Geneva has a lot going for it. Surrounded by Alpine Lake, there’s great outdoor activities, lakes to swim in, and mountains to explore. Geneva is one of the country’s most expensive and luxurious cities so it’s hard to be a budget traveler here. Most travelers simply pass through, spend a day, and then move on. If you’re on a tight budget, I’d advise doing that. If you have a little bit more money, spend a couple of days.
- Hostel Prices: Dorm prices in Geneva start around $40 per night.
- Budget Hotel Prices: Most budget hotel rooms in the city begin at around $80 per night for a double room and just go way up from there.
- Average Cost of Food: One of the greatest things about Geneva is its diverse restaurants and cuisine. Food can be cheap here. Many quick eat shops are cheap and groceries can cost around $55 USD per week. For an average priced meal, expect to spend $28-39 USD at a restaurants.
- Transportation Costs: It is $3.50 USD for one hour ticket that covers the tram, bus, boat, and rail, $8 USD for a pass valid from 9AM to midnight, and $11 USD for a 24 hour pass.
Top Things to Do
- Attend the Caves Ouvertes – Not only is this one of Geneva’s free annual events, but it supplies you with a spectacular view of the city and a tasting of their best wines. It’s a very fun festival.
- Enjoy the summer concerts – Geneva is booming in the summer months, especially June. See the city at its best with the annual Fete de la Musique. A three day festival, it’s jammed with free nonstop music, and low cost food of all tastes and flavors. There are ongoing free concerts throughout the summer.
- Visit the Jet d’Eau – The city’s most famous monument, it boasts a magnificent fountain worth seeing, taking pictures of, and another free to-do not to be missed. It pumps water at 160 feet in the air and is lit up at night in September.
- Explore the Cathédrale St. Pierre - If you’re interested in Gothic architecture, this cathedral is spectacular. Climb the 157 step tower to get a breathtaking view of the city and surround countryside.
- Visit one of forty museums – With over forty museums to choose from, Geneva offers one for every travelers taste. Make sure to visit Geneva’s Art and History Museum or the Red Cross Museum, I like them the best. If you are going to visit a lot of museums, get a city pass so you can save some money. Entrance fees really add up.
- Explore the city by boat – Consider indulging in a boat tour of the city. If you don’t want to spend the money, you can also rent a bike which will allow you to sight see various neighborhoods and travel at your own pace.
- Palais des Nations – Originally built to house the League of Nations, the Palais is worth visiting just to take in the magnificent Assembly Hall, in addition to the large collection of public art, the library, and the landscaped grounds. Passports are required for entry.
- Jardin anglais – Small garden at the lake where people like to spend their lunch break. There is a very famous Flower Clock in the park. It’s a good place to people watch during the day.
- Couchsurf – Accommodation is very expensive throughout the country and especially in Geneva. Use the website Courchsurfing (or any other hospitality site) to connect with locals who will give you a free place to stay. I use this method a lot and there’s no better way to meet locals and save money!