Hire a Car on the French side or Swiss side of Geneva Airport with Car Hire King. Whichever area you prefer, we offer a wide selection of rentals at value for money rates.
First-time visiting Geneva? We want you to make the most from your car hire Geneva experience. For this reason, we have enlisted the assistance of a local travel expert to help get you on the way. Follow these useful travel tips and enjoy the best that Geneva is offering.
Geneva is famous for its lake and the sight that dominates the shoreline is also watery: the Jet d’Eau. You can walk right up to this 140m high fountain, though you’ll get wet if the wind’s blowing!
Set on a hill above the modern city is a captivating Old Town, where narrow streets and cobbled squares (Place du Bourg-de-Four is the prettiest) feel like a medieval film set. Centre stage is the monumental cathedral, where Calvin preached. Climb 150 steps up the tower for a grandstand view. Nearby Maison Tavel has fascinating exhibits on local history.
Almost half of Geneva’s residents are foreigners, thanks to the countless international organisations. Leading that pack is the European HQ of the United Nations, which can be visited on a guided tour. Remember your passport, as it’s international territory!
Don’t miss the beautiful paintings and pottery at the Art & History Museum, or the rather more modern art at MAMCO. The Musée Ariana, beside the UN, has an incomparable collection of glass and ceramics, while the intricate history of watchmaking is on show at the Patek Philippe Museum.
The main shopping area is sandwiched between the Old Town and the lake. Glamorous designer names, such as famous watches or Swiss pen-maker Mont Blanc, cluster along Rue du Rhone or, for all the posh brands in one place, visit the upmarket Globus department store.
One block over is Geneva’s version of Oxford Street, where Victorinox has clothes and luggage alongside its iconic penknives. For handmade chocolates, indulge in Chocolatier du Rhone or Rohr, but for branded bars such as Cailler, Merkur is a better bet.
Funky household items and quirky gifts can be unearthed at La 3eme Main or Les 3 Pinces, with many products made by local artists. Run out of holiday reading? Geneva has a super English bookshop, Off the Shelf, with all the newest titles.
Maybe you can’t resist a cuckoo clock or a cow that yodels when you squeeze it? Rue du Mont Blanc near the station has a clutch of good souvenir shops.
The popular flea-market at Plainpalais is on Wednesday and Saturday. A lovely local alternative is the Saturday market in Carouge, also fun for its boutiques from local jewellery-makers.
Geneva can feel like a world food-court, with the Asian eateries particularly good. The best Thai is Na Village, with its outdoor tropical garden, though cosy Baan Chiang Mai is a great central option. Shibata offers superb Japanese food at reasonable prices, and pan-Asian Jeck’s Place covers all the bases.
Fancy something typically Swiss? Then head to Auberge Saviese for favourites like fondue and raclette. Almost opposite is a local hang-out, Café Art’s (sic), where daily specials are served in a laid-back atmosphere.
For that tables-on-the-pavement Paris feel, try Le Bistrot de Charlotte or Au Pied de Cochon, which serves much more that the eponymous pig’s trotters. Specialities abound – Café du Centre has divine seafood while at Restaurant des Transports Mme Ayer’s coq au vin is legendary.
The food hall of Manor department store is perfect for provisions for a lakeside picnic.
Cool cafés and bars are dotted all over the centre. Café Remor is a local favourite, especially for its hot chocolate, or Gilles Desplanches offers tea and heavenly cakes. For some chic chilling out, try Little Buddha – the place to drink and look gorgeous. Serious beer-lovers will love Les Brasseurs for its Belgian brews and La Clémence for local ones. And if you can’t live without a pint and Premier League football, there’s lively Mr Pickwick pub.
Geneva has more five-star hotels than some countries. Along the waterfront are the splendid Four Seasons des Bergues and elegant Hotel d’Angleterre. For a more atmospheric splash-out, stay at historic Les Armures in the Old Town.
Almost as stylish but more affordable are the chalet-themed Edelweiss or the Art Nouveau gem Tiffany. Cheaper options near the station include the trendy new Design Hotel f6 or the Best Western Strasbourg, while the best bet for small pockets in the Old Town is Bel Esperance.
Most hotels are cheaper at weekends and you always get a free pass for city transport at check in.
Exploring on foot is the best way to discover the Old Town, but you can learn as you go on the informative guided walk from the tourist board. Or try the hi-tech version with a rented MP3 audio tour.
Strolling alongside the water is a must-do but to escape the crowds, head downstream along the clear blue River Rhone to where it meets the muddy grey River Arve. The confluence of the two waters is quite a sight.
Make the most of Geneva’s lake by taking a boat ride, even better if it’s in a century-old paddle-steamer. But the Swiss shore is also delightful by car – charming towns like Nyon, terraced vineyards tumbling down the slopes and the grand old castle at Chillon, near ritzy Montreux.
Or drive south into France and discover the Savoy Alps. In an hour or so you could be skiing above Chamonix, riding a cable-car up beside Mont Blanc or relaxing in pretty Annecy. It’s all on the doorstep.
Whether it’s classical at Victoria Hall, jazz at Le Chat Noir, or something more modern and urban at L’Usine, there’s always something musical going on. Many bars regularly host live bands: check out the basement of lively Café Jules Verne or Saturday nights at the Britannia Pub, complete with draught Guinness!
Paying in Euros. Most places accept them but the exchange rate usually isn’t great. Stick to francs or plastic.