Sophisticated, international, and bustling – Lakeside Geneva is an overload of luxury hotels, shopping boutiques, restaurants, and chocolatiers. Don’t be fooled by its utterly flawless exterior; however, Gay Geneva does have an alternative side and a bijou queer scene for those who are willing to dig a little deeper
While Zurich is the undisputed Gay Capital of Switzerland, Gay Geneva has several unique queer bars and cafes worth a visit and some passionate LGBT party series that are must-attend when they occur. Sadly weekenders hopping the train for the raging all-night parties in nearby student-heavy Lausanne somewhat damages the nightlife in Geneva. Lausanne is just considered to be much more fun by locals.
Still, the gay-friendly attitudes that are pervasive in Geneva mean anyone who stays behind is always guaranteed a good time.
Besides the nightlife, cosmopolitan Geneva also boasts a historic old town, gorgeous lake, world-class dining, fabulous accommodation options, and contemporary cultural centers aplenty. Everything you need for a beautiful gay-friendly travel destination. And let us not forget all the gorgeous natural attractions of Switzerland that can be easily reached with the countries famously efficient rail system and a Swiss Rail Card.
A city as in touch with its past as it is looking to the future, we are absolutely obsessed. And for good reason!
The fusion of French and German cultures in Switzerland – with a dash of Italian – have only made things all the more fascinating. In French-speaking Geneva, you will find a squeaky clean city with hidden outdoor beer gardens in the German tradition, wonderfully mixes with fashion, wine, and a preoccupation with sensual pleasures and relaxation take from the French.
Open-minded Geneva has always been a very sexually liberal city, and homosexual activity has been legal here since 1942. Sadly, however, same-sex marriage still alludes Switzerland. For now, queer folk here must make do with inferior civil unions -even if Switzerland was the first country on Earth where gay civil unions were voted in by a public referendum. Full joint adoption and IVF access also remain unavailable in Switzerland though we hope this changes soon.
No matter where your interest lie – culture, nightlife, food, wine, luxury stays, or nature – this culturally vibrant and utterly gorgeous city guarantees you don’t leave disappointed. Even if it is a far cry from the sybaritism of the world’s top gay cities.
Gay Geneva Guide: The Essential Guide To LGBT Travel In Geneva Switzerland
In this article we will cover...
Attractions in Gay Geneva
Being gay doesn’t define which attractions most of us will want to see in any destination, and therefore most queer travelers will want to check out the top things to see in Geneva during the day!
There is a lot to see and do here. Still, we found our favorite memories were lounging at the Lake Geneva beachside on a hot summer day, dancing till dawn surrounded by fabulous queers, or exploring all of the gastronomic delights on offer.
However, if you’re someone who wants to see it all, we have put together a few of our other things to do in Geneva that are sure to keep you busy! Rest assured, Geneva is a very safe and progressive city, and gay travelers here do not need to take any extra precautions regarding public displays of affection.
Top Highlights of Geneva
- Geneva City Tour – Get acquainted with the spectacular sights of Geneva on this introductory sightseeing tour as you cruise around the city with captivating commentary from your knowledgeable guide. Marvel at the distinctive beauty of Jet d’Eau; gaze at the shimmering surface of Lake Geneva, and disembark for a leisurely walking tour around Geneva’s charming Old Town. Climb aboard the city’s quaint mini-train to discover landmarks like St Pierre Cathedral and the Palace of Nations.
- Geneva Pass – Make the most of your time in Geneva with the awesome Geneva Pass, and receive free offers, preferential rates, great discounts, and surprise gifts at over 40 of Geneva’s favorite attractions, including museums, cruises, and guided city tours.
- Hop-On Hop-Off Bus – Discover Geneva via open buses, trolleys, and mini trains. You can visit the new international area, the old town and the beautiful lakeside with this versatile 24-hour transport ticket.
- Annecy – Explore Annecy, the Venice of the Alps, which features an old town area with colorful pedestrian streets and lively markets. In addition to the picturesque center, admire stunning mountain landscapes on this half-day guided excursion from Geneva.
- Arve River Rafting – Enjoy a 3-hour rafting trip near the city of Geneva covering 7-8 kilometers and including six waterfalls and discover Geneva’s surroundings in a fun and unique way! The Arve will allow you to discover whitewater sports in the best conditions and with complete safety under the supervision of a guide. The river is quite easy to navigate, so the trip is suitable for beginners.
