Geneva on a budget: 9 travel hacks to save on your trip

Published by: BouncePosted Updated
Geneva on a budget

Heading to Geneva on a budget is easier than you might think. You might think that you can't visit Geneva without having tons of money on hand. However, these money-saving tips will help you make the most of your time in this amazing city. Enjoying an international Geneva tour is easier than many people think, and these tips will help you to enjoy your dream Swiss vacation.

Before you hit the Geneva Airport or even start planning your trip, be sure that you have a plan for your bags while you are enjoying this city. Free walking tours, visiting historical sites, and things like shopping and eating out are never as fun with bags in your way. Visit a Bounce luggage storage location to drop off your stuff, and we'll keep your bags in secure storage while you have fun in Geneva on a budget. You won't have to worry about your things when you trust them to us.

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Affordable hotels in Geneva

Cheap places to stay in Geneva

You might not be sure where to stay in Geneva. Since this can have a big impact on your stay, you will want to be sure to do a little research before committing to a specific area or neighborhood. Being close to the Geneva Train Station might be important to you, or you might want to be near a specific attraction. These affordable places will offer you lots of benefits during your stay in Geneva.

Geneva Hostel

Geneva on a budget is a goal that you can meet if you choose to stay in a hostel. These are some of the best options for your stay because you will get so much for such a good price. Rooms at this location start at about $80 a night. There is a restaurant at this location, and you get a free breakfast during your stay. There is also free Wi-Fi.

You are two minutes from Lake Geneva here and close to public transport. This is a very walkable part of the city as well, making this a great choice for visiting Geneva on a budget.

MEININGER Hotel Genève Centre Charmilles

While this is technically a hostel, you can get private rooms here as well. You will benefit from a gym, a kitchen, and free breakfast as well when you stay here. Rooms start at $100 a night, which is really reasonable for this city. You will be close to the River Rhone, and you can walk to public transport. You will also be three minutes from Bois-de-la-Bâtie Animal Park and Lake Geneva at this location.

This kind of hotel is a great option when you head to Geneva on a budget. Picking this kind of hotel is better than taking part in free walking tour opportunities or visiting Geneva with plans to save money on food. Your hotel plans can be the deciding factor to help you to make the most of your time in Geneva since accommodation is generally one of the larger parts of any travel budget.

Hôtel de Genève

This hotel starts at $150 a night, but you will get a lot for the money. The breakfast room here is cute, and the included breakfast is very good. The Wi-Fi is free as well, and you will be within walking distance to eateries, shopping, and the Tour de l’Île on the Rhône River. The building fits right into the old town, and the charm of the location is a huge part of its attraction.

This is also a great part of the city for access to all kinds of different forms of public transport. You can head out from this hotel to all the best parts of the city without any trouble at all.

Cheap things to do in Geneva

Cheap things to do in Geneva

Since it is commonly known that Geneva is an expensive city, don't count only getting free admission to most of the things that you will want to see and do. However, there are lots of ways to save money when you're spending time in Geneva on a budget.

St Pierre’s Cathedral

While it is free to visit and see the cathedral or attend a service, you will need to spend roughly $5 to get to see other parts of the cathedral. You might be more than happy just to see the beauty of the service and the place, but the tour can be really enjoyable and teach you a lot about this part of Geneva.

The Flower Clock

This famous flower clock is in the Jardin Anglais. Its official name is L'horloge fleurie, and many tourists come here just to take pictures with it. This is a totally free thing to see in the city, which is also a really nice feature of this activity. The clock is made up of 6,500 flowers, and it is very beautiful. This is the largest clock of this kind in the world, and it is easily one of the most striking.

Jet d'Eau

Another famous landmark in Geneva is the Jet d'eau, which is an impressive water fountain. You're likely to pass by this huge water feature while roaming around the city, but make sure to stop for at least a couple of photos before you move on to other things.

Budget-friendly restaurants in Geneva

Cheap places to eat in Geneva

If you are heading to Geneva on a budget, you will need to be sure that you are selective about how you eat while you are in the city. Street food in Geneva is always a great option to eat well on a budget. There are many ways to save money in the city, like taking a free walking tour, but you can also save a ton of money by eating smart.

