airport, located 2.5 miles from the city. If you have not booked a private
transport with us, you will find that the city center is easily reachable by
public transport: train or bus; taxi or shuttle.
The fastest way from Geneva Airport to downtown is by train but buses are often more convenient. Swiss Railways (SBB / CFF) has a mainline station in the basement of the airport with direct trains to Genève Cornavin Main Train Station.
Trains run in only 6 minutes from the airport to downtown three to five times per hour. The free transportation passes are valid on the journey between the main station and airport (but generally not on any further stretch of mainline train travel).
Note that the station at the airport is Genève-Aéroport station - Cointrin station is a suburban train station some distance from the airport itself.
By bus: Buses are sometimes more convenient (although not as fast as the train) and easier to use when further bus or tram connections are necessary. Bus number 10 bus leaves every 15 minutes from 5 am to 1 am. The stop is near Airport Arrivals level, Entrance number 4. Get off at the 22-Cantons stop for central train station. Bus 5 (the stop is near railway station, not far from the Airport Entrance 1) also goes to the central railway station but along a different route passing by close to the UN building and stopping at Rue Lausanne. Both buses then continue to the southern side of the city.
Free Ticket: On arrival to Geneva by the plane, at the airport you can claim a free Unireso ticket for 80 minutes for public transport in Zone 10 - Tout Geneve (central Geneva area, including Airport and most hotels). The ticket machine for free tickets is located at the baggage reclaim hall. You will need to provide a valid plane ticket in case of being controlled by the ticket inspection.
Regular Ticket: You can use single UNIRESO Zone 10 ticket to get to/from the Airport, valid also for a train! Ticket costs for 60 minute journey is CHF 3.00, as Geneva Airport still belongs to Zone 10. Unireso is united network of Geneva public transport (TPG), Federal Railways (CFF) and Boat transport (SBB) and and thus you can use the ticket for bus, train, tram or boat (see bellow).
Taxis: Taxis are available at the taxi stand and will take a maximum of 4 passengers. Average rates are around 70 CHF per trip with a duration averaging 15 – 30 minutes.
Car Rentals: Car rental facilities are located on the ground level just outside of baggage cliam. Most rental carriers are represented including: Avis, Alamo, National, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Holiday Auto.
Gare Cornavin is a key part of Geneva`s public transport network. TPG`s (Geneva Public Transport Company) city tram and bus routes converge at a terminal located directly outside the front doors of the station making it easy to make a connection to your final destination. You can also walk from the train station to the city center in about 5 minutes.How do I get to Geneva by boat?
Regular boat service is
provided, mainly in paddle steamers built between 1904 and 1927, from ports all
around Lake Geneva by Compagnie Générale de Navigation. All boats arrive at the Paquis port after docking briefly
at Parc des Eaux Vives and the Jardin Anglais.
Lake Boats: Part of the local TPG system includes ferry shuttles connecting the right and left banks of the city. The service operates year round during daylight hours and is a cheap way to see the city from a new perspective. Departures every 10-30 minutes. The costs is around 2.00CHF for adults.
in Geneva (and all of Switzerland) is extensive, reliable, safe and easy to
use. It is simple to get around without a car. Enjoy significant savings when
you are staying in a Geneva hotel/hostel as you are entitled to a free daily
travel pass for the local Transport TPG. This is provided by the hotel.
TPG is the public transport provider in Geneva that operates trains, trams, buses and boats throughout the city and bordering France. The local bus and tram system covers virtually every square meter of the city and is highly efficient.
Night buses (known as Noctambus) run afterhours (about midnight to 2:00 am) on Fridays and Saturdays on major routes. These buses are marked by the letter `N` on their displays. Some routes cross into France as well. Unlike other Swiss cities there is no additional tariff for night buses in Geneva. A regular Unireso ticket (CHF 3.50) is sufficient.
If you are purchasing tickets, the tickets will cover both trams and buses and must be bought from ticket machines (located at every stop) before boarding the transport. Some bus stops do not have a ticket machine, but in that case you can buy a ticket on board the bus itself.
Tickets cost about 2CHF for a short hop (three stops or less, or a one-way crossing of the lake). Tickets are about 3CHF for one hour with unlimited changes on tram, bus, boat, and rail within greater Geneva, around 8CHF for a day pass valid from 9 AM to midnight, and around 10.80CHF for an extended day pass valid from the time it is purchased until 5 AM the next morning (it is valid for 2 people during Saturday or Sunday , but only for 1 person during weekdays).
