Like most cities in health-conscious Switzerland, Geneva has many sports facilities. However, locals often pursue activities outside the city. They're more interested in following their own personal sports programs than they are in spectator sports, except for soccer, which is played in various stadiums. (Matches are announced in the tourist office's monthly "List of Events.")
The big spectator event of the year, the world's most important lake regatta is known as the Bol d'Or and takes place sometime in June (the Swiss National Tourist Office abroad will provide exact dates), attracting approximately 600 sailboats and more than 3,500 competitors. The lake is virtually covered with white sails. It takes 7 hours for the luckiest to sail from one end to the other -- and more than 24 hours for the unluckiest. But participants from all over the world swear it's worth trying.
Biking -- Cyclists consider the Geneva countryside a paradise. What could be better than a ride through forest, vineyard, and cornfield? The most passionate bikers climb Bernex's hill or cross the border into France (bring a passport).
Golf -- The best course is Golf Club de Genève, 7, rte. de la Capite at Cologny (tel. 022/707-48-00), which is an 18-hole course open March to December, Tuesday to Friday 8am to noon and 2 to 6pm. Greens fees are 150F for 18 holes. This is a private course, but it often allows nonmembers to play, preferably those associated with golf courses in their home countries. Always call about admission before heading here, however. There's an on-site pro shop.
Health Club -- Silhouette Health & Fitness, 4, rue Thalberg (tel. 022/732-77-40), is the most comprehensive, best-equipped, and most sociable health club in Geneva. Set very close to the grand hotels (Hôtel de la Paix, Hôtel Beau-Rivage, Le Richemond) of the Right Bank, it welcomes temporary visitors to the city for a fee of 30F, depending on the day of the week and time of day you arrive. Expect everything from aerobics to free weights, with every other kind of health and exercise machine as well. It's open Monday to Friday from 9am to 9pm, and Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm.
Jogging -- In addition to the many trails that have been laid out in the parks, you can also jog along the quays and the lakeshore beaches. The best places for jogging are Parc Bertrand, Parc des Eaux-Vives, and Parc Mon-Repos.
Sailing -- This is the most popular sport in Geneva. In the summer, you'll find kiosks offering sailboats for rent all along the quays.
Skiing -- In winter, the people of Geneva flock to the resorts of the Haute Savoie in France, notably Chamonix and Megève. Each resort is about an hour's drive from Geneva. The smaller, lesser known French resort of Flaine is even closer to Geneva. In Switzerland itself, the place nearest Geneva where there's good skiing is the Glacier of Les Diablerets or the resort of Champéry.
Swimming -- In summer, swimmers usually head for the beaches along the lake. The most popular of these is Geneva Beach (Genève Plage), Port Noir (tel. 022/736-24-82; www.geneve-plage.ch), where you can swim mid-May to mid-September 10am to 8pm for 7F.
Tennis -- Tennis somehow seems more invigorating in the sunshine and sometimes-brisk mountain air near the French Alps. An option for tennis in Geneva is the courts at Tennis Club de Genève, parc des Eaux-Vives (tel. 022/735-53-50; www.tc-geneve.ch).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.