Located on the shores of the Geneva lake, the largest freshwater lake in Europe, Geneva is one of Switzerland’s main cities and a centre many international organisations such as the United Nations and the Red Cross have offices. The city itself is also beautiful and attracts more and more visitors each year.

However, figuring out where to stay in Geneva can be a tough job, and prices are often high in the city.

This is the reason why I have decided to put together this guide on where to stay in Geneva.

After reading it, YOU will be an expert on where to stay in Geneva and will be able to turn your travel planning into a peaceful and relaxed experience.

Let’s get started! Here is my guide on where to stay in Geneva.

Quick Answers – Where To Stay In Geneva

  • Where to stay in Geneva your first time – Old Town
  • Where to stay in Geneva on a budget – Paquis
  • Best area to stay in Geneva for nightlife – Plainpalais
  • Coolest place to stay in Geneva – Carouge
  • Best neighbourhood to stay in Geneva for families – Eaux Vives

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

FIRST TIME IN GENEVA

Old Town

The Old Town of Geneva is the historical part of the city, dating back almost 2000 years. It is one of the largest old towns in Europe, and it is a real pleasure to walk around its streets on a sunny afternoon.

Places to visit:
  • Visit the Cathedral Saint Pierre
  • Stop for a coffee on Place du Bourg de Four, Geneva’s oldest square
  • Learn about Protestantism at the International Museum of the Reformation

Where To Stay In Geneva

Backpacking Switzerland and headed to Geneva?  You won’t regret it. Now let’s find you somewhere to stay.

Best Hostel in Geneva – City Hostel Geneva

The City Hotel Geneva is the first hostel in Geneva. It offers affordable accommodation either in private rooms with a shared bathroom or in single beds in single-sex dormitory rooms. The hostel also provides laundry facilities and luggage storage. A free Wifi connection is available.

Head over to our comprehensive guide to the best hostels in Geneva before starting your backpacking adventure!

Best Airbnb in Geneva – Gorgeous Entire Apartment in Old Town

Located only a four minutes walk from Geneva Cathedral in the Old Town, this modern Geneva Airbnb is ideal for first-time visitors to Geneva. Right in the heart of the historical center, you will enjoy a perfect location to view the popular sight spots whilst enjoying a quiet and comfortable stay. The apartment comes with all basic ammenities that you will need.

Best Budget Hotel in Geneva – 9Hotel Paquis

The 9Hotel Paquis provides modern budget accommodation in the heart of Geneva. It offers rooms fitted with air conditioning, a private bathroom, soundproofing and a flat screen TV with international channels. A free Wifi connection is also available. In the morning, guests can enjoy a continental buffet breakfast in the in-house restaurant.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Geneva – Hotel Ibis Genève Centre Lac

The Hotel Ibis Genève Centre Lac offers modernly decorated rooms in Paquis. Each room is fitted with air conditioning, a private bathroom, a flat-screen TV and a view over the city. A free Wifi connection and a common lounge can be used by guests at any time.

Geneva Neighbourhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN GENEVA
Old Town, Geneva
FIRST TIME IN GENEVA

Old Town

The Old Town of Geneva is the historical part of the city, dating back almost 2000 years. It is one of the largest old towns in Europe, and it is a real pleasure to walk around its streets on a sunny afternoon.

ON A BUDGET
Paquis, Geneva
ON A BUDGET

Paquis

Paquis is a neighbourhood located close to the main train station and bordered by the lake. It is the most diverse area in Geneva, which is reflected in the numerous world food outlets you can find around there.

NIGHTLIFE
Plainpalais, Geneva
NIGHTLIFE

Plainpalais

Plainpalais is the neighbourhood located around the university and is as a consequence very lively and affordable. It is also the main nightlife centre in Geneva.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Carouge Geneva
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Carouge

Originally, Carouge was a separate town designed by Italian architects on the outskirts of Geneva. As a result, even though it has now been fully integrated into the city, Carouge has a completely different feel and vibe than the rest of Geneva.

FOR FAMILIES
Eaux Vives, Geneva
FOR FAMILIES

Eaux Vives

The Eaux Vives neighbourhood is located next to the Old Town, on the lakeshore. It is easy to find as it is home to the Jet d’Eau, the famous water fountain on the lake.

Geneva is one of Switzerlands most booming cities. It is the largest city in French-speaking Switzerland and the second largest city in the whole country. Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, it boasts a stunning natural decor, surrounded by water and mountains.

