Geneva : city transport
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Bol d´Or (©_OTG)
Walking is feasible enough for the heart of Geneva, and even getting to further-flung attractions such as Carouge or the UN takes only twenty or thirty minutes on foot, but you’ll probably want to use city transport once or twice. Trams and buses form the core of the transport network, with a few boats linking the two lakeshores. Renting a bike (or even a powered two-wheeler) makes sense, both to get around the city and to explore the generally flat countryside around. Taxis are only for the rich and famous: you can hail them in the street, take them from the station and other ranks around town, or call 022/331 41 33, but with a Fr.6.30 flagfall, Fr.2.70 per kilometre (more on Sundays and at night) plus Fr.1 per piece of luggage, they’re only a ski-mask short of daylight robbery.

Trams, buses and boats
You’ll find little to complain about with Geneva’s trams and buses – they’re fast, efficient, clean, safe, affordable and they go everywhere. The entire city, including the airport, is covered by Zone 10, tickets for which must be bought before you board from the machines at every stop. A three-stop ticket, which can get you from the station onto the Rive Gauche, costs Fr.1.50. A full city pass is Fr.2.20 (valid one hour) or Fr.5 (one day). Transport offices in the station or at the large Rive interchange near the Jardin Anglais sell three-day city passes (Fr.19), as well as useful discounted multifare tickets, such as six one-hour passes for Fr.12. You must validate day and multifare tickets by punching them in the ticket machine before boarding. All trams and buses running within the city are identified with numbers; those running into the suburbs, or across the border into France, are marked with letters.

Tiny mouettes ferry people across the mouth of the lake (April–Oct only), on two routes, both covered by normal city tickets: M1 runs between the Pâquis jetty (Quai du Mont-Blanc) and Place du Molard (Rues-Basses); M2 between Pâquis and Eaux-Vives.

Swiss Pass holders travel free, but Eurail, InterRail and even the Swiss Half-Fare Card bring no discounts on city transport.

Bikes, mopeds and motorbikes
The station has the usual bike-rental facilities (Mon–Fri 6.50am–6.45pm, Sat & Sun 7am–12.30pm & 1.30–5.45pm) or, as an alternative, you can take advantage of the Genèv’Roule scheme, with bikes available for rent at Fr.5/day from 17 Place de Montbrillant and the Bains des Pâquis (both May–Oct daily 7.30am–9.30pm). Horizon Motos, 51 Rue de Lausanne (022/731 23 39) rents mopeds and motorbikes by the day, week or month: long-weekend deals start from Fr.120.

City tours
There are literally dozens of tours offered around the city and its environs, and all the information centres stock plenty of brochures giving details, and can help with enquiries.

For self-guided tours, simplest is to pick up a Walkman and headphones from the tourist office for an informative 26-point walk in the Old Town at your own pace (Fr.10, plus Fr.50 deposit), or follow one of the excellent “Geneva On Foot” brochure-led walks through the various parks and neighbourhoods. Official two-hour guided walks all depart from the Hôtel-de-Ville and cost Fr.12: a walk through the Old Town runs year-round (June–Oct Wed & Sat 11am, Nov–May Sat 11am), while other regular tours outline Historic Geneva, The Red Cross, and Medieval Geneva (June–Oct alternating Mondays 2.30pm). Other walks, highlighting International Geneva, parks and gardens, Carouge, Geneva by night, and more, run on fixed dates from various points around town – ask at the tourist office for details.

Opportunities for getting onto the water also abound: the CGN has plenty of cruises long and short from their Mont-Blanc jetty, including Les Belles Rives Genevoises – a circular tour of both lakeshores (April–Sept daily 11.05am & hourly 1.05–5.05pm; 55min; Fr.11) – and dozens of eat-aboard brunch, lunch and evening cruises. However, note that the smaller companies ranged along the Quai du Mont-Blanc tend to offer better value and more regular departures for much the same thing. One of them, Mouettes Genevoises Navigation, 8 Quai du Mont-Blanc (022/732 29 44), has an excellent 2hr 45min return trip down the Rhône, from the Pont de l’Ile (Quai des Moulins) past cliffs and densely wooded shores to Verbois dam near the French border (May–Sept daily 2.15pm, also Wed, Thurs, Sat & Sun 10am; April daily 2.15pm only; Fr.22, reserve ahead).

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