Nestled on the shores of Lac leman, Geneva is home to both the Genevois, birth place of the Red Cross and is a vibrant small city with people from all over the world living and working here. Summers in Geneva are spent by the lake with a multitude of free entertainment available, whilst winters give the opportunity to try out some of the best skiing in the world.

Geneva is a place where the best of many worlds collide, a thriving corporate sector including banking, the annual Salon d’Auto, and the tobacco industry, as well being a centre for international aid organisations including the United Nations.


Geneva airport is quite close to the main city and can be accessed by train or bus. A taxi will cost around CHF40. Visitors staying in the city hotels will be given a pass which entitles them to free public transport throughout their stay and can be used on the buses, trams and the mouettes which are the yellow shuttle boats that cross the lake every few minutes. If you prefer to take a more eco-friendly approach to travel, then hire a bike at Genève Roule (free for 2 hours), and both the view and the efficiency as you ride along the lake and bypass cars and buses.

SAFETY and emergency services

People in Geneva are friendly despite rumours of the cool Swiss exterior so a polite bonjour as you pass people on the street or enter a shop. My experience is that this is one of the safest cities in the world to live in but like any city there is an element of crime.  Pay attention as you would in any place and don’t leave your handbag open, avoid walking across the bridges at night alone and don’t be surprised if you are offered a range of ‘substances’ if you walk through the Paquis at night. This is the red light district of Geneva, (Paolo Cohelo’s book ’11 Minutes’ is set here), but the term ‘red light’ should be used loosely. The police and the prostitutes are all on speaking terms and the restaurants are good. The train station is also a place to be aware of pick pockets.

There are quite a lot of bike lanes in the city so be aware of this as you cross streets, the cars will stop for a red light but the cyclists will often breeze right through and if you’re used to driving on the other side of the road this can be a problem.

Networking: See who is networking in Geneva now

Read the doing business in Switzerland guide.