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Getting around Geneva



Calendar of events


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Weather & best time to visit

Monday, 17.02.2020
15:00 UTC

Phone calls & Internet

Shopping in Geneva

Travel etiquette
How to fit in


Visa & Immigration

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City map Geneva

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    Good to know

    Geneva – a brief overview

    Highly international yet proudly individual, Geneva is a city of contrasts. Bankers and high-wealth shoppers cross paths with students, foreign expats dine alongside locals, and the historic streets of the Old Town sit just metres from the designer boutiques and five-star hotels decorating the banks of Lake Geneva.

    Visitors can explore the city’s importance to international affairs at the United Nations, Red Cross Museum and particle physics institution CERN, while those after less cerebral pleasures can swim in the lake in summer, kick back with a boozy fondue in winter and flex the credit cards all year round.


    Top 10 sights in Geneva

    Fontäne, Genf, Schweiz, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Travel Guide

    Jet d’Eau

    Quai Gustave Ador
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 1000-1600 (Nov-Feb)
    Mon-Thurs 1000-sunset
    Fri-Sun 1000-2230 (Mar-Apr)
    Daily 0900-2315 (May-mid Sep)
    Mon-Thurs 1000-sunset
    Fri-Sun 1000-2230 (mid Sep-Oct)

    The symbol of the city, proudly marking its location at the western end of Lake Geneva, this impressive fountain throws water 140m (459ft) into the air.

    The Reformation Wall

    Promenade des Bastions 1
    1204 Geneva
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    Located in the leafy Parc des Bastions in the university district, this 18m-high (59ft) sculpted wall honours the four protestant reformers who shaped the city.

    St Peter’s Cathedral

    Place du Bourg-de-Four 24
    1204 Geneva
    Tel: (022) 311 7575
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Mon-Sat 0930-1830
    Sun 1200-1830 (Jun-Sep)
    Mon-Sat 1000-1730
    Sun 1200-1730 (Oct-May)
    Vaults open daily 1000-1730.

    The top of the north tower of this 12th-century cathedral sports fine views over the city and lake, while the vaults below the building reveal an archaeological site with pre-Christian remains.

    Maison Tavel

    Rue du Puits-St-Pierre 6
    1204 Geneva
    Tel: (022) 418 3700
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    Opening times:
    Tue-Sun 1100-1800

    This is the oldest private house in the city, dating from the 12th century. It now showcases Genevois life through the ages.

    Palais des Nations

    Avenue de la Paix 14
    1202 Geneva
    Tel: (022) 917 4896
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    Opening times:
    Mon-Fri 1000-1200 and 1400-1600 (Sep-Mar)
    Mon-Sat 1000-1200 and 1400-1600 (Apr-Jun)
    Mon-Sat 1000-1600 (Jul-Aug)

    More than 100,000 tourists visit the European headquarters of the United Nations every year. Hour-long tours take in the principal chambers of this impressive building, finished in 1937.

    Red Cross Museum

    Avenue de la Paix 15
    1202 Geneva
    Tel: (022) 748 9511
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    Opening times:
    Daily 1000-1800 (Apr-Oct)
    1000-1700 (Nov-Mar)

    This heart-wrenching multimedia exhibition outlines the humanitarian work of the International Red Cross from its founding in 1863 to the present day.

    Patek Phillipe Museum

    Rue de Vieux-Grenadiers 7
    1205 Geneva
    Tel: (022) 807 0910
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    Opening times:
    Tue-Fri 1400-1800
    Sat 1000-1800

    Many of the world’s finest watch brands, including Patek Phillipe, are manufactured in Geneva and the nearby Jura. This fascinating collection showcases timepieces from the 16th century to the present day.


    Route de Meyrin 385
    1217 Meyrin
    Tel: (022) 767 4052
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Mon-Sat 1000-1700

    A tour of this world-famous particle physics laboratory takes in the Large Hadron Collider (the world’s most powerful particle accelerator) while a permanent exhibition attempts to unravel the mysteries of the universe.

