If you have already been on some of the Eurostar breaks to the more popular destinations such as Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam, or if you just want to try something a little different, then why not visit one of the further flung destinations such as Geneva or Strasbourg? You might need to spend a little longer on your train journey, but you can reach Geneva in around six and a quarter hours, Strasbourg in six; so let’s take a brief look at what you can expect to find when you get there.
Strasbourg is located in Alsace in western France and is just a stone throw from the German border. The city is famous for the Notre Dame Cathedral which is an ornate Gothic building dating back to the 15th century. The tower has 332 steps but the climb is worth it for the spectacular views of the Vosges Mountains and the Black Forest.
There are several museums of fine and decorative arts and architecture and the historic quarter is home to many fine part-timbered buildings dating back to the sixteenth century along with the famous Strasbourg market; several of the best hotels are found there. There is also a river and several canals, watch towers, and bridges including the famous Barrage Vauban, a 17th century multi-story covered weir.
Eating in Strasbourg is always a pleasure, particularly in the famous taverns which are known locally as winstubs. The cuisine is a mix of German and French and includes baeckoffe, sauerkraut, flammekueche and brioche. The town is also very important politically. It is the official home of the European Parliament, the European Council and the Palace of Human Rights.
Geneva is the largest city in French speaking Switzerland and, with a spectacular backdrop of mountains; it lies on the banks of Lake Geneva and the Rhone. Politically it is very important; it is associated with the Geneva Convention, the United Nations and the Red Cross; in fact 25 important international organisations are based there.
Unsurprisingly, given its locations and political importance Geneva is a highly cosmopolitan city. It is known for its cleanliness, sleekness and has excellent green credentials; essentially it is archetypically Swiss. However don’t expect a chap break; the city is notoriously expensive and has many luxury hotels and expensive jewellers; though you can enjoy it on a budget as there are many small family run restaurants, cafes and lodging houses which offer excellent value for money.
Take a walk through the perfectly maintained parks in the city, take a boat trip on the lake, or use it as a base to visit the nearby alps, and if you are looking for some night time enjoyment visit the Carouge quarter which is famous for its night life and old factories remodelled as thriving clubs and bars.