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Getting There

Geneva - Getting There

The best way for expatriates to get to Geneva is by air. Thanks in part to its popularity as a ski destination, it is possible to fly direct into Geneva city. The closest airport to Geneva city is the Geneva Airport ("Genève Aéroport"), which is the second busiest Swiss airport after Zurich. This airport's network strengths are regional/Europe-based flights, such as from Paris (Air France, Northwest), Munich (SAS, Swiss Air), Amsterdam (KLM) and Swiss city Zurich. There are also regular and non-stop cross-continental flights from US states like New York and Washington on American Airlines or Continental; or from London and Manchester via British Airways. A non-stop flight between New York and Geneva takes around 7 to 9 hours; while the flight time between London / Rome and Geneva is just under 2 hours. The flight time between Paris / Milan and Geneva is an hour, and Zurich and Geneva are 45 minutes apart by plane.

Expatriates can also choose to fly into other major European cities, such as Zurich, Paris, London, Amsterdam, then fly onward to Geneva via a regional carrier. Take note that domestic air travel within Switzerland can get expensive. Some expatriates have found it cheaper to fly from their home countries into other European cities such as Paris or London where there are a number of flights available onward to Geneva, including low cost carrier EasyJet.

The Geneva Airport (IATA Code GVA) is located in Cointrin, a small town about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the city of Geneva. Call 0900 57 15 00 (at CHF 1.19/minute) for flight information, or +41 (0)22 717 7111 for general information. For directions from the airport, visit their website to download useful location and driving maps. From the airport, if you are traveling light, you can take advantage of Geneva Airport's offer to use the public transport for free (Unireso bus or train service) for a period up to 80 minutes. Click here to download the brochure more information – this offer is only valid for arriving passengers at Geneva Airport with a valid air ticket.

From the airport, it takes 6 minutes to reach the city of Geneva via train. There are airport buses that take around 40 minutes, and will take you direct into the city center, or to the lake. The main train station in Geneva is the Gare de Cornavin. The train station is centrally located within walking distance of the lake. This train station is also the terminus for the French rail network (both SNCF and TGV) from Paris, Lyon or Grenoble. A train ride between Zurich and Geneva will take about 2.5-3 hours.

If you intend to drive to your final destination, the Geneva Airport is linked to the motorway N1 from Lausanne. If you are driving from Zurich, the driving distance is about 272 km (111 miles) from Geneva, so the journey will take less than 3 hours. Take note that due to the unique geographical location of Geneva, there is no "direct" Swiss motorway from Zurich into Geneva - most routes will cross into French territory. Have your travel documents ready in case of border checks. Parking in the city of Geneva is very expensive, and it is not easy finding empty lots, so do remember to make prior arrangements for longer-term parking if you intend to drive into the city of Geneva on your relocation day.

Many expatriates prefer to hail a taxi from the Geneva Airport to complete the last leg of their journey. A taxi ride from the Geneva Airport into the city will cost around $40 CHF. Some helpful information (in English) about taxi tariffs, surcharges and other regulations (e.g. safety belts) can be read and downloaded here.

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