    Botanical Gardens

    Chemin de l’Impératrice 1, Chambésy
    1292 Geneva
    Tel: (022) 418 5100
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0800-1930 (Apr-Oct)
    0930-1700 (Nov-Mar)

    Perfect for a stroll in all seasons, this 28-hectare (69-acre) area features 16,000 plant species from all corners of the world housed in greenhouses, an arboretum and landscaped gardens.

    Mont Salève

    74160 Archamps
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    Technically in France, this mountain is just a 20-minute bus ride from Geneva city centre. Ride the cable car to the top for an outstanding panorama of the city and lake.

    Good to know

    Country information

    Country overview

    Mixing expansive greenery, slick cities and buckets of fresh air, Switzerland is a stylish tourist destination offering countless outdoor adventures and contemporary urban breaks. The ancient capital Berne provides superb opportunities for sightseeing, shopping and traditional folk entertainment, while Zurich leads the way in arts, design and nightlife.

    Top ski resorts include Zermatt, Verbier and celebrity-studded St Moritz, while white-capped mountain peaks set against blue skies make a wonderful backdrop for summertime hiking. Small, mountainous and wealthy, Switzerland is renowned for its enviable quality of life in a country that ticks along like clockwork.


    Landlocked Switzerland shares borders with France to the west, Germany to the north, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east and Italy to the south. It has the highest mountains in Europe, together with waterfalls, rivers and lakes set amid green pastures.

    The highest peaks are Dufourspitze, 4,634m (15,203ft), on the Italian border; the Dom, 4,545m (14,911ft); the Matterhorn, 4,478m (14,691ft); and the Weisshorn, 4,506m (14,793ft).

    General knowledge

    Key facts

    Population: 7.996.026

    Population Density (per sq km): 194

    Capital: Berne


    There are four official languages in Switzerland (German, French, Italian and Romansh).




    Swiss Franc (CHF; symbol SFr) = 100 cents (called centimes in French, rappen in German and centesimi in Italian). Notes are in denominations of SFr1,000, 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of SFr5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10 and 5 centimes.


    230 volts AC, 50Hz. Standard European round two-pin plugs and Swiss three-pin plugs are used.

    General business opening hours

    Business hours are typically Monday to Friday 0800-1200 and 1400-1700, while in Geneva the business day can start 30 minutes earlier.

    Public holidays

    Listed below are the public holidays for the period January 2020 to December 2021.


    There are additional regional holidays which are observed in certain cantons only.


    New Years’ Day: 1 January 2020
    Ascension: 21 May 2020
    Republic Day: 1 August 2020
    Christmas Day: 25 December 2020


    New Years’ Day: 1 January 2021
    Ascension: 13 May 2021
    Republic Day: 1 August 2021
    Christmas Day: 25 December 2021

    All information subject to change.

    Good to know

    Getting around

    Public Transport

    Transports Publics Genevois (TPG) (tel: 0900 022 021; www.tpg.ch) offers a typically efficient and well-integrated service of buses, trams and ‘mouette’ shuttle boats, with ticket machines at all stops. Overnight visitors receive a Geneva Transport Card for free travel upon check-in, while day-trippers can buy a one-day Unireso pass at the rail station, TPG sales offices and tourist information offices.


    Taxis in Geneva can be hailed, ordered by phone or found at authorised taxi ranks. Metered fares include a tip. Taxi-Phone SA Genève (tel: (022) 331 4133), provides a 24-hour daily service, while AA Geneva Central Taxi (tel: (022) 330 2202) is also reliable.


    Nightlife in Geneva


    While at first glance it may be hard to see beyond the slick banker hangouts of the city centre, there are gems to be found if you dig a little deeper.

    La Tour du Molard

    Place du Molard 2
    1204 Geneva
    Show on map

    Those in the know head to this 16th-century tower, once part of the city walls, now housing a bijou wine bar.

