By the Alps and Jura mountains, lies Geneva, a respectful, culturally rich, and historical city, where you will always have something to do and learn about! Geneva is one of the most international cities in Europe, with around 45% of the population not having a Swiss passport. Geneva offers a great cultural experience, with museums, exhibitions, art galleries, and theaters; and an outdoor lifestyle! If you are one that likes to explore, learn, and walk, Geneva is the place for you.
What to expect
- Geneva is one of the most international cities in Europe, with around 45% of the population not having a Swiss passport. It is home to many international organizations and NGOs such as the UN and the World Health Organization. Here are the highlights of what you can expect from living in Geneva:
- The weather in Geneva is bold, with hot and humid summers, and cold and snowy winters. However, the city is fully prepared with air conditioning and heating to offer a comfortable and pleasant experience.
Average Daylight: 15 hours in the summer and 8 hours in winter.
Average weather: 26º C in the summer and 1ºC in the winter.
Average rainfall: 121 days and 8 snowfall days.
Cost of living
Finding an apartment
- Many expats living in Geneva recommend directly contacting a real estate company to help you find apartments that suit your needs and adapts to your lifestyle and budget. You can also go online to multiple websites for housing options. Tell people you are looking for an apartment and they will gladly help you connect with a real estate agent!
- Public transportation is one of the most preferred modes of commuting, thanks to its reliability and its extensive network of buses, metro lines, and trains. They are frequent and highly efficient. Following the public transport, other popular ways of moving around the city is by cycling or and walking. However, if you’d like to drive, you can import your car to the city, tax and customs-free for a year. If you are staying longer than a year, you need to contact the customs office for a tax exemption for a maximum of two years, after that you need to declare it. In order to drive in Geneva, you will need a permit called “vignette”. Geneva is a very eco-friendly city, so most drivers are respectful to the environment and turn off their engines when they are at a red light or in traffic. If you’d like to use your private means of transportation, there are peak hours at which the traffic is dense, and parking may be somewhat difficult. This is why more people are changing to public transportation recently.
- Most companies in Geneva are large and international. The city is home to some important headquarters, however more recently, technological startups have been surging! The startup scene is looking bright for Geneva.
- Meeting people in Geneva is simple. The city’s international groups organize networking events every year, in different locations in the city, so you can meet people from all over the world. The city is an international hub, so you will definitely get to see different cultures and backgrounds.
- The International Airport of Geneva is located just 4 kilometers away from the city center, with destinations to 51 countries. Geneva also has a train, if you enjoy traveling by land to closer cities and countries, such as Paris, Lyon, Milan, and many more.
- Geneva, like the rest of Switzerland, is highly environmentally conscious, so you will find that locals love to be out in the open air and enjoy their fresh outdoors lifestyle! The city organizes plenty of cultural events and festivals, such as the Antigel Festival, celebrated in February, where music, dance, and even indoor roller skate parties. They also have an International Geneva Motor Show, if you are a motorsports fanatic. This is the largest international show in Europe, where many new prototypes and innovations are exhibited during the week in March. Geneva has something for everyone, from electronic music festivals to circus nock with amazing performances. In May, the city celebrates the Day of Open Wineries in Canton, where over 90 wineries are open for free and you can taste the local wine of Switzerland.
- Being an international hub, you will find all types of food from all over the world. However, if you are living in Geneva, it is worth trying some traditional dishes to taste the true culture of the city. La Marmite de L’Escalade, is one of Genevas most treasured traditions and treats. It’s Geneva’s finest chocolate filled with marzipan. The tradition is to eat in family celebrated every year in early December. Longeole is another traditional dish, a pork sausage with cumin. They are most common at festivals but they are available almost all year long in restaurants in the town. La Croute au Fromage is a slice of bread with melted cheese over the plate. Malakoff, often found in festivals too, got its name from the Fort called Malakoff, which was designed by Swiss soldiers during the Crimean War. During the War, they made cheese fried balls, and then they named them after the fort. These are in certain restaurants and festivals.
- Geneva is a city of sports and recreation! You will always find yourself doing something different and if you are a person that enjoys the outdoors, then you will love Geneva! The lakes are a favorite place in the summer, for a cool down, as well as the beaches, where you can sunbathe, swim, play volleyball, and more. Geneva is all about nature, with hiking trails in the majestic mountains close to the Alps, skiing, rafting, kayaking, and even a trip in a hot air balloon. The city also offers clubs for equestrian and horseback riding!
- While there are many places you can visit while living in Geneva, and you should definitely check out the neighboring cities and towns. Some visits you can do are: taking a scenic lake tour of Lake Geneva, with magnificent mountain views and calming waters. Château de Chillon (Chillon Castle), a historical landmark for the city, where you can explore the foundations of the castle and the story behind it. Mont Salave is in the South of Geneva, you can go hiking and admire the outstanding views of the lake and the Alps.
We hope that you have found this guide useful.
Find more details, information, and KPIs about Geneva in our Expat Guide.
The Fut-Ure Team will likewise be happy to help you to set up in the city if you are looking for a job in the region, or give you more information about the local Talent market (including details and advice in topics like Taxes and legal) if you are planning to open an office in Geneva.
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