Lausanne Travel Guide: Top Things to Do in Lausanne, Switzerland

Wilkomme! Ready to dive into the vibrant heart of Switzerland’s Lausanne? This city, perched on the slopes overlooking the stunning Lake Geneva, is a perfect blend of urban chic and natural beauty. With its lively streets, historic sites, and breathtaking vistas, Lausanne offers an enchanting escape that captivates every traveler. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a history geek, an outdoor enthusiast, or a foodie at heart, Lausanne’s unique charm is sure to win you over. Let’s embark on a journey through this picturesque city, exploring what makes Lausanne a must-visit destination on the Swiss map.

Lausanne gorgeous Lake Mountain views

A City of Hills and History

Step Back in Time: Lausanne’s history is as rich as its landscape is diverse. From the awe-inspiring Lausanne Cathedral to the ancient streets of the Cité, the city’s past is alive in its stunning architecture and historic districts. Don’t miss the chance to wander through the Old Town, where history greets you at every turn.

Cultural Riches

A Hub of Art and Innovation: Home to the world-renowned Olympic Museum and numerous galleries, Lausanne is a haven for culture enthusiasts. The city’s vibrant cultural scene is evident in its festivals, museums, and theaters, showcasing everything from contemporary art to classical performances.

Gastronomic Delights

Savor the Flavors of Switzerland: In Lausanne, dining is an adventure for the palate. The city boasts an impressive culinary scene, from cozy lakeside cafes to Michelin-starred restaurants. Indulge in traditional Swiss cuisine, savor exquisite chocolates, and enjoy the local wines that make the region famous.

Natural Beauty and Outdoor Adventures

Explore the Great Outdoors: Lausanne’s picturesque setting invites you to connect with nature. The city’s parks, vineyards, and the sparkling Lake Geneva offer countless opportunities for hiking, cycling, and boating. Whether you’re taking a leisurely stroll along the Ouchy promenade or embarking on a vineyard tour, the natural beauty of Lausanne is always within reach.

Lausanne by Night

Vibrant Nightlife: As the sun sets, Lausanne transforms into a lively hub of activity. The Flon district, with its trendy bars, clubs, and cinemas, becomes the heart of the city’s nightlife, offering entertainment options for every taste.

So pack your bags, bring your sense of adventure, and let Lausanne take you on a journey you’ll never forget. Ready to explore? Lausanne awaits.

Lausanne Travel Guide: Things to do in Lausanne, Switzerland

Lausanne City Guide: A Brief History Of Lausanne, Switzerland

Ever wonder what stories the cobblestone streets of Lausanne could tell if they could speak? Well, buckle up, because Lausanne’s history is a rollercoaster ride through time, from ancient Roman settlements to its modern-day status as the Olympic Capital. With a backdrop of stunning Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps, this city has played host to a fascinating mix of culture, power, and innovation. Let’s peel back the layers of Lausanne’s past and see what treasures lie beneath.

From Roman Outpost to Medieval Marvel

Ancient Beginnings: Believe it or not, Lausanne started as a Roman military camp called Lousonna, strategically located to guard the trade routes. Over time, it transformed into a bustling market town. The remnants of Roman Lausanne can still be glimpsed at the Roman Museum of Lausanne-Vidy.

A Bishop’s Seat: Fast forward to the Middle Ages, and Lausanne’s significance skyrockets as it becomes a major bishopric. The grand Lausanne Cathedral, an awe-inspiring example of Gothic architecture, stands as a testament to the city’s medieval importance. It’s not just a church; it’s a landmark where history echoes through the ages.

Enlightenment and Revolution

Cultural Hub: In the 18th century, Lausanne became a beacon of the Enlightenment, attracting thinkers, artists, and writers from across Europe. Its intellectual salons were legendary, making it a center of ideas and debate. This era left a lasting imprint on the city’s cultural and architectural landscape.

Revolutionary Times: The air of revolution sweeping across Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries didn’t bypass Lausanne. The city witnessed significant changes, from the fall of the Ancien Régime to becoming part of the Swiss Confederation. These tumultuous times paved the way for the dynamic, forward-thinking city we know today.

