Geneva: A Student Travel Guide
A stones throw away from the United Kingdom, Europe lies across the English Channel beckoning adventurous visitors. For short weekend breaks there are so many options it can be hard to decide where to go. To help you out we are creating a series of guides to places in Europe that are perfect for short holidays. If you have been anywhere exciting in Europe and want to write a short guide, then please get in contact with us.
This time, we venture off to Geneva, Switzerland. A city of splendour and beauty and a mix of languages and history, there is never a dull day in Geneva.
Getting to Geneva is fairly easy, and simply involves hopping on the tube to Heathrow or the train to Gatwick and getting a short flight from London. The airlines that fly there include: Easyjet (if you are on a budget), Swiss Air, British Midlands and British Airways. The earlier you book your flights, the lower the prices.
Alternatively, if you are not opposed to a long journey, there is a train from London St. Pancras to Paris then you can catch a local train to Geneva. However, it would probably cost you less to go on Easyjet.
Remember Switzerland is not part of the European Union but a member of the Schengen Treaty, therefore it is important to check visa requirements. Similarly, Switzerland does not use the Euro but the Swiss Franc, so make sure you try to get the best exchange rate.
Accommodation varies in quality and price from hostels, to small bed and breakfasts, to fancier hotels.
What To Do
Switzerland is full of history and culture and is the home to international relations:
- The ‘new' city centre hosts sky high buildings with modern glass architecture. The main attractions are Lake Geneva, the Jet Fountain (above), and the ‘Fleur Horlogerie' (right) translated into flower clock, which is exactly what it is.
- The ‘old' city of Geneva holds the main Cathedral (with the possibility of exploring what lies beneath), as well as the old architecture of cobble stones and arches. You also get an excellent view of the lake and the new city.
- A visit to the United Nations Headquarters is a must. It includes a guided tour around the building (proudly wearing your photograph security pass) that holds so much beauty. There is so much style within the different rooms, with stalactite features hanging from the ceiling, paintings, and most famously, the conference room often shown on TV. Definitely worth taking a picture.
- During a visit to the Red Cross Headquarters you can take a dip into the history of the Red Cross, from its early achievements, to the great organisation it is today.
- Swiss chocolate, clocks and Swiss pen knives make ideal souvenirs to bring home for your friends.
- Gaze off into the skyline wherever you are and admire the heights and snow covered caps of the Alps.
Top Three Tips
- Switzerland is a very expensive country, so make sure you have an adequate budget (150 Swiss francs for two days excluding accommodation). Food can also be quite expensive, so bringing pack lunches for the days may be best.
- One can easily walk around the city from the ‘new' to the ‘old.' There is no need to get a travel pass unless your accommodation is far from the city centre.
- Many students visit Geneva during the holidays. Make friends along the way!
Angelique is a student blogger for Foreign Students. Originally from the Seychelles, she is currently a Law student at the University of London. You can read all her older posts here.