July and August have the best weather and the biggest crowds and is normally the most popular time to book flights to Geneva. The beginning of August marks Swiss National day with two weeks of festivities. Cheap flights to Geneva are not likely to be found during these summer months as the city is packed with events, especially music festivals.
Every year in June, the Societe Nautique de Geneve welcomes Bol d’Or participants’ friends, families, supporters and fans from all over the world to come and enjoy the popular and exciting event. With over 500 boats racing across Lake Geneva, the annual Bol d’Or Mirabaud Regatta is home to Europe’s largest regatta in enclosed waters. Spectacular scenes see participants travel the length of the lake to a turning point at the half way mark, Le Bouveret, before making the return sprint back to Geneva. Following the thrill of the event is a huge celebration at several different after parties.
Flight bookings peak again during the Christmas and New Year holidays. The celebration of l’Escalade in December with its costumed and torch-lit processions brings throngs of visitors to the city.
The shoulder months of June and September are pleasant times to visit and slightly lower hotel rates and cheaper Geneva flights can be found.
October, November, April, and May have fewer crowds, and usually the lowest rates, although some hotels are closed during the low season.
Summer (July through August) is warm with temperatures in the mid-20s and July can be in the upper 20s and hot. Autumn (October through November) is mild as temperatures drop to the low 20s and into the low teens in October. Winters (December through February) are cold with daytime temperatures ranging from the very low single digits, and when the bise (north wind) blows, it can be bitterly cold. Spring (March through May) is mild with temperatures reaching the teens. Rain falls year-round, and September usually gets the most rain
The best way to see Geneva requires you to slow down a little. You can walk through the city or pick up one of the free bicycles that are available outside Genève Roule, the main train station, from May to October. The public transport system is very reliable and fast, but you’ll miss some of the lovely city if you’re speeding by on a tram, bus or trolley. You can travel on a bus or tram from early morning to midnight. After that a night bus runs until the next morning.
Purchase your tickets ahead of time and don’t forget to validate them when you board. Buy a week-long pass if you’re staying long enough and save a bit of money. To get across the lake and back, hop aboard the seagull shuttle boats (les mouettes), which are part of the public transport system. Bus tickets and les mouettes tickets are interchangeable. You can also lounge around the lake on one of the many cruises offered. Float around for the whole day, half a day or just an hour, whatever your heart and travel schedule desires. Taxis are easy to find, but fairly expensive. Parking is so difficult that it’s not worth the hassle of renting a car. Instead, try hiring a car and driver for the day.
Flights to Geneva, one of Switzerland’s main business centres, are served by the Geneva International Airport (GVA) which offers fast and reliable public transport options directly to various areas of the city. Using public transport between the city and airport is free for all visitors of Geneva – simply pick up a ticket from the machine in the baggage collection hall. Each ticket is valid for 80 minutes, but allows unlimited free travel within that time. For use of public transport during the rest of your Geneva visit, tickets can be purchased from the machines located at bus stops or railway station.
Trains run every 12 minutes during rush hours, shuttling quickly between the airport’s own station and the city’s main station, Geneva-Cornavin. The journey takes only 6 minutes from departure to arrival and takes you right to the centre of the city.
Alternatively, buses are available, running every 8-15 minutes to various areas of the city; the number 10 takes passengers to the city centre.
Or, if you want to relax in more private surroundings, taxis are readily available – either catch one from one of the authorised ranks, order in advance via telephone, or hail one in the street.
Finally, a number of hotels offer free shuttle buses direct from the airport to their own front doors. Others offer free shuttle transfers on demand; check with your hotel when booking.