As we head into the busiest time of year for car hire at Geneva Airport, it's worth doing your homework as there are a few things you should know. When you pop 'Geneva' into our booking engine you'll see there are 2 options for Geneva Airport. GVA (CH) is the Swiss side of Geneva Airport and GVF (FR) is the French side. It's the same airport, but there are 2 terminals, one serves the Swiss motorway network as is on the Swiss side of the border and the other serves the French highway network and is predictably over the border in France.
We are seeing the same again for the 2014/15 winter sports season, around 90% of all rental cars we provide at Geneva Airport have been on the Swiss side as the majority of our customers head onto the 1 motorway and straight to resort, whereas few use the D35 in France as it's not so straight forward. If you are confused about which side you need, drop us a note or use our live chat and one of the team can help, or take a look at our handy guide to which side of Geneva Airport you should hire a car from
Geneva Airport Mini Guide
How Can I Get to Geneva?
Nearly eighty airlines fly into the airport, mainly scheduled, but there are a lot of chartered flights that bring people in for the skiing season. easyJet, the main airline using the airport has just introduced a new route from Southend Airport in the UK. The airport is sometimes known as Cointrin Airport and is only just over two miles from the city although most people head off towards the mountain resorts either by private transfer or by using car hire at Geneva Airport. If you’ve driven there to fly elsewhere, there are 4,500 parking spaces at the airport.
What Can I Do When I Get There?
In winter, most people head for the ski resorts and there are many buses or shuttles that go direct from the airport, especially to Chamonix. Car hire at Geneva Airport is well equipped from both the Swiss and French side and you can add ski racks and snow chains to your Geneva Airport rental car. In summer, a lot still head for the region for walking or mountain biking. You can also head into the city for history, culture and for the headquarters of many international organisations. Finally, as it’s on the border with France, you can use it as an arrival point for holidays in the south east of the country.
Where Can I Get Help at the Airport?
If you have a query, there is a general information desk in the arrivals/departures public area as well as a UNIRESCO transport advice desk. If you need to change some money or use an ATM there are branches of Amex, BCGE Bank and Raffeisen at the airport.
If you lose any luggage, there’s a desk, where you should report the loss, close to the baggage reclaim area. First aid is available, if needed, by asking a member of staff who will call a qualified first aider. If you have reduced mobility, you should let the airport know up to two days in advance and go to the information desk on arrival. There you’ll be assigned a dedicated assistant who will help you through the airport procedure. Don’t forget to let your airline know too so they can help you inflight.
What’s the Best Way to Get to My Destination?
The airport offers everyone a free transport ticket which lasts for journeys of up to 80 minutes duration. These can be obtained from the machine just after baggage reclaim. They’re valid on the trains or the buses. The train from the station will take you into Geneva Cornavin station in the centre and on to other destinations. Local buses operate to many destinations in the city and also to Annecy
in France, look for Onex Bus 10 to Geneva city centre if you’re staying in the city.
Charter flight arrivals are often met by resort transfer buses. Taxis are available at the airport but lose out significantly to the free bus and train service. Finally, you can hire a car from Geneva airport. The Geneva Airport car rental companies’ desks are found on the arrivals level near La Poste post office. You may need to send someone through to finalise paperwork to avoid the chance of long queues but once you’ve collected your Geneva rental car, access to the city and other destinations in the region is simple via the motorway.
What Can I Do Whilst Waiting For My Flight?
There are plenty of shops at the airport including many fashion labels such as Ralph Lauren, Hermes, and Esprit. As you’d expect there are also outlets of some of the famous Swiss labels including Rolex, Omega, Mont Blanc and Swatch.
The duty free store there has a good range of products including chocolate and small gifts. Once you’ve done your last minute shopping there are plenty of options for a final meal including take away such as Burger King, pizza at Al Volo, Asian cuisine at Bento and traditional Swiss fare at La Rotisserie.
Geneva Mini Guide
Geneva is a fabulous city with so much to do and see. 82 of its buildings are considered to be of national historical significance and seeing the most important, such as the Cathedral St-Pierre or the Museum of the International Red Cross is a must when in Geneva.
From nearly every part of the city, the Jet d’Eau is visible. There, the fountain shoots water over 460 feet up into the air as one of the world’s highest fountains. Geneva is also famous for chocolate and many shops sell their own take on the delicious but naughty treat. Hire a car in Geneva to access many ski resorts within a 2hr drive.
Geneva has had an important role in history as the birthplace of Calvinism and the former home of the International Red Cross. It is also famed for being a place to rest and recuperate in the fresh mountain air alongside the peaceful shores of Lake Geneva. This Swiss city is nestled in the Alps Mountains and is a favourite base for skiing holidays as you can get to Geneva Airport on any European airline. There are also many world wide carriers which fly to and from Geneva such as easyJet, Qatar Airways and United Airlines.
If you are taking the train to Geneva and then picking up your Rhino hire car, Geneva’s train station has links to major Swiss cities such as Zurich
as well as European destinations like Milan and Barcelona.
Renting a Rhino hire car at the airport gives you the freedom to head up into the mountains and we can arrange for you to have an off road vehicle with snow tyres if you like. There are a number of customized car rental skiing packages which are also available.
Switzerland is a land locked country but it is possible to drive to Geneva from its neighbouring nations. The city is only 40 kilometres away from Lake Annecy and 80 kilometres away from Chamonix. It is possible to rent Rhino hire cars from both of these French destinations as well.
Once you have arrived at Geneva you may prefer to park and walk around the city in order to appreciate its sights. Another good way to do this is to hire a bike and cycling is certainly encouraged in Geneva.
In the city you will be sure to see the Cathedral of Saint Peter which is where Calvin taught his reformed Christian tradition and so is an important monument to the progress of European theology. You can also learn more about this at the International Museum of the Reformation which is open every day except Mondays. Take a trip to the remarkable Reformation Wall where you'll see, over the distance of a hundred metres, the history of protestantism and the characters that were influential in it.
If you want to get out and about there are three main parks: the Parc Des Eaux Vives, the Parc des Bastions and the Bois de la Batie. Geneva is a French speaking city though many other languages are also spoken by its inhabitants.
One of the finest sights in Geneva is the Jet d’Leau (jet of water) which was installed in the middle of the lake and spouts water high up into the air around it.
We are aware that many of our customers who hire a car in Geneva are planning on going skiing so we offer ski racks, snow chains and snow tyres with each vehicle so you can make your trip safely and comfortably.
- On the night of the 11th December you'll witness one of the most moving events in the Genevan calendar. A procession marks the anniversary of the attack on Geneva by the Savoyards in 1602. The event is called Escalade and has a representation by a woman called Mere Royaume who gave sustaining soup to the defending troops and saved the city by tipping the soup over the head of a soldier about to scale the ramparts.
- Work has just started on a new terminal which will take three years to complete and which will replace part of the current main terminal. The new terminal will be able to take wide bodied aircraft such as the Airbus A380, opening up the airport to new long distance routes.
- Travellers from the UK Midlands may want to consider a new route to Geneva from of all places - Cambridge Airport! Darwin Airline has begun several routes from this little known airport.