Suburban trains to outskirts run every half hour during the day and every hour after 8 PM. The last train to the eastern terminus, (Coppet), leaves at 12:03 AM. Though these `Regios` mostly serve commuters, at least two of their station stops, Versoix and Coppet, have several good restaurants and historic main streets. There is also another suburban rail line: the RER Genève, which goes from Cornavin to La Plaine, sometimes continuing to France (2 stops from La Plaine). As with buses and trams, tickets must be bought before boarding the train. If you are only travelling with the canton of Geneva, a bus/tram ticket is valid on the train and vice versa; travelling further will cost more unless you buy a so-called regional ticket, which also includes parts of Vaud and France.How do I get around by tram?
Geneva has an expanding network of very frequent trams. Many lines have their hub at the Cornavin train station, a few others at Place Bel-Air on the old-town side of the river. If you did not receive a TPG / Unireso card from your hotel, you will need to buy a ticket from one of the ticket machines located at every stop before boarding the transport. Tickets cover both trams and buses.Is Geneva a walking city?
Geneva is compact and easy to explore on foot and the most practical form of transportation in the city. It`s also the most advantageous from a tourist`s point of view allowing you to browse the shops and take in the atmosphere of Geneva.If I have a car in Geneva, where can I park?
Driving is not recommended; parking is difficult and the many one-way
streets make navigation complicated. However, should you wish to rent a car and
tour Lake Geneva, the mountainous countryside or go sking in one of the ski
resorts in the Alps, getting a car is a better option.
If you do have a car, and if your hotel doesn`t offer parking facilities and valet parking, the best bet for parking within the city limits tends to be within any of the many underground parking garages, whose presence is indicated with large blue-and-white signs designated with a letter `P.` Rates for underground parking typically average between 1.50CHF and 2CHF per hour.
is a great town to get around in by bicycle. Except for the old-town, the city
is fairly flat, and though there are some streets that are dangerous to ride,
there is almost always a safe, fast route to your destination. If you want to
know the best routes, you should get a copy of the beautifully designed
VELO-LOVE plan de ville, which is available at all bike shops in
A social organization called Genèveroule lends bicycles free of charge (for four hours and then a fee of about 2CHF per extra hour), from April 30 through October 30. A passport or identity card must be shown and a refundable deposit of about 20CHF is required. Six stations are located along the lake, behind the railway station, in Eaux-Vives (Terrassière) the Plaine de Plainpalais and at Carouge. While this service is quite convenient, be sure to bring ID and contact information, including hotel phone number, to speed up the paperwork.
Otherwise, if you`re looking for a road bike or a trekking bike, then there is a shop very near the train station called `Bike Switzerland.`
The meter on whatever cab you
take in Geneva will automatically begin calculating your fare at about 7CHF,
and then add between 3CHF and 3.50CHF for every kilometer you travel, depending
on the time of day or night. The fare from the airport to the center of town
ranges from 30CHF to 40CHF. No tipping is required, but extra baggage may cost around
1.50CHF. To call for a taxi, call
tel. 022/331-41-33 or 022/320-20-20.
Uber is available in Geneva as an additional transportation option.
Geneva is the capital of the Swiss Canton of Geneva located in the south-westernmost corner of Switzerland. The city is situated along the banks of Europe`s largest lake, Lake Geneva (Lac Léman), at the mouth of the Rhone River and is bordered by the Jura Mountains to the west and the French Alps in the east. The city is easily reached within 2 hours by plane from most major cities in Europe and is a hub of Europe`s highway network. High-speed train connections to Paris and Milan as well as fast trains to Spain and Germany provide additional access.Is Geneva a dangerous city? Are there certain areas I should avoid?
is overall a very safe place. Like anywhere, it is
important to be aware of your surroundings and to be accompanied if it is late
at night. Also, it is important to keep an eye on your belongings in public, as
petty theft is a fairly common occurrence. Do report any such activity to the
police, you will probably find them much more interested and helpful than
police in many other western cities, especially if you speak a little French.
Avoid the area around the main train station after nightfall, as gangs of
vagrants often congregate there and can be verbally abusive (or worse) to
passersby. Avoid walking alone in the waterfront area near Jonction late at
night, especially on weekends. The high concentration of drug dealers serving
the cheap clubs in this area coupled with the total absence of police presence
creates an unsafe atmosphere.
Unfortunately there is a noticeable amount of vandalism in the city. On most streets you can see bicycles with stolen seats, wheels, everything not locked. Many bicycles are vandalized and destroyed.
