Cheap Car Hire Geneva Airport French Side

There are certain benefits to renting a car on the French side of Geneva Airport. One which will concern many people is price. There can in some cases be significantly cheaper deals available on the French side of the airport compared to the Swiss. You can compare the best available offers from numerous firms with a quick search here today.

car rental geneva airport

It can get quite complicated for travelers due to the split of countries within the airport. What happens if you need to reach the French sector but have arrived in the Swiss area? In this situation you would go through passport control and leave the Swiss area from the arrivals hall.  You would then walk upstairs to check-ins. You don’t need a visa for Switzerland to travel to the French side of the airport. You can easily travel to nearby French areas without running into Swiss territory.

Take note of your travel dates and start searching today. Switzerland can be an expensive place so why not save some money on essentials such as car rental. Make sure you choose the correct pickup point from our booking engine as there are quite a few choices in Geneva besides the airport such as city centre locations and train stations.

Car Hire Geneva Airport Swiss Side Comparison

Things are a little different from the norm when it comes to hiring a car in Geneva Airport as there are two sides, the Swiss side and the French side. You must make a decision on which side of the airport you wish to pick up your rental car from. Both sectors are housed within the same building.

car hire Geneva Airport Swiss side

There are of course advantages and disadvantages to each side. It is true that most Int flights arrive into the Switzerland side of the airport so quicker access to your car may be possible. Swiss cars are also more likely to come with items needed for driving in wintry conditions such as snow tyres and chains.

A disadvantage of picking up on the Swiss side would be expense as cars tend to cost a bit more here than on the French side. You can find the rental desks in the arrivals hall. Keep in mind that Swiss cars must be returned to the same side as they were rented from. The full name of the airport is Geneva Cointrin International Airport and you will find it just five kilometres from the city centre. If you are on a domestic French flight you will want to enter through the French side so as to bypass customs.

When you obtain a rentacar in the Swiss part, it comes with a sticker called a Vignette. This is needed for traveling on the roads of the country. An important thing to keep in mind here is that if you hire a car on the French side but intend traveling in Switzerland you will be subject to an extra charge for the Vignette. You are likely to be fined if you choose to travel without one.

How to get from Geneva Airport to your Destination

Those who are travelling to Switzerland for a holiday will find there are a variety of ways of getting from Geneva Airport to your destination, whether it be to the city itself, to one of the world-renowned ski resorts or to some other attraction in this beautiful country.

The airport is located only 4km from the city centre and so if this is your destination there are a number of good transport options available, via the unified transport system known as Unireso.  Within this network, passengers may travel by train, tram, bus and boat using one single travel pass.  Trains to downtown Geneva run from the airport every 12 minutes and the journey time is an incredible 6 minutes.

There are also a number of city buses who stop regularly at the airport and cover a broad range of routes into the city.  Can I travel free on Geneva public transport? Yes, but there are limits. Initial tickets last for one hour. Since 2008 a free public transport card has been available for tourists, giving them the ability to travel on Geneva’s transport network free of charge for the duration of their stay.  These are available in the baggage hall at the airport (free for one day) and then at hotel reception desks (covering the period of entire stay).

Many of the larger hotels also offer free shuttle buses that have regular departures from right outside the arrivals building, and for those wishing to travel privately taxis with meters are available at a rank.

If your destination is further afield within Switzerland, it is possible to travel to any train station on the rail network from the airport’s station.  There is also the option of a car hire Geneva Airport service through any one of the companies that have a concession at the airport itself, though it is advisable to book in advance to ensure you are able to get the right kind of vehicle to suit your needs.  Driving conditions in Switzerland are safe and roads are good so even those new to the region should find driving a pleasurable experience.

Those who love to cycle should know that there are even several cycle routes to the airport. If you are a skier, you will find that there are shuttle buses that make getting from Geneva Airport to your destination extremely convenient. There are buses directly to the Swiss resorts of Verbier, Saas Fee, Täsch Zermatt and more.  There are also regular coaches to many French ski resorts, including Meribel and Chamonix, though many of these should be booked in advance to guarantee a seat.

Getting from Geneva Airport to your destination need not be stressful with this host of options available to the traveller, and with air journey times from many European cities so short there is no excuse not to make Geneva your next destination.

