Switzerland – Geneva and around on the cheap

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Switzerland’s beauty is indisputable, as well as the research papers state the country is one of the best to live in

Everything comes with a price. So how do the ordinary tourists manage to survive in Switzerland without going bankrupt? Do you need to have all of your savings with you to enjoy the country? We figured out some tips and tricks (completely) unintentionally to share with those of you who want to visit this wonderful place. Some things turned out to be completely free, others are a good deal having in mind the high standards. So, fortunately, our long weekend in Geneva and around turned out not to be equally expensive as a 3-week vacation in a tropical destination.

traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland

Enter Saint Pierre Cathedral and Old Town (free, access to tower 5 CHF)

For those who don’t get bothered with walking on cobblestone streets mostly up- or downhill, Old Town is expecting you with nice sights and hidden corners full of charm. Entering and walking around the Old City comes for free (yes, there are places on Earth you need to pay even for this). One of the main points of interest is the Saint Pierre Cathedral which could be enjoyed from the inside for free. Access to its tower costs
5 CHF(as of August 2015) but see the views from up there first before you decide if you could sacrifice 5 CHF and climb a decent amount of stairs.

traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland

traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland

traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
Guns pointed at our backs are nothing compared to the selfie shooter

 

traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
Slowly approaching the Saint Pierre Cathedral before we know entrance is free of charge

 

traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
Nice plazas are full of tourists to spoil your selfie

Now you can enjoy some of the promised views from above. Lack of photo coverage from the climbing is intentional.

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traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
The sun was so bright that day
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
Back down
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
The long-awaited downhill

Open Summer City Festival

This festival spreads for ten days at the beginning of August and we were totally surprised by the diverse atmosphere. With food and drinks booths from around the world and music shows on three different stages, the party is guaranteed. The lake bank was so colorful and full of hundreds of people.
While wandering around the festival stalls and performances is free, eating and drinking is not.
Caipirinhas would come at the price of 10 CHF, which was the minimum price for a durum .
We wanted to try something from Switzerland so we went for Fondeu in two pieces of French bread. Altogether with two Mexican tequila beers – 30 CHF. That is probably one of the cheapest treats if you eat outside home in Switzerland.
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland

One-hour long fireworks

Those fireworks are part of the festival and were amazing. They had a special choreography – fireworks dance aligned with music and most importantly – they lasted for an hour! It is completely free of charge and everyone residing in the city was in the center, on the bridges or along the lake bank to see this show.
Here’s our video with 45 minutes of the fireworks (our hands failed to hold the camera for longer):

traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
Hint: take beer from the supermarket and party like a local

Admire the fountain

Jet d’Eau is probably the city’s most famous landmark. The actual usage is to release some water pressure when the Geneva Lake empties into a river. After its aesthetic value was noticed, it is the thing to admire and nowadays you cannot say you’ve been to Geneva unless you have a photo with the fountain.

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traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland

traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
We’ve been in Geneva – proved!

Bains de Pâquis – 2 CHF entrance and food is cheap

This is one of the trendy beaches in Geneva. Easily accessible (it is in the very center) and situated IN the lake, that is the place to get some tan in the hot summer days.
2 CHF is the fee to enter the complex and you can walk around, lie on the “beach”, lie on the rocks, lie everywhere. The food corner is attractive – with breakfast set for 10 CHF and a lunch set for 20-30 CHF – this is super cheap for Geneva.
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland

 

Weekend public transportation card for two

Even if you are single you might want to take advantage of this transportation card for two people that cost 10 CHF and applies for weekend days. With a single ticket of 3 CHF for 1-hour trip, you may also consider walking more:-) We heard some hotel provide you with a free card for the public transport network but having in mind the prices for hotel accommodation, we wouldn’t say it’s free.

The city is well-connected with trains, trams, buses. They are always on time (wow, Swiss punctuality) and very clean.

traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
An old city but well-connected
traveling to Geneva and around in Switzerland
The machine doesn’t give change. There are special places to get a refund but we didn’t manage to find them. Feeling cheated.

 

Accommodation

We suggest that you try to find nice apartments/rooms in Airbnb (using this link will give you a 26-euro discount with your first reservation). Booking.com is also an option here.



Booking.com


There are a lot more things to do and enjoy for (almost) free. Check out the second part of the Geneva and around on the cheap!

 

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