Travel to Geneva
Flying to Geneva
Airlines offering direct flights to Geneva from the UK include British Airways, easyJet, Jet2 and Swiss. As a travel gateway to some of Europe’s finest ski slopes, including Tignes, Verbier and Val d'Isère, flight prices tend to be highest from November to March, so book in advance to get the best deals. Swiss and United operate direct flights from the USA.
From London - 1 hour 35 minutes; New York - 7 hours 45 minutes; Los Angeles - 12 hours 45 minutes (including stopover); Toronto - 9 hours 45 minutes (including stopover); Sydney - 23 hours 30 minutes (including stopover).
Travel by road
Swiss roads are generally good, although mountain routes can be narrow and winding. Chains and/or snow tyres may be required in winter, and some routes may be closed altogether after heavy snowfall. There is a telephone number for information on national road conditions (tel: 163 in Switzerland only).
Traffic in Geneva drives on the right and the minimum driving age is 18. Speed limits are 120kph (75mph) on motorways, 100kph (62mph) on dual carriageways, 80kph (50mph) on main roads and 50kph (31mph) in towns.
On minor roads, traffic going up a mountain has priority. Road numbers on green signs indicate toll expressways, where a toll vignette (sticker) must be displayed. You can order one online before you travel (www.swissrailways.com). Stickers are valid for one calendar year. A national driving licence is sufficient documentation, although Green Card insurance is recommended.
There are two motoring associations in Switzerland: Touring Club Suisse (TCS) (tel: +41 844 888 111; www.tcs.ch) and Automobil Club der Schweiz (ACS) (tel: +41 31 328 3111; www.acs.ch).
Emergency breakdown services
TCS (tel: 0800 140 140, in Switzerland only) or ACS (tel: +41 44 283 33 77).
Geneva is connected to the rest of Europe by an excellent network of motorways. From the south, motorists can follow the 'Route Blanche' to the outskirts of Geneva. The French skiing resort of Chamonix/Mont-Blanc is within 90 minutes of the city, and Italy is two hours away.
A branch of the same motorway provides rapid links from Grenoble in the south of France and Lyon in the west, with good connections from Paris. Lausanne, Bern and Zurich are all on the northbound A1 road.
Geneva's coach station, the Gare Routière (tel: +41 22 732 0230; www.gare-routiere.com), is situated at Place Dorcière close to the railway station. Eurolines (tel: +41 844 257 244; eurolines.ch/fr/) runs coach services to Geneva, connecting the city with regional destinations, with ski resorts in the Alps and with major cities across Europe.
Time to city
From Lausanne - 55 minutes; Bern - 1 hour 50 minutes; Zurich - 3 hours.
Travel by Rail
Rail travel in Switzerland is comfortable, hassle-free, punctual and often scenic. The main railway station in Geneva is Gare de Cornavin, located on Place de Cornavin. Inside the terminal there are over 20 shops selling everything from newspapers to perfume. The station also has lockers, bicycle rental and money transfer services.
The rail network provides rapid connections within Switzerland and Europe, with links to Lausanne, Bern, Basel and Zurich. There are also direct routes to Paris and Milan.
Schweizerische Bundesbahn, Chemins de Fer Fédéraux Suisses (SBB-CFF) (tel: +41 848 446 688; www.sbb.ch) is the national railway system, covering most of the country.
The high-speed train TGV Lyria connects Geneva with Lausanne, Paris, Marseille, Nice and many other destinations in France.
In some alpine areas the railway is still operated by whichever private company initially provided the service. This, however, will only be relevant to travellers outside the main tourist regions.
From Zurich - 2 hours 40 minutes; Lausanne - 35 minutes; Bern - 1 hour 45 minutes; Basel - 2 hours 40 minutes; Paris - 3 hours 10 minutes; Milan - 4 hours.