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Geneva is definitely on our recommendation list if you love wine and cheese! It is an unforgettable trip. That said, be prepared to pay premiums on food, lodging, and transportation.
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2 Person Total Trip Cost
The big negative here is the food cost… it is unbelievably expensive. The local food is fondue and wine!
There are fewer historical buildings (like castles and churches) here. However, the nature surrounding Lake Lemac is amazing. Bring hiking shoes and get outside! All the cool kids do it here.
Since we were housesitting in an apartment, we had everything we needed to be comfy… even the use of the host’s Netflix and Gaming Console for nighttime entertainment and a young cat to snuggle with. The city felt safe and clean.
The city is well laid out and walkable. It is easy to navigate with google maps. The train station has clear signage and the bus station is right next to the train, making this area fairly easy.
Unique Opportunities and Experiences in Geneva Switzerland
We went a pretty amazing hike – The Lavaux Wine Trail (called the Wine Path informally and the Lavaux Vineyard on All Trails). This region is actually a UNESCO world heritage site. It was recommended to us by our housesitting host (yay more benefits!) Of course, we will detail that experience below! Additionally, we walked around the city and went to the local swimming club to relax for a day.
The Lavaux Vineyard Hike
From our house sit location in Geneva, we were able to walk to the train station and take it around to the north side of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman). I kid you not; It is like something out of a movie or what you imagine when reading a fantasy novel! The pictures don’t do it justice, but we will post a few anyway.
We exited the regional train at the Saint-Saphorin stop and began our hike west towards Lutry. The trail is marked with red and yellow paint at various places along the path, sometimes on buildings, sometimes on signs, and sometimes on the road/path. We ended our hike in Lutry and picked up the train to return to the city. The portion we took is 11.3 km (7 miles) and takes about 4h to complete. It is definitely an all-day event from home to hike to home again. Bring lots of water!
The path itself is flat and easy to walk, though there are some steep inclines every so often that make it difficult. There are plenty of train stops between Saint-Saphorin and Lutry, so cutting the trip short is no problem if you are tired. Additionally, the trail takes you through Villages where there is food and wine aplenty! Stop in for a rest and recharge.
Exploring the City and Swimming club
One of our favorite things to do in a new place is aimlessly wander around and try to get a feel for the local culture. It helps us get our bearings for general navigation and scope out potential places to return to – like restaurants or parks.
In this case, our house-sitting host recommended that we check out the local swimming spot! It cost 2 euros per person (which is inexpensive for swimming in LAKE GENEVA) and gave you access for the whole day if you wanted. The club also had food and drinks, making it perfect to spend a day in. We stayed there for about 4 hours and brought lunch for a lakeside picnic.
I wanted to bring attention to why we paid to enter a “beach club” because if you’ve read this blog at all, you know we don’t pay for many entrance fees. Lake Geneva has duck parasites that grow within the shallow edge waters and it can cause major itching. The beaches are not great in the city. We chose to go to Bains des Pâquis to avoid this. They also had showers and restrooms of course. It is not a beach, its is a concrete pier and boulders. I wouldn’t call it extravagant.
Lastly, we found ourselves with time on our hands for more exploring. The united Nations campus has a large park surround it. We happened across the FREE botanical garden and conservatory! Love when that happens. We even got it all to ourselves!
Geneva Switzerland Trip Cost Breakdown
Cost Saving Opportunities for Geneva Switzerland
You may notice that the hotel costs total around $86 USD – for 6 days in SWITZERLAND??? Yes, you read that correctly. We house sat of course! We were able to accommodate the host’s timeline because of the unlimited Eurail pass and it helped us land the sit.
Taking care of a single cat in a downtown 1 bed 1 bath apartment, it was free accommodation – only that the dates didn’t line up perfectly with our last house sit. We had to pick up a single night in an AirBnB so we could meet with the host, get keys, and go over responsibilities the day prior to their holiday start date. Instead of staying in Geneva, we took the train over to Annemasse France which is only 30 minutes away. It cut our nights stay cost in half. No worries here, it is a major cost saver… like $1,250 USD cost saver.
We absolutely love this housesitting because we now have a full kitchen to be able to cook with, the least expensive groceries possible, and inside local information for exploring! After looking at the prices of restaurants when we walked around… this easily saved $600 in food costs. Since our host was from Argentina, he was even kind enough to let me use his ingredients to make the national Argentinian drink-Yerbamatte!
We definitely leveraged our 3-month unlimited international Eurail pass on this one. It is pretty well known that Switzerland is expensive (especially for food). But since we had our train pass, it was easy and convenient to head over to Annemasse, France for our grocery shopping and Care Four Market!
It is about a 30-minute one-way train ride from Geneva to Annemasse and no border checks are required (I’m sure a bunch of people do this). The only exception is when we needed a couple of last minute convenient things – then we went to the local Coop. Didn’t have to buy train tickets each way, so about a $60 savings.