Geneva airport shuttle

How to get from the airport to downtown Geneva: complete guide

Did you know that the airport is less than 4 km from downtown Geneva? It’s not much, but it’s true that when we travel by plane, we’re often tired and loaded down with luggage. That’s why our guide offers comparative overview of the different means of transport available. It provides advice on how to travel this short distance efficiently and comfortably, taking into account the cost, journey time and convenience of each option.

How to get from the airport to the center of Geneva

The train

Geneva has two train stops: Genève-Cornavin is located in the city center, and Genève-Aéroport is accessible from the airport’s “Check-in” and “Arrival” levels. All trains to and from the Geneva Airport station stop in downtown Geneva at the Geneva-Cornavin station. The train is the fastest option: less than 20 minutes. It’s also the most practical option for those looking to avoid traffic jams.

The bus

City bus stops TPG are located on the check-in level, in front of or to the side of the SBB station. Although a little slower than the train, the bus serves many stops, which may be more convenient depending on your final destination.

💡 Did you know? The end of free public transport tickets in 2022. Before 2022, any traveler from Geneva airport could use a free 80-minute ticket to get anywhere. This action, financed by Geneva airport, ended up costing too much because of the repercussions of the pandemic on tourism. Rest assured, however, that public transport to downtown Geneva is very economical.

The cab

Cabs offer great convenience, with door-to-door service and constant availability. However, this is the most expensive option, especially in heavy traffic. Various cab companies share the Geneva area. You’ll have no trouble finding them.

VTC services (Uber, Lyft, etc.)

Using the services of Voiture de Transport avec Chauffeur (VTC) to travel from Geneva airport to the city center is a convenient and increasingly popular option for many travelers.

Take the train from the airport to the center of Geneva

Train timetables

They are available on the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) website. On average, three to five trains an hour connect the two stations. They run without interruption, even at night.

Trajet Genève aéroport - centre-ville en train

Journey time

The journey between the two stations takes between 7 and 20 minutes.

Ticket prices

Classic ticket: the most expensive

Adult tickets cost CHF 3.30 in second class and CHF 5.94 in first class. Youth tickets (0-25 years) cost CHF 2.20 in second class and CHF 3.85 in first class.

Unireso zone 10 ticket: the best deal

It’s best to buy a Zone 10 unireso ticket, which allows you to use Geneva’s public transport system (city bus, streetcar, train and boat) for 60 minutes. Tickets currently cost CHF 3 for adults and CHF 2 for children.

Geneva Transport Card: free travel

This card is reserved for travelers staying in a registered Swiss establishment (hotels, youth hostels, campsites, guesthouses) and offers free access to the entire Geneva unireso public transport network (bus, train, streetcar and boat).

How to buy tickets

Tickets can be purchased in several ways:

  • On the website or the mobile application of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB).
  • At a vending machine, including the one in the airport baggage reclaim area (accessible to arriving passengers only).
  • At the counters of the SBB Passenger Center at Geneva Airport station.

Getting to downtown Geneva by bus

Available bus routes

On the twelve TPG urban bus that have a stop at Geneva airport, details of which are available in our article on Geneva airport shuttles two are mainly used to get to the city center.

  1. Line 5 links the airport directly to the city center. It serves several important stops, including those near major hotels and tourist attractions. It continues to Place de Neuve, a central location near numerous museums and the theater.
  2. Line 10 passes through several important areas before reaching Geneva-Cornavin station.
Lignes de bus pour relier Genève centre à Genève aéroport

Bus schedules and frequency

City buses serve the airport every 8 to 15 minutes at peak times. Line 5 operates from 5 a.m. to midnight, while line 10 runs from 5 a.m. to 3 a.m..

For very early journeys, you have at your disposal the Aérobus shuttle which runs from 3am to 6am. It’s free on presentation of your boarding pass or plane ticket. Six lines are involved (A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6), but only A1 and A6 pass close to Geneva city center. Timetables can be downloaded from TPG website.

Rates and payment methods

The city bus is very economical. For journeys between the airport and downtown Geneva, we recommend the same option as for the train, i.e. the unireso zone 10 ticket. Of course, if you have the option of the Geneva Transport Card, that’s even better.

