The present guide has been created to inform non-governmental delegates and to facilitate their participation in international meetings held in Geneva. The information provided in this guide is likely to change and does not fall under the responsibility of Mandat International.
Phone and fax numbers are given from Switzerland. To call from other countries, you need to replace the 022 by the international code (usually 00), followed by 41 22.
We hope that this guide will meet your needs and wish you good reading!

Contents :

PREPARING YOUR TRIP (before arrival in Switzerland)

PREPARING YOUR TRIPS (before coming in Switzerland)

It is important that you gather all the information concerning dates, whereabouts and enrolment conditions for the meeting you wish to attend. The meeting's secretariat will help you, both by providing all the necessary information and by sending you a written invitation (by fax). It is important to inform yourself about the deadlines with the secretariat. Take also into account that for conferences the deadlines might be fixed a couple of months before the conference itself.

Visa, Passports and foreign entry requirements to Switzerland

The conditions for entry to Swiss territory vary according to nationality. As soon as you consider going to Switzerland, inform the Swiss representative (i.e. the embassy or consulate) of your country of residence. Generally, a foreigner who enters Swiss territory has to be able to present a valid identity document valid for at least 3 months past then the intended duration of stay.

If you need a visa, you should make a request to the Swiss representation of your country of residence as soon as possible (i.e. the Swiss embassy or consulate, but not a honorary consulate). See Swiss representatives abroad: The conditions for obtaining the visa and its supporting documents, varies from country to country, but in general, the traveller has to present a valid passport, a return transport ticket, justification of financial means to cover costs during the stay in Switzerland, and/or if necessary a certificate of the accommodation. In order to see if your country requires a visa please refer to the list by the Federal Office for Migration (in French):

If the traveller is going to participate in an official meeting of an international organisation which has its headquarters in Switzerland, a confirmation of the organisation (letter or a fax of invitation from the secretariat of the conference) could facilitate visa obtainment. The request for a visa has to be presented early enough, if possible four to eight weeks before the expected travel date. Generally, visas for Switzerland are issued in 24 or 48 hours but in certain countries it can take longer. For further information, please consult the Federal Office of Migration: A list of Swiss embassies is available at the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs' website :


The authorised limits on imports of goods without customs duty for people age 18 or over, are the following :

For more information, please see the website of The Swiss Federal Customs Administration:

For people coming from Europe :

For people coming from other non-European countries:

Imports of the following items are forbidden (unless you have special authorisation):

Drug or narcotics possession - and their importation - is formally prohibited and punishable either by a fine or a jail sentence.

For more information on foodstuffs, please see the website of The Swiss Federal Customs Administration:


Make sure that your insurance covers medical care abroad and for Switzerland, in particular. Otherwise, you should contract a complementary insurance, which will last for the length of your stay in Switzerland. Take with you a certificate of your insurance.

In the context of a visa request, Swiss authorities ask foreign nationals to conclude a travel insurance, if the coverage of medical emergency treatments is not assured otherwise. Among the costs that need to be covered are rescue operations, repatriation for medical reasons, as well as first aid and a stay in a hospital. The minimal coverage provided by this travel insurance needs to be at least 50'000 Swiss francs.


In Switzerland, there are no epidemic infectious diseases and no vaccination certificate is required from foreigners. Nonetheless, it is important to take into account that only 86% of swiss population has a vaccine against measles, for which it might be recommendable for you to be vaccine before your arrival. Moreover, a vaccination against infectious diseases is required if you have stayed in an infected region during the two weeks prior to your arrival to Switzerland. Last but ot least, immunisation against tick-borne encephalitis may be recommended in certain cases.

Plane Tickets and Luggage

When buying a ticket, you should ask about :

Make sure the agency has confirmed the reservation for the flights of your single and return ticket.

Exchange Rate (May 2011)
Budget and Cost of Living

The cost of living in Switzerland is moderately high. Here are some prices in Swiss Francs:

You should allow for a budget of 150 SFr per day, but if you have limited resources, the Welcome Centre for Non-Governmental Organizations and Delegations, please refer to the "Help and Information" point and our website This will enable you to reduce the costs of your stay to about 70 SFr per day.


During the summer (June to September) the weather in Switzerland is sunny and warm. Nonetheless, it does rain from time to time and temperatures can fall.

Spring (March to July) and autumn (September to December) are rather subject to changes; showers of rain can be frequent, so it is best to bring warm clothes with you, e.g. a coat and a good pair of shoes.