Olympic Legacy and Beyond

Olympic Capital: Fast forward to the 20th century, and Lausanne stakes its claim on the world stage as the Olympic Capital, home to the International Olympic Committee since 1915. This title has transformed Lausanne into a global hub for sports and diplomacy, hosting the Olympic Museum and various international sports federations.

Modern Metamorphosis: In recent decades, Lausanne has continued to evolve, embracing modernity while preserving its historical charm. The city’s universities and research institutions contribute to its reputation as a center of education and innovation. Meanwhile, projects like the revitalization of the Flon district showcase Lausanne’s ability to blend the old with the new seamlessly.

In my opinion, Lausanne is a living history book waiting to be explored.

Lausanne distinct historic street views

Lausanne Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in Switzerland

Lausanne might not ring a bell with many travellers, but it should. For starters, this city is home to the International Olympic Committee. But apart from that, it also sits on Lake Geneva and is an easy drive from many outstanding ski resorts.

But best of all, it ranks highly in terms of cultural attractions. During your stay, you’ll find plenty of museums, art galleries, and churches to keep you busy.

Of all the attractions in Lausanne, the Olympic Museum stands out. As its name suggests, this institution tells the story of the modern Olympic movement. This building has served in this capacity since 1993 when IOC chief Juan Antonio Samaranch opened it to great fanfare.

During your visit, you’ll find over 10,000 artifacts, which includes torches, medals, and more. The curators pay homage to the Ancient Games, but the main focus is on the Modern Games. Give yourself three hours to explore all three floors of this magnificent museum.

The art world can be a cold, exclusive place. To break through, artists must impress critics, patrons, and other establishment gatekeepers. As a result, untold quantities of amazingly talented creators go unnoticed.

More Attractions

Insiders call these creations “outsider art”. In Lausanne, you’ll find some of the most unique works in this genre at the Collection de l’Art Brut. This institution focuses on art created by social outcasts – items created by the institutionalized and the incarcerated. To get the most from your visit, pick up an audio guide at the reception desk.

Still on an art kick? Make the Fondation de l’Hermitage your next stop. Situated in an old mansion overlooking the city, this place shows off Impressionist works. In its halls, you’ll find pieces from artists like Alfred Chavannes and Francois Bocion.

When we wrote this guide, admission to this attraction was 17 CHF per adult. For the permanent artworks, temporary exhibitions, and atmosphere, it is well worth the price.

Before leaving, drop by the Cathedrale de Lausanne. Completed in the 13th century, it started its life as a Roman Catholic church. However, it now belongs to the Evangelical Reformed Church. While it has many stunning architectural features, its organ and bells are particularly noteworthy.

Lausanne High Vantage Point Sunset Views

Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Lausanne, Switzerland

If you’re travelling as a family through Lausanne, swing by the Aquatis Aquarium. Unlike similar attractions, this facility focuses exclusively on exhibiting freshwater marine life. Over 46 tanks, terrariums, and vivariums, you’ll find over 10,000 fish and over 100 amphibians and reptiles.

Should inclement weather wreck your plans, this place makes for a wonderful Plan B. However, do note that this attraction is popular with local school kids. Even on weekdays, you’ll run into school field trips.

On Lausanne’s lakefront, you’ll find a curious sight – an authentic Thai Pavilion. You’ll find this splendid structure in Parc du Denantou, standing out sharply from its surroundings. It’s definitely not something you’d expect to find in a Western European country – so what gives?

Other Attractions

Back in 2005, H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand gifted Lausanne this pavilion to honour the 60th anniversary of his reign, and 75 years of Thai-Swiss relations. But the symbolism goes deeper than that – from 1933 to 1951, the future king and other members of the Thai court lived in Lausanne. So, in a way, this monument is an expression of gratitude to this Swiss city.

Take in Lausanne and area from above by climbing the Sauvabelin Tower. Situated outside the core in the Sauvabelin Forest, this observation tower affords stunning views of the city, surrounding mountains, and Lake Geneva.

Be advised that you must climb stairs to reach the top of this wooden structure. But trust us – the price you pay in sweat will be worth it.

