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    What's on in Geneva in December 2019

    December is an exciting time of year to visit Geneva. As we gear up for Christmas, there’s a sense of magic in the air with much of the city decorated for the occasion. It’s also a bit of an unusual time of year in the city as it’s when we have one of our major public holidays and historic festivals; something you don’t get with many European cities at this time of year.

    Planning a trip to Geneva this December and wondering what there is to do? Here’s our pick of the top events taking place; from sledging down hills and joining a fun run to enjoying fondue al fresco.


    Top events in Geneva in December 2019:

    1. Ice skating – all month long
    2. Christmas markets – all month long
    3. The fondue bar at Le Refuge – all month long
    4. Sledging – all month long
    5. Geneva Lux – 29th November to 12th January
    6. Escalade Run – 30th November to 1st December
    7. Fête de l’Escalade – 6th to 8th December
    8. Restoration Day – 31st December

    More details on each of the vents:

    1. Ice Skating

    ice skating in geneva city

    • Date: Throughout December
    • Venue: Across the city 

    Whether you’re confident in a pair of boots or are prone to stumbling around a rink, ice skating is the must-do activity in the city this month. You’re spoiled for choice when it comes for where to give it a go with three main rinks dotted around the city.

    Bastions ice rink in Parc des Bastions is the most famous and just an 8-minute walk from Fraser Suites Geneva. It is open all month except for Christmas Day. 

    Salève ice rink at Téléphérique du Salève is a little bit out of town on the Swiss-French border. Usually a prime hiking spot in the summer, winters see part of the area become a small rink which is better suited for young children to use. 

    Carouge, the town just south of the city also has a family-friendly rink. Unless you’re going for the views at Salève, it’s best to stick in the city. 

    2. Christmas markets

    • Date: Throughout December
    • Venue: Across the city 

    We tend to go a little Christmas Market crazy across the city in December with stalls popping up all over the place. Parc des Bastions held its first Christmas market last year and proved to be such a huge success that it’s being brought back for 2019. With it being so close to Fraser Suites Geneva, you can munch on roasted chestnuts, sip some mulled wine, try local food and be back in your room to get warm again in less than 15 minutes. 

    If you have the time, it will take about 90 minutes to get from Fraser Suites to Montreux Christmas market, and it has everything you’d ever want for a Christmas market. Kids can take part in a magic workshop in Elves’ square, while you can grill sausages over an open fire before going to visit Santa.

    3. Fondue Bar at Le Refuge

    • Date: Throughout December
    • Venue: Evening Village

    While it may be a bit too stereotypical to suggest getting fondue while you’re here visiting, there are some unique opportunities that shouldn’t be passed on. One such example is wintertime at Le Refuge, located within Evening Village.

    During the summer it’s where you’ll find some of the best food stalls set up shop, and you’re always guaranteed a great night out with the club nights held here, but for the last few years, the outdoors bar has had a dedicated cheese fondue bar at hand for hungry ravers and shakers. 

    It’s quite an unusual twist on a tradition but always proves a winner.

    4. Sledging

    • Date: Throughout December
    • Venue: La Capite or Le Parc la Grange

    A bit of a thrill rush for kids big and small, if you luck out and find snowy Geneva waiting for you upon arrival, you’ll soon see plenty of families walking around with sledges. Because we have certain pockets of the city that would be deemed hilly, it makes for ideal sledging conditions. 

    Le Parc La Grange has some very gentle slopes looking out towards the bay, although watch out as the pathway down by the water can be very icy. The banks of La Capite are steeper if you want to go for it in a sledge.

    5. Geneva Lux

    geneva lux

    • Date: 20th November to 13th January
    • Venue: Across the city

    While there are plenty of Christmas lights hung up, there are some special sights around town when you check out Geneva lux. This will be the fifth year in a row several parts of town get light installations created by artists from around the world; helping to add something different to a walk around town. 

    Everything from old gas towers to the sides of houses get neon signs and special light installations. There is a guided art tour you can take on certain dates too. The 2019 dates haven’t been released at the time of writing but more information about getting the tour and each exhibit, as well as a map of their locations, is available on the Geneva Lux Festival website.

    6. Escalade Run

    • Date: 30th November to 1st December
    • Venue: Across the city

    Only in Geneva would we think the start of December is the best time to race through the city. The Escalade race is now a tradition in Geneva, with races opens to all ages. It’s an informal race that’s more about having fun instead of trying to hit a personal best.

    You do have to register to take part in a relevant race for your age group and skill level. You can find out more information on the official Escalade Run website.

    7. Fête de l’Escalade

    Fete_de_lEscalade_geneva

    • Date: 13th to 16th December
    • Venue: Across the city

    A week after the race is when the actual Escalade festival takes place. It’s one of the main celebrations in the calendar that mainly takes place in Old Town with a big parade that retells the story of when the Swiss stopped a French invasion of the city in the early 1600s. With it being so cold as well (who knows why we decided to throw a party in December) revellers will usually have some hot food in the streets and expect to see plenty of mulled wine, which we call vin chaud, being sold. 

    And if you see someone take a cauldron, smash it in front of you and hand over a piece, they’re giving you a piece of marzipan infused chocolate. Replica pots get broken as a tradition.

    8. Restoration Day

    • Date: 31st December
    • Venue: Everywhere

    The last day of the year is a public holiday in Geneva. Celebrating the day when Geneva became a republic in 1813, you’ll find many of the cafes and shops stay closed in the morning and will only open as we prepare to ring in the new year. 

    Where to stay in Geneva in December?

    Fancy coming along to some of the events mentioned in this post, or just looking for somewhere special to stay when planning a trip to Geneva? 

    Stay with us at Fraser Suites Geneva, and you’ll find yourself living it up at unbeatable accommodation in the heart of the city. From the views in premier studio apartments to the amenities that exceed the traditional hotel experience in Geneva, we provide the travel hub you deserve on a city break.

    Check to see our latest offers and see if you can save when you book in advance with Fraser Suites.