Information on the following found below:
- Airport arrival
- Transportation (in Geneva)
- Tourism sites
- Intern sites and resources
- Health & Safety
- Cellphones & useful phone and texting Apps
- Free wifi spots in Geneva
- Groceries and shopping
- Sports & Fitness
When you arrive to the Geneva International Airport, you can access buses and a local train that can take you to Cornavin, Geneva’s main train station.
BUS/TRAIN Ticket from Airport: On arrival to Geneva by the plane, at the airport you can claim a free Unireso ticket for 80 minutes for public transport in Zone 10 – Tout Geneve (central Geneva area, including Airport and most hotels). The ticket machine for free tickets is located at the baggage reclaim hall. You will need to provide a valid plane ticket in case of being controlled by the ticket inspection.
- Train departures every 12 to 20 minutes from the Geneva Airport to Gare Cornavin Railway Station and back. One way takes 6 minutes.
- Free bus ticket available before getting out of “bagage reclaim” sector.
TPG Local Transportation (local buses & trams)
The local bus and tram system covers virtually every square meter of the city and is highly efficient. Tickets can be bought at the machines next to most stops or at newspaper stands. Prices vary according to the number of zones crossed and duration of validity. Be aware that ticket machines take only coins and do not give change. Tickets are checked randomly by roving controllers commonly known as the “Green Jackets.” See TPG link above for routes and schedules.
- Geneva Transport Card (Card you receive free of charge when staying at hostels, foyers, camp-sites)
- 1/2 price Train card info (possible discount card to purchase depending on your travel plans)
- Geneva Pass (great for short-term visitors – museums, transportation, cruises-etc)
- Gare Routiere de Geneve (Bus Station for regional and European travel)
- Located at Place Dorciere is the primary departure point for destinations within and outside of Switzerland. See Gare Routiere departures for a full list of destinations and schedules. Gare Routiere is also the meeting point for many guided excursions including city bus tours, day trips to nearby towns, and round trip ski bus tours. http://www.keytours.ch is the primary tour operator in the city.
Geneva Tourism & Convention
- Basic information on events, accommodations, tours, housing/hostels, must-sees, city maps and more – lots of info in English :).
- Physical Office is located at Rue du Mont-Blanc 18, 1201 Geneve (very close to Gare Cornavin Railway Station)
Intern Sites and Groups
- GIA (Geneva Intern Association)
- UNIIN (UN Independent Internship Network)
- ILO Intern Network
- WHO Interns (Interns for Interns)
Health & Safety
Cellphones & Useful phone and texting Apps
The easiest thing to do is buy a pay-as-you-go cell phone after you arrive in Geneva. I recommend going to “Migros” (also the largest supermarket and department store chain in Switzerland) or the Post Office. You can get a phone for as cheap as 30 – 40 CHF and can go to any Migros to add minutes throughout the summer:
- You may also want to check with your current cell phone provider to see if your service has an international plan or if you can just buy a new SIM card in Geneva to use with your current phone.
- NOTE: To buy a cell phone or a SIM card, you will need your passport.
Phone cards: Phone cards are available at the post office, small shops, and train and gas stations. Telecard shops sell the cheapest cards to specific countries and cheap rates apply to local and international calls from 5pm to 8am.
- Check out Skype as well to stay connected to family and friends back home via video calls.
- Check out WhatsApp for texting/messaging
- Check out Viber for phoning and texting/messaging.
There are several exchange houses on rue du Mont-Blanc. Compare the rate that your ATM card/bank charges you to the exchange houses’ rate, as there is sometimes a big difference.
**Migros exchange rate has a good reputation**
Main banks: UBS, Credit Suisse, Banque cantonale, Migros, Poste.
Currency: Please note that Switzerland remains with the Swiss franc, usually indicated as CHF. While Switzerland is not part of the European Union and thus is not obliged to convert to the Euro, many prices are nonetheless indicated in euros so that visitors may compare prices. Merchants may accept euros but are not obliged to do so. Change given back to the client will most likely be in Swiss francs.
The Swiss franc comes in the following denominations:
Coins: 5, 10, 20, 50 Cents and 1, 2, 5 Francs
Bank notes: 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 1000 Francs
The currency is the Swiss franc (SFr or CHF ),
(i.e. no Euro)
Info : Currency translator
Credit Cards The safest and easiest form of money are traveler’s checks and credit cards. The cards most used are Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Many banks in Switzerland have equipped their ATM machines with the CIRRUS or MAESTRO system. Many other Swiss banks offer ATM machines for cash advances with your credit card. It is recommended to have a small amount of cash on hand upon arrival in Switzerland for immediate expenses, i.e. taxies, city transportation etc.
Free Wifi & Hotspots in Geneva
- Geneva has more then 70 FREE wifi “hotspots” throughout the city
- They are located primarily in: public parks, public libraries, municipal buildings, and at the Geneva Airport
- For a map and additional information, click here.
Groceries & Kitchen Basics
Stores are generally open Monday to Saturday from 8 or 9 am until 6pm. Thursday evening is the “late” night when stores stay open until 8 or 9pm. Nearly all stores are closed on Sunday. There is a new small Migro Grocery Store at the Cornavin Railway Station which is open on Sundays.
- Migro (Groceries and household items – largest grocery chain in Switzerland)
- Coop (Groceries and houshold items – a bit more expensive than Migro)
- Denner (Good prices on basics, quality of produce not good)
- Lidl (Good prices on basics)
- Groceries stores in neighboring France (Carrefour in Ferney-Voltaire and Casino in Annemasse)
Malls and Shopping Centers
Buying Electronics in Geneva
Did you forget a charger, adaptor or convertor? Two places to check out for electronics are:
- InterDiscount & InterDisount XXL (three locations in Geneva)
- Media Markt (Location in Carouge and Meyrin)
I also highly recommend purchasing a TRAVEL multi-adapter. This can be particularly useful if you plan to travel around Europe while in Geneva.
Fitness & Sport Activities
Fitness Clubs, as everything, are very expensive in Geneva. Sometimes your internship organization may offer fitness classes or a gym. For a more extensive listing, click here.
Piscine Fontanette: several open air swimming pools and water slide. Take bus 21 or 11 (stop Val d’Arve) * Just a few stops from Cite housing!!!!
Bain de Paquis: a sort of concrete beach jutting out from the lakeside promenade. It costs CHF 7 to get in (no dogs or rollerblades allowed).
Piscine de Vernet: several open air swimming pools, several small parks where you can suntan, and a small cafeteria. CHF 5. Get there with bus 11 (stop: Vernet or Queue d’Arve)
Piscine de Varembé: Indoor and open air swimming pools and free “transat.” CHF 5. Take buses 8, 18, or 11 (stop: Motta)
Free Bike Rentals
Geneve Roule: located just behind the train station, PlainPalais, Carouge. Open 7:30am until 9:30pm in the summer. You must leave a CHF 50 deposit, which will be returned at the end of the day. Free bike maps of Geneva are available, and neighbouring cities of Nyon or the French vineyard country are nearby. If you want to buy a bike, Genève Roule (behind the train station) and Péclo 13 (rue de l’Industrie) sell new and used bikes.
Cruises- available. A 55 minute cruise is 15 CHF for adults, 6 CHF for children, while one for the entire day costs CHF 74 for 1st class and CHF 55 for 2nd class. There are also lunch and evening cruises that leave near the Jardin Anglais. You can also rent a paddleboat from either side of the lake for around CHF 15 an hour. Click here for more general information. CGN Cruises also provide great cruises of Lac Leman (Lake Geneva)
For a comprehensive list of all sports club opportunities in Geneva, please click here.