Geneva is a city with international flair and one of the highest standards of living in Europe. Headquarters of the UN and the International Red Cross, modern Geneva sits nestled below the natural snow-covered splendour of the Alps. The international flair means you can pick and choose from a wide variety of hotels.
Lake Geneva provides locals and visitors with a watery playground on which to water-ski and to dine in the ritzy restaurants that line its shores, while the beautiful Bains des Pâquis is the perfect spot for a dip in crystal clear waters.
Within the city itself, elegant boulevards like the Rive Gauche reveal artisan bakeries, cafes and chocolate shops while the flea markets and chic designer boutiques of Bains and Plainpalais offer plenty in the way of retail therapy. Sardinian inspired Carouge is where the Bohemian set hang-out while the rich and affluent spend their time and money in its swanky clubs and cocktail bars.
One of the crowning glories of the city is the Jet d’Eau, a vast fountain of water that leaps high into the air and looks magnificent when illuminated at night. Architecturally, Geneva has some beautiful sights from the Cathedrale St Pierre to the Palais des Nations with its collection of public art, a public library and glorious landscaping. The quirky Quartier des Grottes, an area designed to have no straight lines, has an air of Gaudi about it, while the Place Neuve is home to the more traditional Grand Theatre, the Conservatoire of Music and the Rath Museum. The Museum of Modern Art, the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Art History are just a few more of Geneva’s tempting cultural sites. Making a road trip along Lake Geneva will bring you past some breathtaking views, so find the perfect deal on car hire in Geneva, and go exploring.
Often a stop off for skiers and hikers on their way to the fashionable resorts of Verbier and Val d’Isere, cosmopolitan Geneva deserves to be a destination in its own right. Find out which airlines fly to Geneva.
Geneva International Airport is located just 2.5 miles northwest of the city centre. It is easily reached by car in 10 to 15 minutes. Airport passengers are entitled to an 80 minute rail pass free on arrival which can be used on the train opposite the airport terminal, to get to the centre of the city. The journey time is approximately 6 minutes. Alternatively, buses 5, 10, 23 and 28 operate regular services from the airport although these are slower, as well as a choice of taxi companies. Keep track of your flight to Geneva, follow the arrivals and departures for Geneva Airport.
What you need to know
Currency: The Swiss Franc
Visas: British Citizens do not require a visa to enter Switzerland however a valid passport is required for the duration of stay. Other nationalities may require a visa – more information can be obtained from a local embassy or from the Foreign Office website.
Laws: The drinking age is 18 in Geneva, for hard spirits, while 16 year olds are allowed to drink beer and wine. Smoking is banned in all indoor public places throughout Switzerland including cafes, restaurants, museums, galleries, clubs and bars. This also includes public transport and workplaces.
Best Time to Visit
Geneva is blessed with beautiful warm summers and white snowy winters making it the perfect all year round destination for outdoor activities and sports. July and August are the busiest and more expensive times of year to visit, with spring and autumn seeing fewer crowds. However, if skiing or boarding is your bag, then the winter months sees the opening up of many local ski resorts.
Geneva’s Winter Carnival is for all kids, large and small closely followed by the international Motor Show in March for car enthusiasts. Gadget geeks will love the Electron Festival in April with hundreds of technological gizmos on display while the Geneva Marathon gives serious runners something to train for. Alternatively, the May Musical Marathon, no running involved, is a less physically demanding event. Museums stay open all night on the 17th May, making for an atmospheric cultural night out. Anyone interested in science should get themselves along to a CERN open day in May to see one of the most complex machines ever constructed. Sailing regattas, music and art festivals and live jazz all sing out the summer in preparation for the Christmas festival in December which promises magic, shimmering trees, mulled wine and plenty of wonderfully festive events. Whatever the season, travel light, and get the most out of your cabin luggage with this handy guide.
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Airports near Geneva
Frequently asked questions
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