Inspiration for your next holiday
Inspiration for your next holiday
Geneva is a fascinating city that sits on the shores of Lake Geneva, at the foothills of the magnificent Alps.
The city boasts a unique blend of cultures, and this is in part due to being one of the four permanent bases of the United Nations. Geneva offers an exciting fusion of urban life and outdoor activities, with skiing and snowboarding in winter, as well as hiking and water sports during the summer months.
If it’s your first-time visiting Geneva, you may be unsure about which district you should be based in, or equally have concerns about the high prices of accommodation in the city. This guide will detail the main neighbourhoods of Geneva and help you find the best area of the city for your trip.
Geneva lies on the western side of Lake Geneva, on the mouth of the Rhône River. This is a region of staggering beauty, with views over the pristine lake waters or southwards into the French Alps. Geneva’s geography means the city is relatively compact, and all of the main tourist areas can be easily explored by foot.
The best districts, if you are new to Geneva, are: 1) Carouge 2) Old Town 3) Rue-Basses 4) Plainpalais 5) Paquis
The map below shows the main areas of Geneva where tourists frequently stay
Tourist districts of Geneva: 1) Carouge 2) Old Town 3) Rue-Basses 4) Plainpalais 5) Paquis 6) Eaux Vives 7) Nations 8) Saint-Jean (Saint John) 9) Champel
Geneva is a wonderful tourist destination, however deciding where to stay in Geneva can be a tough job. Demand for accommodation is always high, and the already expensive prices rise even more during peak summer months and at the weekend.
If you want to take advantage of any good deals, you will need to book far in advance.
The map below shows the location of hotels and rental rooms in Geneva. By altering the dates to suit your trip, the map will display current prices and availability:
When visiting Geneva for the first time, you will want to pick a district reflecting the vibe you are after and the budget you have in mind.
If you want to be in the heart of the tourist area, choose accommodation in Old Town, which is close to the lake and all the main attractions. For a less touristy base in Geneva, then consider Carouge, which is to the south of the city.
Geneva is an expensive city, and most central districts will have high prices, however, the multi-cultural district of Pasquis is an exception. It is centrally located close to the lake, and offers accommodation for all budgets.
Dating back almost 2000 years, the Old Town is the heart of Geneva.
Found here are many of the city’s historical attractions, along with art galleries, traditional restaurants, and scenic parks. An enjoyable day could be spent exploring the Old Town, and it makes for a fantastic location for your accommodation.
Insight: The Bourg-de-Four, is the oldest square in Geneva, and is a real gem.
Carouge is located to the south of Geneva and was not originally part of the city. The district was designed by Italian architects and today the atmosphere and style is completely different to the rest of Geneva.
Carouge is the home to many trendy bars, hip cafés and exotic restaurants, and this district has become increasingly popular. It attracts many young people, artists and foreigners, and is the best place to visit if you want to feel like a local while visiting Geneva.
If you’re visiting Geneva for sophistication, high-end shopping and designer hotels, then Rue-Basses is the perfect place for you. Its ‘low streets’ - Rue du Rhone and Rue de la Croix d’Or – are packed with luxury brands, designer boutiques and exclusive jewellery stores.
Overlooking the lake and the famous Pont du Mont-Blanc, Rue-Basses is home to some of the best high-end hotels in Geneva. If you’re visiting for business or a spot of luxury, this is the area of Geneva you will want to be based in.
Pasquis is a diverse, multi-cultural district of Geneva.
The district may be a little rough around the edges when compared to the rest of Geneva, but it provides the best value accommodation, along with a wide variety of restaurants and quirky bars.
The neighborhood of Plainpalais is surrounds the university.
This district has a younger age of resident, with a lively atmosphere and some of the cheapest bars found in Genva. Plainpalais is where you want to be based if you want to socialize, get affordable drinks and have fun nights out.
Located next to Old Town, this district is slightly off the beaten path, while still offering plenty of charm. Eaux Vives is home to the largest park in Geneva, the Parc de la Grange. This peaceful area is also home to the famous water fountain on the lake - the Jet d’Eau. Additionally, from Eaux Vives, you can wander the pretty shoreline of the lake, relax at the Plage des Eaux-Vives beach or go swimming at the Genève-Plage.
Always choose the location you'd like to be based in before looking for accommodation in Geneva. This may sound obvious, but it is all too easy to be sucked in by an amazing discount or outstanding reviews without really considering which area you will be staying in.
Despite being a very safe city overall, take extra care in the Pasquis area late at night. Even though it is a busy neighbourhood, this area close to the train station is also the city’s main red-light district.
Geneva can have a surprisingly good nightlife, as well as plenty of events and concerts. Bars stay open until the early hours, particularly during the summer months and around the holidays.
While Pasquis is known as a party area, with its red-light district and crawling pubs, Plainpalais is the district we would recommend for some great nightlife. This lively and fun neighbourhood is located close to the university, offering cheaper bars and buzzing venues.
If you’re lucky to be staying in Geneva a bit longer, take a day or two to visit Mount Saleve, just south of the city.
The mountain is actually in France, but its close proximity to Geneva makes it the perfect destination for a day trip. Known as the ‘Balcony of Geneva’, Mount Saleve overlooks the city and its beautiful lake, offering stunning panoramas for you to take in.
You can also enjoy the views from one of the fantastic restaurants at the summit, or follow the hiking trails and enjoy an outdoor meal in nature.