Budget hotels in Geneva
It's not the capital of Switzerland, but Geneva certainly feels like it should be – such is its importance to the culture not only of the country, but the whole continent. Home to the European headquarters of the UN, Geneva is an ex-pat's paradise with a sleekly cosmopolitan atmosphere. Wander the exclusive chocolate shops, jewellers, and boutiques, take in the quaint lanes, awnings and archways of the Old Town, and on a sunny day you can recline in one of the many tree-lined parks that add to Geneva's allure. You can even take a cable car across to France – Saleve's peak gives outstanding views of the city and Lake Geneva.
Things to see
While the Old Town is full of ornate old townhouses and tucked away alcoves, the most recognisable symbol of the city is arguably its fountain, Jet d'Eau. Surging up high into the air, before curling into a lush white arc, it exemplifies the vibrance of Geneva itself – get close enough and you might get drenched, though. As far as buildings go, there's one landmark that's a must-see, and that's the Palais des Nations in Ariana Park. This is home to the United Nations, and you can take a tour of its hallowed corridors. You can also go for a relaxed stroll on the grounds – keep a look out for the famous peacocks which strut proudly around. It's also worth checking what's on at the Palexpo exhibition and conference center for potentially interesting shows, while one permanently fascinating place to visit is the Cathedral of Saint Pierre, whose history can be traced back to the 12th Century, and from whose towers you can take in vistas of the whole of the city around you.
Cheap Hotels in Geneva
If you want to push the boat out, there are certainly hotels in Geneva which will pamper you in every respect. Think on-site spas, floor-to-ceiling windows, views of the Alps or Lake Geneva, and gourmet restaurants. That said, cheap Geneva hotels are also available for travelers who'd rather spend their budget on other things – your best bet is to have a good look around online to seek out the best deals, and look for hotels which offer mod-cons like WiFi and flat-screen televisions.
Where to stay
Want to indulge in some retail therapy, or the classiest window-shopping you can imagine? Then you might want to think about finding a cheap Geneva hotel near the Rues Basses – the pristine streets where independent stores sit alongside the enclaves of world-class designers. You might also be able to find budget-friendly hotels in the vicinity of the Old Town, if you like the thought of strolling out from the lobby straight into the atmospheric warren of winding streets and terraces. Situated by Lake Geneva, Les Eaux-Vives is another attractive quarter where you can make your base – the whole family will love the nearby parks and the proximity of Jet d'Eau.
How to get to
You can get the train into Geneva Station from other Swiss cities and countries in Europe, but if you're flying in you'll most likely arrive at Geneva International Airport. This is situated just 4 kilometers from the city and the regular trains will take you directly from the airport station to central Geneva in no time. Alternatively, flights also come in from Paris to Annecy – Haute-Savoie – Mont Blanc Airport, which is a little further out.