End your trip to Lausanne by spending a few hours at the Place de la Palud. This cobblestone public square is the best place in the city for people-watching locals. Its restaurants, cafes, and centrepiece fountain only add to the appeal of this spot.

source: Barnyz on YouTube

Top 22 Things To Do in Lausanne, Switzerland For Visitors

Here are the top 22 things to do in Lausanne:

Lausanne Olympic Sculptures

1. Visit the Olympic Museum

The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, the Olympic Capital, offers a deep dive into the history, spirit, and values of the Olympics. With interactive exhibits, memorabilia, and multimedia installations, it captures the essence of the Games and their impact on society. The museum’s park offers stunning views of Lake Geneva, making it a picturesque spot for a stroll. It’s a must-visit for sports enthusiasts and families alike.

2. Explore the Lausanne Cathedral

The Lausanne Cathedral, or the Cathedral of Notre Dame, is a magnificent example of Gothic architecture. It’s renowned for its intricately carved portal, beautiful stained glass windows, and the panoramic views from its tower. Visitors can explore the rich history of this religious site and enjoy concerts and services that frequently take place here. Don’t miss the chance to hear the night watchman call out the hours after dark, a tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages.

3. Stroll Along the Ouchy Promenade

The Ouchy Promenade, stretching along the shores of Lake Geneva, is perfect for leisurely walks, cycling, or rollerblading. With stunning views of the lake and the French Alps, it’s a favorite spot among locals and tourists for picnics and relaxation. The area is dotted with sculptures, gardens, and terraces, offering plenty of spots to unwind. The promenade is also home to the iconic Château d’Ouchy, now a luxury hotel.

4. Discover the Collection de l’Art Brut

The Collection de l’Art Brut is a unique museum dedicated to outsider art, created by untrained artists outside the mainstream art scene. The collection includes works by self-taught creators, including those who were isolated from society or had mental health challenges. The museum challenges conventional perceptions of art and creativity, offering a thought-provoking experience. It’s a testament to the power of raw, unfiltered artistic expression.

5. Enjoy the Lausanne Flon District

The Flon district, once an industrial area, has been transformed into a trendy hub of culture, entertainment, and shopping. With its modern architecture, vibrant nightlife, and array of restaurants and bars, it’s a lively spot both day and night. The area hosts various cultural events, festivals, and open-air markets throughout the year. It’s the perfect place to experience Lausanne’s contemporary urban vibe.

6. Take a Cruise on Lake Geneva

Taking a cruise on Lake Geneva is an idyllic way to explore the beauty of the region. Various cruises are available, ranging from short city tours to longer excursions to nearby towns like Montreux and Vevey. The boat rides offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, vineyards, and châteaux. It’s a relaxing and picturesque way to enjoy the Swiss Riviera.

7. Hike in the Lavaux Vineyards

The Lavaux Vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offer stunning terraced landscapes overlooking Lake Geneva. Visitors can hike through the vineyards, enjoy wine tastings, and learn about the centuries-old wine-making tradition in the region. The area is crisscrossed with marked trails, providing opportunities for leisurely walks with spectacular views. Don’t miss the chance to sample some local wines directly from the producers.

8. Visit the Lausanne Historical Museum

The Lausanne Historical Museum, located in the Old Town, chronicles the city’s rich history from its Roman origins to the present day. The museum’s collections include artifacts, documents, and multimedia displays that bring Lausanne’s past to life. Special exhibitions focus on various aspects of local history and culture. It’s an informative stop for history buffs and anyone interested in understanding the city’s development.

9. Relax in the Parc de Mon Repos

Parc de Mon Repos is a peaceful oasis in the heart of Lausanne, offering beautifully landscaped gardens, a small lake, and shaded pathways. It’s an ideal place for a quiet walk, a picnic, or simply enjoying a moment of tranquility. The park also features a playground for children and hosts outdoor performances in the summer. It’s a beloved green space among locals and visitors alike.

10. Explore the Musée de l’Élysée

The Musée de l’Élysée is one of Switzerland’s premier photography museums, showcasing a vast collection of photographs from the 19th century to the present. The museum hosts temporary exhibitions featuring both renowned and emerging photographers. It also holds workshops, lectures, and events dedicated to the art of photography. The museum’s setting in an 18th-century mansion adds to its charm.

