Is Geneva in France or Switzerland? Do they speak German or French? These are just a few of the many questions travelers ask before visiting Switzerland’s second-largest city, and I can understand why.
Unlike its neighbors or big brother, Zurich, Geneva has its own vibe — a little Italian and a lot of French — get your French flashcards out, s’il vous plait! The chic town centers around glistening Lake Geneva at the foot of the iconic Alps, inviting visitors to meander through its Old Town, enjoy a meal in bohemian Carouge, and of course catch an iconic photo of its most famous water monument — Jet d’Eau (this was actually a mistake but locals loved it, so they decided to keep it).
I wasn’t sure what we’d be getting into food-wise with Geneva — with its French and Swiss influence, would that mean everything is covered in cheese? Although the love of dairy is strong, there are some fantastic vegan and vegan-friendly spots you must check out! A few of my favorite meals were actually in Geneva.
If you’re planning a trip to this French enclave, have no fear! Get ready to enjoy vegan pastries, junk food, brunch buffets, and much more! This vegan guide to Geneva will help you find every last bit of fantastic vegan food, plus where to stay, what to do, and more! So, get planning!
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Vegan & Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Geneva
Rue des Barques 2, 1207 Genève
Everything is alive at Alive, from the fresh flavors to the gorgeous colors! If I could’ve packaged this charming little café up and brought it home, I absolutely would have — I was in love. The food is drop-dead gorgeous (eat your heart out Insta!), and the staff is terrific. We wandered in on a holiday when almost everything was closed, starving, and because they were one of the few veggie spots open, they were sold out of nearly everything, including gluten-free options. The chef overheard our conversation and offered to prepare something just for me! How often does that happen?
Rue David-Dufour 8, 1205 Geneva
This warm and modern little vegan café outside the tourist haunts invites visitors to see that being kind doesn’t mean bland, boring food. Make sure you carve out some time to start your day with an oat milk latte and a French pastry or maybe a veggie-powered bowl covered in house-made cream and spices — you can’t go wrong! Just note that they are only open for breakfast and lunch. Oh, and gluten-free friends, they have options!
Bd de la Cluse 20, 1205 Genève
Located in the heart of Plainpalais (the neighborhood mentioned in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein!), this eclectic vegan café is only open for dinner during the week and brunch on Sunday — plan ahead! Their menu rotates regularly to feature an array of veggie superstars in new and creative ways, from Lasagna to jackfruit burgers; you won’t be bored. They are also gluten-free friendly.
Rue Ancienne 19, 1227 Carouge
Is there ever enough vegan junk food? I think not! As you’re wandering through the charismatic neighborhood of Carouge, make sure you pop in here to feast on eye-catching burgers with colorful buns, spicy wraps, crispy fries, and of course, their sinful cinnamon rolls and donuts! There are so many finger-licking things to try you might want to consider getting extra for takeaway!
Bd Carl-Vogt 30, 1205 Genève
I am convinced some of the nicest people in Geneva work at Tonic! We wandered here after a long morning of travel, starving, with their vegetarian self-serve buffet calling our name, but it was packed and hard to see what was vegan or gluten-free! Their staff immediately jumped in, pointing out all the vegan options and even letting us order ala carte even though they were running a holiday brunch special. Their buffet was filled with various vegan eats, from fresh and crunchy salads to smooth chocolate mousse. And, to top it off, the meal was really well priced — a huge surprise in Switzerland!
Rue de la Boulangerie 3, 1204 Genève
This sweet little market and café are hidden in the winding cobblestone streets of Old Town — if you’re not looking for it, you’d miss it! I wandered in after their café hours but could still nab some of my favorite Swiss vegan chocolates — super simple ingredients, but absolutely mouthwatering. Aside from sweets, they can whip you up Bircher muesli or loaded toast for breakfast, and hearty salads, bowls, or sandwiches for lunch! The little market also stocks a variety of vegan snacks and locally made Swiss products — don’t miss it.
Rue du Grand-Pré 25, 1202 Genève
The first vegan Vietnamese restaurant in Geneva is whipping up oodles of noodles and house-made meats, all inspired by traditional specialties! Whether you’re craving Pho, crispy Vietnamese egg rolls, or a mushroom omelet, you’ll find it here!
Rue des Eaux-Vives 25, 1207 Genève
This tongue-in-cheek spot does give a fork! The brightly colored and whimsical décor invites diners to check out their lineup of vegan junk food. Whether you “Wanna Taco-Bout-It” with a beer-battered tofu taco or sink your teeth into a “Son of a Bun” (don’t miss Bob’s Cousin — pulled BBQ banana blossom covered in house-made cheese sauce is a creative spin to its meaty counterpart!), you can do it here. There are so many fun things to try; it’s tough not to order one of everything (I am sure they will let you!).
Rue de Lausanne 59, 1201 Genève
This minimalist restaurant is focused on ensuring its vegan dishes are the only thing diners remember! Their veggie-forward menu features a mix of rotating dishes that highlight local ingredients, superfoods, and sustainability practices.
