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Geneva on a Budget

Geneva is the 5th most expensive city in the world and the most expensive city in Europe. Hotels ranking over 100 CHF a night, menu in a restaurant starting usually at 20 CHF, one public transport ticket costing 2 or 3 Francs. Knowing what is cheap in Geneva can save You a lot of money.

If you don't mind commuting, staying at one of neighboring French towns, such as Annemasse or Ferney-Voltaire, with direct pulic transport connection (abour 30min journey) from Geneva might make your living expenses cut down to half.

Here we offer You some insider tips on how to not spent much in Geneva and still enjoy it to the fullest:

Cheap flights to Geneva

The cheapest flights you'll find to Geneva Airport from other European destinations are operated by Easyjet. Swiss has recently expanded their offer to low-cost flights called Economy Light, selling tickets from as low as CHF 70 one way. We recommened using and to search for the best priced flights from poin A to B. On latter website you can use handy map feature to find cheap deals from Geneva.

Railway budget tips

Trains in Switzerland are expensive as well. A handful of offers for daily travelcards are available on the CFF train company website. We recommend you order supersaver tickets online which can make you save up to 50% on your train ticket as opposed to buying at the station. Be sure to catch the right train as they are only valid on certain routes.

If plnning to use trains in Switzerland more often, consider Half-fare travel card (CHF 185 per 1 year, 50% off all journeys).

For people under 25 there is travel card called Track 7 (Voie 7), going on top of Half-fare travel card, which allows you to use all trains in Switzerland after 7pm and before 5am for free. Price per year: CHF 129.

Budget Accommodation

The cheapest accommodation option is hostels, combined with AirBnB. Nevertheless, if you don't mind staying slightly out of town, you can find hotel rooms for reasonable prices also.
AirBnB can get you a room for two from circa CHF 80 per night, which is a great deal for having your own privacy.
It is also worth trying Couchsurfing or Bewelcome. In summer, camping at lakeside campside go for around 12 CHF per night.

Eating out on a budget

International chains, such as McDonalds and Subway are cheap way to get around and get a free wifi. For much more delicious cooked meals for reasonable prices, head to one of Geneva's universities during lunch time to have lunch with the students for as little as CHF15, including salad as a side dish.

Paquis and Plainpalais area have cheapest restaurants and fast foods, where you can grab kebab or pizza from around CHF 10.
Paquis: Popular and good value for price fast food to try is Lebanese fast food restaurant Parfums de Beyrouth.
Plainpalais: Chick chicken, close to university UniMail
Indian fast food at train station serves meals at lunch time (12h-14h30) and evenings (17h-22h) for CHF 10.

Going out on a budget

In Geneva, going through the menu of an average restaurant will make you remember how much you need a pay rise. Fortunately, there are some excellent hamburger places like Inglewood or Holy Cow and you can eat a large salad or pizza for less than CHF 20 in many places such as La Romana. Kebabs in the Pâquis area are another cheap alternative. Also, choosing a fondue with a small glass of white wine can be quite a good deal, you'll be stuffed and will have eaten Swiss. Another great restaurant and bar is the student held L'Eléphant Blanc, near Plainpalais, with a remarkably cheap list of drinks and foods.

The area of Les Grottes is the cheapest place to go for a night out, you'll find reasonably cheap drinks in Pachinko, 10Bis or the bar of community association l'Ilôt 13. The Pâquis area isn't too bad an option either, provided you stick to the bars and not cabarets.

We would also recommend that you buy food and drinks in supermarkets if you happen to be staying in a hostel with cooking facilities. Although supermarkets are expensive, they'll always be cheaper than a restaurant and you'll have a taste of Switzerland's outstanding domestic products. 

Cheap foods in supermarkets:

avocado (1.2-1.5 CHF)
yogurts (from 1.8 CHF per kilo)
Swiss chocolates (from 0.45 CHF for 100grams)




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Facts about Geneva:

Population: 194 800 (2017 est)
Currency: 1CHF=€1.01=$1.02a
Airport: GVA Geneva Airport
Hotels: 143 (€29 - €2900)

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Facts about Geneva:

Population: 204k/1,1M (muni/metro)
Currency: 1CHF=€1.06=$1.15
Airport: GVA Geneva Airport
Hotels: 136 (€48 - €2900)
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