    Apothecaire Cocktail Club

    Boulevard Georges Favon 16
    1204 Geneva
    Show on map

    Ask the talented mixologists to create your perfect cocktail at this trendy bar in the banking district.

    Au Chat Noir

    Rue Vautier 13
    1227 Geneva
    Show on map

    Live music, DJs and open-mic events are on the bill at this popular nightspot in pretty Carouge.

    Grand Théâtre de Genève

    Boulevard du Theatre 11
    1211 Geneva
    Show on map

    For a cultured night out, take in a performance at this 1,500-seat theatre which stages a season of home-grown opera and ballet productions.

    Palais Mascotte

    Rue de Berne 43
    1201 Geneva
    Show on map

    Cabaret, burlesque and comedy are on offer at this fun late-night place in the slightly shady Pâquis district.


    Restaurants in Geneva


    From Michelin-starred restaurants to traditional Swiss brasseries and international flavours, Geneva enjoys a diverse palate.

    Le Chat-Botté

    Quai du Mont-Blanc 13
    1201 Geneva
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Part of the famous Beau-Rivage hotel, this restaurant offers contemporary French cuisine in sophisticated surroundings.


    Chemin de Chateauvieux 16, Satigny
    1242 Geneva
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Sample seasonal produce cooked with creative flair at this two-Michelin-starred restaurant in the hills above Geneva.

    Café Papon

    Rue Henri Fazy 1
    1204 Geneva
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    In the heart of the Old Town, with a large outdoor terrace, this restaurant serves modern European dishes with a touch of class.

    Les Armures

    Place du Bourg-de-Four 24
    1204 Geneva
    Tel: (022) 311 7575
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    This Genevois institution serves arguably the best fondue in town.

    Chez Ma Cousine

    Place du Bourg-de-Four 6
    1204 Geneva
    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

    Ideal for a quick, tasty lunch, this popular little place serves only spit-roast chicken.


    Calendar of events

    Geneva International Motor Show

    March 5 – 15, 2020

    Venue: Palexpo.

    The Geneva International Motor Show is an annual auto exhibition dating back to 1905. It often features modern supercars, alternative-powered motors and concept cars. There is also a chance to browse a selection of accessories and parts. Look out for car premieres that have come straight out of the factory.

    Bol d'Or Mirabaud Regatta

    June 12 – 14, 2020

    Venue: Port Noir, Lake Geneva.

    The annual Bol d’Or Mirabaud Regatta is Europe’s largest regatta in enclosed waters and sees participants race across Lake Geneva. Setting off from Geneva, boats travel the length of the lake to a turning point off the French southeastern extremity at Bouverat before making the return sprint back to Geneva. A spectacular sight, each year over 500 boats participate in the regatta which is followed by a big party and celebrations after the event.

    Fête de la musique (Music Festival)

    June 19 – 21, 2020

    Venue: Various venues in Geneva.

    Geneva’s music festival takes over the streets and squares for three days every summer. Music is everywhere, with more than 50 stages in various venues and locations throughout the city. It presents an exciting and varied programme of performances with acts from around the world. Visitors can hear everything from classical concerts through to rock, rap and hip hop at this popular family-friendly event.

    Musiques en Eté (Musical Summer)

    June – August 2020

    Venue: Various venues throughout the city.

    Taking place in various venues throughout the summer months, Geneva’s Musical Summer presents a programme of musical performances and recitals for all to enjoy. The emphasis is on classical and orchestral music and is popular with older music fans.

    Swiss National Day

    August 1, 2020

    Venue: Reformation Wall and Parc des Bastions.

    The Swiss National Day is a patriotic celebration of the union of the three states – Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden – that was formed in 1291. There is a distinct pyrotechnic flavour, with bonfires, fireworks and a paper lantern parade through the streets of Geneva. Speeches and national songs naturally play a key role, but there is also dancing, eating and drinking – with local wine and sausages high on the menu. This is a national holiday and people from surrounding towns and villages tend to join in the festivities.

