Geneva - International City of Diplomacy
Geneva is the second most populous city in Switzerland and a major centre of international diplomacy with many United Nations and financial institutions, not to mention the World Health Organization and the ILO. As a city, Geneva came into its own in the 16th century when John Calvin, founder of Calvinism helped elevate the city to the status of an independent republic.
When to visit Geneva
Many visitors prefer to visit Geneva during the warmer months from May till October, though by Swiss terms, the winters are relatively mild. Geneva is the base for plenty of festivals and celebrations. The Geneva Marathon takes place at the beginning of May every year. June plays host to the Regatta "Bol d'Or" and in August, Genevans celebrate "Fêtes de Genève", a summer festival with fireworks held on Lake Geneva. On December 12th, the parades and procession of "L'Escalade" celebrate the city republic's victory over the invading House of Savoy in 1602.
Geneva travel tips
Bear in mind that Geneva is one of the world's most expensive cities. A beer will set you back around 7.50 Swiss Francs (CHF) and a restaurant meal begins at around 20 CHF. Also, remember that Geneva is in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and is just a short distance from the French border.
Local Information on arrival
There's a free public bus from Aéroport International de Genève to Geneva city centre. Tickets can be obtained from the machines near baggage reclaim in the airport and are valid for 80 minutes only with a valid boarding pass. The train from the airport to the main station takes approximately 7 minutes and costs around 3 CHF, or the number 5 also services this route, but takes 30 minutes and also costs around 3 CHF.
A hostel should cost around 25 CHF per person for one night, while a night in a central 3-star hotel is upwards of 125 CHF for a room. Guests at hotels, youth hostels and campsites are given a "Geneva Transport Card" which entitles them to free use of public transport. Otherwise, a bus journey is around 2-3 CHF, a day pass ca. 8-10 CHF and a weekly pass around 38 CHF.