If you ever feel threatened, go into a restaurant or use a public phone: the emergency number is 117, and operators usually speak English.
June to August: The best
time to visit Geneva is during the summer months when the weather is mild and
breezy. Summers in Switzerland usually boast plenty of sun, though rain is just
as common. Although this is also the most crowded season, it is the best time
to enjoy a cruise on Lake Geneva. Plan your Geneva summer vacation around two
key festivals - Lake Parade (July) and Fêtes de Genève (August).
September to November: This is a great time to go for pleasant winter weather. The temperature generally dips to an average of 50 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit. You will not have to deal with the crowds during these months and the prices will also be a bit cheaper for hotel accommodations.
December to April: Two things happen in Geneva during winters - Bone-chilling winds blow in from Lake Geneva and the snow-blanketed Alps draw in mountain fans. The temperature can go as low as 28°F. That said, skiing enthusiasts crowd the region to indulge in their favorite sport. So be sure to book your hotel in advance. Prices jump around Christmas and Easter as well as during the February school holidays.
May to June: Spring season is pleasant in Geneva and the temperature ranges from 59°F to 68°F. Geneva`s springtime weather is generally agreeable, if not slightly chilly, with the exception of stiflingly hot winds that occasionally blow through low-lying valleys. Some resorts will shut down during these months, so be sure to call ahead.
Switzerland has three
official languages: French, German and Italian. French is the predominant
language spoken in Geneva, but most citizens speak at least one other language.
English is spoken by about a quarter of the local population and majority of
foreigners. Of course, you can hear just about every other language in Geneva
if you listen hard enough, from Albanian to Zimbabwean. When dealing with
locals it is recommended that you start off in French, even if it is only a
greeting, before transitioning to English.
You will probably have trouble communicating with a commoner on the street but most employees working for hotels, restaurants, and shops that are aimed at tourists can speak the English language at a competent level. We suggest you get a good English-French guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.
2.5 miles. Geneva, located at the southwest peak of Switzerland, is
geographically surrounded by France from
west, south and east. The closest French town to Geneva is Annemasse, located just behind the
Swiss-France borders. Distance between Geneva and Annemasse, France, is 2.5
miles. You can easily walk from Geneva to Annemasse without leaving the urban
Other French towns around Geneva are: Ferney-Voltaire, Collonges-sous-Salève, saint-genis-pouilly. North from Geneva is Geneva Lake and towns like Gex, Versoix and Nyon.
Geneva is one of the gastronomic centers of Europe, with an
unmistakable French influence. The city has a huge number of restaurants and
the international community means there`s more variety than you`ll find in most
Swiss cities. The downside, Geneva is possibly the most expensive city in an
Naturally, Geneva serves all the typically Swiss dishes, such as filets of perch from Lake Geneva and fricassee of pork. In season, many of its restaurants offer cardoon, which is similar to an artichoke and is usually served gratiné. Be sure to try the Genevese sausage longeole. Omble chevalier comes from Lac Léman and is like a grayling, although some compare it to salmon.
Cheese is also a staple on the Genevese table, including such Swiss varieties as tome and Gruyère, plus, in season, vacherin from the Joux Valley. Naturally, everything will taste better with the Perlan (white wine) and gamay (red wine) from Geneva`s own vineyards.
a more diverse and varied nightlife than any other city in Switzerland. Many of
Geneva`s night clubs are very specific and unusual, so you may need some luck
finding your favorite place. Either way, be prepared to spend a lot of money,
as prices in Geneva night clubs are extremely expensive.
Typically, the bars in Geneva are open until 2 am and clubs until 5 am.
There are areas where you will find all the nightlife happening, and where people are out enjoying lie at any given night of the week, and which get completely crowded an full of fun at Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Nightlife Areas:
La rue de l'école de medicine
Medicine street, next to Plainpalais, the most popular place for going out at night for students, this is a street full of bars and pubs which are not too expensive. Venues get crowded regularly and when coming late, finding a seat might be difficult. As the name of the street tells, the Faculty of Medicin is here and obviously, the students don`t go far to party. During the day, Rue de Medecin is also nice a place to have a coffee or lunch at one of the cafés with outside sitting and just soak in the chilly atmosphere of the area. Place de l`Ile
Island in the middle of Rhone river, great views and freshness of the water coming from the lake make up for unique atmosphere. Choose either the more alternative, or more modern of 2 options: the Brasserie des Halles de l`Ile for modern and lively night club located at the island in the middle of Rhone river. Brasserie is popular destination for tourists and interns and different languages are mixing together in the sound of music. Getting full every Thursday and Friday, as this is the time when nightly Geneva awakens.