Cab options from the airport to downtown Geneva

Cab pick-up points

You can book by phone or app, or find a cab in the dedicated parking area. At Geneva airport, there is a special area for cabs outside the arrivals terminal. Once you leave the baggage reclaim area and clear customs, you’ll easily find the signs to the cab rank.

There is no separate cab rank specifically on the departures level, but the cab service on the arrivals level is close enough to be accessible to all passengers, whatever their point of departure within the airport.

The average cost of a trip

Cab fares are transparent. That’s right, the laws of the canton of Geneva sets fixed prices from the airport according to your destination:

  • CHF 25 for areas adjacent to the airport.
  • 35 CHF to join international organizations.
  • CHF 50 to the city center on the right bank.
  • CHF 60 for downtown on the left bank.

The advantages and disadvantages of cabs

There are several advantages to taking a cab.

  • Convenience: this door-to-door service avoids long walks and multiple transport changes.
  • Availability: accessible at all hours, ideal for locations with little public transport or during late hours.
  • Privacy: a private space away from the crowds.
  • No need to find and pay for parking.

However, the cab has significant drawbacks.

  • Cost: generally more expensive than other modes of public transport.
  • Rush-hour speed: slower than other options due to traffic jams.
  • Environmental impact: less environmentally friendly than cycling, walking or using public transport.
  • Dependence on drivers: the quality of the experience may vary depending on the driver and the condition of the vehicle.

Use VTC services to get from the airport to the center of Geneva

VTC availability at the airport

At Geneva airport, VTCs are easily accessible thanks to various applications. Companies like Uber, Lyft, or local services offer considerable flexibility for passengers arriving in Geneva.

Rates and booking conditions

VTC prices are set freely and by agreement between the customer and the driver, or between the customer and the transport company. Agreement on the maximum price must be reached before the race, and cannot be changed unilaterally.

Unlike cabs, VTCs must be booked in advance via the app. Once the reservation has been made, the system assigns a driver who meets the customer at a specified meeting point.

Comparison with other means of transport

VTCs are often praised for their ease of use and door-to-door service. Booking in advance guarantees vehicle availability. Trains and buses, on the other hand, require you to go to a specific stop or station, which can be less convenient with heavy luggage.

VTC prices are agreed in advance. However, VTCs can be more expensive than public transport options such as train or bus, which benefit from very economical fixed fares, especially with options such as the unireso zone 10 ticket.

Trains are the fastest way to get from the airport to the city center, taking between 7 and 20 minutes, with no risk of being affected by traffic jams unlike VTCs and cabs.

Trains and buses benefit from high frequency and extended timetables. Although VTCs are available at all hours, they require prior reservation. This can be a problem when demand is high.

VTCs offer a more personalized experience often with greater comfort than public transport. However, this entails an additional cost

Transportation comparison

Here’s a comparative table illustrating the differences between the main means of transport from Geneva airport to the city center in terms of cost, travel time and convenience:

Means of transport Cost Travel time Features
Train 3 CHF (unireso zone 10) 7-20 min Direct, frequent, fast, economical.
Bus 3 CHF (unireso zone 10) 15-30 min Frequent, several stops, economical.
Cab CHF 50-60 15-30 min Door-to-door, available 24/7, expensive.
VTC (Uber, Lyft, etc.) Variable price 15-30 min Door-to-door, booking in advance, price agreed in advance.

Our tips for a successful journey from the airport to downtown Geneva

Choosing the right time to travel

To avoid crowds and benefit from lower rates, choose off-peak times for your journey from the airport to the city center. Early morning or mid-day are often less busy times.

Prepare your luggage and documents

Make sure your luggage is well packed and that all your travel documents (passport, plane ticket, reservations) are easily accessible. This will help you get through security faster and avoid unnecessary delays.

Anticipating traffic jams and rush hours

Find out about local rush hours, especially if you plan to use a cab or VTC. Planning your departure based on this information can save you time and travel stress.

By choosing your mode of transport wisely and planning ahead, you can make your journey from the airport to the center of Geneva as smooth and pleasant as possible. If you change your mind and prefer park your personal vehicle in a private parking is also a possibility. If you are travelling with EasyJet you also have options at your disposal.

I reserve my parking space