During the winter (December to March) it is cold and snowfalls are frequent, therefore it is important to have a warm coat, trousers and a good pair of winter shoes. A sweater, a pair of walking shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses, umbrella and eventually a raincoat should be brought with you even in summer

Average temperatures in Geneva (375m) :










- 2,6



























































General Information

Switzerland is located in the Central European time zone (Greenwich GMT + 1), and it adjusts to the summer time change (+ 1, from the last weekend of March until the last weekend of October)


Switzerland is a small country in the heart of Europe; it is outlined in the North by the Jura mountainous chain and in the South by the Alps. Its neighboring countries are Germany to the North, Austria and the Principality of Liechtenstein to the East, followed by Italy and France on the southern borders. Switzerland is also the source of two of the biggest European rivers: the Rhone and the Rhine. For more information on the geography of Switzerland, please see:

Swiss History

Switzerland has a history similar to the rest of Western Europe, dominated by the Roman Empire, large migrations; but specially marked by its neutral position and its cultural and linguistic diversity.

Switzerland as it is known today became to existence in 1848. This year the country adopted a constitution, which allowed it to have a more centralised government, together with the creation of a single economic area (common currency and postal system).

Nonetheless, the Swiss Confederation dates back to the 1291, where three communities -Uri, Schwyz (from where Switzerland gets its name) and Unterwald- made an agreement to unite in order to protect their freedom against other communities. Later on, the confederation continued growing by other communities deciding to ally, or by the confederation purchasing or conquering them.

This Confederation had a specific cantonal system since its creation, which came to an end in 1798, when France invaded Switzerland and broke the power. This act resulted in the creation of the Helvetic Republic.

For information on the history of Switzerland, please refer to:

Swiss Political System

Switzerland is a federal state divided into 23 cantons, three of which are further divided into half-cantons. Each canton is strongly autonomous: it elects its own parliament and government, votes its own laws and constitution, organises its educational system, runs its own police, manages its taxes, and so on.

The federal government is ensured by the federal assembly, which gathers seven councillors representing the main political parties. These government members take it in turns to act as president. The headquarters of both parliament and federal government are to be found in Bern. The federal tribunal, on the other hand, is divided between Lausanne and Lucerne.

Concerning foreign affairs, Switzerland has given up any policy concerning territorial expansion since 1515. Nonetheless, in 1979 the canton of Jura, which used to be a small part of the canton of Bern was created. It has no colonial past and a long tradition of neutrality.

For information on the political system of Switzerland, please refer to:


Switzerland has three official languages which are related to its different regions: German (which is in everyday usage replaced by Swiss-German), French, Italian and one national language: Rumantsch.

General Information
History of Geneva

The name of Geneva probably derives from the Celtic language, and it means "where the water flows". Located at a cross-road in the heart of Europe, several communities contributed to its development: Ligures, Allobroges, Helvetians, Romans, Burgondes, etc. The first traces of human settlements date back to 6000 BC.

The independence of the Geneva Republic was proclaimed in 1536, with the help of the Canton of Bern. That same year, Jean Calvin arrived to Geneva and started what is known as the reformation which influenced religion and intellectual views. With this movement, Geneva will be known as the "Protestant Rome".

In 1602 the Duke of Savoy was defeated and asked to abandon his territorial claims against it. For a couple of years after that Geneva remained a small city state until Napoleon occupied Geneva from 1798 to 1813, making it the region centre of the Department of Léman. On December 31, 1813, the Napoleon's troupes left Geneva and the republic was reinstated. Since then, Geneva celebrates the "Fête de la Restauration" every year on December 31. Geneva later joined the Swiss Confederation in 1815.

In 1863, Henri Dunant founded and set the Red Cross in Geneva. Geneva was chosen in 1920 to harbour the League of Nations headquarters, founded by the United States President Wilson. It was replaced in 1945 by the United Nations Organization (UN). Since then, Geneva has been developing as an international city, with numerous other international organizations.


Mandat International & Welcome Centre for Non-Governmental Organizations and Delegations

At thirteen minutes' distance by bus from the UN building, Mandat International aims at welcoming non-governmental delegates. Its objectives are the following :

If very busy, priority will be given to delegates with a small budget coming from Least Developed Countries, Eastern Europe or in representation of indigenous peoples. It is therefore important to book in advance.

Besides its Welcome Centre, Mandat International can also find rooms in host families.

Mandat International
Welcome Centre for Non-Govermental Organizations and Delegations
31, chemin William Rappard
CH-1293 Bellevue
Bus V - Bus stop  "Valavran
Tel. : 022 959 88 55  Fax : 022 959 88 51
E-Mail :
Website :

Tourist Information

You will get help and further information both at the airport and at train station. You can also contact the Tourist Information Board (Geneva Tourism). They will give you free maps covering the Geneva area and help you with public transport.

Geneva Tourism
Airport Information Board. Tel: 022 717 80 83
Train Station Information Board (Geneva Tourisme). Tel : 022 909 70 50
E-mail :
Website :
18, rue du Mont-Blanc
1211 Geneva 1
Tel : 022 909 70 00 - Fax : 022 909 70 11
Open: Monday 10a.m. – 6p.m., Tuesday to Saturday 9a.m. – 6p.m., Sunday and holidays 10am- 4p.m.

