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Geneva

Travel Guide Europe Switzerland Geneva

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Introduction

Geneva City Centre

Geneva City Centre

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Geneva is a hub of NGOs and the United Nations, but it's just as interesting for travellers as it is for diplomats. Set in the far southwester corner of Switzerland, Geneva is within easy distance of the Alps. The city itself offers a range of unique attractions, from the lake that feeds the Rhine River to the Jet d'Eau, the world's tallest water fountain.
Geneva is Switzerland's second-largest city in terms of population, after Zürich.

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Sights and Activities

  • Jet d'Eau - Jet d'Eau is an impressive water fountain pumping water 140 metres high. It's a free attraction that is open from 10:00am to 11:00pm every day, year-round. It is also one of the city's most photographed sights.
  • International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum

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Events and Festivals

  • Fete de Geneve - The festival 'Fete de Geneve' takes place along the lake in August every year with musics, bands, processions and fireworks etc. It is a week long festival which is attended by people from all over the world. It is difficult to find a place in hotel during this week.
  • Geneva Motor Show - First held in 1905, the International Geneva Motor show (Salon International de l'Auto) is one of the largest and most popular motor shows in Europe. It attracts more than 700,000 people annually. Price: Adults: CHF 16, Children (6-16) & Pensioners: CHF 9

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Weather

Geneva has warm summers and moderately cold winters. Temperatures from June to September are between 21 and 25 °C, winters from December to March are above zero during the day, around -3 °C at night. 36 °C and -18 °C are the absolute high and low. Precipitation is quite evenly distributed throughout the year though summers are somewhat wetter with sometimes heavy showers and thunderstorms. Winters have some snowfall.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max3.7 °C5.9 °C9.8 °C13.9 °C18.4 °C22.2 °C25.3 °C24.4 °C20.8 °C14.9 °C8.4 °C4.5 °C
Avg Min-1.9 °C-0.9 °C0.8 °C4.1 °C8 °C11.3 °C13.3 °C13 °C10.3 °C6.6 °C2.1 °C-0.5 °C
Rainfall69 mm70 mm68 mm56 mm66 mm77 mm58 mm68 mm70 mm66 mm79 mm75 mm
Rain Days109109111089881010

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Getting There

By Plane

Geneva International Airport (GVA) is the main gateway. Dozens of airlines serve cities in Europe and further away. Lowcost airline Easyjet has many flights to/from Ajaccio, Alicante, Amsterdam, Asturias, Barcelona, Bastia, Belfast, Berlin, Birmingham, Bordeaux, Bournemouth, Bristol, Brussels, Budapest, Cagliari, Copenhagen, Dubrovnik, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Ibiza, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Lisbon, Liverpool, London, Madrid, Málaga, Manchester, Marrakech, Nantes, Naples, Newcastle, Nice, Olbia, Palma de Mallorca, Paris, Porto, Rome, Sharm el Sheikh, Split, Stockholm and Toulouse. Some of them are seasonal only. Many other airlines mainly serve European destinations (as far away as Moscow and Reykjavik.
Cities further away include Montreal, Toronto, Algiers, Mauritius, New York, Tel Aviv, Cairo, Kuwait, Tehran, Beirut, Amman, Riyadh, several places in Tunisia and Morocco, and Tashkent.

To/from the airport
Note: Before passing through customs, a machine dispenses free 80-minute tickets for Transports Publics Genevois, which are valid for both the city buses and trains to Geneva.

  • Rail: There is a railway station with trains to Geneva-Cornavin station, and other cities in Switzerland. Check the Swiss Federal Railways website. There are also direct trains to Paris, Marseille and Montepellier]] with the SNCF network of France.
  • Bus: There are local buses that stop at the airport. There are also buses to and from Annecy, France, and also seasonal buses to ski resorts like Chamonix in France and ski resorts in Switzerland.
  • Car: taxis are available but expensive and not worth the money. Rental car facilities are available as well.

By Train

Swiss Federal Railways operates trains across the country to/from Geneva.

By Boat

Compagnie Générale de Navigation sur le lac Léman (CGN) has boats to for example Lausanne and Montreux.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

Transports Publics Genevois provides transport by bus, tram and trolleybus. There are also connections by boat on the lake. Check the schedules to see what the options are.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
City Hostel Geneva2 rue Ferrier, 1202 Geneva,Hostel84
Hotel & Residence Saint-JamesHotel St James rue versonnex 3HOTEL72
Hotel Admiral Geneva8 Rue RossiHotel82
Hotel Capitole15 Rue De Berne Capitole Management SAHotel80
Hotel St-Gervais20 Rue Des Corps-SaintsHotel80
Hotel Residence City Zen.10 Rue de SismondiHotel86
Hotel Moderne1, Rue de Berne - CH-Hotel75
Hotel Stars Geneve AeroportChemin De Colovrex Geneva Airport Ferney Voltaire CityHotel68
Hotel 3382 Avenue Louis-CasaïHotel74
Ramada Encore GenevaRoute des Jeunes 10-12Hotel73
Youth Hostel GenevaRue Rothschild 30Hostel-
Geneva Airport Bed and Breakfast14b Chemin de Sapins 1216 CointrinGUESTHOUSE79

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Keep Connected

Internet

Switzerland has a high rate of people with their own internet connection and computers, so internet cafes are not as common compared to other countries and compared to the past. But still you will be able to find a computer in the main cities and tourist areas, also at libraries, video rental shops, train stations or tourist information places. Wifi is widely available, though sometimes at a cost. A growing number of hotels, restaurants, coffee bars and fastfood joints now offer free wifi.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

Switzerland's country code is 41 and the emergency phone numbers are 117 (police), 118 (fire department) and 144 (emergency rescue service/ambulance). Swiss phone numbers consist of the area code and a local phone number. The area code has three digits and starts with a zero, such as 022 for Geneva. The local phone number has usually 7 digits, but there are numbers with only 5 or 6 digits.

If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands - they usually cost around 10-40 CHF and are obtainable in the shops of the mobile service providers Swisscom, Orange or Sunrise in most cities. Mobile network coverage is close to 100% by area, even in the mountainous, non-populated areas. There are also a lot of cheap prepaid cards for local calls from other providers. The prepaid cards of the big supermarket chains Migros and Coop for example cost around 20 CHF and include already 15 CHF airtime. The cheapest prepaid card for calls within Switzerland is Aldi Mobile. The cheapest prepaid card for international communication is Yallo. The prepaid cards can be bought online (30 CHF with 30 CHF airtime inclusive), in most post offices (29 CHF with 20 CHF airtime inclusive) or Sunrise shops (20 CHF with 20 CHF airtime inclusive).

Post

Swiss Post is the national postal service of Switzerland and has fast and reliable services. For more information about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally, they have a very useful Price Calculator. Domestically, there is priority mail (arriving the following day) and economy mail which takes 2-3 days to be send within Switzerland. Stamps can be bought at the post offices or from shops and kiosks that also sell postcards. In general, post offices are open from 8:00am to noon and 2:00pm to 5:00 or 6:00pm, with a lunchbreak in between. Opening times on Saturdays are usually only during mornings. Larger cities and central post offices might keep longer hours and skp the lunchbreak. If you want to send packages internationally, you might also consider international courier companies like TNT, DHL or UPS.

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Quick Facts

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Population
185 726
Area
15.86 km²
Canton
Geneva
Languages
German, French, Italian
Coordinates
  • Latitude: 46.20381
  • Longitude: 6.139959

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This is version 21. Last edited at 8:56 on Oct 2, 13 by Utrecht. 102 articles link to this page.

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