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    Car hire in Geneva at the best price

    When travelling to Geneva, be ready to be dazzled by the charm of the Old Town and the spectacular scenery around the city. With the mountains as the perfect backdrop and the famous lake as the city's hallmark, you will have plenty of sights to see and activities to enjoy. Geneva is popular with tourists of all ages thanks to its superb location. Skiing in winter, swimming and hiking in summer, and enjoying Swiss cuisine are the main reasons why thousands of tourists flock to Geneva every year. Geneva is nestled between three countries, which makes it an excellent starting position for visiting Italy.

    Add car hire in Geneva to your travel plans for more comfort and flexibility. Auto Europe, with its longstanding experience in the car rental industry, is able to provide you with car rental services in over 24,000 locations worldwide. In Geneva alone, we work with the largest international companies as well as with local businesses, allowing you to pick up your car at the airport or in many downtown locations. Check our Geneva car hire reviews page to see what our customers think about our services in Geneva and other towns and cities around the country.

    How is the traffic in Geneva?

    Switzerland and its sense for punctuality are sometimes thought to outshine those of many neighbouring countries. Swiss roads are considered safe and modern, and a real pleasure to drive on. Driving in Geneva is not an exception. However, as in many other big cities, it can come to bottle necks and traffic congestion in rush hour when people go to or leave work. As far as speed limit in Switzerland is concerned, Swiss cars are equipped with km/h speed displays; therefore, the speed limits provided on this page reflect Swiss norms:

    • In town: 50 km/h.
    • Outside town: 80 km/h.
    • On the motorways: 120km/h.

    If you would like to drive on a motorway, you will need to obtain a "vignette" - a sticker that can be purchased at gas stations, post offices, etc. The vignette is valid for one year; therefore, most of the rented vehicles already are equipped with these stickers. Be sure to check if the car has a vignette during the pick-up. The next thing to remember is that the driver and any passengers must always fasten their seat belts during a drive. You can also have a look at our driving guide in Switzerland for additional information.

    Where can I park my car hire in Geneva?

    A free parking spot can be really tricky to find in Geneva downtown. If you are lucky to find a spot, please note that parking is paid in the city centre from Monday to Friday between 9am and 2pm, and between 5pm and 8pm. You can park for an unlimited amount of time after 8 pm. There are three parking zones in Geneva:

    • White: paid parking; tickets can be purchased from parking meters.
    • Blue: free parking up to 1 hour on working days between 8am and 11.30am, and between 1.30pm and 7pm. You need to place a blue parking disc behind the windshield.
    • Yellow: parking not allowed.

    There are also public paid car parks and underground parking garages for your rent a car in Geneva which you can use to park your rental car. Such garages and Park and Ride are probably the best alternatives to on-street parking in the city.

    Geneva Airport

    Geneva Airport lies 3 miles to the north of the city. After Zurich Airport, it is the second largest Swiss Airport. Due to direct train, bus, and motorway connections, the airport is easily accessible from the city centre. If you book your vehicle at the airport, you can choose between picking up the car on the French or on the Swiss section. Both sides have their advantages. Visit our Geneva Airport page here to find out which side is the best option for your travel plans.

    Geneva International Airport/Genève Aéroport
    Address: 1218 Le Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland
    Telephone: +41 22 717 71 11

    What to do in Geneva

    Geneva is a unique city brimming with pleasant contrasts. On the one hand, it is an affluent and modern business centre. On the other hand, the city is a lovely historic place emblematic of world-famous Swiss traditions influenced also by those of neighbouring France.

    • Geneva Jet d'Eau on Geneva Lake: This large fountain is one of the first things you will see while landing at Geneva Airport. Jet d'Eau is the most famous landmark of the city and is a must for a selfie. The strong fountain expels a mixture of water and air as high as 460 feet (140 metres) into the air. Take a stroll along the left lake bank or get even closer by boat. There are regular boat taxi and ferry departures to numerous places of interest around the lake during the day. This iconic sight is featured on almost every postcard of Geneva but not everyone knows that it originally started out for a very practical reason. It was constructed to help release and manage the excessive pressure from a nearby hydraulic plant. In recent years, a new wooden walkway to the fountain has been opened which makes access easier than before. However, be careful as you can get wet if you get really close.

    • Reformation Wall: Reformation Wall is a monument to all victims of the Protestant Reformation, which followed the German movement but still held a certain amount of independence. The old city walls served as a "canvas" where artists depicted historic scenes and main protagonists of the movement. The figures of some of the most famous Protestants of the time such as John Calvin and John Knox have been built into the wall. Interestingly, the figure of Martin Luther, who is considered the leader of Reformation, has been given a small, modest place on the wall. According to the popular belief, this is due to the fact that John Calvin, the most prominent person of the Swiss Reformation, disagreed with Luther on several important points. Visit the monument and brush up on the religious history of Europe.

    • Plainpalais: Get acquainted with Geneva's shopping scene in the Old Town full of luxurious boutiques and deli shops. For a different shopping experience, be sure to visit the Plainpalais fleamarket, where you can browse through vintage toys, clothes and furniture. Plainpalais, shaped as a big rhombus, is situated in the southern part of the city. The popular fleamarket takes place on Wednesday and Saturday while a well-stocked Farmers Market is open on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday. Most of the products offered originally come from France. Compared to the local supermarket, the choice is more varied, of higher quality and lower prices.

