The best places to shop in Geneva
The Rues Basses area has many fashionable clothing stores. The Rive Gauche between the Rue du Rhône and Geneva's old town has exclusive fashion boutiques and shoe stores. The old town of Geneva also has smaller, exclusive boutique and antique shops. Shopping centres and department stores have a wider, more universal range of products. A few in the Geneva region include Centre Balexert (FR), La Praille (FR) and Les Centres (FR).
Shopping across the border in France
Shopping in France is very popular amongst Geneva residents, who regularly shop over the borders for better prices at general stores and weekly markets. However, it is important to take note of the customs regulations and limitations on bringing goods into Switzerland. The tax-free limit is CHF 300 per person but there are some special regulations concerning certain goods carried across the border.
Start your cross-border explorations in the towns of Ferney-Voltaire, Thoiry (for Migros) and Annemasse. For an especially fun day out in a very scenic town, make a visit to Annecy.
Cost saving tip: The VAT (Value-added tax) on items purchased outside of Switzerland can often be reclaimed. Information leaflets are available at customs offices at border crossings. Note: L and G permit holding residents cannot claim VAT.
Shopping for essentials
Manor (DE/FR/IT), a popular department store in Geneva, is located close to the main train station, Gare Cornavin. Globus is a popular high-end department store. It also has a wonderful food hall that is a good place to look for food specialties that you miss from home. The two large supermarkets, Migros and Coop, can be found on Geneva's right and left banks.
Markets in Geneva
There are markets all around town on various days and in various locations. The Geneva City website (FR) lists the full market calendar. One of the most famous food markets is at Les Halles de Rives (FR) from Monday to Saturday. There are also nearby weekend markets in France. On Saturday try visiting the market in Ferney Voltaire and on Sunday the markets in Divonne-les-Bains and Thoiry. Take note of the above customs regulations for shopping across the border.
Shop opening hours in Geneva
Shops in Geneva are generally open Monday to Friday 9.00 to 19.00, Thursday until 21.00 and Saturday 8.00 to 18.00. As in the rest of Switzerland most shops are closed on Sunday except for at the main train station and Geneva airport; these locations stay open from 8.00 to 20.00. Many shops in the suburbs outside of Geneva city centre close for lunch between 12.00 and 13.30.
For flexible hours and to avoid crowds, try shopping online for groceries at LeShop or Coop@Home. Zalando (DE/FR), Laredoute (DE/FR) and Koala are a few good options for clothes and shoes. For gift ideas, try visiting Geschenk Idee (DE) and sort through their wide collection based on the person you are shopping for.
Useful information on shopping in Switzerland
- Most shops are closed on Sundays in Switzerland. The only shops open on a Sunday are at train stations, airports, and at petrol stations in and around urban areas
- In most occasions, grocery carry bags must be purchased at the store or brought from home
- Customers pack their own bags at the grocery store
- Shopping trolleys require a CHF 1-2 coin deposit
- Fruit and vegetables are available pre-packaged and priced or loose to be weighed. For non-priced items, place them on the scale, enter the item’s corresponding code and print the price tag
- Sales are held twice annually in January and July
- Many shops offer loyalty programmes and regular discounts. For tips on living cost effectively in Geneva, read the article Discounts and saving money in Geneva
- Many shops accept both CHF and Euros but change for Euros will be given in Swiss Francs