Saj Eat

This is a little hole in the wall that sells Lebanese food. The Zataar and Manaqueesh here are excellent, and you can get a large plate of food for less than $10. This is one of the most affordable places in the city, but it will not feel cheap to you at all. The family-friendly atmosphere here is really enjoyable as well, and you will feel welcomed in with open arms. The bakery items here are really good, which makes this an ideal choice no matter what time of day you visit.

Chez ma Cousine

This location offers cheap fare from many different locations around the world. You can get everything from Thai to French fries here. You will be able to get a big meal for around $5 to $10, which is ideal if you are on a tight budget. Visiting Geneva on a budget is easy with places like this to eat. You will also be close to Lake Geneva, which makes this a great option if you are planning on a day at the lake.


This lovely location is a great place to try Eritrean food if you have never had it before. This is another spot by Lake Geneva, so it's super-easy to stop in here for a bite. This spot allows you to choose your meat of choice, and you are served courses that are based on a menu surrounding that choice. This is a really special place that offers a unique dining experience that you would normally have to spend a lot of money to enjoy. Expect to enjoy a multi-course meal for around $20 or less.

Cheap bars in Geneva

Cheap bars in Geneva

Getting cheap drinks in Geneva is easier than you might think. You can trust these locations to allow you to have a great night out for an affordable price.

Pub Lord Jim

This is an awesome place to get a beer or a whiskey for about $6. You will love the pub-style environment and the great service. This little pub-type bar is in a part of town where you can easily wander from place to place and have a full night out on the town. This little corner of the old town is really charming, and it's a great place to mingle with locals.

La Petite Reine

For yummy fondue and affordable drinks, there is no better place in town. This little canteen is on the street and allows you to people-watch and hang out. Few places offer a combination of drinks for $5 or less that will easily pair with a delicious fondue. Head to this part of old town for a great snack and even better drinks.

Coyote Bar

Diners are rare in Geneva, and this sweet cute spot is a ton of fun. Sit at little tables and chat with that special someone and enjoy drinks on special for less than $5. There is a limited food menu too. You will be close to the train station here, which makes it convenient when you're arriving or leaving the city by rail. This is a very fun location with a chill vibe, and it can be the perfect way to close out the night.

Navigating Geneva on a budget

Bonus budget tips for Geneva

Public transportation

Get the Geneva transport card when you arrive in the city to make sure that all of your public transportation will be covered by your card. The card also entitles you to some free perks at certain locations like hotels, and it makes it possible to get back and forth to the airport for free as well. This is a must-do for those hoping to save money, and enjoying free public transport is one of the most important ways to save money during your time in Geneva.

Walking tours

Consider taking walking tours and heading to places like Parc de la Grange to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city without having to spend a dime. There are so many lovely outdoor locations like shopping streets and historical areas of the city that will not cost a cent to enjoy. You will be able to see what the city is all about and absorb local culture, all for the cost of your time and nothing else.


Renting a bike is also a great way to get around Geneva, especially in the old town area. You can rent a bike from many different companies, and you will be able to get into the smaller and tighter areas of the city with ease. This is not an ideal place to rent a car, and you can head to the train station to visit the surrounding areas as well, so no car is necessary to get to any of the places you might want to check out.

Outdoor fun

Consider going swimming in Lake Geneva if you have the desire to enjoy the beach. There is a lovely park and walking area around the lake, and you can also rent boats or paddleboards to enjoy in the water as well. You can spend a whole day on Lake Geneva and have a great time without spending a ton of money.

Cook your own meals

Last of all, be sure that you consider cooking at your Airbnb during your stay to help save money. Many hostels will also provide a shared kitchen, so you might be able to grocery shop and cook some meals at your home away from home.

Sticking to a budget in Geneva


From hotels with free Wi-Fi to choosing to explore Geneva on walking tours, you can save a lot of money in this city without missing out on what makes the city special. If you look hard enough, you can find plenty of free things to do in Geneva to fill up your itinerary.

Don't forget to explore Geneva with an open mind, and don't let worries about money limit your fun. You can make the most of your time in Geneva without needing hundreds of dollars on hand. This is one of the best places to head to for so many reasons, and you should not miss out on a trip here, even if you need to stick to a budget.

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