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Prepare for the traffic jams because starting Thursday, March 3, Geneva’s 86th International Motor Show opens its doors to the public for ten days of exhibitions and events. Last year over 680,000 people attended the show which now features more than 800 models, over 100 innovative trends and the latest in automobile ecological technology.

I have been to the motor show two times in the past 17 years; once because I was told it was an event not to be missed and once again because I had forgotten how many people the organizers can pack into the enormous halls of Palexpo.

But don’t let me dissuade you from going. Cortney, a former blogger for Living in Geneva helped me find some of the positive aspects of 2016’s International Motor Show: 

  • The Geneva motor show is recognized as neutral territory for automakers because, unlike the four other major auto shows in Frankfurt, Tokyo, Detroit, and Paris, Geneva does not have an auto industry of its own.
  • Tesla Motors, who normally does not attend auto shows, will be present. This is your chance to ask questions about how and where you can recharge the Tesla during your summer road trip in Europe as well as check out its features like double drunk space, no gears and retractable door handles.
  • Premiers and concept cars from carmakers like McLaren, Ferrari, and Lamborghini are always a big draw at the motor show, but if you’re looking to purchase a new car, you can also explore the newest models from manufacturers that cater to any budget.
  • Looking for a family-friendly activity? The show is open on two Sundays (March 6 and 13), days when there is typically little else open in Geneva. Child care is available for babies and children 3 months old to 6 years old.
  • Looking for a unique date night activity? Doors stay open until 20:00 on weekdays and 19:00 on weekends, plus tickets purchased at the door after 16:00 are half price.
Main exhibit hall at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show

Main exhibit hall at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show

Getting to the International Motor Show

The International Motor Show is held at Palexpo, Geneva’s 108,000m² convention center located next to the airport. View an access map of the area by clicking here.

As I noted before traffic jams in and around Geneva are notorious during the motor show, especially late in the day and on weekends. People traveling to Palexpo from Geneva’s city center are strongly encouraged to take public transportation, such as a bus (several run every 6-10 minutes) or one of the many trains to the Geneva Airport. Click here for general access information, including public transportation links and offers.

Admission: Tickets & Tips

Doors open Monday through Friday, 10:00-20:00 and weekends, 9:00-19:00. Admission costs 16 CHF for adults, 9 CHF for children aged 6 to 16, and CHF 11 per person for groups of more than 20 people. TIP: Half-price same-day tickets are sold on site after 4 p.m.

Tickets are sold on site at Palexpo, online, FNAC Switzerland, FNAC France, or through Unireso and SBB CFF FFS. Click here for ticket information.

Combined transport + admission tickets are available through SBB CFF FFS (Switzerland’s train system). Click here for more information on combined tickets through SBB.

Other Resources

Childcare: An on-site nursery is available for children aged 3 months to 6 years; there is no charge for the first hour. Each additional hour costs 6 CHF.

Food and drink: Provided by Palexpo Restaurants, there are six à la carte restaurants on site as well as many bars and snacks available throughout the facility.

Home page of the International Motor Show in English: http://www.salon-auto.ch/en/

Tell us! Are you planning to attend this year’s auto show? Do you have any tips on how to get the most out of your auto show experience?

We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland.  If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/.