Information Desk
Pont de la Machine 1, 1204 Geneva
Tel. 022 311 99 70 Fax : 022 311 80 52
Open: Monday 12a.m. – 6p.m.; Tuesday – Friday 9a.m. – 6p.m.; Saturday 10a.m. – 5p.m, closed on Sunday.

CAR (Centre d’Accueil et de Renseignements)
Welcome and Information Centre,
located next to the train station, rue du Mont-Blanc, Geneva
Tel : 022 731 46 47
Open: mid-June until 31st of August 9am- 11pm daily.

NGO Liaison Offices

Most international organizations have a liaison office for NGOs, which is at the non-governmental delegates' disposal; you will thus be able to have access to information related to ongoing meetings, administration and accreditation procedures.

Palais des Nations (ONU)
8-14, avenue de la Paix, 1211 Genève 10.
Tél. 022 917 20 76
Fax : 022 917 04 32
Website : http://www.un-ngls-org
E-mail :

Geneva Welcome Centre

The Geneva Welcome centre was founded both by the Swiss Confederation and the Canton and Republic of Geneva. Its purpose is to offer accommodation and information to international personnel living in Geneva. It puts at their disposal an information guide of practical tips for people settling down in Geneva, which is called the Welcome Kit, and that you can get through their website:

Villa La Pastorale
Route de Ferney 106
(Just opposite the Intercontinental Hotel, on the right when coming
from the UN building - Place des Nations)
Bus 5, bus stop "Intercontinental"
Case Postale 103
1211 Geneva 20
Tel.: 022 918 02 70546 14 00
Fax: 022 918 02 79 546 14 19
Site InternetWebsite :
E-mail :

International Environment House

It gathers more than 25 organizations which are active in environmental and sustainable development domains in Geneva. More than twenty-five organizations, institutions, offices participate and among them UNEP.

9 - 15 Chemin des Anémones
1219 Châtelaine
Tel. : 022 917 85 05
Website :

Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva

Represents Switzerland in international organizations. It is in charge of the relation between Switzerland and the international community.
9-11, rue de Varembé
CP 194, 1211 Geneva 20
Tel. 022 749 24 24
Fax : 022 749 24 37

Foreign Missions and Consulates

Your country's permanent mission, consulate or embassy can also assist you on certain issues. These missions, consulates or embassies play an important role in assisting and protecting the citizens of their respective country. They are present to help in the event of: theft, loss of property and/or documents, serious illness, arrest and incarceration (to ensure proper legal procedures), political difficulties and natural disasters, among others.

A list of several missions and foreign consulates in Geneva can be obtained either from the United Nations office in Geneva or through their website: Additional information on international institutions can be found in:
Geneva Associations House

The House of Associations hosts about sixty local and international NGOs, mainly active in the domain of Human Rights, Environnment, Peace and disarmament. The house contains a cafeteria as well.

15 rue des Savoises,
CH-1205 Geneva
Tel. 022 329 20 22 - 022 323 20 23
Website: (in French only)
E-mail :

Calendar of conferences and main Meeting Venues

Geneva hosts over 3'000 international meetings every year. You can have an overview of some of those meetings on our calendar of international conferences on the Internet: Most international organizations have their own conference rooms. Here are some of the usual venues:

International Organizations in Geneva

Geneva hosts 23 international organizations, about 1000 non-governmental organizations and nearly 250 missions and consulates. Most of these organizations are to be found in the vicinity of the Place des Nations.

Please find hereafter a short list of organizations. For further information, please refer to our Guide on International Organizations and to our website: Two lists concerning NGO and IO located in Geneva can be found at :

United Nations Organization

Economics, Trade and Development

Human Rights and International Law


Health, Education and Population

Climate, Environment and Ecology

Intellectual Property, Science, Technology and Transport

Regional Organisations

Other International organizations

You can find a detailed access plan for every UN body in Geneva at

Accreditation and Speech Time

The accreditation procedure and speech time vary from one meeting to another. It is, therefore, important to get hold of all information concerning the meeting you wish to attend by asking its secretariat.


Most international organizations have their own cafeteria where it is possible to eat at a relatively cheap price. Some of them also account with micro-waves, so you can bring your own meal. (UN, ILO, etc.).