    • Broken Chair: Standing at 39 feet tall, with a torn leg and over five tons of wood - this big wooden statue is an ever imposing and dominant feature overlooking the Place des Nations. It is a monument originally erected with the aim of raising consciousness about land mines and cluster bombs as well as in honour of all victims who have lost their limbs to land mines. Requested by Handicap International, it was erected in 1997 as an outcry and appeal to all nations to sign the Ottawa Treaty that would permanently ban land mines. Over time, it has become one of Geneva's landmarks and a poignant memento to all nations.

    • International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum: Following the Red Cross and Red Crescent's 100th anniversary, plans were made to open a museum that would reflect its valuable longstanding work. The museum hosts a threefold exhibition which focuses on modern issues and challenges such as defending human dignity, dealing with natural risks, and restoring connection within families. Besides this one, there are a number of temporary exhibitions focussing around contemporary burning topics in the society.

    Best day trips with my car rental in Geneva

    There are multiple opportunities for lovely day trips around Geneva. Some may be more luxurious and expensive than others, but there are certainly places you can visit without breaking the bank. What would be a trip to Switzerland without cheese? An absolute fail. If you are a big cheese lover, do not hesitate a moment and head to Gruyeres where you can visit the famous cheese factory, indulge in the finest Swiss cheese, and sip wine at one of the terraced restaurants.

    Annecy is one of the most romantic spots around Geneva and also, some say, the most picturesque town in France. Ornate buildings decorated with colourful flowers make the perfect postcard. The lake in Annecy lends itself for outdoor sports while the old historic castle Château d'Annecy invites visitors to explore the rich history of the region.

    Switzerland is an alpine fairy tale so why wouldn't you take a day or two and head up in the mountains? Simply relax and enjoy the peace and quiet spoilt only by the steady sound of cow bells.You can expect breathtaking scenery, magnificent views and unbeatable fresh mountain air. The Jura mountain range along with the beautiful national park with unspoiled nature is only one hour's drive from the city. Numerous slopes invite you for a downhill ski adventure in winter and a large number of hiking trails is a guarantee of re-connecting with nature in summer.

    If you can't get enough of the beautiful scenery, we have a guide for a road trip in Germany ready. Hit the Alpine Road with a car hire from Geneva and visit Lindau on Lake Constance and the fantastic national park Berchtesgaden in the south of Germany.

    For more history, good music and wine, drive to Lyon, which is less than two hours by car. Many compare it to Paris but with less hustle and bustle, so it seems perfect for a peaceful weekend getaway.

    Geographic Information & History

    Geneva's beautiful setting - the city lies on the shore of Lake Geneva, between the Alps and the Jura mountains - wins the city many visitors from all over the globe. Geneva is the second biggest city in Switzerland, just after Zurich, and is home to numerous international organizations, such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization, or the World Trade Organization. This makes Geneva practically the centre of world diplomacy and international finance. It is located in Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. If you pick up your car rental in Geneva, you will be able to travel around Lake Geneva as well as visit neighbouring France. Due to temperate oceanic climate, summer days are warm and make it perfect to swim in Lake Geneva; whereas in winter, snowfall and slight night frost are quite common.

    Geneva used to be a fortified town inhabited and owned by a Gallic tribe. Romans conquered it quite early - as of the second century it became part of the Roman empire. Christianity entered the region in the fifth century and Geneva was ruled by Roman counts and the House of Savoy, one of the oldest royal families who rose to power over hundreds of years ago.

    With the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, John Calvin became a crucial figure in the history of Geneva and its leader in spiritual matters. The House of Savoy rule was thrown off. However, the city fell under the dominance of Catholic France, which eventually resulted in folk's failed attempt of a revolution. Following the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, Geneva was annexed and it joined the Swiss Confederation. The important cut and separation between the Church and State took place in the 19th century. The rise of the city started promptly and it has been flourishing ever since. Nowadays, Geneva is an important diplomatic hub within Europe.

    How to get around Geneva?

    Although Geneva is considered an easily walkable city, you do not need to worry about public transportation options as there are many of them, covering all parts of the city. Transports Publics Genevois (TPG) operates bus, tram, and trolleybus services in Geneva. Our tip: if you are staying in a hotel, youth hostel or a campsite in Geneva, you can get a free Geneva Transport Card which allows you to travel for free by public transport in the city centre. The card even works for yellow taxi boats! If you arrive at Geneva Airport, you can obtain an 80 minute ticket for a free ride to the place where you are staying. The free tickets are available from ticket machines in the baggage reclaim area. Genève-Cornavin is the main railway station in Geneva. Auto Europe offers car hire from Geneva train station.

    It will be only a 6-minute train ride from Genève-Cornavin to the airport and there are direct trains to France with customs office at the station. Some of the lines that serve the station are TGV to Paris, Lyon, Nice, Ville, Montpellier, and St. Roch. There is also Jura foot line that runs from Olten and connects Geneva with other Swiss cities.

    Can I hire a campervan in Geneva?

    Exploring Geneva and the whole region around it in motorhome hire is guaranteed to take your journey to a completely different level. Be sure to check our motorhomes in Switzerland page to get a better idea of the possibilities.

    Useful links

    Tourist Guide Geneva