11. Attend a Performance at the Lausanne Opera

The Lausanne Opera is a cultural landmark hosting a variety of performances, including opera, ballet, and classical concerts. The building itself is an architectural gem, with a beautifully decorated interior. Visitors can enjoy world-class productions and appreciate the talents of local and international artists. It’s a splendid evening out for arts enthusiasts.

12. Shop at the Lausanne Farmers Market

The Lausanne Farmers Market, held in the Place de la Riponne and along the Rue de Bourg, is a vibrant marketplace offering fresh produce, artisanal goods, and local specialties. It’s a great place to sample Swiss cheese, chocolates, and other culinary delights. The market is a lively spot where locals and visitors come together. It operates on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with a smaller version on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

13. Visit the Sauvabelin Tower

The Sauvabelin Tower, located in the scenic Sauvabelin Forest, is a wooden observation tower offering panoramic views of Lausanne, Lake Geneva, and the Alps. Visitors can climb the tower for free and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. The surrounding forest features walking trails, a lake, and a petting zoo, making it a popular destination for families. It’s a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle.

14. Admire the Hermitage Foundation

The Hermitage Foundation is an art museum housed in a beautiful 19th-century mansion, showcasing a collection of European paintings from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The museum hosts temporary exhibitions focusing on various themes and periods in art history. Its picturesque gardens offer a tranquil setting for a leisurely stroll. The Hermitage Foundation is a cultural treasure that art lovers should not miss.

15. Take a Day Trip to the Jorat Forests

The Jorat Forests, the largest contiguous forested area in the canton of Vaud, offer numerous hiking and cycling trails. It’s a natural paradise for outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore the Swiss countryside. The area is home to diverse flora and fauna, as well as scenic viewpoints and picnic spots. Guided nature walks and educational programs are available, highlighting the forest’s ecological importance.

16. Experience the Collection de l’Art Brut

The Collection de l’Art Brut is a unique museum dedicated to outsider art, created by self-taught artists often on the margins of society. The collection includes works by individuals who were isolated, mentally ill, or had unconventional artistic visions. The museum challenges traditional artistic boundaries and offers a profound insight into human creativity. It’s a must-visit for those interested in the diverse spectrum of artistic expression.

17. Enjoy Water Sports on Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva offers a wide array of water sports, including sailing, windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding, and swimming. Visitors can rent equipment or take lessons at various locations along the shore. The lake’s clear waters and stunning backdrop make it a favorite spot for water enthusiasts. Beach areas and public baths provide spaces for relaxation and sunbathing.

18. Discover the Cantonal Botanical Museum and Gardens

The Cantonal Botanical Museum and Gardens feature a diverse collection of plants from around the world, including medicinal, alpine, and exotic species. The gardens are a peaceful place for a walk, offering educational insights into botany and conservation. Special exhibitions and events highlight the importance of biodiversity. It’s a beautiful spot for nature lovers and those interested in plant science.

19. Walk the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces

The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offer stunning landscapes and the opportunity to taste some of Switzerland’s finest wines. Visitors can explore the vineyards through marked trails, enjoy wine tastings, and learn about the centuries-old winemaking tradition in the region. The terraces provide spectacular views over Lake Geneva and the Alps. Guided tours are available, offering insights into the cultural and historical significance of the vineyards.

20. Visit the Swiss Museum of Games

The Swiss Museum of Games, located in the beautiful Château de La Tour-de-Peilz along Lake Geneva, is dedicated to the history and culture of games worldwide. The museum’s collection includes board games, video games, and traditional games from various cultures. Interactive exhibits allow visitors to play and learn about the development of games. It’s a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

21. Explore the Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival

The Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival is an annual event celebrating independent and avant-garde cinema and music. The festival showcases a diverse range of films, from experimental works to cult classics, alongside live music performances. It’s a platform for emerging artists and filmmakers, offering a unique cultural experience. The festival’s atmosphere is vibrant and inclusive, attracting a diverse audience.

