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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Geneva

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Geneva each year.
The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Day (national holiday)

March/April: Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday (national holidays)

Easter Monday commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after the Passion. Many baptisms are celebrated on Easter Weekend and families come together to attend the vigil mass and share a feast on Sunday.

May 1: Labour Day (national holiday)

First weekend in May: Harmony Geneva Marathon for UNICEF (local event)

The main event of this weekend, a 26-mile marathon, starts in the countryside, against the stunning backdrop of the Alps and the Jura Mountains, before heading into the city itself, taking runners past many of Geneva's signature sights – the Jet d'Eau (Europe's tallest fountain), the flower clock in the Jardin Anglais, etc. – and then along the shores of Lake Geneva, finally crossing the finish line on the Mont Blanc bridge . This annual event draws thousands of entrants from around the world each year.

August 1: National Day (national holiday)

Commemorates the founding of the Swiss Confederation on this day in 1291. Highlights include official ceremonies, a parade, a spectacular fireworks display over Lake Geneva, a light show followed by a bonfire, concerts and activities for children.

November 13: Swiss Story Night (celebrated nationwide)

Held each year since 1995, this event honours Swiss storytelling and folklore traditions. Evening storytelling sessions open to the public are held in libraries, schools and offbeat venues.

December 1–24: Geneva International Christmas Market (local event)

Known as the worldwide centre for diplomacy and international cooperation, Geneva hosts this annual event at Place de la Fusterie, extending the scope of the usual Christmas markets to include arts and crafts and seasonal food specialities from many nations, alongside locally produced items.

Closest weekend to December 12: Escalade (local event)

Commemorates the defeat of the surprise midnight attack by Savoy troops in 1602, since then the premier symbol of Geneva's endurance as an independent city. Celebrations include large marzipan-filled cauldrons made of chocolate, which are smashed by young and old in remembrance of the housewife who had tipped a pot of boiling soup over a trooper's head, whacking him with her cauldron, then raised the alarm. Torchlight processions of participants in colourful costumes wend their way through the Old Town and a bonfire is lit in the cathedral square.

December 25: Christmas (national holiday)

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Geneva

Geneva has a temperate climate. Winters are rather cold, especially when the bise, a strong local wind, blows in from the north-east, which can result in challenging weather conditions. Summers are relatively warm and ideal for discovering the city and its surrounding area.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January -1/30 4/39 76/3.0 Not the best period to go
February -1/30 6/43 68/2.7 Not the best period to go
March -2/28 11/52 70/2.8 Not the best period to go
April 5/41 15/59 72/2.8 Good period to go Good period to go
May 9/48 20/68 84/3.3 Good period to go Good period to go
June 12/54 23/73 92/3.6 Good period to go Good period to go
July 14/57 26/79 79/3.1 Good period to go Good period to go
August 14/57 26/79 82/3.2 Good period to go Good period to go
September 11/52 20/68 100/3.9 Not the best period to go
October 7/45 15/59 105/4.1 Not the best period to go
November 2/36 8/46 88/3.5 Not the best period to go
December 0/32 5/41 90/3.5 Not the best period to go
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Geneva International Airport

Geneva International Airport is located about 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) west of the city centre, on the border between France and Switzerland.

  • Two terminauls :
    • Terminal 1 (Air France)
    • Terminal 2

Getting from the airport to Geneva and back
  • By car
    • Accessible via the E62 and the E25.
    • Several parking facilities are available:
      • Kiss & Fly, a drop-off area on the departure level
      • P2 for short-term parking (free for the first 10 minutes, then CHF 2 for 30 minutes and CHF 3 for 1 hour)
      • P1, P20, P26, P31, P32 and P51 for long-term parking (CHF 29–32 for 1 day, CHF 101–170 for 1 week )
    • Several car rental companies have counters in the arrivals hall.
  • By train
    • Trains run by SBB CFF FFS, Switzerland's national railway, connect the airport with the city centre, with departures every 12 minutes. The trip takes about 7 minutes and a single ticket costs CHF 3 (Unireso individual ticket).
  • By bus
    • Several bus routes operated by Transports Publics Genevois (TPG) connect the airport with the city centre, with buses running every 8 minutes during peak periods (Unireso individual ticket, CHF 3).
  • By taxis
    • Taxis are available at the ranks outside the airport. The trip to central Geneva usually costs between CHF 35 and CHF 45.
  • Services: shops, bars and restaurants, Internet access (Wi-Fi) available in the airport.
  • Telephone: +41 (0)22 717 71 11
  • Website : https://www.gva.ch

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GETTING AROUND Geneva

It is very easy to get around Geneva. The simplest option, with relatively few constraints, is to use public transport. Transports Public Genevois (TPG) operates a dense network of bus routes as well as a tram system recently given a fresh lease on life.