Palais des Nations (United Nations Building)

The Palais des Nations (United Nations building) is next to the Place des Nations. It takes about eight minutes to get there by bus from the Cornavin railway station (bus V, 5 and 8, tram 13 and 15).
Badges :

Badges to access and to attend meetings at the Palais des Nations must be requested at la Villa des Feuillantines. You must have with you: your passport, the letter from the conference confirming your participation, as well as an official letter from your organization (on letterhead) allowing you to represent your organization and signed by its president.The section concerned with accreditation for non governmental deleguates is the NGO Liaison Office :

Security and Accreditations for the Palais des Nations (UN)
Villa les Feuillantines
13, avenue de la Paix
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Tel. : 022 917 21 27
Fax : 022 917 05 83

Services :

The United Nations building is equipped with a post office (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), a UBS bank (8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.), a travel agency (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), a bookshop (official UN publications are available) and a newsagent.

Photocopies :

It is generally possible to use the photocopying machines of your meeting's secretariat, on the understanding that you bring your own stock of paper. The same goes for other photocopying machines in the immediate vicinity. The stock of paper can be bought at the tobacconist's/newsagent located in the E building.

Work documentation:

All United Nations documents pertaining to the meeting are at your disposal both in the meeting-hall and at the counter of door 40 (E building). You will also find an excellent library, a reading-room with newspapers and access to the Internet.

Translation Services

Association d’Interprètes et de Traducteurs
Secrétariat : 3, rue de Fribourg, 1201 Genève
Tél. 022 732 06 41    Fax 022 732 93 87
Permanences : 41, avenue de Vaudagne, 1217 Meyrin
Tél. / Fax : 022 782 49 09
av. de Champel 59, 1206 Geneva
Tel. 022 347 33 75 - Fax: 022 789 22 69  


The airport is about twenty minutes from the city centre, either by bus or car, and it offers a variety of international connections. Connecting flights to Zurich Kloten airport are available every day. Trains also link the two airports (about three hours).

Information about daily arrivals and departures. Tel : 0900 57 15 00

Lost /stolen luggage. Tel : 022 799 33 32

Geneva International Airport
Case postale 100
CH-1215 Geneva 15
Tel.: 022 717 71 11
Fax : 022 798 43 77
Tx 415 520 DAG

Different routes from the Airport

to Cornavin train station (city centre) :

Bus No.10 runs from the parking lot in front of the airport's departures. The fare costs 2.20 SFr and the ride takes about 25 minutes.

Taxis cost about 30 Swiss Francs (SFr).

Trains run regularly (every quarter of an hour) from the CFF station, which is on your left while leaving the airport.

to the Welcome Centre for Non-Governmental Organizations and Delegations:

You can take the New Cab taxi company (Tel : 022 320 20 20) with which a deal has been arranged for 28 SFr. Please do not forget to remind the driver that it is a deal arranged with Mandat International.

Take bus no.10 up to the Cornavin train station (as mentioned before), but remember to buy the 4.60 SFr ticket ! Then take bus V from in front of the Astoria Hotel (direction Versoix), get off at the "Valavran" stop, and follow the "Mandat International" signposts.

For further information, you may want to look up the "Contact Us " page on the Internet site " ".

to the United Nations building (UN) :

Bus No.10 from the airport to the Cornavin train station (as mentioned before). From the Cornavin train station, take bus No. 5 (heading for Palexpo) or No. 8 (heading for the OMS / WHO) and get off at the "Nations" or "Appia" stop. The fare is 2.20 SFr and the journey takes about 40 minutes.

The cost of the same journey by taxi is about 25 Swiss francs (SFr).

Main Airlines

To find more information or the contacts of other airlines please refer to:

Public Transport (bus, tramways and boat)

The Geneva public transport network (TPG) covers the entire city and is efficient.

Adult fares:

The Welcome Centre for Non-Governmental Organizations and Delegations can also sell a daily bus pass, which is valid for the entire area.

You can but bus and tram tickets at the vending machines at most bus and tram stops but not from the bus driver. Please remember that these machines do not give back change. The same TPG tickets are also valid for some of the "Mouettes", which are little boats that go from one shore of the Geneva harbour to the other. Routine inspections on public transports take place from time to time; passengers without a valid ticket will have to pay an additional 70 SFr fine on top of the ticket fare.

Geneva Public Transportation Office :

Transports Publics Genevois (TPG)
Customer Service
Case postale 950
1212 Grand-Lancy 1
Tel.: 022 308 34 34
Fax: (41-22) 308 34 00


Taxis charge a starting fare of 7.90 SFr, in addition to 2.90 SFr per kilometer.  The tarif can be higher at night and outside the city.  To make this more affordable, Mandat International has made a deal with the "New Cab" taxi company for travel between the Welcome Centre and the airport (See the page "Contact Us " on our webpage : " ").

Bicycles for Renting

The bicycle is probably the most efficient and pleasurable means of getting around Geneva. You may rent a bicycle for about ten Francs per day - there are also advertisement bikes which can be used for free. Please remember that you must always leave a valid identity card and a SFr 50.- deposit. You should also use a helmet, which will be lent for free.

