How to Enjoy a Trip to Geneva on the Cheap

Geneva is known as being one of the most expensive cities in the world, but with options available for cheap travel, food and exploring museums and attractions, it really is possible to enjoy it on the cheap. Check out our guide to making your money stretch further in Geneva.


Getting there

Luckily there are flights to Geneva readily available from most UK airports, with flights only taking just over 2 hours.

Cheap Beds

Even the cheapest hotels start from around 100 Swiss francs (CHF) a night for a single room, but if you’re willing to stay in a hostel you’ll save some money on your accommodation. Look out for The Youth Hostel (30 rue Rothschild, near the lake) where you’ll find twin rooms with breakfast included for a much more reasonable 90CHF a night. Be sure to book in advance though, as demand is high and rooms sell out fast.

Staying on the outskirts of the city usually works out cheaper too, and you can find details about various B&B establishments as well as local campsites on the local tourist board website.

Getting Around

Geneva is a very compact city and, luckily for those on a budget, almost everything in it can be reached on foot. If you have a lot to cover in a short amount of time, you can borrow bikes for free at various locations throughout the city. Simply show them your passport and leave a 20CHF refundable deposit.

Free Sightseeing

Geneva certainly isn’t short of free attractions, and it costs nothing to take a picnic and admire the view at Lake Geneva. Be sure not to miss out on the Jardin Botanique (botanical gardens) and the city’s famous Jet d’Eau – a fountain propelling water to the dizzying height of 140 metres.

If you’re looking to get a good view of the breath-taking Alps, head to Palais Wilson which, formerly the headquarters of the League of Nations, is now home to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. If you look out across the lake you’ll see the towering peak of Mont Blanc – Europe’s highest mountain at a staggering 4,810m high. Set amongst charming cobbled streets, St. Peter’s cathedral is also a great viewing spot but climbing its tower will cost 4CHF.


The city is home to a number of museums, and they’re all free to visit on the first Sunday of every month. Set in Switzerland’s oldest house, Maison Tavel at 6 Rue du Puits-St-Pierre costs nothing to enter, and you can see historic furniture, models of Geneva and even part of a French guillotine.

There are plenty of other free museums too including the Musée d’histoire des sciences (Museum of History of Science), Muséum d’histoire naturelle (Natural History Museum), Espace Lullin, and Institut et Musée Voltaire.

Eating Out           

Geneva boasts a varied and international community, and the delicious range of dishes on offer in local restaurants and bistros really reflects this. Try local specialities such as fish from the lake, fondue, casseroles, raclette and smoked sausage or head in the direction of the train station where you’ll find the popular Lebanese eatery, Au Parfum.

Relatively cheap lakeside dining can be found at the Paquis Bath, but for the best-value city centre dining visit Chez Ma Cousine at Place du Bourg-de-Four where you can tuck in to a meal for less than 15CHF.


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