    Fêtes de Genève (Geneva Festival)

    August 2020

    Venue: Various streets in central Geneva.

    Geneva’s summer street party begins with a pre-festival warm-up from mid-July, with the main 10-day event following in early August. The streets of the centre burst into life with floats, parades and parties, street theatre and entertainment, plus a programme of concerts featuring national and international performers. Operatic and folkloric shows are among the attractions while, mainly for children, there is a clown parade and a funfair. Up to 1.5 million visitors pour into the city to join in with the merriment that culminates in a spectacular fireworks display. Each year a guest-of-honour country provides its own mini exhibition. Fêtes de Genève is the biggest tourist event in the country, and is highly recommended.

    Festival Tous Ecran (Geneva International Film Festival)

    November 2020

    Venue: Various cinemas and venues in Geneva.

    Held in Geneva, this annual film festival bridges the gap between television and cinema through its innovative screening programme. Dedicated to bringing films by new writers and directors to the big screen, Cinéma Tout Ecran always presents an exciting and challenging range of flicks. There are a number of prizes awarded by an international jury, as well as seminars and question and answer sessions with many of the directors.

    Fête de l'Escalade (Escalade Festival)

    December 2020

    Venue: Streets of Geneva’s Old Town.

    Fête de l’Escalade comprises of a traditional weekend festival and a race (‘Course de l’Escalade’) through the streets of Old Geneva in which everyone from children and fun runners to top athletes can take part. Thousands of runners leave in groups, every quarter of an hour throughout the day, passing Saint Pierre Cathedral to finish in the Parc des Bastions. The Cooking Pot Race (‘La Marmite’) in the evening, a torch-lit event that ends with the smashing of chocolate pots, is the highlight of the day. The following weekend, to commemorate the historic victory of Geneva over its neighbour, the duc Charles-Emmanuel de Savoie in 1602, there are street parades with people dressed in 17th-century costumes. The festival begins with a procession from Rue des Chaudronniers to the Temple of St-Gervais.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.


    Hotels in Geneva


    One glance along the shores of Lake Geneva and you’ll take in more five-star hotels than you thought possible for one

    small city. But there are options for the more modest traveller, too.

    Hotel d’Angleterre

    Quai du Mont-Blanc 17
    1201 Geneva
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    One of several five-stars along the lake front, this offers old-school luxury at its most opulent.


    Rue Richemont 18
    1202 Geneva
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    New on the scene, this ultra-modern design hotel is bang on trend.


    Place de la Navigation 2
    1201 Geneva
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    Traditional Swiss mountain décor in a plum city centre location.


    Rue du Pradier 4
    1201 Geneva
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    Near the station, this modern and minimalist design hotel is ultra convenient.

    Good to know

    Best time to visit

    Today: Monday, 17.02.2020 15:00 UTC

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    Climate and best time to visit Geneva

    Just a short hop from numerous ski resorts, Geneva makes for a great stopover in winter, particularly in December when several Christmas markets and the annual Escalade festival animate the streets. But it’s hard to beat summer, when the lake – with its famous Jet d’Eau fountain – becomes a natural playground for the Genevois looking to relax on the beach, try the latest watersport or take in a film at the lakeside outdoor cinema. In July and August, the Geneva Festival lays on a month of open-air events including concerts, a funfair and a crafts market, culminating in a huge fireworks display which draws locals and tourists alike.

    Climate & best time to visit Switzerland

    The Alps cause many climatic variations throughout Switzerland. In the higher Alpine regions temperatures tend to be low, while the lower land of the northern area has higher temperatures and warm summers. Overall the hottest months are July and August, though these are also the busiest. Those looking to ski should visit Switzerland between December and April, when snow is good in the Alps. The months of May and September are great times to visit for those looking for sunny and mild days, but without the throngs of tourists.