Geneva is also a multicultural city, as many international organisations such as the United Nations and the Red Cross have chosen Geneva for their offices.

There are loads of great things to do in Geneva. The heart of the city is its Old Town, which is actually one of the largest in Europe. There, visitors will find art galleries, traditional Swiss restaurants, museums, and pretty fountains in the streets. During the summer, you can enjoy a meal or a coffee outside on a terrace.

Located close to the Old Town and right next to the Jet d’Eau on the lake, Eaux Vives offers a bit more peace and quiet, while remaining close to all the main sights of the city. As such, it is perfect for families. A large park, the Parc de la Grange, can also be found in Eaux Vives.

Next to the main university, the neighbourhood of Plainpalais is a perfect choice if you like to go out. Filled with students, it means that accommodation can be found for great prices around there, and bars stay open until late. The area is always lively, especially during the weekends.

If you are traveling on a budget, Paquis is a good option. It is conveniently located next to the main train station and offers the best value for accommodation in the whole of Geneva. This neighbourhood is especially nice around the lakefront area.

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5 Best Neighbourhoods To Stay In Geneva

Let’s take a more detailed look at the 5 best neighbourhoods to stay in Geneva. There is something for every taste and budget!

#1 Old Town – Where to stay in Geneva your first time

The Old Town of Geneva is the historical part of the city, dating back almost 2000 years. Many places to visit in Geneva are located here. It is one of the largest old towns in Europe, and it is a real pleasure to walk around its streets on a sunny afternoon. It is especially nice to stop for a coffee or a meal in the Place du Bourg de Four, Geneva’s oldest square. During the summer, you can sit outside and enjoy the sun.

Not far from that, the Saint Pierre Cathedral is well worth a visit. Originally built in the 4th century, it has been reconstructed several times until the 12th century, where it took the shape we still can see today. One of the main figures of Protestantism, John Calvin, used to spend a lot of time in this cathedral.

If you are interested in learning more about Protestantism, the International Museum of the Reformation is located right next to the cathedral and retraces the history of this branch of Christianity. This is one of the most pleasant places to stay in Switzerland.

Old Town, Geneva

Things to see and do in Old Town

– Visit the Cathedral Saint Pierre

– Stop for a coffee on Place du Bourg de Four, Geneva’s oldest square

– Learn about Protestantism at the International Museum of the Reformation

Best Hostel in Old Town – Hotel Central Geneva

The Hotel Central Geneva is located in the Old Town and a short walking distance to the lake shore. It offers simple rooms fitted with a balcony and a private bathroom. Some of the rooms are also equipped with air conditioning and a bathtub. A good breakfast and free Wifi access are included.

Best Airbnb in Old Town – Gorgeous Entire Apartment in Old Town

Located only a four minutes walk from Geneva Cathedral in the Old Town, this modern apartment is ideal for first-time visitors to Geneva. Right in the heart of the historical center, you will enjoy a perfect location to view the popular sight spots whilst enjoying a quiet and comfortable stay. The apartment comes with all basic ammenities that you will need.

Best Budget Hotel in Old Town – Hotel Bel’Esperance

The Hotel Bel’Esperance is located near the Saint Pierre Cathedral in the Old Town. The rooms are fitted with a private bathroom, a wardrobe, a flat screen TV with international channels and a fan. In the morning, a continental breakfast is served and can be enjoyed on the terrace during the summer.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Old Town – Hotel Tiffany

The Hotel Tiffany is located in a quiet street right next to the Old Town. It offers modern and colourful rooms fitted with a private bathroom, air conditioning, and a flat-screen TV with international channels. The hotel features a wellness area, a library and free Wifi access. The in house restaurant serves brasserie like food.

#2 Paquis – Where to stay in Geneva on a budget

Paquis is a neighbourhood located close to the main train station and bordered by the lake. It is the most diverse area in Geneva, which is reflected in the numerous world food outlets you can find around there. If you are culinarily adventurous, this is the place to go!

Paquis is also the red light district of Geneva, and while it is a relatively safe area, caution is advised if you have to walk around at night.

During the summer season, head to the Bain des Paquis, a public baths installation where people can enjoy swimming in the lake while being protected from currents. During the winter, the lake pools shut down and saunas and Turkish baths open instead. At night, enjoy a drink at the bar and try the dish of the day, which changes every day.

For a picnic with the best views in the city, the Perle du Lac park is the place to go. Take in the sight of the lake and the French Alps in the background. Some of the Geneva places of interest are nearby but others will require a walk.

