A Bespoke Guide to Geneva - Summer

The summer is very kind to Switzerland, and the shimmering waters, verdant gardens and fresh Alpine air lend the lakeside city of Geneva an unmistakeable appeal. For those chasing summertime activities, there’s plenty to do. From sailing and jazz festivals to art exhibitions and open-air cinema, navigate the busy summer season with this comprehensive guide to Geneva’s best events.

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Bol d’Or Mirabaud


Launched in 1939, Bol d’Or Mirabaud is the most important inland lake regatta in the world, as well as one of the oldest. Each year more than 500 boats battle it out on a 66.5 nautical-mile course from Geneva to Le Bouveret and back, with great names from Ellen MacArthur to Michel Desjoyeaux having competed in the past. An unmissable event for nautical enthusiasts and visitors, attend for thrills and buckets of sporting spirit.


16th – 18th June 2017


Fête de la Musique


Drifting out of music halls, concert stands and local parks, music is everywhere during the Fête de la Musique. Hosting more than 7,000 musicians and 580 gigs over its three days, there’s an artist to suit every taste and whim. Now in its 26th instalment, highlights of this year’s festival include “Pianists on Stage” and the lively choreography of Dance at the Court.


23rd – 25th June 2017

Various locations across Geneva


Montreux Jazz Festival

AMBIANCE @Montreux Jazz Festival 2016 Copyright Emilien Itim

The grandfather of all European jazz festivals, Montreux has attracted household names in the past, from Led Zeppelin to Eric Clapton. This year is no different, with a line-up that includes the likes of Alt-J and Macy Gray, as well as the explosive notes of Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. Always attracting a cosmopolitan crowd, the 51st festival looks set to put a syncopated spring in everybody’s step.


30th June – 15th July 2017

Various locations across Geneva


Open Air Cinema


There are few more gorgeous locations to watch a film than the park of Perle du Lac. Starting at sunset (which falls at around 9.30pm during the summer), the Open Air Cinema is known for the variety of its screenings, which has included movies like Rocky in the past, as well as a more international oeuvre. So, pull out a deckchair or a rug, set up your picnic and sit back to watch the pictures in a setting you won’t forget.


13th July – 20th August 2017

Parc de La Perle du Lac – Rue de Lausanne, 1202 Geneva


Swiss National Day


An unmissable annual event, 1st August marks the day, over 700 years ago, that three cantons (in what would become Switzerland) signed an alliance to protect one another. Paving the way to the future “Swiss Confederation” in 1848, it’s celebrated in Geneva with parades, paper lanterns, bonfires, folk-music, speeches, yodelling, flag-throwing, wrestling and fireworks.


1st August 2017

Various locations across Geneva including Carouge: www.carouge.ch/fete-nationale-suisse

Fêtes de Genève


Spread over 10 balmy summer days, the Fêtes de Genève is one big excuse to celebrate on the city’s lakeshore as the season hits its peak. Centred around a firework display that launches 30,000 rockets to an hour of uplifting classical music, hundreds of thousands of people visit Geneva during this time to sample its international cuisine and impressive pyrotechnic shows.


3rd – 13th August 2017

Various locations across Geneva


La Bâtie

Swiss Street Band

Named after the local forest from which it sprang, La Bâtie festival keeps the summer spirit alive into September. Playing at venues all over Geneva, most partygoers congregate at the Salle Communale de Plainpalais, which hosts a variety of gigs and performance arts events. This year, it has a new director, Claude Ratzé, who is expected to bring big names to an event that connects participants to their spiritual side.


1st – 16th September 2017

Various locations across Geneva


La Nuit des Bains


Set in Geneva’s Quartier des Bains (hence its name), La Nuit des Bains marks three exceptional evenings of art in Geneva, taking place in March, May and September. Strolling across the neighbourhood, visitors and locals enter galleries, sample wines and observe award ceremonies. Some are hungry for crash-courses in contemporary art, others look to buy, and some just enjoy its relaxed atmosphere.


14th September 2017

Various locations across Geneva


From Concrete to Liquid at the Centre d’Art Contemporain

LRG-SummerGuide-Henri-Chopin-Le-regard-du soleil-credit-Centre-dart-Contemporain

This summer, the Centre d’Art Contemporain sits at the heart of a ground-breaking project that explores the field in which words and images meet. Dedicating several displays to how people think and communicate, artists at the exhibition focus on bringing words back from a digital, liquid domain, and attempt to recover their tangible forms.


31st May – 27th August 2017

Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève – Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers 10, 1205 Geneva 


Art of the Aboriginals at MEG


Examining Australia’s indigenous cultural heritage, MEG’s Art of the Aboriginals exhibition contains everything from boomerangs to engraved pearls. Some of the most popular pieces are the masks, the 20th century paintings (including Jimmy Midjawmidjaw’s painting on bark), and the photography, which includes steely stares and fabulous accoutrements.


19th May 2017 – 7th January 2018

MEG – Boulevard Carl-Vogt 65, CH – 1205 Geneva 


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