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    absolute maxabsolute minØ absolute maxØ absolute minrelative humidityØ precipitationdays with deposit > 1mmsunshine duration
    Jan15 °C-19 °C3 °C-2 °C82 %73 mm101.6 h
    Feb18 °C-17 °C5 °C-1 °C77 %74 mm92.7 h
    Mar22 °C-13 °C9 °C0 °C72 %74 mm104.2 h
    Apr25 °C-4 °C13 °C3 °C69 %61 mm95.4 h
    May28 °C-2 °C17 °C7 °C70 %72 mm115.8 h
    Jun33 °C1 °C21 °C10 °C67 %84 mm107.1 h
    Jul36 °C2 °C24 °C11 °C64 %65 mm88.2 h
    Aug35 °C4 °C23 °C11 °C67 %78 mm97.3 h
    Sep32 °C0 °C20 °C9 °C73 %80 mm86.2 h
    Oct27 °C-2 °C13 °C5 °C79 %73 mm83.7 h
    Nov21 °C-9 °C8 °C1 °C79 %88 mm92.0 h
    Dec16 °C-16 °C4 °C-1 °C81 %82 mm101.4 h
    year36 °C-19 °C13 °C4 °C73 %906 mm1114.6 h
    Good to know

    Phone calls & Internet

    Telephone/Mobile Telephone

    Dialing Code: +41


    Phonecards are available for use in payphones. SIM cards are available for mobile phones and the Swiss network supports many data-roaming packages.

    Mobile Telephone

    Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good.


    Internet access is available in Internet cafés and phone booths operated across Switzerland, found in most major town and cities. In the case of phone booths, charges are payable by phonecard or credit card, whilst cafés are mostly independently run. Internet coverage is good across Switzerland.


    Shopping in Geneva

    Key Areas

    Shopaholics looking to indulge should head to the Rue du Rhône for a vast array of high-end clothing designers, watch shops and jewellers. Nearby Rue de la Confédération and Place du Molard house high-street brands and several fine chocolate shops.

    The Italianate district of Carouge is best for artisan boutiques and independent stores, while the Old Town throws up antiques, second-hand books stores and gourmet delicatessens.


    Check out Geneva’s main flea market at the Plaine de Plainpalais on Wednesdays, Saturdays and the first Sunday of the month. The central Place du Molard hosts a daily flower market, while the Place de la Fusterie showcases artisan handicrafts on Thursdays.

    Shopping Centres

    Rather than malls, Geneva’s better shopping experiences come in its opulent department stores, including Globus (Rue du Rhône 48), with its eye-popping food hall, and the luxurious Bon Génie (Rue du Marché 34).

    Good to know

    Traveller etiquette

    Social Conventions

    It is customary to give flowers to the hostess when invited for a meal, but never give chrysanthemums or white asters as they are considered funeral flowers. Informal wear is widely acceptable.

    First-class restaurants, hotel dining rooms and important social occasions may warrant jackets and ties. Black tie is usually specified when required.

    Good to know


    Main emergency number: 112

    No immunisations are required to enter Switzerland, although it is advisable to make sure your tetanus, diphtheria and polio vaccinations are up to date before travelling. A certificate of immunisation against contagious diseases (including Yellow Fever) is required before the traveller can enter the country if they have been in an infected area within 14 days prior to arrival in Switzerland. Rabies is present, but extremely rare. However, if you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay.

    Contractual physician of Lufthansa

    Tel. +41-22-7484950
    Tel. +41-22-719 61 11

    Please note that Lufthansa accepts no responsibility for the treatment nor will it bear the cost of any treatment.
    Good to know

    Visa & Immigration

    IATA Travel Centre

    The IATA Travel Centre delivers accurate passport, visa and health requirement information at a glance. It is a trusted, centralized source for the latest international travel requirements. The IATA Travel Centre is the most accurate source available because it is based on a comprehensive database used by virtually every airline, and information is gathered from official sources worldwide, such as immigration and police authorities.

    IATA Travel CentreIATA Travel Centre