The Swiss city of Geneva has gained a reputation for being a rich-kids playground and an exclusive destination reserved for the wealthy and famous. However, you don’t need to be a millionaire to visit this stunning city with a countryside feel; and far from it! Here are a few hints and tips to making your budget go further in the spectacular city of Geneva.
Book your flights early
A quick visit to Geneva Airport’s website will show you a list of low-cost airlines flying to the city. British travellers will be well accustomed to the likes of easyJet, Flybe and Jet2 offering Switzerland-bound flights from as little as £21.99 (prices based on outbound May flight via easyJet). As with trains, the farther in advance you book, the cheaper it is.
Pre-order your money
Flights booked, it’s time to arrange your currency. It’s worth shopping around but the cheapest prices are usually found online. Travelex have an easy-to-use currency exchange tool so you can work out the best rates and get more Swiss Franc for your buck, pound or Euro.
Hotel or hostel?
Depending on how many people you’re travelling with, it may be cheaper to book a hostel than a hotel. For parties of 3+ it may be better to book a dorm (usually available for groups of 4, 6, 8 and 10). Otherwise, a hotel room sleeping up to 3 may be cheaper. If possible, book a hotel with a price per room so you can split the cost 3 ways if you don’t mind sharing.
FREE public transport
If you plan on trekking around the city or racking-up some serious mileage then check if your hotel, hostel or accommodation offers guests a Geneva Transport Card. These free passes are valid on the tram, bus, train and yellow tax-boats and are a great way of seeing the city on the cheap. When you collect your luggage in the airport, collect your temporary ticket which entitles you to 80mins of free travel so you can reach your accommodation safe, sound and for free!
Some of the best things to do and see in Geneva are actually free of charge too. A must-visit whilst you’re there is the Jet d’Eau situated on the lakeshore. Powerful jets blast a stream of water 140metres into the air; stand down-wind and you will get a refreshing shower in the heat of summer! As one of the greenest cities in Europe, Geneva’s genius approach to landscaping means visitors can enjoy a countryside feel in the middle of the city. Grab a sandwich and slice of cake from a local deli and laze around on luscious lawns until the sun goes down.
You don’t need to be a balloon aficionado to appreciate the wonder of the 7th International Hot Air Balloon Festival. Running from 19th until 21st April 2013, the event sees over 30 hot air balloons taking off from car parks around the city and lighting up the sky. Spectacular balloons aside, Europe’s highest-skilled pilots meet for the weekend to show off their air-acrobatic skills too. Last year’s event saw the flight of a giant caterpillar, cute duckling, space-age robot and inflated rooster so the 2013 event promises to be a treat for the eyes too!