Located on the shores of the largest freshwater lake in Europe, Geneva is one of Switzerland’s main cities. It’s also a large international center, with numerous large scale organisations such as the United Nations and the Red Cross based there.
There’s so much to explore in Geneva, from the shores of Lake Geneve and historic attractions to world-class restaurants.
However, figuring out where to stay in Geneva can be a tough job. Prices are often sky high in the city, and these only rise during peak season.
To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the best places to stay in Geneva. We’ve included something for every travel style and budget, so you can find the best place for you!
- Where to Stay in Geneva
- Geneva Neighbourhood Guide
- Geneva’s 5 Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in
- 1. Old Town – Where to Stay in Geneva for your First Visit
- 2. Paquis – Where to Stay in Geneva on a Budget
- 3. Plainpalais – Where to Stay in Geneva for Nightlife
- 4. Carouge – Coolest Place to Stay in Geneva
- 5. Eaux Vives – Best Area in Geneva for Families
- FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Geneva
Backpacking Switzerland and headed to Geneva? You won’t regret it. Now let’s find you somewhere to stay.
Best Airbnb in Geneva: Gorgeous Entire Apartment in Old Town
Located a four-minute walk from Geneva Cathedral, this modern Airbnb is ideal for discovering the city. The apartment is bright and modern throughout, with everything you’ll need for a comfortable and convenient stay.
Best Hostel in Geneva: City Hostel Geneva
The City Hotel was actually the first hostel in Geneva. It offers affordable private and dorm rooms with shared bathrooms. The hostel also provides laundry facilities, luggage storage, and free wifi.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Switzerland’s most booming cities. Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, it boasts stunning natural beauty, surrounded by water and mountains.
There are loads of great things to do in Geneva, so you want to make sure you’re staying in the right area to make the most of your trip!
The heart of the city is its Old Town. It’s full of art galleries, traditional Swiss restaurants, museums, and pretty fountains in the streets. There’s plenty to explore here, making it the best place to stay if you’re visiting for the first time.
If you’re traveling on a budget, Paquis is a good option. It’s conveniently located next to the main train station and offers the best value accommodation in Geneva.
Plainpalais is the best place to stay if you want to be close to the nightlife. The area is next to the main university and is filled with a lively population.
Carouge is a vibrant and quirky area home to hip cafes and trendy bars. It’s got a different feel to the rest of the city, and is worth a visit even if you don’t stay there!
Located close to the Old Town, Eaux Vives offers peace and quiet while remaining close to all Geneva’s main sights. This makes it an ideal base for families staying in the city.
Geneva’s 5 Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in
Now, let’s take a look at each of these areas in more detail. We’ve included our top accommodation and activity picks in each, so you’ll know exactly what to expect.
1. Old Town – Where to Stay in Geneva for your First Visit
The Old Town of Geneva is the historical part of the city, dating back almost 2000 years. It’s one of the largest old towns in Europe and is a real pleasure to walk around. This area is also home to Place du Bourg, Geneva’s oldest square, which is the perfect place to stop and take in the atmosphere.
Old Town is also home to a large number of cultural and historical attractions, as well as bars, cafes, and restaurants. With so much on offer, Old Town is the best place to stay if you’re discovering Geneva for the first time.
Best Airbnb in Old Town: Gorgeous Entire Apartment in Old Town
This apartment is right in the heart of the historical center just four minutes from the Cathedral. It offers a quiet and cozy stay, just a stone’s throw away from all the main attractions! The apartment is beautifully furnished and has all the amenities needed for a comfortable stay.
Best Hostel in Old Town: Hotel Central Geneva
The Hotel Central Geneva sits in the Old Town just a short walk from the lakeshore. It offers simple rooms fitted with a balcony, a private bathroom, and free wifi. Best of all, there’s a free breakfast to fuel you up each morning.
Best Apartment in Old Town: Fontaine
This apartment is ideal for couples or small groups visiting Geneva for the first time. It’s elegantly furnished and is modern throughout, featuring a full kitchen and living area. The apartment sits in the heart of the Old Town, making it an ideal base for exploring the area.
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 colorful rooms fitted with a private bathroom, air conditioning, wifi, and a flat-screen TV. The hotel also boasts a wellness area, a library, and an on-site restaurant.
Things to See and Do in Old Town
- Visit the Cathedral Saint Pierre.
- Art lovers should head to the Jacques de la Beraudiere gallery to see an expansive collection of paintings.
- Stop for a coffee on Place du Bourg de Four, Geneva’s oldest square.
- Learn about Protestantism at the International Museum of the Reformation.
- Stroll down the Promenade de la Treille.
2. Paquis – Where to Stay in Geneva on a Budget
Paquis is a neighborhood 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 where to stay if you’re sticking to a budget or are looking for cheap accommodation in Geneva. It’s where you’ll find hostels, budget hotels, and more! There are also plenty of things to do here that won’t cost you a penny.
Best Hostel in Paquis: City Hostel Geneva
This awesome Geneva hostel offers affordable accommodation in a top location just 8 minutes from the main train station. Shared and private rooms are on offer, each coming with a shared bathroom, reading lights, and free wifi. You’ll also get a free transport travel card for the duration of your stay – talk about a bargain!
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 views over the city.
Things to See and Do in Paquis
- Grab a drink in a trendy café.
