Our Geneva Travel Essentials lays out the essential information you need to help planning your trip to one of the most popular destinations in Switzerland. No matter how frequently you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from the airport to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need? We have all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips.

    It’s all compiled in this Geneva Travel Essentials. After reading this short and easy-to-read guide, you will be a little more prepared to start your trip in Geneva.


    Best time to travel to Geneva (weather-wise)

    Geneva has a temperate climate, with average temperatures ranging from 1°C in winter to 21°C in summer.

    • Rain is evenly distributed throughout the year, with an average of 9 rainy days per month.
    • The warmest time of the year is between May and September.
    • Snowfall can be expected between November and March.
    • JulyAugust is the best times to visit Geneva, but it’s peak season, so hotel and flight prices rise accordingly.
    • MayJune and Septemberearly-October are also great times to visit Geneva. Temperatures are cooler, but you’ll avoid the summer crowds, and hotel and flight prices are lower. Pack an umbrella and a jumper to fully enjoy your vacation in Geneva at these times of the year.

    Geneva basics

    • Languages:
      Primary: French
      Secondary: German and Italian
      English is spoken by about a quarter of the population
    • Plug types: J
    • Electricity: 230 V
    • Currency: Swiss franc (Fr)
    • International dialling codes: +41 22
    • Emergency telephone number: 144 rescue service, 117 police, 118 fire department

    Getting into the city

    Geneva Airport

    Locally known as Cointrin, Geneva International Airport (GVA) is 5 km north of the city centre. It has 2 passenger terminals served by 1 runway. The terminals are home to a good choice of dining and shopping options as well as facilities like free Wi-Fi, banking and currency exchange services. There are several transfer options to reach Downtown Geneva:

    • A taxicab takes around 10–15 minutes and costs roughly 35–45 Fr. Taxi ranks can be found outside the Arrivals hall.
    • You can use the Uber app to order a ride at Geneva Airport. The pick-up area is at Parking 4 – Montreux Jazz Café.
    • The public transport Unireso offers buses and trains to get you to the city centre in 10–15 minutes. You can get a free Unireso ticket in the baggage collection area on the Arrivals level. It’s offered by the airport and valid for 80 minutes.
    • Free shuttle buses to selected hotels can be found outside the Arrivals hall. Check with your hotel to see if they offer this service.
    • Car rental agencies can be found within the terminal.

    If you come to Geneva by train

    Genève-Cornavin is the main railway station in Geneva. Located in the city centre, it’s served by high-speed trains from France, has connections with Italy, and serves many destinations in Switzerland. Geneva railway station is home to newsagents, shopping and dining options. From here, you can get to your hotel by taxi, bus, tram, ridesharing or rental car.


    Getting around Geneva

    Travel tips

    Covering roughly 4 sq km, Geneva city centre – including the Old Town – is compact enough to be explored on foot. You’ll find many landmarks and attractions within walking distance of each other, such as the Bains des Paquis (outdoor bath and saunas), the Patek Philippe Museum, and St. Pierre Cathedral, among others. The city centre is also home to a variety of dining, shopping and nightlife entertainment options. For longer journeys, Geneva features a good choice of public and private transport services.


    TPG – Public transport networks

    TPG – Transports Publics Genevois – is in charge of public transport in Geneva. It operates bus, tram and ferry networks that cover the entire city and neighbouring towns.

    • If you stay in a hotel, youth hostel or camping within the city limits, you can get a Geneva Transport Card for free. It gives you unlimited use of public transport, including tram, bus and boat, during your stay.
    • A 3-stop ticket within Geneva costs 2 Fr.
    • A single ticket within Geneva costs 3 Fr. It’s valid 60 minutes.
    • A 1-day ticket within Geneva costs 10 Fr.
    • Checks are frequent, so do not forget to stamp your ticket.
    • Tickets can be purchased at TPG offices, at the railway station and at selected newsagents and grocery stores.

    foto de Shinji W (CC BY 2.0) modificada


    Geneva Pass

    Purchasing a Geneva Pass is a good move if you plan to visit the city’s main places of interest. Valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours, it gives you free or discounted entry to over 50 attractions and museums and unlimited use of public transport. Prices start from 20.80 Fr for a 24-hour Geneva Pass. It can be purchased online and at Tourism Information Offices.

    foto de Grototoro (CC BY-SA 3.0) modificada


    Taking a taxi

    Hailing a taxi on the street is not common in Geneva. There are a few cabs stands in the city centre, at Place du Lac and at Genève-Cornavin railway station. Uber is also available.

    • You can directly call popular companies such as Taxi-Phone Central SA Geneva (022 331 41 33) or Geneva Taxi (022 707 04 23), just to name a couple.
    • The usual flag-drop fare is 6.30 Fr, then it’s 3.20 Fr per kilometre. Rates are higher at night (from 8.31pm to 6.30am) and on weekends.
    • Taxis usually accept the payment of the fare by credit card, but it’s better to ask the driver before you get in.
    • If you don't speak French, have your address written down ready to show the driver.
    • It’s not common to give a tip to taxi drivers in Switzerland, but you can round up the bill if you’re happy with the service.

    Cycle around Geneva with PubliBike

    Geneva is a very bike-friendly place, with many cycling routes within and around the city. There’s a bike-sharing scheme named PubliBike available, as well as many bike rental shops. Popular options include Genèveroule (022 740 14 15) and Bike Shop Switzerland (078 601 69 57), among others. Bike rental prices usually start from 20 Fr per day.

    foto de PubliBike (CC BY-SA 4.0) modificada


    Annual events in Geneva to look out for

    International Geneva Motor Show

    • What: The International Geneva Motor Show is one of the main automobiles shows in the world. Expect world premieres from the car industry, international car exposition, and more.
    • When: March
    • Where: Palexpo Exhibition Center

    Geneva Lake Parade

    • What: The Geneva Lake Parade is a huge techno party held on the banks of Lake Geneva. Dozens of large trucks parade through the streets, blasting the latest techno hits performed by live DJs before to stopping on Quai Gustave-Ador for a festive night.
    • When: July
    • Where: Banks of Geneva Lake

    Geneva Festival

    • What: The Geneva Festival celebrates the city in style. For 2 weeks, music and dance performances, food stalls, parades and festive activities are held on the shore of the lake. The festival ends with an impressive firework.
    • When: August
    • Where: Banks of Geneva Lake in the city

    foto de Falcon® Photography (CC BY-SA 2.0) modificada

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