Paquis, Geneva
source: memlee (Shutterstock)

Things to see and do in Paquis

– Grab a drink in a trendy café

– Take a swim in the lake at Bain des Paquis

– Have a picnic overlooking the lake in the Perle du Lac park

Best Hostel in Paquis – City Hostel Geneva

The City Hotel Geneva is the first hostel in Geneva. It offers affordable accommodation either in private rooms with a shared bathroom or in single beds in single-sex dormitory rooms. The hostel also provides laundry facilities and luggage storage. A free Wifi connection is available.

Best Budget Hotel in Paquis – 9Hotel Paquis

The 9Hotel Paquis provides modern budget accommodation in the heart of Geneva. It offers rooms fitted with air conditioning, a private bathroom, soundproofing and a flat-screen TV with international channels. A free Wifi connection is also available. In the morning, guests can enjoy a continental buffet breakfast in the in-house restaurant.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Paquis – Hotel Ibis Genève Centre Lac

The Hotel Ibis Genève Centre Lac offers modernly decorated rooms in Paquis. Each room is fitted with air conditioning, a private bathroom, a flat-screen TV and a view over the city. A free Wifi connection and a common lounge can be used by guests at any time.

#3 Plainpalais – Best area to stay in Geneva for nightlife

Plainpalais is the neighbourhood located around the university and is as a consequence very lively and affordable. It is also the main nightlife centre in Geneva. If you are looking to spend a fun night out, head to one of the bars in Rue de l’Ecole de Médecine and mingle with the students and the expats living in Geneva. On weekends, the party can go on until the early hours of the night!

Plainpalais is also home to a large open-air square, the Plaine de Plainpalais, where Geneva’s largest flea market takes place every Wednesday and Saturday. You will find anything from books to clothes and home accessories.

The square also hosts a circus several times a year, as well as funfairs including street food stands and roller coasters. If you want to spend a fun day out with the kids, look no further!

Plainpalais, Geneva
source: Franck.schneider (Wikicommons)

Things to see and do in Plainpalais

– Go shopping at the Marché de Plainpalais flea market

– Spend the night in a bar in Rue de l’Ecole de Médecine

– Take the kids for a roller coaster ride

Best Hostel in Plainpalais – Appart’Hôtel Résidence Dizerens

The Appart’Hôtel Résidence Dizerens offers budget accommodation in Plainpalais. The studios are like small apartments and are equipped with air conditioning, a private bathroom, a kitchenette, a seating area and a bedroom. A continental breakfast can be served in the morning, but needs to be reserved the day before.

Best Airbnb in Plainpalais – Charming Room in Shared Apartment

Stay in this shared well-appointed and charming flat for a comfortable and authentic stay. Located only a 10 minutes tram ride from Geneva train station and walking distance from main shops and restaurants, you’ll be in the heart of everything. The host is very friendly and happy to give advice on the best events in Geneva.

Best Budget Hotel in Plainpalais – Hotel Leprince

The Hotel Leprince is located close to the Plaine de Plainpalais. It offers functional rooms fitted with a private bathroom, a flat screen with international channels and a refrigerator. A free Wifi connection is available in all hotel areas. In the morning, a good buffet breakfast is served.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Plainpalais – Hotel Adriatica Geneva

The Hotel Adriatica Geneva is one of the nicest hotels in the Plainpalais neighbourhood in Geneva. It offers traditionally furnished rooms fitted with an ensuite bathroom with a bathtub, air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with cable channels and a view over the hotel’s garden. Bicycles can be borrowed for free at the reception.

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#4 Carouge – Coolest place to stay in Geneva

Originally, Carouge was a separate town designed by Italian architects on the outskirts of Geneva. As a result, even though it has now been fully integrated into the city, Carouge has a completely different feel and vibe than the rest of Geneva.

If you want to know everything about the neighbourhood, head straight to the Musée de Carouge, which retraces the history of and its inhabitants. Please note that the museum is currently being refurbished and will remain closed until early 2020.

On Wednesdays and Saturdays, local producers gather on the main square for the market. Take this opportunity to buy some fresh vegetables, Swiss cheese and other local specialities. After all, who doesn’t love a fresh cheese sandwich for lunch?

Carouge has recently become cooler and cooler, with lots of hip cafés and bars popping open at every corner. Make a pit stop in one of them and live like a local in Geneva. Also, take the time to shop around the artisan shops and local designers.