Driving In Geneva: Rules of the Road

Driving around Switzerland can seem intimidating to foreign visitors. A good place to start when it comes to driving in the Geneva region is with the basic rules of the road. Consider a car hire Geneva Airport deal for your next visit.

In Switzerland, vehicles drive on the right hand side of the road, something which visitors from the UK and other countries such as Australia should keep in mind. Third party insurance is obligatory, as is wearing seatbelts. No children under 12 are allowed in the front seats of cars without a suitable child restraint in place. Honking your horn after dark is also prohibited, while the legal age for driving is 18, not 17 as in the UK.


With those basics out of the way, it is a good idea to look at some of the specifics of driving in the Geneva region. Roads in Geneva are often single lanes, with plenty of slow-changing traffic lights. Swiss driving regulations also forbid turning left at intersections, so it is necessary to carefully plan routes in order to avoid large detours.

It is also wise to plan where you are going to park, and ask locals such as hotel staff for advice on this. Parking at the Place des Nations is to be recommended, as this can provide convenient access to many of the city’s top tourist attractions. There are other car parks and garages which are available throughout the city, though it can get crowded, particularly at heavily visited times of year.

In a mountainous and wintry country like Switzerland, it also pays to take some precautions against bad weather and difficult driving conditions. All vehicles must carry a red warning triangle as standard, and snow chains are actually compulsory in some conditions. Speed limits on ‘green sign’ motorways are 120 kilometres per hour, with 100 kilometres an hour the limit on dual carriageways. Drivers travelling through residential areas though must be aware that the limit there is just 30 kilometres an hour, and 50 kilometres an hour in most towns and villages.

If you are crossing from France into Switzerland, then you will need to purchase a ‘Vignette’ from Customs. This sticker is compulsory for all motorway driving in Switzerland and you will need it to make getting about easier. There are also tolls to look out for, as well as the differences between French and Swiss roads if you are crossing the border to ski resorts such as Chamonix.

One thing which is well worth remembering about travelling around the city of Geneva itself is that it is often easier to take a tram or a bus when in the city itself. This can often make getting to the major landmarks easier, though you will, of course, need your car to get to the main ski locations.

Day Trips from Geneva

As well as being a fascinating holiday destination in itself, the city of Geneva in Switzerland is also ideally situated as a base from which to take a day trip in your Geneva Airport car hire, and further explore the beauty of the surrounding region.  This is a region rich in history and culture, where the Alps meet meadows and lakes and ancient castles, and the next exciting leisure activity or experience is never far away.

At a distance of only 90 minutes by car, the popular ski resort of Chamonix offers world class pistes and a host of other sporting activities.  The area’s two-stage cable car, which travels to the top of Aiguille du Midi, offers breathtaking views of the Alps on a clear day.

Just 55km away from Geneva is the port of Lausanne, known for its beauty, vibrancy and charming promenades along the banks of Lake Geneva.  The old town dates back to the fourteenth century, but it is also home to the super-modern Olympic museum.

Also close at hand, Montreux is certainly work checking out if you happen to coincide with the eponymous jazz festival in July but it is worth a day visit at any time of year as it is picturesque and offers impressive Alpine panoramas.

Chillon Castle is another popular day outing from the city.  Probably one of Switzerland’s most well known attractions, this stunning castle stands on a rocky promontory on Lake Geneva and has been lovingly preserved and restored.  There are a number of interesting historical artifacts within and guided tours are available to make the most of a day visit.

The quaint village of Gruyere is the place to spend a day getting the classic Swiss experience.  Mountain views, a world-famous cheese, top-notch chocolate and a host of wonderful places to dine with a view are what have earned this place its reputation of being well worth a visit.

The experience of a whole other culture is just a short distance away.  Just over the border in France are the towns of Annemasse and the truly beautiful and historical Annecy, both worth spending a day exploring.  Indeed Annecy is considered by some to be the most beautiful town in the whole of France.

Anyone spending some time in Geneva would be well advised to tear themselves away from the city’s many incredible attractions for at least a day, in order to venture out into this fascinating region.  The ideas here are just a small selection of the possible day trips available to a tourist who feels like venturing a little without covering enormous distances.  Transport options are many and taking away the need to relocate completely and find new accommodation takes a lot of the hassle out of exploring and makes day-tripping an attractive option.