- Bains des Pâquis – A trendy place where the inhabitants of Geneva like to find their feet in the water. Built-in 1872, they are located on the Pâquis pier and provide a space for relaxation in the center of Geneva. There is 500m of beach, sauna, spa, and restaurant to enjoy all year round.
- MEG – A free museum providing a fascinating look into human diversity. Over 1,000 objects, remarkable messengers from cultures all over the world, have been selected from the 80,000 items in the MEG’s collections to feature in the permanent display. Alongside this exhibition, a vibrant and daring multidisciplinary program of concerts, workshops, shows, lectures, and visits will make this new outward-looking museum an attractive cultural venue.
- Modern and Contemporary Art Museum – Established in a disused factory, purchased by the City of Geneva, the spaces of the MAMCO are spread over 3,500 m2, thus making it the most significant museum devoted to contemporary art in Switzerland, mainly working with art from since the 1960s.
- Musée d’Art et d’Histoire – One of the largest museums in Switzerland boasting some 650,000 objects, only a fraction of which are revealed over its five floors with collections devoted to applied arts, fine arts, and archeology. Each year, the museum also presents a dozen temporary exhibitions.
- International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent – Established a privileged collaboration with twelve national societies, representative of the diversity of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Active on all continents, these companies provide the Museum with testimonies of their activities: posters, photographs, films, and objects.
- Lausanne Olympic Museu – Take a journey on a bus from Geneva to Lausanne. Discover the famous Olympic museum, and return with a cruise on Lake Geneva, admiring the magnificent landscape of the region and high peaks of the Alps.
- Swiss Travel Pass – Use the Swiss Travel Pass and get access to unlimited rides on trains, boats, buses, and premium panorama trains across the country for 3, 4, 8, or 15 consecutive or non-consecutive days! Once you’re in Switzerland, just present your pass at the station to begin visits to Switzerland’s most popular destinations plus get free access to 500+ museums and galleries and discounts on other means of transportation!
- Chocolate Flavors Walking Tour of Geneva – Taste, indulge, explore, and experience Geneva’s chocolate and culture in a deliciously sweet three-hour walking tour. Join this delicious guided chocolate tour of Geneva to experience one-of-a-kind, award-winning chocolate creations.
- Day Trip to Chamonix and Mont-Blanc – Take a day tour from Geneva to visit the famous mountain resort of Chamonix, at the foot of majestic Mont Blanc. You’ll see the highest mountain peak in Europe and ride the cable car to Aiguille du Midi for spectacular panoramic views.
- Lake Geneva Cruise – Explore Geneva and its stunning lake from a new perspective — directly on the water. Begin your tour from the Pierres du Niton, cruising towards the Pointe à la Bise. Peer at Geneva’s famous Jet d’Eau, the iconic fountain the city is renowned for, Mont-Blanc mountain and the surrounding Alps, as well as famous buildings, such as the UN. Pass by elegantly manicured gardens that line the shores of the lake, as well as the stunning surrounding flora and fauna,
Gay Things To Do In Geneva
- H2O Geneva – A local LGBT+ swimming club with approximately 50 members that was founded in 1997 to promote sport among the LGBTIQ+ community. Whatever your level, H2O Geneva offers you the possibility to practice and develop your swimming skills with professional trainers in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. For newcomers, you get two free training sessions with training on Wednesdays and Fridays, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.
- Livresse Cafe & Bookstore – A committed, feminist, LGBTIQ + space to pick up alternative literature. Each book is carefully chosen and embodies the values they stand for. There is also an excellent café serving light snacks, drinks, great coffee, and more. An original place worthy of a unique visit.
- Lestime – A lesbian/feminist association in Geneva that is open to all women, no matter cis, trans, bisexual, and queer. Lestime offers a reception/ information service every Tuesday through Fridays, with hours listed on their websites. They also organize a diverse assortment of activities for the local lesbian community, including film club nights, aperitifs, activism, meals, conferences, sports, relaxation, and self-care – all listed on their website. Since there are no specific lesbian bars in Geneva, we recommend our gal pals head here to get up-to-the-minute local information or connecting with local lesbians on a dating app.