Contact the following address:

17, place de Montbrillant (behind the main station), 1201 Geneva.
Tel. /  Fax : 022 740 13 43
website :


The train enables you to reach all main European cities in a very short time. If you have to make more than one journey, please check all possibilities concerning cheaper tickets.

Geneva Cornavin Train Station (town centre):

Chemins de Fer Fédéraux (CFF)
Gare Cornavin, Place Cornavin, 1201 Geneva.
Information and reservation. Tel: 0900 300 300
Website :


In Switzerland people drive on the right-hand side of the road. The road signs are generally like the international signs. In order to use Swiss motorways and semi-motorways, you need to buy a compulsory sticker, which costs 40 SFr (valid for one year). These stickers can be bought either from the customs, petrol stations, or post offices. The security belt is compulsory for all pasengers.

Speed limit :

Car rental :

Long distance bus

The long distance bus station is located at 10 minutes walk from the Cornavin railway station.

Gare routière
Place Dorcière, 1201 Geneva
Information and booking– Tel. 022 732 02 30

Telephone and Fax

Phone numbers in Switzerland start with a 0. Normal phone numbers in Geneva start with 022 and cellular phone numbers with 079 or 078 or 077 or 076, depending on the cell-phone company.

To call to Switzerland from other countries, you just need to dial the international acces code (usually 00), followed by 41 (for Switzerland), then the local phone number without the 0. For instance: 022 123 45 67 will become 00 41 22 123 45 67.

To make an international call from Switzerland, dial 00, then the country code and the desired phone number. 

Public telephones and faxes are available at the Cornavin railway station.

It is possible to rent mobile phones, called NATEL in Switzerland :

You can buy prepaid telephone cards or call from telephone centres that allow you to reduce the cot for long distance calls. Sch cards are availables at our welcome centre and at:

Maxitel & Access
4, place de Montbrillant (behind the Cornavin railway station)
1201 Geneva

Telephone Directory Information
Post Office

There are post offices in most neighbourhoods. Opening hours are : from Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1.45 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 8.30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Sunday closed. The Montbrillant Post Office, 16 rue des Gares, 1201 Geneva - behind the Cornavin train station - is open up to 8 p.m. during the week and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Fast Post International Delivery

The national post offices usually ensure rapid delivery at a cheaper price than private agencies. However, here are some private companies:

Internet cafe

There are several internet cafes in Geneva. For instance:


Most foreign newspapers are available at all news stands, particularly at the Cornavin train station.

Local newspapers : Le Courrier (, Le Temps (, la Tribune de Genève (

Radio Channels
Press Agencies

Many bookshops in Geneva will offer a wide range of books in French. Among them :

Specialised bookshops :


Geneva hotels are generally very well kept. You should expect to pay about 100 SFr per night in a standard hotel and much more in a luxury hotel.

Delegates with a small budget who wish to meet other delegates should contact the Welcome Centre for Non-Governmental Organizations and Delegations which provides budget accommodation (16.- to 28.- SFr per night with breakfast).

Mandat International
Welcome Centre for Non-Govermental Organizations and Delegations
31, chemin William Rappard
CH-1293 Bellevue / Switzerland
Bus V - Bus stop  "Valavran"
Tel. : 022 959 88 55  Fax : 022 959 88 51
E-Mail :
Wesite :

You can obtain a Hotel List at all the Geneva Tourist Boards (Geneva Tourism) at the airport or train station. Always remember to book in advance. Furthermore, at the train station Cornavin and at the airport, one can find online information centres about hotels in Geneva and the surrounding area. Whatever your choice, you should book in advance.


Apart from cafeterias in the international organizations, Geneva offers a wide selection of bars and restaurants. A small selection is listed below :

Breakfast and Brunch

Most restaurants offer a "lunch of the day" (Plat du jour) at midday, costing between 12 and 16 SFr. Also, for lunches during the week you can go to the Cafeterias of the International Organizations (those of WIPO and WTO have lovely city views) and to the "Migros" (department store). Many bakeries offer all sorts of sandwiches and pastries (hot or cold), that can be eaten either on the spot or outside. Kebabs or "shawarmas" (warm sandwiches with meat and vegetables) are also rather inexpensive (please refer to "L'Istanbul" or "L'Amir Beyrouth" below ).

In the Evening and/or for a Drink
Swiss Specialities


Geneva is a relatively safe city. But you should still keep an eye out for pickpockets, especially at the Cornavin train station.

