Walking in the footsteps of John Calvin: Geneva's Old Town

Duration: 2h and 30min
Guru: John
Quality Verified Registered on January 27, 2022

I am an American/French expatriate who has lived in Switzerland and France for 50 years. I used to be a flight attendant with Pan American Airways and have traveled the world extensively. I did my doctoral thesis on the famous Reformer in Geneva named John Calvin (1509-1564) and wrote a book titled "A Walking Guide to John Calvin's Geneva" and founded Calvin Tours to allow visitors to discover Geneva's rich history through exciting walking tours.

Show more
  • Free booking and cancellation
    Free payment tour, no set price, booking and cancellation are free

Tour description

Why is the tiny country of Switzerland known around the world for its quality Swiss watches, Swiss chocolates, Swiss army knives, Swiss chesses, Swiss banks, Swiss Francs, Swiss Democracy, and so many other well-known Swiss symbols? 

The answer is: Largely because of one man who lived in Geneva in the 16th Century whose name is John Calvin. He was the Protestant pastor of Geneva’s largest church for 25 years, Saint Peter’s Cathedral, and the one who led the Reformation in Geneva, a movement designed to reform the Catholic church during the 16th Century.  

The 2-hour walking tour of Geneva’s Old Town highlights not only the history and key sites related to John Calvin (1509-1564) but shows the incredible impact this one man had on not only on Switzerland but on the entire world, and reveals why Switzerland is known for the quality products listed above! 


This tour will be unforgettable!

The tour starts on the front steps of Saint Peter’s Cathedral in the heart of the Old Town. The group enters the Cathedral and sits on the ancient benches of the Chapel of the Maccabees for an exciting 20-minute visual historical explanation (with an iPad-Pro) of the Reformation in Geneva allowing the visitor to grasp the historical context of what he will see. Then the walking tour then begins.


The group will first examine key aspects of Saint Peter’s Cathedral and hear what happened in the Cathedral during Calvin’s day which in many ways caused Switzerland to become so famous today for its quality products mentioned above! You will then walk down Calvin’s street, taste the water of Calvin’s fountain; see Calvin’s street light; and ponder the exact spot where Calvin’s house used to stand. From there we will head to the Maison Tavel (the oldest house in Geneva) to see Geneva’s guillotine and a giant model of Geneva dating from 1850. The 16th Century Geneva Cannons are next on the visit, which stand in front of the famous Geneva mosaics depicting the 3 keys events in Geneva’s history. From there, we will stop by the beautiful City Hall (the mayor’s office) and sit on the longest wooden bench in the world (mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records). We will then walk to the famous and imposingReformation Wall where you will receive a thorough explanation of each section. We will end the tour at the Bourg de Four, the most famous city square of Geneva’s Old Town where you might decide to indulge in a delicious cup of Swiss hot chocolate at the end of the tour!  


If you would like to better understand Geneva’s fascinating history you can purchase the book titled A Walking Guide to John Calvin’s Geneva: Following the Footsteps of the Great Reformer written by John Glass, for sale on Amazon. 

Please book your tour today! We look forward to seeing you soon! 

John Glass

Show more
  • Meeting point:
    Cr de Saint-Pierre 9, 1204 Genève, Sw...
    Cr de Saint-Pierre 9, 1204 Genève, Switzerland
    View on map

    I will be standing on the front steps of Saint Peter's Cathedral wearing a Calvin Tours black baseball cap

How much does this tour cost?

Free tours do not have a set price, instead, each person gives the guru at the end of the tour the amount that he or she considers appropriate (these usually range from €10 to $50 depending on satisfaction with the tour).

Tour opinions

10 ratings
By category
5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star
sharon 14 May 2022

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - May 2022
Interesting,informative tour on the Calvanist roots of Geneva. John is a very knowledgeable and charming guide. I recommend this tour to anyone who is interested in knowing the background to Geneva. This is not a general tour of the city.
Efthymios 11 May 2022

Very comprehensive and excellent tour
Daniel 18 Apr 2022

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - Apr 2022
It was a really amazing tour. It was really interesting. We recommend it, if you want to know about Jhon Calvin and the history of Genève protestanism.
Arturbey 17 Apr 2022

Verified booking
Travelled alone - Apr 2022
Une visite très professionnelle avec un bon fond historique, didactique et racontée simplement avec un bon guide sans s'ennuyer avec les chiffres.
Laurent 12 Apr 2022

Unique ! You won't find such a tour elsewhere ! The discovery of history ! Dynamic ! Rich !
Show 10 reviews

Who is this tour for?

Suitable for people with reduced mobility.
Does not accept large group reservations.
Suitable for carrying pets.

What should you know?

Minimum of attendees
A minimum of 5 people is required for the tour.
Additional costs:
The tour does not require the payment of entrance fees or additional expenses.
Free cancellation
If you will not be able to attend the tour, please cancel your booking, otherwise the guide will be waiting for you.
When do you want to go?
Show more
See availability