- Masculin Centre – A beauty clinic that specializes in therapeutic and aesthetic treatments exclusively for men. Offering anything from hand and body care to peels and wax removals, this is their second location after the Lausanne.
- Checkpoint – A local Geneva health center for men who have sex with men. Checkpoint offers a wide range of medical, nursing, psychological, and social service. Medical confidentiality and confidentiality are guaranteed. For travelers, most relevant would be their emergency HIV treatments / PEP consultations if you think you might have put yourself at risk. If possible, it is best to go there with the partner so that you can assess the likelihood that one or the other will be infected with HIV without knowing it. There are also locations in Lausanne, Basel, Bern, and Zurich.
- Substation – A gay sex toy store stocking over 2000 diverse and varied products – so chances are in you are looking for something, they certainly have something to satisfy. The is also a three-story air-conditioned sex club dedicated to various pleasures.
- The Dialogai Center – A Geneva LBGT association that runs a thriving information center and café worthy of a visit. Dialogia provides many essential community services, but more relevant to tourists would likely be their film night, themed parties, or other activities they organize every Sunday, including picnics, hikes, scenic tours, outdoor socials, and more.
- GeneVegas -A free radical collective of queer artists, performers, and event organizers working together to give the Geneva drag scene a platform for expression and meeting. GeneVegas organizes a varied range of multidisciplinary events and evenings in different locations around Geneva – all of which combine mind-blowing performing arts, music, scenography, and exaggerated alter-egos. A deconstruction of gender binaries and a safe space for empowerment, joyfulness, existentialism, and inclusion. If they have an event on, you will not want to miss it!
- Geneva Pride (July) – The biggest annual LGBT event in Geneva that aims to bring the queer community together, to raise awareness of the issues, to end hatred, and to claim equal rights for all. While many parties and gay events take place in the surrounding weeks, the March itself is very much a political event intended to give visibility to any other person who is discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, identity, or gender expression. While not as well attended as Zurich’s Pride, we think it is important to support any march towards equality and the recognition of diversity and to show that hatred and violence can never be tolerated or ignored.
Gay-friendly and Gay Hotels in Geneva Switzerland
Being a very liberal country when it comes to sexuality, almost every hotel and hostel in Geneva can be considered open to LGBT guests.
After all, being gay-friendly is simply about creating an environment of inclusiveness. A space where all people are treated equally, and diversity is welcomed and respected. Elegant design, helpful staff, and excellent value for money never hurt anyone, though! You won’t have to hide your same-sex relationship or sexuality when you check-in at any of these fabulous hotels. Similarly, you certainly would never have to declare it either.
Some hotels in Geneva have been actively courting queer adventurers. Given the popularity of these hotels with gay travelers, we would say their efforts have paid off! First and foremost, these are the hotels we have decided to incorporate in this Gay Geneva guide. With a stay at any of these properties, you can expect to be surrounded by like-minded people, including staff, so you can unwind and savor your trip without any anxieties.
There are no exclusively gay hotels in Geneva. Still, any lodging in the city near the queer nightlife in the city center is destined to have at least a gay guests staying. And being a stumble home from wherever the night takes you is always pretty alluring.
There are also hundreds of other good hotel options in Geneva if you don’t find what you are looking for here. Still, we are convinced the following accommodation options are the best for gay travelers. Whether you want a fun and social hostel, a budget room to crash after a night of partying, or an elegant luxury hotel to sip cocktails and surround yourself with extravagance – Gay Geneva as something for everyone!
- Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva ☆☆☆☆☆ – An opulent luxury hotel that blends a revitalized sense of history with spacious accommodations, fine dining, and more in the very heart of the city. With enchanting views of the lake and the snow-capped Alps in the distance as well as the Old Town, Geneva’s first hotel remains the first choice of sophisticated gay travelers and world statesmen. Come and unwind from your day with a treatment at their excellent rooftop Spa, gorge yourself on Italian gastronomy at Michelin-starred Il Lago before retreating to your Pierre-Yves Rochon–designed room for a good night’s sleep.