Reminder about Swiss Law

The following acts are punishable by law :

Visa Extension

If you wish to extend your stay beyond the expiry date of your visa, you must immediately contact the Population Cantonal Office. This service will look into your request, and should generally be able to extend your visa. it is open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 3:30 pm

Office Cantonal de la Population
Service des Etrangers
3, rue David-Dufour – CP 51
1211 Geneva 8
Tel. 022 327 41 11

Lost and Found

In case you lose any personal objects, you can contact:

Service cantonal des objets trouvés
7, rue des Glacis-de-Rive
1207 Geneva
Tel.: 022  787 60 00

Website :

Open Monday to Thursday from 7.45 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. and Friday from 7.45 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Lost or Stolen Credit Cards

In case you lose any bank or credit cards, it is important to immediately contact either the bank or the credit company involved in order to block your cards.

  • American Express : Tel. 01 384 63 33
  • Diners Club : Tel. 01 835 41 41
  • Eurocard/Mastercard : Tel. 01 839 91 11
  • Eurocheque : Tel. 01 271 22 30
  • Visa : Tel. 01 372 20 60
Lost or Stolen Passport

In case your passport is either lost or stolen, it is important to immediately contact the police and to ask for a theft notification. Then, you must contact your Embassy or Consulate, with the theft notification, in order to have a new passport prepared.


In case of an attack, you must immediately contact the police.

Emergency Telephone Number : 117
Hôtel de police
17-19, boulevard Carl-Vogt
1205 Geneva
Tel. 022 427 81 11

The police station in Pâquis (6, Berne street, near the train station Cornavin) is open 24 hours/day.

Tel. 022 715 38 50

Assistance in case of robbery :
LAVI (Association pour les Victimes d’Infractions)
72 bd St-Georges, 1204 Geneva Tel. 022 320 01 02

Assistance to rape victims
Viol-Secours, 3 place des Charmilles, 1203 Geneva
Tel. 022 320 01 02

Protection of the person

Swiss law puts a definite emphasis on protecting privacy and individual rights : right to privacy, to dignity, to physical integrity, to freedom of movement, to protection of personal data, etc. It allows taking up legal actions against any breach of these rights.

Leaflet distribution

Setting up a stand on the public streets (either for information or anything else) requires an authorisation from the Justice and Police Department. Handing out leaflets not-for-profit is perfectly acceptable and does not require an authorisation. Leaflets and public lectures must not encourage violence or racial hate and should not be defamatory. The State can also limit leaflet distribution if it is judged to be against public interests, e.g. for security reasons.

Peaceful Demonstrations

The organisation of a demonstration has to be authorised by the Department of Justice and the Police. The demonstration has to be requested in a written form at least one week in advance. The use of a sound amplifying machine is also subject to authorization. The organizers of the demonstration have to ensure: a peaceful environment, security and prevent all risk of populace overflow (such as damage or violence). Bearing arms is strictly prohibited and it is prohibited (in principle) to organise a demonstration near consulates, missions and embassies.

Rights and Obligations when Confronted with the Police

The police are authorised to search and check the identity of any person who is in a public area. Everybody should carry an identity document at hand (passport, identity card, driving licence ); people coming from countries needing a visa must show a passport.

The police is authorised to take anybody to the police station if need be. The police must explain the reasons why and proceed as swiftly as possible in order to let the person go free. This person can phone to inform either a relative, a lawyer or a legal advice office. Nobody can be kept in custody for more than 24 hours without a judge's approval.

If you think that a police inspection or questioning was arbitrary or even improper, you should ask the policeman's reference number and then contact either a legal advice office or directly lodge a formal complaint to the general prosecutor. This procedure will not have to be paid for.

Emergency Services
Useful  Adresses

Medical treatment in Switzerland has very high standards. If you are hospitalised or need a prescription, you must either leave a deposit or show a certificate from your health insurance. In case of outpatient care the doctor may ask you to pay immediately, or in the case of hospitalisation, a bill will be sent to your official address.

Emergency Services

Geneva Hospital : Hôpital Cantonal de Geneva, Service des urgences,
24 rue Micheli-du-Crest, 1205 Geneva.
Tel : 022 372 81 20

Home emergency medical service : SOS médecins. Tel : 022 748 49 50

Medical Clinics (24 Hours a Day)
Dental Clinics
Pharmacies Open until Late / Chemists

Until 9 p.m. :

Until 9.30 p.m. :

Until 11 p.m. :

Night Duty Pharmacies / Chemists

In case of emergency, either dial 111, 311 or 144 to get the addresses of the pharmacies on night duty. These are open from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m., and charge an extra 10 SFr per client.
More information at this address (in French only).



Banks and Exchange Offices

Opening hours :

You will a find a bank inside the Palais des Nations, at the train station and at the airport.

Opening hours of some exchange offices :

Credit Cards

Cards which are generally accepted in most restaurants and department stores : Mastercard, Eurocard, Postcard, Diners, American Express, Visa, Carte Bleue.

Department Stores

Regular hours :

Most department stores in both the train station and at the airport are open up until 9 p.m., Sunday included.