22. Enjoy Leisure Activities at Vidy

The Vidy area, located by the shores of Lake Geneva, offers a range of leisure activities, including a sandy beach, sports facilities, and a theater. It’s a popular spot for picnics, barbecues, and outdoor sports like volleyball and football. The Théâtre de Vidy hosts contemporary theater productions, dance performances, and cultural events. The area’s expansive green spaces and access to the lake make it a favorite destination for relaxation and recreation.

Raclette is a must try dish for visitors to Lausanne, Switzerland

What To Eat and Drink in Lausanne, Switzerland

From traditional Swiss delicacies to international cuisine that tickles your fancy, Lausanne’s culinary scene is as diverse as it is delicious. So, let’s dive into the flavors that define this Swiss city, ensuring your taste buds are as thrilled as your wanderlust.

Traditional Swiss Delights

1. Fondue: Dive into the heart of Swiss cuisine with a classic fondue. Lausanne offers countless cozy spots where you can dip bread into a communal pot of melted cheese, flavored with garlic, wine, and a hint of kirsch. It’s not just food; it’s an experience.

2. Raclette: Another cheesy delight, raclette involves scraping off melted cheese onto boiled potatoes, pickles, and onions. It’s a warm, comforting dish perfect for those cooler Swiss evenings, and Lausanne’s eateries serve it up with authentic flair.

3. Rösti: This simple but beloved dish, made from grated, fried potatoes, often comes as a side but can steal the show. In Lausanne, you’ll find it topped with everything from smoked salmon to sunny-side-up eggs.

Local Specialties

4. Papet Vaudois: A cantonal specialty, this hearty dish consists of leeks and potatoes, served with the iconic saucisson Vaudois, a type of smoked sausage. It’s a taste of the Vaud region on a plate and a must-try in Lausanne.

5. Lake Fish: Given its lakeside location, Lausanne boasts exquisite fish dishes. Perch fillets, pike, and whitefish from Lake Geneva often feature on menus, prepared with precision and paired with local wines.

Sweet Treats

6. Swiss Chocolate: No culinary tour in Switzerland is complete without indulging in Swiss chocolate. Lausanne’s chocolatiers offer a range of delectable handmade chocolates and truffles that melt in your mouth.

7. Gâteau du Vully: While not as internationally famous as some Swiss pastries, this buttery, sugary tart is a delicious hidden gem. Some versions also include cream, making it an indulgent treat.

Drinks and Beverages

8. Swiss Wines: Lausanne is in the heart of the Lavaux vineyard region, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The terraced vineyards produce excellent wines, particularly whites made from the Chasselas grape. Local taverns and wine bars offer tastings.

9. Absinthe: Once banned, this potent spirit has made a comeback. While more closely associated with the Val-de-Travers region, Lausanne’s bars serve absinthe in the traditional manner, allowing you to savor its complex flavors.

Coffee Culture

10. Café Crème: Swiss coffee is as much about the quality of the brew as the atmosphere of the café. In Lausanne, joining locals for a café crème in a lakeside café or a bustling city square is a ritual not to be missed.

11. Hot Chocolate: For those chilly days, Swiss hot chocolate is unparalleled in its richness and comfort. Lausanne’s cafés often serve it with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

Try Gourmet Swiss Chocolate In Lausanne

Top Restaurants In Lausanne, Switzerland

Lausanne is a city that prides itself on its diverse and high-quality dining options. Here’s a selection of top restaurants in Lausanne that promise an unforgettable dining experience.

1. La Table d’Edgard

Located in the luxurious Lausanne Palace, La Table d’Edgard offers a Michelin-starred dining experience with a panoramic view of Lake Geneva. Chef Edgard Bovier specializes in Mediterranean-inspired dishes, emphasizing fresh seafood and seasonal ingredients.

2. Le Berceau des Sens

This fine dining establishment is more than just a restaurant; it’s a training ground for the future stars of the culinary world, run by the prestigious EHL Hospitality Business School. Expect innovative dishes, impeccable service, and a dining experience that blends professional finesse with youthful creativity.

3. Auberge de l’Abbaye de Montheron

Nestled in the tranquil forest near Lausanne, this historic abbey-turned-restaurant offers a charming escape from the city. The menu features seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, prepared with a nod to Swiss culinary traditions but with a modern twist.

