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Father Christmas also lives in Switzerland

Did you know that you don't need to travel to Lapland to visit Father Christmas? That's one of the things that makes him so magical - he has the gift of being in more than one place at once! From the end of November to 24 December you can also find him in the charming town of Montreux, in Switzerland, just over one hour by train from Geneva Airport (allow a little more if you're travelling by flying sleigh).

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Escapada de fin de semana a Ginebra en ocho claves

Situated at the western tip of Lake Geneva and very near the French border lies the unique city of Geneva. Considered by some to be the land of precision watches, and by others as a leading centre of diplomacy – the seat of the UNO is located here – Geneva has a number of surprises in store which make an escape there worthwhile. Here, then, is a selection of not-to-be-missed venues on your visit to the “capital of peace”.

1. An Enormous Water Jet As a Symbol
The “Jet d’eau” (Jet of Water) is the symbol of Geneva par excellence. It spurts 140 metres into the air and is located at the point where Lake Geneva empties into the river Rhone. You cannot possibly leave the city without having at least caught a glimpse of what is one of the largest fountains in the world.

2.City of Peace
Geneva is known as the “city of peace” as it was there that the League of Nations was founded in 1920. Be sure to go inside the premises of what is the second most important headquarters of the UNO (the main one is in New York), as you will be amazed by the artworks and the history contained within its walls. Just opposite stands a building which houses another important institution also founded here – the Red Cross. Inside you will live out a unique experience as far as humanitarian activity is concerned.

3. Land of Master Watchmakers
Any clock buff knows that Geneva is a major centre of luxury watch production and it is extremely easy to find places associated with watchmaking in the city. First, there are all the shops selling the big brands. Then, there are the clocks in the guise of landmarks around town, notably the “Horloge Fleurie” (Flower Clock), sited in the Englischer Garten (English Garden), which reveals the passage of time through its floral adornment. Also worth seeing is the Passage Malbuisson Clock where figures come out and parade to the sound of music when the clock strikes the hour. Lastly, you can visit the Patek Philippe Museum which showcases the brand’s finest creations.

One option that features most of these elements is the Geneva Watch Tour, a different way of sightseeing the city. The tour highlights the link between watchmaking and the history of Geneva.

4. Calvin’s City
An alternative way of exploring Geneva’s huge historic city is by tracing the footsteps of one of the most illustrious figures of Protestantism, Calvin, who managed to transform the city into a “Protestant Rome” in his time. This exciting journey through history includes a visit to the Calvin Auditorium, St Pierre Cathedral and the Reformation Wall.

5. Lake Geneva – the Paramount Leisure Area
Like any lakeside city, this is one of Geneva’s main leisure precincts, particularly with the arrival of the good weather. You can have a pleasant e-bike ride along the lake shores or take a fun pedalo ride with family or friends on the lake itself. Other options on the lake waters include windsurfing, stand up paddle boarding or hanging out at les Bains des Pâquis, Geneva’s “city beach”, a meeting point in both summer and winter. Whatever you decide on, you’re sure to have fun!

6. A Stiff Shot of Culture
The Quartier des Bains, site of MAMCO (Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain), the Centre d’Art Contemporain and numerous art galleries is a must-visit spot for art lovers. The area also boasts a lively night-life for those seeking to round off their great day of sightseeing in the city.

7. Carouge – Bohemian Geneva
Located just a few kilometres from Geneva and separated from it by the river Arve, Carouge is a small city whose streets are uniquely evocative of the Mediterranean. Its singular appearance was provided by the Dukes of Savoy, who commissioned Italian architects to build the city. In addition to its remarkable architecture, Carouge is renowned for its numerous antique and craft shops and its charming café terraces, and all this just a tram ride from downtown Geneva!

8. Cocktails With a View
A great way to wrap up a long sightseeing day in Geneva is by dropping in on the city’s trendy locales, where the view plays an important role, as do their cocktails and culinary offerings. You could head for the Rooftop 42 terrace, with its highly sophisticated atmosphere, or La Potinière, located in the heart of the English Garden.

Text by Tourism Geneva


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Five destinations to ski and do some sightseeing as well

Escape for a few days to the best ski resorts in Europe and discover some new places while you're there. There's time for everything!

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Electronic And Snow In the Alps

Who says you have to wait for the good weather to enjoy open-air music festivals? One way of having a final fling at the end of your ski season is by treating yourself to one of the festivals hosted on Europe’s summits, where pride of place goes to music and snow. One of these must-attend events is Snowboxx, a festival which brings both elements together and where musical quality, snow sports and entertainment are guaranteed.

This, the fourth edition of Snowboxx will be held from 18 to 25 March on the fantastic pistes of Avoriaz, in the French Alps, some 80 kilometres from Geneva airport. Basement Jaxx, Wilkinson and Hannah Wants are the highlights of this festival, which also features High Contrast, TQD (Royal T, DJ Q & Flava D), Karen Harding, Yousef, Norman Jay MBE, Bicep, Jax Jones, Charlie Tee and Charlie Swift, among others. So, you’re in for a heady shot of electronic music to see out the season of winter festivals.

But, music is not the only leading light of this festival, as it shares the bill with the snow, and everything you can do in (and with) it. 650 skiable kilometres distributed across 283 pistes (27 black, 104 red, 119 blue and 33 green) and 14 valleys, where you can ski or snowboard – a veritable paradise which any skiing or snowboarding enthusiast can explore. And, there’s more, as Avoriaz also has several snowparks which will wow all freestylers. Oh! And if you’re not a dab hand at sliding on snowbound surfaces, you can always join the mass snowfight organised by Snowboxx, or dance in an indoor swimming pool to the background music of some DJ.

Another ingredient of this festival is cuisine, essential for beating the low temperatures and repairing your energy wear and tear. So, don’t hesitate to build up your strength by savouring the local classics, such as raclette and fondue, or warming your hands on a glass of hot wine while you listen to your favourite music.

Avoriaz – A Car-free Area 

One of the unique features of Avoriaz, the ski resort which hosts Snowboxx, is that it is closed to all vehicular traffic. That means you can only get there on foot or by any means of transport purpose-designed for gliding on snow, namely horse-drawn carriages, sleighs or skis. This affords you the luxury of being able to walk from the hotel to the ski runs. For those of you who come by car, there are two parking lots, one open-air and the other covered (both pay facilities), where you can leave your vehicle during your stay.

Avoriaz, which has been operating since 1966, is located in the central area of the group of fourteen ski resorts making up thePortes du Soleil.The different sectors are Arare, Lindaret, Chavanette, Té, Chatel, Intrets, Prodains and Super Morzine.

Book your Vueling to Geneva, which lies 80 kilometres from Avoriaz, and enjoy this magnificent festival of electronic music.

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by Snowboxx

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