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Top Rental Car Deals in Geneva

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Why hire a car in Geneva?

Situated in the bay on the southern tip of Lake Geneva, surrounded by the Alps and the Jura mountains, French-speaking Geneva is the second most populous city in Switzerland after Zürich. Known as the ‘capital of peace’, it’s the European seat of the United Nations and the Red Cross. It’s also a global hub for banking, hosting around 100 foreign banks.

The city’s symbol is the Jet d’Eau, a large fountain in the periphery of Lake Geneva that pumps 140-metre-high jets of water. On the left-hand shore of the lake is the old town, with its shopping and business quarters, dominated by St Paul’s Cathedral (Cathedrale Saint-Pierre) and the Place du Bourg-de-Four, Geneva’s oldest square. International artists perform in the Grand Théâtre and the Geneva Opera House, and there’s a diverse range of museums, such as the Musée International d’Horlogerie, dedicated to the study of time and timekeeping, and the Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

Geneva is ideally positioned to explore the surrounding lakes, mountainside areas and villages within Switzerland and in neighbouring France, with a hire car in Geneva. Lausanne is under an hour’s drive, Bern under two, Annecy is 45 minutes away and Lyon an hour and 45 minutes.

How to get to and around Geneva?

International flights land at Geneva International Airport two miles and a half from Geneva city centre. A six-minute train journey takes you to the central railway station, Gare Cornavin, from where you can travel onward by tram or train. Alternatively, consider the convenience of a 20-minute journey in a hire car at Geneva International Airport, which can be used for day trips during your stay.

Hiring a car in Geneva city centre

Several car rental companies operate at the Geneva International Airport and in the city centre. Use the Geneva car hire tool to choose one that best suits your needs.

Free parking is available in white parking zones without a ticket machine. Blue zones offer one hour’s free parking. Both zones are free from 7pm till 7am, on Sundays and bank holidays. Underground garages are everywhere but expensive. You can always leave your car at a P&R (Park & Ride) Parking, in Geneva’s periphery, and take public transport for a CHF12 ticket, which also includes a one-day travel card. A map of all the garages is available at the airport’s information desk.

What brands are available?

Several car hire companies are available in the city centre and directly at the airport. At Geneva International Airport you can choose from the following:

  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Dollar Europe
  • Enterprise
  • Europcar
  • Flizzr
  • Hertz
  • Sixt
  • Thrifty EU

Must-sees within an easy drive of Geneva

Meyrin, 20 minutes from the centre, is the site of the CERN particle physics laboratory. For a glimpse into its work and the Large Hadron Collider, don’t miss the interactive ‘Microcosm’ exhibition. Lausanne, 39 miles (under an hour) away, on Lake Geneva, famous for its beautiful lakeside promenades, the port and its 14th century town, is home to the International Olympic Committee as well as the Olympic Museum and Olympic Park.

At the foot of Mont Saleve, just over the border in France and a 20-minute drive, is Annemasse, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Popular sports here include skydiving, parasailing and paragliding. Nearby villages, such as Ville-La-Grand, Gaillard and Ambilly, are equally beautiful and worth a visit. Only 26 miles south (45 minutes), lies one of France’s most beautiful cities, Annecy, which is a must-see, especially in summer, for its incredible lake front beaches along Lake Annecy and the maze of ancient canals running through the old town, which gave it the nickname ‘Venice of the Savoie’.

Tips and tricks for driving in Switzerland

Switzerland is a small country with high demographic density, so traffic jams are frequent. City streets can be narrow and parking limited. Road conditions are excellent and accidents infrequent, but drivers are required to pay to use the motorway and display a sticker, or vignette, on the vehicle’s windscreen. The stickers can be bought from the Swiss Centre in the UK or locally at border points and petrol stations for €38.50 (in 2017).

You must be 18 or over and drive on the right-hand side. Use of seatbelts and dipped headlights is compulsory. Carry your valid UK driving licence along with your passport and car insurance papers at all times.

When driving in Geneva, pay attention to speed limits, as they can change frequently within a short stretch. There are speed cameras everywhere.

Ready to plan your Geneva city break?

Feeling inspired to start planning your trip to Geneva and other parts of the Switzerland? Use this city guide and the Expedia search tool to find the best Geneva car hire, flight and hotel deals and research your preferred attractions and activities.