Carouge Geneva
Source: Mihai-Bogdan Lazar (Shutterstock)

Things to see and do in Carouge

– Shop for local produce at the open-air market

– Live like a local and enjoy the hip cafés and bars

– Splurge at the Carouge shopping centre

Best Hostel in Carouge – Ramada Encore Genève

The Ramada Encore Genève is located in the Carouge area, on the way towards the airport. The rooms are decorated in modern style and fitted with a private bathroom and air conditioning. Some of the rooms also include a seating area and a sofa bed. All rooms are non-smoking and provide free access to the Wifi network.

Best Airbnb in Carouge – Cosy Bedroom Close to Vibrant Nightlife

This cosy bedroom in a share apartment is the perfect place to go home to after a long night out. Located between the city center and Carouge, you will enjoy how conveniently situated it is. The place comes with all basic ammenities and essentials you need during your stay in Geneva.

Best Budget Hotel in Carouge – Ibis Styles Genève Carouge

The Ibis Styles Genève Carouge offers modernly decorated rooms in the heart of Carouge. Each room is uniquely decorated with cartoons on the walls and fitted with a private bathroom, air conditioning, a flat screen TV and soundproofing. The on-site restaurant serves local and international dishes, as well as a buffet breakfast in the morning.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Carouge – Auberge Communale de Carouge

The Auberge Communale de Carouge is located in a historic building which was renovated a couple years ago. It offers modern and comfortable rooms fitted with wooden floors, an ensuite bathroom and a flat-screen TV with cable channels. A free Wifi connection is available in all areas of the hotel.

#5 Eaux Vives – Best neighbourhood to stay in Geneva for families

The Eaux Vives neighbourhood is located next to the Old Town, on the lakeshore. It is easy to find as it is home to the Jet d’Eau, the famous water fountain on the lake. In all seasons, Taking a walk on the water front to take the sight in is a lovely thing to do. Make sure to take some pictures!

Eaux Vives is home to the largest park in Geneva, the Parc de la Grange. There, you will find a large rose garden. There is also an open theatre where concerts are organised during the warmer months. Next to it, several barbecue pits can be used for free for a great family outing!

Eaux Vives is full of vintage shops where you may find a gem for a bargain. The whole neighbourhood has an old 20th century feel, and even boasts an old style cinema that is still in function.

Eaux Vives, Geneva

Things to see and do in Eaux Vives

– Take a walk on the waterfront while admiring the Jet d’Eau

– Go for a day out in nature at the Parc de la Grange

– Shop for vintage items in one of the local shops

Best Hostel in Eaux Vives – Hotel Churchill

The Hotel Churchill boasts a great location near the lakefront in the Eaux Vives neighbourhood of Geneva. Its rooms are fitted with a private bathroom, air conditioning and a flat-screen TV, and are decorated in a classical style. A good breakfast is served in the morning and the front desk staff is available around the clock.

Best Airbnb in Eaux Vives – Spacious Three Bedroom Apartment

Accommodating up to five guests, this spacious and modern three bedroom apartment in the heart of Eaux Vives is very suitable for a family visiting Geneva. Located only a five minutes walk from the lake and close proximity to many of Geneva’s attractions, you will be able to walk anywhere you need to.

Best Budget Hotel in Eaux Vives – Hotel Pax Geneva

The Hotel Pax Geneva offers modernly decorated rooms with wooden floors and fitted with a private bathroom, air conditioning and a flat-screen TV with international channels. Rooms are quiet and either faces the street or the inner courtyard. A free Wifi connection is available and pets are allowed in the hotel.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Eaux Vives – Hotel Diplomate

The Hotel Diplomate is located just a short walking distance from the lake and the Jet d’Eau in the Eaux Vives neighbourhood. The rooms are fitted with air conditioning, an ensuite bathroom with a bathtub, a flat screen TV and soundproofing. A good breakfast is served in the morning and room service is available.

Final Thoughts On Where To Stay In Geneva…

Geneva, the second largest city in Switzerland, is a charming place to come spend a relaxing lakefront holiday.

There, my favourite neighbourhood to stay in is the Old Town. It is located close to all the main attractions and the lakefront and has a large choice of quality accommodation.

Overall, my favourite place to stay in Geneva is the Hotel Ibis Genève Centre Lac, where you will find modern and comfortable rooms in a convenient location.

If you are traveling on a backpacker’s budget, the City Hostel Geneva is a great choice. Rooms are clean and you can decide between a private room or a single bed in a shared dormitory.

Have I missed your favourite spot in Geneva? Let me know in the comments so I can add it to the list!

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