Rue Schaub 11, 1202 Genève
One of the most delightful little one-stop vegan cafes in Geneva! Start the morning with a house-made orange walnut date cake and a latte but also grab stuffed mushrooms, dumplings, and more for lunch! But that’s not all. The little café also has a small market selling a variety of vegan cheeses, organic wines, plant-based milk, and more!
Rue de la Mairie 2, 1207 Genève
No guessing games, difficult-to-pronounce ingredients, or harmful chemicals are being served up at this fast-casual spot. Everything is prepared with their motto, “How food should be,” which is tasty, healthy, and sustainable. The menu features a variety of fresh bowls, salads, wraps, and desserts that are almost all plant-based. The menu is well marked for gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, and spicy items.
Rue des Bains 61, 1205 Genève
Gluten-free friends, don’t miss a stop at this little vegan café! This hip spot serves up some of the best eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a fantastic selection of gluten-free pastries (did you just gasp? I know, we never get pastries!). Start the day with one of their house-made toasts (gluten-free bread is available) piled high with house-made cashew cheese, avocado, and more, or skip to lunch with one of their beautiful bowls or house-made tarts.
Rue de la Ferme 9, 1205 Genève
It might be hard to imagine, but a spot dedicated to vegan cheese in the land of cows does exist! All of their cheeses are nut-based and made with Fairtrade and organic ingredients — their specialty is aged cheeses, don’t miss trying the blue or brie! Aside from savory cheeses, they also create a variety of beautiful cakes and desserts — just one more spot where you will want one of everything!
Vegan Bakeries & Ice Cream in Geneva
A vegan guide to Geneva isn’t complete without ice cream, cake, and chocolate, right?! If your sweet tooth is talking, check out these spots. Also, many of the above restaurants make amazing desserts, don’t forget to save a little room.
Rue de Carouge 26, 1205 Genève
This is the only fully vegan ice cream shop in Geneva! Even if you’re not the biggest ice cream lover, make sure you pop in to give them a little support. First thing, when you walk up to the store, it is a little confusing. On one side is a gift shop and on the other is the ice cream shop — at first, I thought, am I in the wrong spot? Nope, totally correct! Their ice creams are all organic and made without refined sugars. Some are soy-based, while others are entirely raw— I tried one of each and loved them both!
Although this isn’t an actual bakeshop (sigh), they do take orders, so you could plan ahead to enjoy a variety of decadent cupcakes, cream-filled cakes, and more! Everything is vegan, gluten-free, and absolutely stunning! If you’re celebrating something special, don’t miss placing an order for one of these knock-outs.
Multiple locations throughout Geneva
This vegan-friendly gelato shop has a great lineup of vegan sorbets from traditional framboise (strawberry) to limone and basilico (lemon and basil).
Vegan-Friendly Markets in Geneva
If you need some basic staples or just like to peruse the vegan product section (like me!), check out these vegan-friendly markets in Geneva.
Rue des Eaux-Vives 25, 1207 Genève
An organic market in the Eaux-Vives district specializes in various personal care products and food, including gluten-free foods, wine, and supplements.
Rue de la Boulangerie 3, 1204 Genève
I mentioned this spot under the restaurant section, but technically it is a small vegan market too! I don’t expect an expansive array of products, but you can find vegan Swiss chocolates, cheeses, snacks, milk, and more!
Multiple locations throughout Geneva
This Swiss chain is perfect if you want to stock up your rental fridge with fresh fruits, veggies, and vegan alternative products.
How Long Should I Spend in Geneva?
Depending on how jam-packed your itinerary is and what kind of traveler you are, 2 – 3 days in Geneva is an appropriate amount of time to explore the city and maybe add on a day trip.
Ideally, I would spend the first day exploring the Old Town and Lake Geneva, and then on day two, wander through the Plainpalais neighborhood and Carouge (it would be perfect if you could plan to hit those two spots on a Saturday to enjoy the weekend markets). If you have a third day, I would take a day trip to the stunning city of Lausanne (it’s only 40 mins. away by train), Annecy (considered the Venice of the Alps), or check out Chamonix and Mont Blanc.
Where to Stay in Geneva
Check out these spots if you want to be close to the action but not pay an arm and a leg!
Pl. de Cornavin 22, 1201 Genève
We stayed here and would return! If you’re coming from the main train station, the location is ideal — it’s right across the street. To explore the city, it’s just a 10-min. walk to Lake Geneva. The rooms were all recently remodeled as well.
Compare prices on Booking.com | Hotels.com | Expedia
Rue de Berne 26, 1201 Genève
I always like staying at an ibis — they are known for unfussy, minimalist rooms that are perfect for storing your luggage and sleeping! The chain is also focused on eco-friendly and community initiatives, from utilizing produce from their own gardens and reducing food waste wherever possible to making charitable donations to support local and national organizations.
Compare prices on Booking.com | Hotels.com | Expedia
Vegan-Friendly Hotels in Switzerland
There isn’t a vegan hotel just yet in Geneva, but if you plan to explore other areas of Switzerland, check out these vegan spots!
Brissago, Switzerland (On Lake Maggiore)
Relax next to the gorgeous Lake Maggiore! This vegan-friendly hotel offers a daily vegan breakfast, yoga classes, and much more.
