For more running routes, see Route List.
|A runner in Parc des Bastions|
NOTE: see the Destinations Tips page for tips about spending your free time in this great town!
The old town is perched up on a hill overlooking the exit of the Rhone River from Lake Geneva (Lac Leman). There is a fairly steep uphill climb to get to the top, but it's really worth it! The town has existed since pre-Roman days, founded by a Celtic tribe, and there are lots of interesting spots to discover.
|Old-town café near the cathedral|
So, if you're ready to discover Geneva's fascinating other half, get yourself to the Jardin Anglais park at the lakefront. This is one of the nicest spots in town, a great place to view the boats going by and to people-watch.
The steamship fleet heads off from several docks all around you, and out in the harbor the huge Jet d'Eau fountain rockets a stream of water into the sky.
In the summers, a big Ferris Wheel lifts visitors up above it all, right next to one of Geneva's landmarks, the immaculately trimmed flower clock. Remember, Geneva is the "City of Time", the headquarters of Swiss watch-making-craftsmanship for centuries.
|The flower clock|
|In Place de Longemalle|
Continue straight ahead, following Rue de la Fontaine uphill, with terraced parks above you on the right side. And of course, you'll go by fountains. In fact, everywhere you go in Geneva you'll find beautiful fountains.
|Cafès at Place Bourg-de-Four|
There are nice galleries and antique shops here, and the cathedral is coming up on the right. So at the first lane to the right, turn there and run straight towards Saint-Pierre cathedral, just a block away.
It's pretty impressive, with various additions from various eras. The oldest parts are over 850 years old.
Turn left and run downhill a bit to come to the front entrance, with its huge portico.
Now turn with your back to the church and run out along Rue Otto Barblan, which ends at the armory in just a block (another great fountain here!).
Now turn left and run past the armory, with its cannon collection in the arcade.
|The armory cannons|
Keep running southwest, along the right side of the town hall and you'll run under a columned gateway and out onto a wide terrace, with a view out over the south side of town. You can see the Alps rising behind the city.
|Along the Promenade de la Treille: great lookout!|
Down below, that other park and the neighborhood behind it is where we'll head next.
So, after taking in the view, turn right and run downhill along the street, passing the 1-kilometer-mark. You'll come to Place de Neuve at the bottom, flanked by a collection of elegant, classical buildings. The biggest one, the Grand Théâtre, is now inside a big tent, undergoing restoration.
|Chess players in the park|
Turn left to run through the park. Along the left side, lining the wall to the outlook is a series of statues for the Protestant pioneers, many of whom spent time in Geneva.
Along the other side, the classical university buildings line your run. Normally, quite a few runners come through here mornings and evenings.
Just before you exit the park, turn right to stay on the walkway within the fence and exit the park on the south side. Now turn left, then right to get onto Rue Saint Léger, running southwestwards.
Follow the street for the next few blocks as it curves to the right. This is the university neighborhood, with some cool hangouts.
Cross the tram tracks at the 2-km-mark, with the Holy Cow gourmet fast-food hamburger restaurant (try it out some evening: their Montreux Jazz and Blues burger is amazing!)
After a block, you come to a big empty square, the Plaine de Plainpalais. This used to be a big swamp, but is now home to Switzerland's biggest flea market every Wednesday and Saturday.
Now just circle the square for a kilometer, running as you please, and come back to this spot again.
Then head back the same way you came, but when you come to the Parc des Bastions, stay on Rue Saint Léger, running along the outside of the park fence, heading towards the hill of the old town, straight ahead.
Stay on Rue Saint Léger as it goes by nice flower plantings at the park gate, then up through an archway into the old town.
|Rue St. Leger, heading up into the Old Town again|
The street ends at Place Franz-Liszt, an elevated spot, with a busy road sunken down in the valley below.
Turn left to run through the Promenade Saint-Antoine square, which lines the roadway below.
Run to the traffic circle ahead, passing the 4-km-mark, then turn left and you'll be back at Place du Bourg-de-Four again.
Now turn right and head downhill again towards the lake, but keep right to stay on Rue Verdaine, to see a bit more of downtown.
When Rue Verdaine ends, turn left till you're back at Place de Longemalle, where you turn right and in a block you'll be back at the flower clock, right at the 5-kilometer-mark.
NOTE: Now you'll have to decide if this is the end of your run or if you want to add another four kilometers and run out along the south shore of the lake.
|Musicians in the Jardin Anglais|
|Along the Rive Gauche docks, with a steamship|
You'll pass a water-taxi dock (ride these to get a great view from the water!) and then the narrow causeway to the Jet d'Eau fountain. You can run out there and take a close look!
After the big Eaux-Vives marina and then the appropriately named Baby Plage (a tiny beach), you continue following the promenade.
|View along the whole lakefront stretch, from the Jardin Anglais|
On this other side of the street, running southwestwards, we can pull into a couple of elegant old parks along the way on the left side.
The first one is Parc des Eaux Vives, a huge park-like property on the sloping hillside, with a tennis club behind the mansion. The house is now used as a hotel. The property is actually private, and not a public park.
The grounds are impressive, so take a loop towards the house, then continue southwestwards through the wall to the next park. This will be the 7-km-mark.
This next one, Parc La Grange, also has a huge mansion, and big trees and a rose garden. But this one is a real public park. Again, loop around near the house and then exit at the lake road again, across from the Baby-Plage.
Now, just head back to the Jardin Anglais, passing the Jet d'Eau at the 8-km-mark.
So, what do you think? Geneva is not a bad town! No wonder it is rated as one of the world's top cities to live in.