Geneva - pretty, business like and quirky
With the famous association to the United Nations and high level banking, Geneva is a great place for business. The lake and its surroundings are undeniably stunning and clean. However, what is less well known is that there is a thriving music scene, antiques, arts and crafts scene too, making it a great place for a relaxing weekend too.
Best time for Geneva visits
The winters are mild, but unless you are combining a visit to Geneva with a winter sports trip, go between May and October when it's pretty and mild. For events, there's a Marathon in May, a Regatta called "Bol d'Or" in June, while August sees the "Fêtes de Genève" on Lake Geneva. In winter there's the "L'Escalade", taking place on 12th December which has parades, processions, road running.
Before you get to Geneva
This is one place where car hire is almost a necessity for exploring the mountains. There are a number of culinary specialities in the region. Visitors should not forget to try, "Longeole", a tasty raw sausage. Be warned, Geneva is one of the more expensive cities in the world, an average restaurant meal is about 20 CHF, and beer is about 7.50 CHF.
Travel and local info about Geneva
From Aéroport International de Genève to central Geneva, there is a free public transport ticket valid for 80 minutes, available with a valid boarding pass; get a ticket from the machines by baggage reclaim. The train to the main station is the fastest way into central Geneva taking only 7 minutes and costing ca. 3 CHF without the free ticket. The bus or trolley bus (slower at 30 min) also costs 3 CHF without the free ticket. A taxi will be about 35-45 CHF.
Accommodation wise, a hostel is from around 25 CHF pp/night, but hotels can be expensive. A 3*Hotel near the station is around 135 CHF upwards per night.
Local transport is covered by trams, buses and trolley buses. Hotel, youth hostel and campsite guests are given a "Geneva Transport Card", which allows free use of public transport. For everyone else, a single fare is about 3 CHF, a day pass 8-10 CHF and a weekly pass 38 CHF. Taxis are expensive, but Geneva is small, so not really necessary. Hiring a bicycle is a good idea, but watch out for the hills in the old town centre. There is free bike hire during the summer (ID and deposit of around 20 CHF required) run by Genèveroule.