La Barje des Volontaires - very peaceful place just next to Place de l`Ile and l`Usine, on the island surrounded by river is more alternative and less commercialized La Barje bar, made of rebuildt caravan and decorated by dozens of colorful light bulbs that make up for peaceful chilly atmosphere.
Carouge – Carouge`s nightlife area is defined by 2 streets: Rue Vartier and Place du Marche - Top disko clubs and bars: Chat Noir, Bar la Forge, La Plage, Le Borsalino and Le Marchand de Sable. They are all close together, usually crowded, and make up for the nightlife epicenter of Carouge and meeting point of all the young people from Geneva coming here to have a beer and shot.
Other Geneva nightlife areas:
The Old Town (la Vieille-Ville)
Alternatively, the vibrant and intercultural place to visit for different experience, in the day or night is Pâquis, with it's own small Red Light District:
The Red Light District
Located in the Paquis, Geneva`s Red Light District and its surroundings is full of multicultural restaurants, vivid nightclubs and decoupled morals.
For something a bit more sophisticated, check out the performing arts scene around Geneva. Geneva`s great Orchestre de la Suisse Romande attracts some well-known talent and holds frequent concerts for music lovers at Victoria Hall. For opera, head to the Grand Theatre, which welcomes Béjart, the Bolshoi, and other ballet companies, in addition to having a company of its own. For a preview of events at the time of your visit, pick up a copy of the monthly `List of Events` at the local tourist office.
Despite its small size, Geneva rivals London and Paris as a
major shopping destination in Europe. Geneva specializes in the finer things in
life and, though they are not cheap, the selection is staggering and makes for some
fabulous window shopping.
Shopping Streets and Areas:
City Center - Extending from the banking district to Eaux Vives, the parallel streets of Rue du Rhone and Rue du Marche (becoming Rue du Rive further east) make up Geneva’s most famous shopping district. Designer retail stores and world famous watchmakers line the streets packed with window shoppers. Often resembling a fashion runway, the area is also great for people watching.
Rue du Mont Blanc - Although not as fashionable as the City Center, there is an equally large selection of clothing and jewelry on display along Rue du Mont Blanc and its surrounding streets. This is also the best area in the city to pick up souvenirs such as Swiss pocket knives, chocolates and other Swiss knick-knacks.
The Old Town - If you`re looking for art or antiques, the Old Town is the place for you. The Grand Rue is the primary shopping street but don’t be afraid to get lost in one of the Old Town’s many winding alleys because every turn promises a new surprise. Many antique shops are museums unto themselves filled with relics dating back to Geneva’s medieval days.
Rue des Paquis - Filled with trendy vintage clothing stores and interesting ethnic boutiques, the Paquis is home to the best bargains in the city. Sex shops, bookstores, jewelry, kitchenware, antiques and oriental rugs are just a few of the staple goods available.
Geneva`s open air markets offer a great alternative to the high priced world of retail as well as a chance to mingle with the locals. Bargaining is generally appropriate for non food items if done with a smile.
Plaine de Plainpalais - The largest outdoor flea market Geneva where locals go to sell their chachkies and such, be it paintings, records, dish sets, antiques or vintage clothing. Wednesdays and Saturday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. On Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays the huge farmers market is taking place here.
Boulevard Helvetique - Outdoor farmers market with fresh fruit and vegetables from local farmers; Wednesday and Saturday mornings only.
Place du Molard - Daily flower market.
Place de la Fusterie - Regional handicrafts from throughout Switzerland and France; Thursdays only.
Place de la Madeleine - Clothes and book market. Open daily during spring and summer.
Rue des Grottes - Popular farmers market; Thursdays 2:00 pm - 8:00 pm.
Halles de Rive - Food market featuring gourmet Swiss, French and Italian specialties.
Place du Marche - Friendly local market in Carouge`s largest public square; Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
Most retail stores are open throughout the day, however many service shops close for lunch between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm during the week. Most stores, including grocery stores, do not stay open past 7:00 pm on weekdays, past 6:00 pm on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays, so plan wisely to avoid frustration.
Note: Value-added tax (VAT) rate is 7.7% in Switzerland which applies to supplies of goods or services registered in Switzerland.
Police Emergency Number -
Ambulance / Medical Emergency - 144
Fire Department - 118
Non Emergency - 022-327-41-11
Geneva University Hospital, 24, rue Micheli-du-Crest (tel. 022/372-33-11; www.hug-ge.ch). Most physicians speak English and German.