Compare prices on Booking.com | Priceline
Pontresina, Switzerland (near Saint Moritz)
This sustainable hotel is near many ski slopes and offers vegan-friendly dining options from Giodi Vegetarian & Co.
Compare prices on Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com
6 Things Not to Miss in Geneva
Whether you’re visiting Geneva in the winter or summer, there is plenty to do and see, but you definitely don’t want to miss these six! Plus I’ve included a bonus day trip!
Wander through Old Town and capture panoramic views from Saint Pierre Cathedral
Geneva’s Old Town was actually one of my favorites in Switzerland! The maze of cobblestone streets with picturesque squares, hidden passageways, and Medieval architecture will instantly make you fall in love.
For panoramic views of the city, head to Saint Pierre Cathedral (Saint Peter’s Cathedral) to climb the towers — it’s only 7 CHF for adults!
Check out charismatic Carouge
It is known as Geneva’s “Little Italy” this bohemian neighborhood looks like it’s been plucked from Italy (what’s really interesting is that it used to be a part of France). It is home to various art galleries, outdoor markets, and boutiques. This is one area of Geneva that I wish I could’ve explored more — if I returned to Geneva, I think I would stay here!
Hike Mont Salève
Mont Salève is Geneva’s own little mountain (technically, it’s a part of France), just 20 km. from the city center. Unfortunately, the cable car which takes visitors to the summit is closed until 2023, but you could still hike it! On average, it will take you just over two hours to hike to the summit, depending on your speed. There are around a dozen hiking trails to choose — from the parking lot, take the path on the left, leading you to multiple trail options.
If you’re into adrenaline sports, a popular activity is to paraglide from Mont Saleve — you won’t catch me doing that!
Barter at the Plainpalais flea market
This is not only the largest flea market in Geneva but also in Switzerland! Every Wednesday and Sunday, the Plaine de Plainpalais is filled with various vendors — books, antiques, clothing, jewelry — just about anything you can imagine!
Even if you’re not into flea market shopping, this is still a fun activity and a great way to see a different side (and neighborhood) of Geneva.
After exploring the market, take a stroll over to the beautiful Bastions Park — there you will find one of the most glamourous cafés I have ever seen. Honestly, I have never seen a café with this many chandeliers (and not in a tacky kind of way). This is a perfect spot to kick back and enjoy an Aperol spritz!
Enjoy beautiful gardens
Geneva is home to Switzerland’s largest botanical garden (Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève)! The gardens are free and home to multiple greenhouses, an herbarium, a conservatory (one of the largest in the world), special exhibits, and more. Even if you’re not really into plants, it’s still a gorgeous place to check out.
After you’ve checked out the gardens, walk along the lake to head back to town, and if it’s hot, you can hop into the lake for free right by La Perle Du Lac.
Bonus idea — day trip from Geneva
If you have extra time in Geneva, you should consider a day trip to Lausanne (40 mins. by train from Geneva, easily accessible on your own), Annecy (Medieval French town known as the Venice of the Alps) or Chamonix and Mont Blanc (the highest mountain in the Alps).
I would choose Chamonix and Mont Blanc for a change of scenery and the opportunity to enjoy views of the Swiss, French, and Italian Alps, but the other two towns are quite stunning! No matter the season, one day in Chamonix or any of these towns would be worthwhile!
How to Get Around Geneva
Coming From The Airport
The easiest way to get to Geneva’s city center from the airport is by train. Multiple trains go from the airport to Geneva’s main train station (Gare Cornavin) every 12 – 15 minutes every day (the trains may be a little less frequent on the weekend, in the early morning, but you can always check the schedule online). The train ride is super quick — around 10 minutes!
The bus (#5 and #10 will take you to Gare Cornavin) is another option; it will take a bit longer, about 20 minutes. No matter if you choose the bus or the train, as long as you’re staying overnight in Geneva, your ticket is included with your stay! Make sure you grab the free 80-minute ticket from a (TPG) vending machine located in baggage claim before you hop on the train. If not, the ticket will cost you about 3 CHF.
Unless you have no choice, you can also take a taxi, but it’s not cheap — it will run you about 35 – 40 CHF for 4 km!
Getting Around Geneva
For the most part, Geneva is accessible by foot, but if you go to Carouge or the United Nations, you will want to hop on the bus or tram. There is an excellent public transit network to get you around the city, and the best part is that it’s all free as long as you’re staying in Geneva! When you check into your hotel, they will give you a transit pass for your stay.
If you’re not staying in Geneva, you will need to purchase a ticket which starts around 2 CHF; another option is to grab a Geneva City Pass, which includes transit and discounts or free admission to over 40 attractions.
More Switzerland Vegan Travel Guides
If you’re exploring more of Switzerland’s mountains, valleys, and cities, be sure not to miss these other vegan travel guides and articles. Just about everything is here to plan your trip!
How to get to Mount Pilatus on your own
Comprehensive vegan guide to Lucerne
The ultimate vegan guide to Zurich
10 spots for vegan food in Zurich that you must try!
The best vegan guide to Bern
Where to stay in Bern, Switzerland