GMT +1 (GMT +2 between April and October).
Electrical current in Switzerland is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are of the linear, rounded three-pin type, but rounded two-pin plugs will fit the outlet.
The official currency is the Swiss Franc (CHF), divided into 100 rappen (German) or centimes (French). Although not part of the EU, many prices are nonetheless indicated in Euros and some merchants may accept Euros. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are widespread. Banks offer the best exchange rates, but it is also possible to exchange money at major hotels, main train stations and airports. Banks are open Monday to Friday.
The international country dialling code for Switzerland is +41. Mobile phone GSM networks operate throughout the country. Internet cafes are available in the main towns and resorts; some public phone booths also have internet and email access.
|New Years Day||1 Jan||1 Jan|
|Saint Berchtold Day||2 Jan||2 Jan|
|Good Friday||18 Apr||3 Apr|
|Easter Monday||21 Apr||6 Apr|
|May Day||1 May||1 May|
|Ascension Day||29 May||14 May|
|Whit Monday||9 Jun||25 May|
|Corpus Christi||19 Jun||7 Jun|
|St Peter and St Pauls Day||29 Jun||29 Jun|
|Swiss National Day||1 Aug||1 Aug|
|Assumption of Mary||15 Aug||15 Aug|
|All Saints Day||1 Nov||1 Nov|
|Immaculate Conception||8 Dec||8 Dec|
|Christmas Day||25 Dec||25 Dec|
|St Stephens Day||26 Dec||26 Dec|
Geneva is situated at a high altitude which, together with the lake, tempers the prevailing continental climate. Summers are pleasantly warm to hot, and winters relatively mild with temperatures hovering just above or below freezing. Rain falls all year round, and occasionally the city suffers the ravages of a harsh north wind known as the bise.
Public transport consists of very dependable trams, buses and trolley buses that service the city quickly and efficiently, but if there is no hurry, it is cheaper and more practical to walk or cycle. From May to October city bicycles can be borrowed from Genev' Roule outside the main train station free of charge. The excellent bus and tram network operates from about 5am to midnight with a night bus service running on weekends. A basic fare costs CHF 2.20 and allows use of the network within Geneva's central zone and unlimited transfers between buses and trams for an hour; or there are cheaper tickets limited to three stops and including a return journey within 30 minutes. Tickets must be pre-purchased and validated on boarding. Taxis are plentiful but generally an expensive means of transport. Driving in the city is not recommended as parking is very difficult, but to tour around Lake Geneva, hiring a car is the most practical way to get around.
Unireso public buses leave for the city centre every few minutes from the departures and arrivals levels. Passengers can pick up a free ticket for public transport from the machine in the baggage collection area on the arrivals level; information is available at the Unireso information counter in the arrivals hall. A free hotel shuttle transports passengers to major hotels. A Unireso train leaves for Cornavin RR Station in the city centre every 10 minutes, from where connections can be made to destinations throughout Europe.
Car rental companies include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and National. Travellers should ensure they hire their car on the French side of the border if they are going to France, and vice-versa. It is only about three miles (5km) into town.
Taxis can be found outside of the arrival terminal and cost about CHF 35 to the city centre (a bit extra for luggage). The trip is three miles (5km) and commute times vary according to traffic. Taxis are metered and there are around 60 registered taxi ranks in Geneva.
Terminal 2 is only used for charter flights in the winter months and is usually closed.
Luggage lockers can be found in the Train Station Mall and on the arrivals level. A Skycom Airport Business Centre and Business Corner offer a range of business facilities. Other amenities include banks, bureaux de change, ATMs, bars and restaurants, tourist information, a hotel reservation desk, post office and shops, including duty-free. Facilities for disabled passengers are good; those with special needs should contact their airline in advance.
Parking at Geneva Cointrin International Airport ranges from CHF 3 an hour for short-term parking (P2 and P3) to CHF 32 daily and CHF 170 weekly in covered long-term parking (P1, P20, P31, P32 and P33). P51 is the cheapest long-term option, charging CHF 29 per day and CHF 101 per week. Eurocard, American Express or Visa cards can be used to pay for parking in parking lots.
The airport offers free wifi access.