Ville de Genève


Cultural Trails: Geneva Off the Beaten Track
Sentiers culturels - Ville de Genève
© Trivialmass
Mise à jour: 25.06.2019

Cultural Trails: Geneva Off the Beaten Track

These pages offer an alternative way to discover Geneva, with walks from one museum to another, from one famous book to another, and focus on specific topics like contemporary art or botany. There’s also stuff for kids on the Cultural Trails. Our family-specific editions invite young people to discover the art and culture around them in a fun and original way.

The Cultural Trails devised by the City of Geneva allow you to immerse yourself in the history of a neighbourhood, discover the famous people who have left their mark on these places, stop and take a closer look at a piece of public art you may have never noticed before or simply take a stroll or a bike ride in the fresh air, since the Cultural Trails promote soft mobility.

Tools To Help You With Your Visit

You can organize your visit with the following tools:

Cultural Trails Brochures (in PDF)

Make the most of your walk by listening to the Cultural Trail Audio Guides. You can download them or just listen online directly from the Cultural Trail web pages or on (link) izitravel or (link) iTunes.

Take your Trail with you on your smartphone by downloading the free mobile app from AppStore or Google Play (search terms: Geneva Cultural Trails). The app is full of visuals and information, contains historic photos, keeps you geolocated at all times and allow you to listen to the Cultural Trail Audio Guides.


© R. Gindroz

Trail 1, Museum to museum, Nations

Conservatory and Botanical Gardens – Museum of the Swiss Abroad – International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum – Ariana Museum – The League of Nations Museum – History of Science Museum.

Through parks and gardens, walkers can immerse themselves in the splendour of a district that still evokes the grandeur of times past. Impressive mansions, century-old trees and evidence of the growth of International Geneva line the trail. In the background you can hear the voices of those who built the monuments included on the tour and those of famous people, like the Empress Josephine or Casanova, who graced them with their presence.

© R. Gindroz

Trail 2, Museum to museum,Tranchées

Museum of Art and History – Cabinet d’arts graphiques (prints and drawings) – Baur Foundation, the Museum of Far Eastern Art – Natural History Museum.

It was James Fazy, the father of modern Geneva, who freed the city of the fortified walls that contained in 1849. New districts were formed along the ceinture Fazyiste (Fazyist Belt), of which the Tranchées district was the most residential and most distinguished. In this part of town, the Cultural Trail from museum to museum includes quite a few remarkable late 19th and early 20th century buildings. This affluent district not only attracted many famous residents but also became a cultural nucleus featuring several important museums within a small radius.

Sentier culturel 3 - Plainpalais - Ville de Genève
© B. Glauser

Trail 3, Museum to museum, Plainpalais

Geneva Library - Rath Museum - Museum of the Fire and Rescue Service - The BAC – Contemporary Arts Building (MAMCO; CAC; CPEG; FMAC) - Patek Philippe Museum – MEG - Museum of Ethnography Geneva.

Originally a suburban district used for military purposes and afterwards for market gardening and industry, functioning as an independent municipality from 1800 to 1930, Plainpalais is now a dynamic and bustling working-class district with a high concentration of museums, cultural sites, university institutions and bars and restaurants of all kinds. This Cultural Trail takes you on a walk through the history of one of modern Geneva’s neighbourhoods, which has played, and still plays, a key role in the development of the cultural and intellectual life of the city.

Trail 4, Museum to museum, Old Town

St Peter’s Cathedral Archaeological Site – International Museum of the Reformation – Maison Tavel – Maison Rousseau House of Literature – Zoubov Foundation Museum – Barbier-Mueller Museum

The Old Town is on the top of a hill, the highest point in Geneva, and was occupied and fortified first by the Celtic tribe of the Allobroges and then by the Romans themselves.  In this historic centre of Geneva, you can trace over 2000 years of economic, political and religious development of the city at the end of the lake. This Cultural Trail guides you over the cobblestones of Geneva’s oldest streets, from Cour Saint-Pierre, to the Bourg-de-Four and the Rue des Granges, where we cross paths with Calvin and Rousseau and experience the city’s past and present political life.

Sentier Bibliothèques
© David Wagnières/Ville de Genève

Cutural Trail, Books and Libraries (Coming soon)

Lose yourself in the streets of Geneva, imagined by famous authors like George Eliot,  Paulo Coelho, Joseph Conrad, Milan Kundera and Jorge Luis Borges, to name a few. And if these literary descriptions whet your appetite for more, this Cultural Trail also takes you to the many libraries of which Geneva is rightly proud: research libraries the Municipal Libraries, the Geneva Library and its annexes at the Musée Voltaire, the Music Library and the Centre for Iconography.

Sentier botanique
© Eddy Mottaz

Cultural Trail, Botany

This Cultural Trail tells the story of botany in Geneva. The trail begins in the the Old Town, crosses parks and gardens, with many a story about the great naturalists who laid the foundations for today’s Botanical Gardens and Conservatory, their ideas and discoveries.

Sentiers art contemporain
© Lucas Olivet

Cultural Trail, Contemporary Art

Four outdoor circuits that will make you discover some seventy art works in the City of Geneva. This Cultural Trail’s focus on observing public art and finding out about the history of the various neighbourhoods it crosses makes it perfect   for a family outing, a stroll with friends or just a walk in town on one’s own. The sculptures and other pieces that feature here are representative of various artistic periods and trends (from the 1960s to this day) and are the works of renowned local and international artists.

Go to Cultural Trail, Contemporary Art (Audio Guide)

Cultural Trails, Family

Designed with kids in mind, the Family Trails are a way to spark curiosity and develop creativity. They encourage active participation and cooperation between kids and grown-ups, as they set out together to discover Geneva’s museums and public art.

Print the PDF below and join in the fun adventures of the Family Trails! Enjoy your walk!

© Mirjana Farkas - CHAT&SA

1 District, 4 Museums: A Trail Full of Surprises Around the Right Bank Museums

This booklet becomes a creative game you can play alone or together by filling in the pages with your discoveries as you visit the International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the Ariana Museum, the Science History Museum and the Botanical Gardens and Conservatory. It’s full of fun facts and projects for kids and their friends to do at home, and find out more about what they saw in the museums.

Sentier Famille : art et Nature en ville
© Mirjana Farkas - CHAT&SA

Art and Nature In The City, Shifting Shapes

What is going on in the head of a modern artist? Snaking through the streets, in a zig-zag of artworks, the Shifting Shapes Trail goes from one work of art to another, starting at Promenade de l’Observatoire, then on to Place Sturm and down to Ruelle du Midi and finishes at Place des Florentins.

Designed to spark curiosity and develop creativity, the Family Trails encourage active participation and cooperation between kids and grown-ups. Enjoy your walk!

Go to Cultural Trail / Family/ Art and Nature In The City, Shifting Shapes


Direction et secrétariat du département de la culture et du sport

Route de Malagnou 19
1208 Genève

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