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A Guide to Geneva
Know Before You Go
- Get the Geneva Pass. You'll get unlimited access to the city's public transport system as well as free entrance to the many museums. A one-day pass costs CHF 26, and you can get a 10% discount if you buy it online.
- Cook your own meals. Eating out at the restaurants will cost you CHF 40 per meal. Save money by buying a week's worth of groceries and making food at your hotel or Airbnb.
- Pack a refillable water bottle. The water is safe to drink in Geneva, and you can top up your bottle instead of buying a new one for CHF 4 each time.
- Go on a free walking tour. It's a great way to get a feel for the city while learning more about its history from a local guide.
- Avoid disappointment by booking your trains early. It's a cheaper way to travel between destinations, and you can lock in better rates by reserving your spot as soon as possible.
- You don't need to tip in Geneva. The bills at restaurants, cafes and hotels are all-inclusive and covers a tip for the staff.
Getting Around Geneva
- Geneva is easily explored on foot and is pedestrian-friendly. You'll be able to explore the city's attractions at your own pace and get in some exercise while wandering past the beautiful streets.
- But if you get tired or you're in a rush, you can make use of the city's extensive public transportation system.
- Take the tram. It's one of the popular ways to get around Geneva. The multiple lines run across the city and stop by most of the top attractions. Fares start at CHF 2, but if you're staying at select hotel, hostels or campsites, you can use the Geneva Transport Card for free and unlimited rides.
- Go on the train. While there aren't many stops in the city centre, it's one of the best ways to get to and from the airport. You can get free tickets at the baggage claim kiosk or fares will cost around CHF 2.80 for trips between the city's suburbs.
- Hop on the bus. If you don't have a Geneva Transport Card, rides start at CHF 2 per person.
- Hail a taxi. You can either hail a driver down the street, go to a taxi stand or request a ride with Uber. Meters start at CHF 6.30 and go up by CHF 7.40 for each additional kilometre. If you're travelling between midnight and 6:00 a.m. you'll also pay a surcharge of CHF 0.60 per kilometre.
- Rent a car. While it's not recommended to drive a car in Geneva due to the high traffic volumes and lack of parking, it's a good option for day trips. If you're planning on hiring one, make sure you have a valid driver's license, and you'll need to be over the age of 21.
When is The Best Time to Visit Geneva?
The best time to visit Geneva is during the summer. From July to August, while it is a peak time to visit, the weather is perfect for outdoor activities. The city also plays host to numerous festivals such as the Lake Parade and the Fetes de Geneve.
If you're planning a trip during this period, don't let the crowds put you off. Book your flights and accommodation well in advance, and you'll lock in better prices, making it a more affordable time to visit.
If you're a winter sports fan, plan your trip between December and April. The city's ski slopes will be in prime condition, and you'll be in time for the Christmas and Easter celebrations.
For budget travellers, visit Geneva between September and November. As the summer crowds start to disperse, the hotels lower their rates, and you'll have an easier time finding airfare deals. But if you want to do a lot of outdoor activities, try stick to the earlier part of the season before the rain becomes more frequent.
May to June is a good middle ground option. The temperatures are still pleasant, and prices for flights and hotels have yet to spike. Rain showers are still frequent during these months, so make sure you bring a raincoat and have back up plans in case any activities get cancelled.
Airports in Geneva
Geneva Airport is the second busiest in Switzerland. It's a hub for Swiss International Airlines and easyJet Switzerland. The airport serves flights to destinations around Europe as well as routes to North America, China and the Middle East.
Getting to and from Geneva Airport
Geneva offers a transportation pass to passengers. You'll be able to use any of the trains, buses, trams and ferry boats for 80 minutes to get to your hotel free of charge. The trains and buses run from 6:00 a.m. to midnight and you'll find the pickup points on the Switzerland side of the airport.
If you'd prefer to use a taxi, you'll find the drivers waiting outside of the arrivals terminal. A trip from the airport usually costs around CHF 40, and you can also use the free WiFi to request a ride with Uber.