Road Trips in Geneva

Geneva has some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in Europe, and a drive around its lakes is equally stunning. For a fun-packed day out, take a drive along Lake Geneva’s northern shore, stopping to explore the waterfront towns of Lausanne and Vevey.

Lausanne is famous for its hilly streets, Olympic Museum and 12th-century Gothic cathedral, while Vevey is home to a palm-tree-lined promenade, a special vine-train excursion into the wine-growing region of the Lavaux, and the Nestlé Foundation’s Vevey Alimentarium, a museum devoted entirely to nutrition.

Finish up your rental-car road trip in the town of Montreaux at the western end of Lake Geneva. Known for its annual jazz festival, this chic community has been home to global celebrities like Charlie Chaplin and Freddie Mercury over the years, and remains one of Switzerland’s most exclusive places to live.

Another option is to drive your hire car to Gruyères, an idyllic Medieval Swiss village on a hilltop, with a castle, a dedicated Tibet museum with more than 300 Buddhist sculptures, and an extraordinary culinary scene, much of which features the famous local cheese.

Driving in Switzerland

Driving a rental car in Switzerland is generally safe and straightforward. Remember to use dipped headlights when driving through tunnels, and during the day you should sound your horn before approaching sharp bends on winding mountain roads.

FAQs for car hire in Geneva

What’s the best price car rental in Geneva?

In the past 7 days the lowest priced car rental is £45 in Geneva.

What’s the average car rental price in Geneva?

On average, car rentals in Geneva are £48.

Why should I book a car rental with Expedia?

When booking a rental car via Expedia you can easily compare a wide range of the most popular car hire companies and select the best option for you. There are no extra costs and no cancellation fees involved in booking a rental car with Expedia.

How do I book a car rental with Expedia?

You can book a car rental on Expedia either online or over the phone. You may have the option to reserve now and pay now, or to reserve now and pay later. The payment option will be indicated at time of booking. To collect Expedia+ rewards points for your car rental, sign in to your account before you book or create an account on the Payment page.

Are there any additional costs when cancelling a rental car?

Most rental car bookings are eligible for a full refund regardless of when you cancel with Expedia. Not all prepaid bookings qualify for a refund. Review your itinerary for details. If your prepaid booking qualifies for a refund, your booking must be cancelled at least 6 hours prior to pick-up for the refund. If you return your prepaid car rental early, you will not be refunded for any unused time.

How can I cancel my car booking through Expedia?

To cancel your car booking, sign in or enter your email address and itinerary number. Then select Find itinerary. Under Manage Booking, select Cancel Reservation, then CANCEL THIS RESERVATION. Most prepaid car rental bookings are non-refundable. Pre-paid bookings must be cancelled at least 6 hours prior to pick-up to be eligible for a full refund. To change or cancel a car hire that you booked as part of a holiday, please contact us.

Should I book a rental car online before arriving or directly in Geneva?

Booking your car from home with Expedia ensures thay you can choose the type of car. You can also compare the different offers and additional services in advance to get the best offer for you. Upon arrival you only need to collect the keys before beginning your trip. In addition, you do not have to start searching for a suitable provider after arriving or reading the terms and conditions at the counter. This will save you a lot of stress.

What insurance should I choose for my rental car?

A comprehensive insurance is a good choice to avoid unpleasant surprises. That way you can enjoy your stay carefree and explore the area with your rental car.

Do I have to pay my rental car in advance?

We have a couple different options when it comes to paying for your car rental. Read on and see which is best for you. Reserve now, pay now: This option allows you to reserve your car rental and prepay at the time of booking. You’ll need a credit card to prepay, and can apply Expedia Rewards points to cover all or some of the booking cost. While some car rental companies may let you pay with a debit card, the driver still needs to present a valid credit card to cover the deposit upon pick-up. Reserve now, pay later: This option lets you reserve your rental car without paying in advance. When you get to the pick-up spot, just have whoever's driving present a valid credit card to pay the cost in full. The car rental company will also place a hold on your credit card in the amount of the car rental deposit.

What do I have to pay attention to when hiring a car?

When picking up your rental car, check for scratches or dents on the vehicle. Inspect the car carefully, make sure to take notes of potential damage and let the vendor know before driving off.

Where can I find car rentals in Geneva?

Rental car companies can usually be found at airports and various locations in the city centre.