- Mandarin Oriental ☆☆☆☆☆ – With a peaceful setting blending breathtaking mountain backdrops with stunning River Rhône vistas, Mandarin Oriental, Geneva is a five-star hotel with classic Swiss charm. Precisely beautiful and elegantly timeless, the 181 elegantly designed rooms and suites enjoy a stylish mix of comfort and luxury – each with views over the garden or river. Not enough? There are four distinguished restaurants onsite, including a happening tapas bar with incredible views, an acclaimed Indian dining experience, and a Parisian-style café – plus a gym and relaxing spa. Combining luxury, style, and unbeatable service, the Mandarin Oriental proposed the perfect city retreat and will always be an unforgettable addition to any trip to Gay Geneva.
- Hotel Rotary Geneva MGallery ☆☆☆☆ – The unique Rotary hotel creates the perfect setting for an exceptionally welcoming retreat where privacy is considered essential – yet right in the very center of Geneva. The spacious rooms feature warm detailings and antique furnishings, and upgraded suites have complimentary minibars and Nespresso machines. There is also an Insta-worthy breakfast buffet on offer daily, regal French restaurant, refined piano bar, and fitness center should you need it.
- Hotel Bristol ☆☆☆☆ – A storied hotel set in an elegant 1850s building facing the quiet Mont Blanc Square and only a few steps away from the lake and the central train station. Each upscale room boasts antique furniture and tasteful design while downstairs, there is an award-winning restaurant, happening piano bar, champagne breakfast buffet, and luxe afternoon tea. Should you need to work out, there is a well-equipt exercise room, plus spa area with sauna and hot tub to relax in.
- Design Hotel f6 ☆☆☆☆ – With a warm and friendly spirit, this contemporary boutique hotel in the heart of Geneva is perfect for business or pleasure, offering rooms that provide a home away from home. With a focus on style and design, every room at Hotel F6 is made with comfort in mind and to ensure a warm and friendly urban atmosphere. There is also a sunny terrace to relax on, an avant-garde lounge-bar to drink in, and a fitness/spa area to detox at after.
- Ibis Styles Geneve Mont Blanc ☆☆☆ – A fully-renovated ibis Styles design hotel that offers some of the most affordable room rates in town. The rooms are warm, welcoming and modern, with a comfortable bed and a practical bathroom, offering everything you need for a great stay – and nothing more. There is also a breakfast buffet and unlimited WIFI access included in the room price.
- Hotel Cristal Design ☆☆☆ – A budget hotel with affordable prices and plenty of natural light thanks to its contemporary architectural design. All rooms boast modern, minimalist furniture while the dining room offers panoramic city views and breakfast at a fee.
- Geneva Hostel ☆☆ – A comfortable hostel for less than the price of any hotel room in town. Exceptionally well located in a quiet area, surrounded by five stars hotels – and very close to the lake and gay bars of Geneva. Clean, safe, and oh-so-affordable, this is one of the most popular options with gay travelers to Geneva looking to save money and make new friends. Included free with your stay is a breakfast buffet, limited parking, and even a local transport card! Should you require it, there is also a restaurant and guest laundry facilities onsite.
Gay Nightlife in Geneva
Geneva isn’t exactly renowned for its unrestrained nightlife that goes until sunrise. Still, in our experience, there was an abundance of possibilities for us to consider as the sun faded away, and the moon began sliding into the sky. Lavish cocktails, unceremonious beers, live performances, and all-night dancing are all possibilities.
Notwithstanding, Geneva does have a restricted variety of explicitly queer venues to coax you out. Most of these spots are petite, friendly, and located near the main station train station – but hard to get too enthusiastic about.
This absence of fabulosity is a symptom of the uncertain times we live in now as gay nightlife appears to be shifting to pop-up performances and queer take-over parties. Yet Geneva’s gay nightlife does not even compare to that of Zurich’s, or even what you would expect for a city of this size, which is somewhat disconcerting. On the positive side – we did unearth a world-class drag bar and one epic local circuit-party style event to liven things up.
For the most part here, gay locals opt for the 45-minute train trip to Lausanne and the profusion of LGBT club nights and extraordinary gay parties that have found a home there.
Those who stay broadly plan their nights around music, DJs, and drink specials rather than the sexual orientation of the crowd. We recognize the freedom to drink and party wherever we want while being our authentic self was hard-won. Still, there is something distinctive about queer spaces and lament their losses, which are a devastating blow to those in our rainbow community who may not feel safe elsewhere…
Plus – who doesn’t want to party the night away surrounded by fierce queers and queens? We are just more fun!
