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Visiting Geneva

Geneva has become a byword for class and elegance. It's home to prestigious global institutions and luxury brands - this is a city with a refined air, but it knows how to let its hair down, too. Come see how it combines class and cosmopolitanism, with a good serve of natural beauty on the side.

Icelandair offers cheap flights to Geneva from North America for cheese and chocolate binges, mountain panoramas, and lakeside walks and swims.

Before you take a dip in Europe's largest lake, fancy pulling on your swimsuit for a soak in the Blue Lagoon? When you book flights to Geneva with Icelandair you have the opportunity to add a Stopover in Iceland at no additional airfare.

International influence and local inspiration

Many big-name international organizations and global companies are headquartered in Geneva (the United Nations and the Red Cross, for example), and these have helped the city become one of the most multicultural in Europe. People from 190 countries call this livable town home.

Among their good fortune, they get to enjoy mountain vistas and lakeside parks and promenades. Lake Geneva (called Lac Léman in French) is Europe's largest lake, and in summer the locals swim at inviting beaches and pavilions.

The city has a good supply of world-class museums to explore, dedicated to history, art, and local traditions such as watch-making. Plus you can visit some of the high-caliber establishments that reside here, like Palais des Nations (home of the UN) and CERN, a hub for scientific research.

Beyond cheese and chocolate

No surprises: the city's multicultural population eats well. You can track down swanky places where global deals are brokered, lakeside cafes where residents congregate in good weather, and tasty global snacks. One of your best (and cheapest) meals might be a picnic in one of city's fine parks.

Find local flavor in the Old Town on Place du Bourg-de-Four, Geneva's oldest square. Classy and cool cafes and bistros are plentiful in the pretty Carouge neighborhood (billed as the Greenwich Village of Geneva), and Pâquis provides fertile hunting ground for global cuisine and late-night bars.

If you're after traditional local specialties don't go past cheese fondue, or try a smoked sausage known as saucisson vaudois, or pan-fried lake fish. And (do we even need to say it?): Swiss chocolate.

Swiss finery and flea markets

You better believe there are some chic boutiques catering to well-heeled locals and visitors. Signature Swiss souvenirs include jewelry, watches and perfectly packaged chocolate treats.

The glitziest retail area is along the parallel streets of Rue du Rhône and Rue du Marché, where even if the price tags are a little steep, the people-watching won't disappoint. Globus is a high-end department store with a hunger-inducing gourmet food hall worth visiting.

Away from the gloss, things are more down-to-earth at the Plaine de Plainpalais, which holds a big outdoor flea market twice weekly and a farmers market three times a week. The Old Town offers up great antique and art stores, especially along Grand Rue and in its offshoot lane ways.