Addresses for Shopping

Food supermarkets :

The "Migros" supermarkets usually provide good food at a decent price and you find them everywhere in town. There is a very big "Migros" shopping centre ("les Cygnes") rue de Lausanne, only five minutes from Cornavin train station.

All kinds of shopping :

Manor, 6 rue Cornavin, 1211 Genève. Tel. : 022 909 46 99 (5 minutes walk from Cornavin railway station)
La Placette, 6, rue Cornavin, 1201 Genève. Tel. : 022 731 74 00 (5 minutes walk from Cornavin train station)
Balexert, 27, avenue Louis-Casaï, 1211 Geneva 28, Tel. 022 979 02 02 (bus 10)
Eaux-Vives 2000, 43, rue de la Terrassière, 1207 Genève, Tel. 022 735 17 25 (tram 12)
La Praille, 10 route des Jeunes, 1227 Carouge, Tél. 022 304 80 00

Electronics :

Interdiscount, 7 rue de Coutance, 1201 Geneva (next to Manor). Tel. 022 900 12 51
Interdiscount, 1 Place du Port, 1204 Geneva.Tel. 022 732 23 71


L'Ours de Berne (close to the floral clock): 28, quai Général Guisan, 1204 Genève. Tel. : 022 310 12 57

Quality products :

Globus, 50, rue du Rhône, 1211 Geneva. Tel. 022 319 50 50
Similar shops are to be found on the rue du Rhône.

Cheaper clothing :

H&M (Hennes and Mauritz), 14 place de Cornavin, 1201 Geneva.
Tel. 022 908 07 07

Shop open during the night :

Night Tabac-Journaux
16, rue Sismondi, 1201 Geneva. Tel. 022 738 39 00
Open until 2 a.m.
Tabac-Presse, 25, rue des Alpes, 1201 Geneva

Main Markets
Religious Services

There are many places of worship for all the different denominations (and in various languages) in Geneva. Timetables for the religious services are published before the weekend in the local newspapers. For further information, please contact the Tourist Information Board (please refer to the "Help and Information" point).

Public Holidays

Some shops and offices are closed on May the 1st.

Swimming Pools and Sport

Many outdoor swimming pools are open to the public, including those of the Hotel Intercontinental and of the Réserve in Bellevue. Next to the Place des Nations, there is the Varembé swimming pool (46, rue de Varembé, 1202 Geneva. Tel : 022 733 12 14) which is open every day.

For further information concerning other sports please contact :

Service des Sports de la Ville de Geneve
Centre sportif des Vernets, 1227 Geneva,
Tel. 022 343 88 50
Website :

Festivals and Other Events

January :

Solothurn Film Festival (Swiss cinema, about 200 km from Geneva).
On the 13th, mask exhibit in Urnäsch in the Appenzell canton

February and March :

Carnival is celebrated in most catholic cantons, particularly in Basle, Lucerne and in Loetschental (the latter probably being the most traditional).


Fribourg Film Festival (about 140 km from Geneva) films by the directors from developing countries,
Film on Human Rights Festival,
International Moto rand Accessories Show,

May :

Geneva International Book Fair (books & press),
Festival of Comic Strips in Sierre,

June :

Bol d'Or (sailing race on Lake Geneva, starting from Geneva),
Fête de la musique: free music festival across the City,
Festival des Cropettes: Nice free jazz festival in a public park, at only 5 minutes walk from the Cornavin train station.

July :

World Music Festiv'alpe (festival of ethnic music in Château-d'Oex, about 100 km from Geneva),
Gurten Festival (rock festival in Bern, about 150 km from Geneva),
Montreux Jazz Festival (excellent jazz festival about 70 km from Geneva),
Paléo Festival (big open-air festival featuring all kinds of music, in Nyon, about 20 km from Geneva),

August :

Swiss National Holiday (celebrated in every town)
Geneva Festival (Fêtes de Geneve) in mid-August, lots of entertainment and magnificent fireworks,
Locarno International Film Festival (excellent festival with arthouse films, about 365 km from Geneva),

September :

La Bâtie Festival (first and second week of September, cultural festival with concerts, dance and theatre, in Geneva),
Wine Harvest Festival (Fête des vendanges) in the Genevan countryside, when the grapes are harvested to make wine

October :

North-South Media Festival (documentaries from and about Developing countries, in Geneva),

November :

Geneva Fair and Ideal Home Exhibition,

December :

The Escalade Run (a week before the "Escalade", there is a race in costume – everyone dresses up - in the old town),
The Escalade (typical popular local event in Geneva, celebrated around December 12th)

Visiting Geneva

Located on the shore of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman) (the largest fresh-water lake in western Europe), at the foot of the Jura mountains and close to the Alps, Geneva offers many excursions in all seasons.