By tram

Geneva has seven tram lines (12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18) serving the entire metropolitan area. The integrated Unireso individual ticket, valid for 60 minutes of travel, costs CHF 3 and may be used on all of TPG's buses and trams, SMGN's ferries across Lake Geneva, as well as SBB CFF FSS trains within the city.

Useful tip: You can purchase a daily card (Carte journalière) for unlimited travel on all TPG lines. This is a very convient option for discovering the city without worrying about the validity periods for individual tickets. The price is CHF 10, or CHF 8 if you only need to travel after 9 a.m .

By bus

Buses are certainly the most convenient mode of transport to explore Geneva. There are also a number of Noctambus night buses, running every 20–30 minutes. On Friday and Saturday nights, Noctambus services operate from midnight until 5 a.m. These buses are identified by a letter “N” before the number. The integrated Unireso individual ticket (CHF 3), valid for 60 minutes of travel, is also accepted on the Noctambus routes.

By taxi

There is no shortage of taxis in Geneva. They may be reserved by telephone, hailed in the street or at any of the city's 60 or so public taxi ranks.

Fares:

  • The flag-down fare is CHF 6.30, then CHF 3.20 per kilometre.
  • At night and on Sundays and holidays, there is an additional charge of CHF 3.80.
  • A luggage charge of CHF 1.50 per piece also applies.

By car

Renting a car to get around Geneva is a convenient solution, but can be rather expensive. Most parking spaces in the city centre are metered.

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Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Geneva, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

Geneva Tourism & Conventions Foundation

Offers practical information and many useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).

  • Address : 18 rue du Mont-Blanc 1211 Genève
  • Telephone: +41 (0)22 909 70 00
  • E-mail : info@geneve-tourisme.ch
  • Website: http://www.geneve-tourisme.ch

Further information available online for visitors to Switzerland

The official website maintained by Switzerland Tourism, the Swiss national tourist board, provides a wealth of information on Geneva.

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Currency and Exchange Rates

The currency used in Switzerland is the swiss franc (CHF).

EUR 1 = CHF 1,17

CHF 1 = EUR 0,85

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to Switzerland.

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Water

Tap water is safe to drink in Geneva.

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Administrative formalities

For information on the travel documents required to enter Switzerland depending on your nationality, visit the website of the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM): https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home.html

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Essential phrases

Here are a few basic French phrases that will make your stay in Geneva a little easier:

Hello / Good morning / Good afternoon: Bonjour

Good evening: Bonsoir

Good-bye: Au revoir

Yes: Oui

No: Non

No, thank you: Non, merci

Thank you very much: Merci beaucoup

I don't understand: Je ne comprends pas

Could you repeat that: Pouvez-vous répéter ?

Please: S'il vous plaît

What time is it: Quelle heure est-il ?

Excuse me: Excusez-moi

Airport: Aéroport

Train station: Gare

Taxi: Taxi

Hotel: Hôtel

Hospital: Hôpital

Bank: Banque

Telephone: Téléphone

I'm (…): Je suis (…)

I'm looking for (…): Je recherche (…)

How much is (…): Quel est le prix de (…) ?

Do you have (…): Avez-vous (…) ?

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Good to know

00 41
+ phone number without the 0 (calls to Geneva)
1 : 00
of time difference with
Dublin
Start of daylight saving time: last Sunday in March
End of daylight saving time: last Sunday in October

Banks

Usually open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Government offices

Usually open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
230 V / 50 Hz

And what about tipping?
In Switzerland, as is also the case in France and Italy, when the service is especially friendly and attentive, leaving a tip is recommended and always appreciated. An appropriate tip in this case is anywhere between 5 and 10 percent of the bill at restaurants or bars.