The best places to live in Geneva
Deciding which area or suburb of Geneva to live in is a major decision for expats, and most will have their choices restricted by the lack of availability and high property prices. With its many parks, beautiful bodies of water and the surrounding mountains, there are plenty of neighbourhoods in Geneva that can provide the perfect living environment.
That said, there are factors to consider before choosing to live in a particular area. More and more people share flats or take on short-term sublets while looking for long-term accommodation.
Public transport in Geneva is good, so even people who don’t live in the city centre don’t waste too much time commuting. It's also cheaper and easier than trying to find parking in the city.
Many expats choose to live in France, which is just six miles (10km) away from Geneva's centre. Towns such as Ferney-Voltaire, Gex, Divonne, Annemasse, Evian and St Julien-en-Genevois are nearby and are usually cheaper. Basically, rental prices get less expensive the further one goes from the centre of Geneva.
City living in Geneva
The centre of Geneva is beautiful and historic, but it's one of the city's most expensive neighbourhoods. Residents here have access to a huge range of restaurants, bars and cafes. Properties close to the lake in the Eaux Vives area are particularly popular among young professionals and executives with higher disposable incomes.
This area houses numerous company headquarters and has a somewhat industrial feel. Apartments are small and buildings tend to be a little older. Transport links from Acacias are excellent so expats will find it easy to get around.
Pâquis is one of the city's liveliest and most cosmopolitan neighbourhoods and has a lovely bohemian atmosphere. It's a great neighbourhood for expats as it has an international feel. There is an eclectic mix of restaurants and entertainment facilities as well. Public transport facilities in the area are an additional bonus.
Family-friendly areas in Geneva
Despite being located close to the centre of Geneva, these areas have somewhat of a village feel. With the great sense of community found here, they are brilliant options for expats looking to raise a family in Geneva. Access to good schools is also a drawcard for expats moving to Geneva with kids.
These areas offer residents a peaceful retreat from the pace of daily life in the city. The properties are larger and suitable for families, who make up the majority of the residents. These suburbs are located close to a number of good schools which make them good options for expats moving to Geneva with children.
Despite being located quite a distance from Geneva, residents here are treated to stunning panoramic views of the city. Properties are large and the prices reflect this. It's a good option for expats with families who want their children to have access to open spaces and nature.
Chênes-Bougeries is a leafy middle-class area with relatively affordable property. It is another good option for expats with children thanks to its location and proximity to a handful of good international schools.
►See Getting Around in Geneva for info on the city's transport options
►See Accommodation in Switzerland for more on housing in the country
"The housing in Geneva is generally very good, but also expensive and difficult to find. There is a housing shortage in Geneva, but it seems most people figure something out. I love the Plainpalais area. It’s young and there’s always something going on."
For more about American expat Melissa's experiences in Geneva, read our interview with her.
Are you an expat living in Geneva?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Geneva. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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