Switzerland and the Geneva area offer numerous possibilities for excursions, and we have chosen some for you, see the list below. For further information, please contact the Tourist Information Board (please refer to the "Help and Information" point).

Next to Geneva and not too expensive:

Between Geneva and Lausanne, it is a little town by the lake which harbours a lovely castle. Tourist Office in Nyon, 7, Avenue Voilier, 1260 Nyon. Tel : 022 361 62 61

Capital of canton Vaud which is less than an hour from Geneva either by car or train. You should not only visit its old town or its cathedral, but also the Elysée Museum (excellent photography exhibitions), the Art Brut Museum and the Olympic Museum. Tourism Office in Lausanne : Office de tourisme de Lausanne, 2, avenue de Rhodanie, 1007 Lausanne. Tel : 021 613 73 73

Le Château de Chillon
The Chillon Castle is the most famous castle in the Swiss French area. Built in the 13th century by Lake Geneva; during the Middle Ages the Chillon Castle was the residence of the Savoy counts. Chillon Castle, Montreux. Tel: 021 963 39 12

St-Cergue et la Givrine
For mountain excursions in the Jura region, at about 45 minutes by train from Geneva. During the winter, there is snow and you can do cross-country skiing.

Just ten minutes from Geneva, in this little village by the lake, you can visit the Coppet Castle, where Madame De Staël used to live.

Little medieval village on the outskirts of the Jura region, about 80 km from Geneva.

About one hour's distance from Geneva, it is a typical village in the middle of the mountains. The famous cheese comes from there and you can also eat very tasty fondues. During the summer, you must absolutely try raspberries with Gruyère cream...

Further away :

Abbaye de Saint-Gall
Splendid Romanic abbey, which has retained its character (for lovers of History and Architecture).

In the Alps, it is a tourist village right at the bottom of the Matterhorn. Getting there takes three hours by train from Geneva and is very expensive.

Typical village in Valais, about two hours by train from Geneva. Also well-known for its "queens' fights" (fights between Hérens cows).

About two hours from Geneva, Luzern's old town and its ancient bridge that stretches across the lake, is an obligatory stop for tourists.

The biggest city in Switzerland is just three hours by train from Geneva. Visit the old town, the Fraumünster (with its Chagall stained-glass windows) and the Niederdorf neighbourhood.

About one hour and a half from Geneva, Bern houses the Federal Palace (Headquarters of both Parliament and Federal Government), the Universal Postal Union and also its famous bear pit.

Fondation Gianadda (Martigny)
Painting museum which has very important exhibitions every year. Situated in Valais, at about one hour and a half by train from Geneva.

Ecotourism :

There are about 40 farms to be visited around Geneva. You can find aditional information to the Tourism Office. Here are three suggestions :

Domaine du château de Collex – Carole et Frédéric Probst
Proposes fruits and wines degustation. Bus Z - « Bossy » bus stop . (Walking distance from Bellevue)

Chemin des Chaumets 33
1239 Collex
Tel. 022 774 31 42

Domaine Girod Frères
Route d’Ornex 19
1239 Collex-Bossy
Tél. 022 774 16 97 ou 022 774 14 68

Domaine de la Mermière – Yves Batardon
Rue du Faubourg 9
1286 Soral
Tél. 022 756 19 33 ou 022 756 19 35

Picnics and swimming:

In summertime, there are are many places to have a picnic and to swim. You just need to follow the lake shore to find places where other people swim. For barbecues, you can go to the Plage du Vengeron, located on the Municipality of Chambésy, just before Bellevue.

In France :

Before entering French territory, please remember to make sure that you have all the necessary documents (passport, identity card or maybe even a visa for France). For a French visa, you need to make an appointment with the French Consulate by calling the 0901 551 020 (3,13 CHF/min) from Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 6 pm.

French Consulate :

Consulat de France/Service des visas
15, rue Guillaume de Marcossay
1205 Geneva
Tel. 0901 551 020 (3,13 Sfr/minute)   Fax: 022 319 00 72

Yvoire is a lovely little medieval village on the shores of Lake Geneva, which is accessible by boat. Yvoire Tourist Board : Place de la Mairie, 74140 Yvoire. Tel : 059 / 450 72 80 21

Le Salève
The Salève massif offers an exceptional view of Geneva, its lake and the surrounding landscape. You get there by taking bus No 8 and the Salève cableway (open from May to September). Return tickets for the Salève going from Geneva are sold for about 20 SFr, either at the bus station or at the TPG (Geneva Public Transport) ticket offices.


Ticket Confirmation

Regardless of which airline company you have chosen to use, you must confirm your return flight, 72 hours before departure at the latest. This can be already done at Geneva airport upon arrival or by phone during your stay. The rule applies for all return destinations.


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