Beginners Guide To The Geneva Motor Show

My Geneva Motor Show Tips

  • Check for deals on the official Geneva Motor Show & Geneva Tourism websites
  • Buy your tickets online and don’t forget to print them. Its not cheaper but will save queuing
  • Scan for freebies at the show, a free drink is very welcome when walking about
  • Make use of the left luggage facilities at the airport if you don’t want to carry stuff

I have just returned to the UK after popping my Geneva motor show cherry. Being a self proclaimed Petrolhead I have always wanted to go and can now tick it off my list.

The show is quite large, but can easily be completed in one day – obviously it can be done quicker just by missing manufacturers that don’t interest you.I decided to stay for three days to make the most of the show and to look around Geneva. Looking at my flight options I decided on an early flight with British Airways as it wasn’t much more than Easyjet. Flying from Gatwick North I found a deal with Premier Inn at Gatwick which also included four days valet car parking, so a nice easy drive to the airport the night before to drop the car off and walk to the hotel.

British Airways allows you to check in 24 hours before your flight, I did this in person that evening and bagged a window seat and given my boarding pass saving me time in the morning. The British Airways app also allows you to check in on your phone, which I did on my return flight while waiting to go back to the show on my last day, the only down side was I couldn’t sweet talk my way into another window seat and the app was trying to sell me the seat option for another £9.

After getting up at some ungodly hour in the morning I walked over to the Terminal to get my flight. Got chatting to another Petrolhead on the flight who was going for the day and returning on a later flight. He told me he goes each year just for the day without any problems. Flight time was approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, excluding time spent boarding/waiting/security checks etc.

Palexpo Geneva

Palexpo hosts the Geneva motor show every year and is very conveniently right next to Geneva airport which is why a lot of enthusiasts fly in just for the day. Although not having much luggage I didn’t want to lug it around the motor show, so lucky for me there are automated coin operated luggage lockers in the airport in various sizes to accommodate most baggage.

After dumping my stuff in one of these lockers I walked to the show.Tickets are easily available from ticket booths at Palexpo or can be purchased online and printed at home – you must bring a printed ticket as the bar code is scanned on entry.

My ticket was included with my hotel in a special Swiss Tourist Board/Motor show deal. Always check the Swiss Tourist Board for special deals before you book, I saved myself £200 on the cost of the hotel room and had breakfast included too. I think compared to most British car shows the Geneva motor show is a bargain at 16 CHF which is less than £12, I’ve spent more than that going to small classic car meets on the village green.

Although entry is cheap, being Switzerland everything else is expensive with a bottle of water costing over £3 – there’s enough water running off the alpine glaciers on the mountains surrounding Geneva!

The petrolhead I met on the flight over brought his lunch in the form of an M&S sandwich so he didn’t have to pay the Swiss prices.

The Geneva Motorshow lived up to its reputation and I was rewarded with many beautiful exotic machines. A free show guide is available in different languages including English which includes a show map.
Some stands are giving away free stuff from refreshments to bags which come in handy to carry more freebies such as more free bags. If you can get an invite from a manufacturer and go to their VIP section they will feed you while trying to flog their wares (No I didn’t get an invite).
Something you never see in the motoring press coverage of the Geneva show is how busy it can get, especially around popular stands like Ferrari or Lamborghini. Going through the week is better than the weekend when apparently the whole of Switzerland goes there.
Getting to central Geneva from Palexpo/Geneva Airport is very easy with good transport links. I decided to walk to my hotel which was about 3 miles away opposite the Cornavin train station in central Geneva.
Returning to the Motorshow/Airport I took the train as I was given a free public transport card for the length of my stay, another gift from the Swiss tourist board free to anyone staying in Geneva. Of course the train ran like clockwork and was very punctual, they run every few minutes between Geneva and the Airport.
While staying in Geneva I walked down to the lake side passing jewellers selling beautiful and very expensive watches. At the lake side are the more top end hotels making the most of the lake and mountain views, and outside of these hotels are usually some exotic machinery parked up.
I urge any petrolhead to make the pilgrimage to the Geneva Motorshow.