4. Eat Me

For those who love to travel through their taste buds, Eat Me serves “international tapas” – small plates inspired by flavors from around the globe. It’s a culinary adventure in a relaxed, contemporary setting, perfect for sharing with friends.

5. Pinte Besson

Claiming the title of Lausanne’s oldest pub, Pinte Besson offers a dive into traditional Swiss dining in a cozy, time-worn setting. The menu features hearty, comforting dishes like fondue, raclette, and rösti, alongside a selection of Swiss wines and beers.

6. Anne-Sophie Pic at the Beau-Rivage Palace

Bringing French culinary excellence to Lausanne, Anne-Sophie Pic’s restaurant at the Beau-Rivage Palace is a celebration of fine dining. With two Michelin stars, the restaurant offers exquisite dishes that reflect Pic’s innovative approach to French cuisine, all while overlooking the stunning Lake Geneva.

7. Le Lyrique

A favorite among locals, Le Lyrique is situated in the heart of the city, offering a menu that combines Swiss and French bistro classics. Its lively atmosphere, extensive wine list, and central location make it an ideal spot for a casual yet sophisticated meal.

8. Takayama

For those with a penchant for Japanese cuisine, Takayama offers an authentic experience with its meticulously prepared sushi and sashimi, Japanese-style tapas, and a selection of sake. The minimalist decor and attention to detail in every dish transport diners straight to Japan.

9. L’Accademia

Located in the elegant Angleterre & Résidence hotel, L’Accademia serves up Italian cuisine at its finest. The lakeside terrace, combined with a menu of classic Italian dishes made from the freshest ingredients, makes for a memorable dining experience.

10. Café de Grancy

Just a stone’s throw from the Lausanne railway station, Café de Grancy is a bustling bistro beloved by locals and visitors alike. Its relaxed atmosphere, diverse menu ranging from brunch to dinner, and carefully curated wine list make it a perfect spot for any time of day.

Lausanne distinct rooftop views

Tours For Visitors To Lausanne, Switzerland

Here’s a comprehensive list of tours for visitors to Lausanne, Switzerland, promising enriching experiences across this beautiful city and beyond.

1. Lausanne Old Town Walking Tour

Embark on a journey through time with a guided walking tour of Lausanne’s Old Town. Discover hidden courtyards, remarkable buildings, and stories behind landmarks like the Lausanne Cathedral and the Château d’Ouchy. This tour is perfect for first-time visitors to get acquainted with the city’s rich history.

2. Olympic Museum and Ouchy District

Explore the world of the Olympics at the Olympic Museum, followed by a stroll through the beautiful Ouchy district by Lake Geneva. The museum offers interactive exhibits on the Olympic Games, athletes, and the Olympic spirit. The tour often concludes with a relaxing walk along the lake, offering stunning views of the Alps.

3. Lavaux Vineyard Terraces Tour

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Lavaux vineyard terraces offer breathtaking views over Lake Geneva and the Alps. Join a guided tour to learn about the centuries-old wine-making tradition, complete with wine tastings and insights into local viticulture. Some tours offer the option to explore the vineyards by bike or e-bike.

4. Gourmet Tours of Lausanne

Foodies will delight in a gourmet tour of Lausanne, sampling Swiss chocolates, cheeses, and other delicacies. These tours often include visits to local markets, artisan bakeries, and specialty shops, offering a taste of Lausanne’s culinary diversity.

5. Lausanne by Night: Bars and Pubs Tour

Discover Lausanne’s vibrant nightlife with a guided tour of its best bars and pubs. From historic breweries to trendy cocktail bars, get to know the city’s night-time culture and enjoy a few drinks along the way. It’s a great way to meet locals and other travelers.

6. Art and Museums Tour

Lausanne is home to numerous museums and galleries showcasing everything from contemporary art to historical collections. Take a guided tour to discover the city’s artistic treasures, including the Collection de l’Art Brut and the Musée de l’Elysée, dedicated to photography.

7. Lake Geneva Cruise and Chillon Castle

Combine a scenic cruise on Lake Geneva with a visit to the iconic Chillon Castle, located just outside Lausanne. Learn about the history of this medieval fortress, famously immortalized by Lord Byron, and enjoy the panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

8. Guided Nature Walks and Hikes

The area around Lausanne offers numerous trails for nature lovers. Join a guided hike to explore the Jura mountains, the Lavaux vineyards, or the serene paths along Lake Geneva. These tours cater to various fitness levels and interests, emphasizing the natural beauty of the Swiss landscape.