Regardless, after dark adventurers in Geneva should feel safe in most establishments in this open-minded city. So you should feel free to mix, mingle and dip your toes into various venues here (gay, straight, or otherwise) to find which is best for you.
Gay Nightlife In Geneva
- Le Déclic Bar – The oldest gay bar in Geneva faithfully serving the rainbow community since 1988. Today, Le Déclic is still the most popular waterhole for queers here with fun themed nights, Karaoke on Fridays, and gay shenanigans most nights, including drag shows, magicians, and more. There is a full range of over 60 innovative cocktails, but their Sex on the Beach drink was exceptionally divine and had us dreaming of hot nights in Bali and Maspalomas. Expect plenty of Roman columns, plastic palm trees, fairy lights, animal prints, and those horrid wavy mirrors from Ikea. Kitsch-phobics, look away now.
- Nathan Café – A new LGBT bar in Geneva open every day of the year, 365 days a year! Extremely welcoming, this campy spot has delicious drinks, food, and barmen that make you want to stay all night long. There is an eclectic range of weekly events, Happy Hours, and special evenings planned – and listed on their website, but we would go as far as to say there is never a wrong time to drop by.
- Le Phare – An alternative gay bar for queers in Geneva. Tucked into a lively pedestrian street, this is one of the last central areas to resist the homogenizing hand of big-bucks gentrification. We loved the delicious food, strong drinks, and a counter-culture Brooklyn via Berlin vibe perfect for striking up conversations. There is also amiable staff and an intriguing art exhibition room to boot. If you get lost, just look for the scruffy, street art-adorned exterior. Their Enchanté party takes place on the first Saturday of most months, and this is when things really get queer as f#ck!
- La Garçonnière – A world-class drag and cabaret venue that draws you into the magic of transformation, drag comedy, burlesque, and musicals numbers as soon as you cross over the threshold. Let yourself be carried away by these shows full of sensuality, emotions, and passion. Discover different shows and exceptional artists every week, each more talented than the next, so no two nights are ever the same. Located in the center of Geneva, you can bath in the effervescent party spirit as the nightclub comes alive with multiple shows every night. Open Tuesday to Thursday from 21:00 to 05:00 with showtime at 22:30 and 00:30, or Friday & Saturday from 23:00 to 06:00 with showtime at 00:30 and 02:30. On Friday and Saturday, special dinner packages are also on offer.
- 360 Fever – A hetero-friendly dance party night that has been beloved by the local queer community for almost 20 years. 360 Fever takes place at a different location in Geneva every few months with electro/house DJs and performers.
- Fly Wish – Born to give the city of Geneva a new presence within the queer nightlife scene, FlyWish organized fabulous circuit-party style events that are flawless in terms of concept, style, variety, and quality. They are incredibly well-attended with renewed proposals every month, renowned international electronic DJs, and special effects and shows that entice your every sense. Creating the perfect for a simply spectacular and oh-so-sexy night – and placing Flywish on the global circuit party map – their events are not to be missed.
Gay-Friendly Nightlife In Geneva
- La Bretelle – A dimly-lit bar that is has become a bit of a local institution for hip, alternative, artsy types. Small and snug – with a storied history- expect to find photo-covered walls, vintage furniture, and late-night DJs. There are also occasional live music performances.
- La Petite Reine – An alternative bar that offers an eclectic range of cultural showcases, including acoustic concerts, exhibitions, and other unusual activities. There are also DJs later most nights. Particular gay on Tuesdays, by always gay-friendly as you would expect with a name which translates to “The Little Queen.”
- Rooftop°42 – Located in the heart of Geneva, this hip rooftop restaurant-bar offers an exceptional setting with a breathtaking view of the city and lake. As night falls, this becomes the party place where locals gather to dance until 2 am. A unique experience and widely popular – no matter who you love!
- L’Usine – In English, the name means The Factory, which gives you a good idea of the vibes set at Geneva’s most experimental and adventurous nightclub venue. Many of the biggest and craziest parties in Geneva take place here, enticing in the youthful and alternative like moths to a flame. Unlike other pretentious clubs in Geneva with strict dress-codes here, you can relax, be free and let the night take you over.