- Go for a swim at Bain des Paquis – public baths that protect you from the currents in the lake.
- If you’re visiting in winter, the lake pools shut down and are replaced by saunas and Turkish baths – well worth a visit!
- Have a picnic overlooking the lake in the Perle du Lac Park.
- Walk along the banks of the lake.
3. Plainpalais – Where to Stay in Geneva for Nightlife
Plainpalais is centered around the university and is very lively and affordable as a result. If you are looking for a fun night out, head to one of the bars in Rue de l’Ecole de Médecine and mingle with the students and the ex-pats living in Geneva. On weekends, the party can go on until the early hours of the morning!
Plainpalais is also home to a large open-air square, the Plaine de Plainpalais. Geneva’s largest flea market takes place every Wednesday and Saturday here. You’ll find anything from books to clothes and home accessories.
Best Airbnb in Plainpalais: Charming Room in Shared Apartment
Stay in this 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.
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 kitchenette, and a seating area.
Best Budget Hotel in Plainpalais: Hotel Carmen
Hotel Carmen provides comfortable two-star accommodation in Geneva for an affordable rate. Rooms are simple and clean, with everything you’ll need throughout your stay. There are a variety of room options available too, making this an ideal base for anyone from solo travelers to family vacationers. The hotel is close to museums, bars, shops, and restaurants.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Plainpalais: Hotel Adriatica Geneva
The Hotel Adriatica Geneva is one of the nicest hotels in the Plainpalais neighborhood in Geneva. It offers traditionally furnished rooms fitted with an ensuite bathroom and a view over the garden. Bicycles can be borrowed for free at the reception, so you can easily explore the city.
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.
- Check out the funfair that’s hosted annually.
- Tuck into a burger at Inglewood Plainpalais before heading out for the night.
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, despite being fully integrated into the city, Carouge has a completely different feel to the rest of Geneva.
Carouge is becoming increasingly cooler, with lots of hip cafés and bars popping open at every corner. Make a pit stop in one of them to experience life like a local in Geneva. Also, take the time to shop around the artisan shops and local designers.
Best Airbnb in Carouge: Cozy Private Room
Suitable for solo travelers or digital nomads, this cozy private room comes complete with a double bed, workspace, and book collection. You’ll also have access to the kitchen and laundry facilities. The flat is close to public transport connections that’ll have you in the city center in no time.
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.
Best Budget Hotel in Carouge: Ibis Styles Genève Carouge
The Ibis Styles Genève Carouge offers modernly furnished rooms in the heart of Carouge. Each room is uniquely decorated with cartoons on the walls and fitted with an ensuite bathroom. 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 renovated historic building. Rooms are beautifully furnished and contain everything you’ll need for a convenient stay. There’s a restaurant, terrace, and bar onsite.
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 center.
- Spend a day at the pool at Piscine de Carouge La Fontenette.
- Have a drink at the classic Bar du Nord.
5. Eaux Vives – Best Area in Geneva for Families
The Eaux Vives neighborhood 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.
Eaux Vives is home to the largest park in Geneva, the Parc de la Grange. There, you will find a large rose garden and an open theatre that hosts concerts during the summer. Next to it, several barbecue pits can be used for free for a great family outing!
Best Airbnb in Eaux Vives: Family Duplex with Garden
Treat the family to this contemporary three-bedroom home. It’s got a full kitchen, living area, and garden, so you’ll have plenty of space to relax (or run around) in, when you’re not out exploring. There are shops, restaurants, and cafes just outside, and the city’s largest park is a 5 minute walk away. A quick tram will get you into the city center in minutes.
Best Hostel in Eaux Vives: Hotel Churchill
This hotel boasts a great location near the lakefront in Eaux Vives. It features traditional and classic decor throughout, as well as free wifi and room service. A fantastic continental buffet breakfast is available in the mornings.
Best Budget Hotel in Eaux Vives: Hotel Pax Geneva
The Hotel Pax Geneva offers modernly decorated rooms with a private bathroom and flat-screen TV. Rooms are quiet and either face 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. The rooms feature air conditioning and an ensuite bathroom with a bathtub.
Things to See and Do in Eaux Vives
- Take a walk on the waterfront and admire 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.
- Take a short walk to the Old Town and explore the sights.
FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Geneva
Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Geneva and where to stay.
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Geneva
Geneva is a charming place to come spend a relaxing lakefront holiday. Surprisingly, it’s also one of the most budget-friendly places to stay in Switzerland.
If you’re still not sure where to stay in Geneva, we recommend basing yourself in the Old Town. It’s ideally located for exploring the city’s top sights, and provides easy access to the other areas mentioned in this guide.
In terms of accommodation, you can’t go wrong with the Hotel Ibis Genève Centre Lac. It offers 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 we missed anything? Let us know in the comments!
And don’t forget to take out Travel Insurance for your trip! I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once you’ve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Do you own an awesome hostel, hotel or apartment? Want to be featured in our list? Email [email protected] to find out how.
Find out how YOU can support the site.
We’re a big site with a big team and this job isn’t always easy. But we do it because we love it – we love providing epic and free content. We love the knowledge that our content keeps you adventuring. We don’t ask for money, but if you’d like to find out how you can help the site in more organic ways, click the button below.
Thank you for your support 🙂
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!