I’m not going to lie here, out of all the cities I’ve traveled to, Geneva has been the most expensive, but one of the most beautiful. Without a doubt.
Let’s get it started.
Mona and I were staying in Chambery (a city in France), and decided that since we are so close, why not just take an hour train ride over to Switzerland. You might as well, right? Well, after looking at absurd hotel prices, we decided to be on a budget and just go for the day.
Geneva Bougie-On-A-Budget Tip #1: If you are close enough to make a day trip out of it, do so. Geneva is a small city and you can see everything you need to within a few hours and still have time left to sit and enjoy the views. Our round-trip train ride cost us less than 20 Euro.
What does one do for food? Because, let’s face it, the best part of traveling is trying all of the delicious food! I thought Geneva would be more reasonable price-wise than Paris, but boy was I wrong. We searched for cafes to recommend to our readers that would be somewhat decent, but really could not find anything over 17 Euro each for a simple lunch. That’s not including coffee or drinks.
Geneva Bougie-On-A-Budget Tip #2: Go to the local patisserie (bakery), grab a sandwich or salad to-go and set out to enjoy the lake. We each got 2 sandwiches and a coffee for just under 12 Euro total. You really can’t go wrong and then you’ll have room for dessert later 😉
A small city like Geneva is easy to get around by foot. No need for a cab, all you need to do is know what places you want to see and ask locals how to get there. It might be a little more difficult if you don’t speak french but you can get by. Plus, you may find some local gems you wouldn’t have otherwise found had you not gotten lost. Happens to me all the time!
Geneva Bougie-On-A-Budget Tip #3: See the sites — for free. Lucky for us, all of the things we wanted to see were cost-free but the greatest. Go by the lake (you can get a boat ride for a cost if you wish), make sure to see the famous flower clock, and if you can play chess or checkers, join in on a life-sized game! We walked through the parks, around the lake, and got to admire the clock all within a few hours.
After you’ve had lunch, walked around to see the sites, you may want to go shopping. As a shopaholic myself, all I wanted to do was go see the stores. Unfortunately Geneva’s stores are double the price of any European city.
Geneva Bougie-On-A-Budget Tip #4: Do not plan to go shopping in Geneva. It’s not worth it. Even the H&M is almost 3x the average price we saw in Paris. You may love the stuff, but you can find better deals everywhere else.
Before you end your beautiful day of being surrounded by gorgeous people, the Swiss Alps, and amazing sites, make sure to unwind with dessert. You can go anywhere for this but nothing will compare to having some ice cream and coffee basically on the water and in the sun.
Geneva Bougie-On-A-Budget Tip #5: There’s plenty of places that sell ice cream but if you walk on the Lake Geneva path, you will see a little place that sells ice cream, desserts, coffee, and alcohol. I got a coffee and we each got an ice cream cone for a grand total of 9 Euros. That’s not the best, but the view we were looking at was truly priceless. Mona and I sat in the sun for an hour and a half just taking it all in and absorbing where we were. It was my favorite moment of the trip. We even took out our notebooks and got some writing in. There was nothing more peaceful than just sitting back and enjoying actually being away from everything.
I hope you all get to experience Geneva! While it may be expensive, it is definitely a city to see and spend some time in.