- L’Aiglon Bar – An old neighborhood bistro opened in 1967. Recently renovated, we love the resulting wonderfully paradoxical mixture of contemporary timelessness. People of all social categories freely mix here – of all tendencies and agendas, creating a relaxed and festive atmosphere where you are free to be who you are.
- Le Verre à Monique – A self-proclaimed speakeasy cocktail bar that makes you forget you are in Geneva as you are transported back in time with its prohibition-era dirty glamour and clandestine excitement vibes. Very gay-popular, but we recommend heading here for the drinks more than anything. Their libations are genuinely inspired, so don’t make the mistake of sticking to mojitos and daiquiris.
Gay Saunas & Cruising Clubs in Geneva
Want to explore the more mischievous side of Geneva…or looking more than just a stiff drink?
Well, you are in luck because Geneva possesses a lively sauna scene, and you are extremely unlikely to finish up dissatisfied (unlike prattling with all those faceless accounts on Grindr and the other hook up apps.). One thing we should remark, however, is the drift towards mixed saunas and swingers nights in Geneva, which may be fitting for some – but have left many gay men frustrated and bewildered.
Sauna culture in Geneva is not as hedonistic as Madrid, Berlin, or Paris but is still is far more mainstream and prevalent than in North America. Most of these pleasure palaces are open until midnight and frequently bustling after work or on the weekends – through Geneva’s exclusively gay cruise/fetish club is open until the early hours of the morning.
We did not encounter any problems as non-French speaking foreigners and found the crowds here very global. Not that anyone should be frequenting bathhouses with the expectations of stimulating dialogue. If you are apprehensive, we advise studying our guide to visiting a gay bathhouse for the first time, which should help set your mind at ease.
- Bains de l’Est – Located just to the east on Geneva downtown, this clean, modern, and bustling sauna has been enabling the wild desires of gay men since 1999. There is a cloakroom, showers, bar, Jacuzzi, and hammam for you to explore as well as a darkroom, private cabins, and gay massage services. The last Saturdays of every month are swinger nights with access only for couples and single women. At the same time, every Tuesday and Friday, it’s mixed, so lesbian/bi/gay/trans/everyone is welcome to come and let all your fantasies come true. Open daily until 1 am or until 4 am on Friday and Saturday nights – this is our favorite gay sauna in Geneva.
- Sauna des Sources – The only genuine swinger’s venue in Geneva intended to be a liberating place for absolutely anyone embracing an alternative sexual lifestyle. Yes, this means Sauna des Sources is permanently mixed. Within, you will find newly refreshed amenities like a dry sauna, hammam, relaxation lounges, and private cabins though there is no bar. Massage services are also on offer. The place is clean but small and draws an older crowd of couples. If you are looking for hot, all-gay fun – this would not be our first choice.
- Sauna les Avanchets – A 100% men’s gay sauna in Geneva, though somewhat annoyingly located 6 kilometers from the city center. Rundown and popular with rent boys. Equipment includes a dry sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, and darkroom/ maze. There is also a XXX film cinema and separate cabins with glory holes.
- Club Duplexx – An alluring spa promoting naturism and naughty fun to everyone over the age of 18. Tolerance, respect, and good humor are mandatory. A paradise for voyeurism and exhibitionism, thanks to the numerous skylights, rooms, and glory holes, with the mood set by electro style and new age music carefully selected to enhance the mood. Spread across two floors, you will find a bar, dry sauna, hammam, Jacuzzi, intimate cabins, erotic swings, group showers, and more.
- Substation – A gay sex toy store stocking over 2000 diverse and varied products – so chances are in you are looking for something, they certainly have something to satisfy. The is also a three-story air-conditioned sex club dedicated to various pleasures
- Cruising Canyon – A discreet and clean 100% gay male sex club in Geneva located in the heart of the city close to the train station. The Cruising Canyon is a 300m2 space of raw, masculinity sanctified for male-on-male carnal pleasure. Inside there is a maze of video booths to investigate, a dark-room and sling – all magnified by a range of hot themed nights including naked, hooded, and kinky fetish. Cruising Canyon lures in a diverse range of guys of different ages, ethnicities, body types, and a mix of locals and tourists.