Geneva is a beautiful Swiss city, close to the French border. It’s an incredible place to visit so I wanted to share some of the tips I learned whilst there.
Take the train.
If you’re arriving into Geneva airport, you might be tempted to grab a quick taxi to get into the centre. Like anywhere, taxis are pretty pricey so hop on the train instead. The train takes about 5 minutes and will take you to the main train station in Geneva. It’s also miles cheaper than a taxi which costs about £30 from the airport.
Travel is free.
If you’re staying in any hotel, hostel or campsite, you’re entitled to a Geneva Transport Card. This will let you get on any train, bus or tram in all of Geneva at any time of time. The city itself is really easy to navigate and having a transport card makes it even easier to see as much of it as you can, especially if you’re only visiting for a short time. Just ask at reception when you book into your accommodation.
You can do it on the cheap.
Before I visited Geneva, everyone kept telling me that I would spend a fortune. Honestly, this panicked me because I really don’t have a fortune to spend. So I tried to plan as much as I could in advance, i.e. things to do, places to eat at and prioritised the things I wanted to do. I knew I was going to have to forgo a few cups of coffee while I was there at almost £5 per cup, but that was totally fine because I spent money on the things I really wanted to do, like taking a cable car up Mont Salève and a huge cheese fondue.
Take advantage of bicycle rental
We really wanted to get some rental bikes but just didn’t have time. There are two Genève roule sites in Geneva, one at Eaux-Vives and one near the train station at Les Grottes. You can rent a bike for just 12 CHF for the day and the city is really bike friendly with lots of cycle paths.
Brush up on your French
I’m sure this is not the case for all people in Geneva, but the city wasn’t the friendliest for English tourists. Luckily I spent seven years learning French so I was fine but my non-French speaking friends were not met with the kindest of responses. Even if it’s only a few phrases, try and learn a little bit before you go. I think it’s just a nice courtesy when you go to any country anyway.
Know the areas to avoid
Before we went to Geneva I read that the only area to avoid was Paquis (the area we were staying in, woo). I actually found Paquis to be totally fine, although apparently the crime rate is higher there than in other parts of Geneva. This is pretty believable because the Geneva crime rate is incredibly low anyway. Paquis and areas around the train station are known for petty crime, so just be vigilant and keep your belongings close to you. However, I didn’t feel unsafe at any point during my time there.
Don’t miss the longest bench in the world
Geneva is known for it’s lovely lake, the Jet D’eau and its upmarket shops, but don’t miss some of the lesser known places too. Check out the longest bench in the world, St Peter’s Cathedral and take a bus out to the French border for some less famous sights.
Take two currencies if possible
We weren’t expecting to pop over the French border so we only took Swiss Franc with us but I would definitely recommend taking some Euros too. We took a cable car up a mountain in France and paid more because we only had Swiss Franc on us. It also meant that when we got down the mountain we couldn’t buy anything to drink because nowhere would take our Francs, so just bear in mind that you might need euros too.
Have you been to Geneva? What tips would you give others? Let me know in the comments!