GENEVA, SWITZERLAND. When studying abroad in Europe, a quick getaway to London or Paris is probably what’s on your mind, aside from domestic travel. While these tickets may not be the cheapest, they are always on the radar as the ultimate destinations. However, I hope you at least consider Switzerland, especially Geneva, as a weekend getaway option.

Depending on where you are coming from, plane tickets can be far less expensive than those destined for Zurich and other places that go directly to the Alps. Coming from Spain, our plane tickets cost approximately 80 euros for a round trip, as compared to much higher prices for planes going to Zurich and other locales.

Geneva, though seemingly known just for its flower clock, has much more to offer tourists than just a clock. Take a walk down to the Lac Genéve (Geneva Lake), and you will get to see the famous flower clock, which looks exactly the way it sounds. The boardwalk allows you to look at the whole lake with the snow-capped mountains in the background. For brand shoppers who appreciate luxury (and those, like me, who mostly enjoy window-shopping) some of the best shops are just five minutes walk from the clock.

Lake Geneva, Switzerland, gruyere, tourism

Although weather is a hit or a miss during the winter, the view from Lake Geneva is always promising. | Dani Bennett

As Switzerland is the milk chocolate and cheese capital of the world, thanks to Swiss favorites, such as François-Luis Cailler and Henri Nestlé, it is important to try those goods that Geneva offers.

While it is recommended to get milk chocolate and cheese within the city, a day trip to Gruyères, a small mountain town about an hour and a half from Geneva, is really the best route. A day there allows you to spend your time browsing the Cailler chocolate factory (with taste tests included!) and walking into any of the local cheese fondue spots. My recommendations would be to order both the traditional cheese fondue (exactly what you think it is) and the cheese raclette (a block of cheese that sits underneath a heater and, within minutes, burns to a crispy gooiness). Cheese factories, such as Gruyéres Cheese Factory, can be honky, but this one is particularly informative.

Consult the following when looking at making reservations in Geneva:

Cailler Chocolate Factory

La Gruyére Travel info