9. Lausanne Architecture Tour

Delve into Lausanne’s architectural wonders, from its Gothic cathedral to the modern Olympic Museum and the innovative design of the Flon district. This tour is a must for architecture enthusiasts keen to explore the city’s diverse styles and influences.

10. Watchmaking Workshop Experience

Switzerland is synonymous with watchmaking, and Lausanne offers workshops where you can learn about this intricate art form. Spend a day in the life of a watchmaker, understanding the precision and craftsmanship behind Swiss watches, and even try your hand at assembling one.

Lausanne lake views with a tiny sailboat off in the distance and mountain backdrop

Lausanne Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels

Here’s a complete travel guide to some of the top places to stay in Lausanne, ensuring a comfortable and memorable visit.

Luxurious Stays

1. Beau-Rivage Palace: Nestled on the banks of Lake Geneva, the Beau-Rivage Palace is synonymous with opulence and history. With its stunning views, a world-class spa, and Michelin-starred dining, it offers an unparalleled luxury experience.

2. Lausanne Palace: Located in the heart of the city, the Lausanne Palace not only boasts magnificent views of the lake and the Alps but also offers exquisite rooms, gourmet restaurants, and a state-of-the-art spa.

Boutique Hotels

3. Hôtel de la Paix Lausanne: Combining modern elegance with spectacular lake views, Hôtel de la Paix is perfectly situated near the city center, offering easy access to Lausanne’s main attractions.

4. Château d’Ouchy: This medieval castle turned boutique hotel offers a unique stay experience with its historic charm, luxury accommodations, and prime location by the lake.

Mid-Range Options

5. Hotel Agora Swiss Night: Just a short walk from the Lausanne train station, this hotel features Swiss-themed rooms, a fitness center, and a breakfast room with panoramic views of the city.

6. Hotel Continental: Offering comfortable and modern accommodations, Hotel Continental is conveniently located opposite the Lausanne train station, ideal for business and leisure travelers alike.

Budget-Friendly Hostels

7. Lausanne Guesthouse & Backpacker: This eco-friendly hostel offers a range of private rooms and dormitories, a communal kitchen, and a cozy lounge area, making it a perfect choice for budget-conscious travelers.

8. Hostel Lacustre: Situated close to the lake, Hostel Lacustre provides affordable dormitory and private room options, with easy access to Ouchy’s promenade and the Olympic Museum.

Guesthouses and B&Bs

9. BnB Lausanne: Located in a quiet residential area, BnB Lausanne offers a homey atmosphere with beautifully decorated rooms and a hearty breakfast, promising a comfortable stay.

10. Vision Apartments: For those preferring self-catering options, Vision Apartments offers fully furnished apartments throughout Lausanne, combining the comfort of home with the convenience of hotel services.

Unique Stays

11. Movenpick Hotel Lausanne: Located in Ouchy, this hotel provides modern comforts, culinary delights in its restaurants, and stunning views of Lake Geneva, all within a sustainable and eco-friendly framework.

12. Starling Hotel Lausanne: Situated near the EPFL University campus, the Starling Hotel appeals to business travelers and academics with its modern design, conference facilities, and proximity to the SwissTech Convention Center.

Montreux is a great day trip from Lausanne, Switzerland

Day Trips From Lausanne, Switzerland

Here’s a list of must-visit destinations for day trips from Lausanne, each offering a unique experience that promises to enrich your Swiss adventure.

1. Montreux

Just a short train ride away, Montreux is famous for its jazz festival, beautiful lakeside promenade, and the stunning Château de Chillon. Explore the medieval castle, enjoy a leisurely stroll along the lake, and soak in the spectacular alpine views. Montreux offers a blend of culture, history, and natural beauty, making it an ideal day trip from Lausanne.

2. Gruyères

Step into a fairy-tale in the medieval town of Gruyères, renowned for its cheese. Visit the Gruyère cheese factory, explore the imposing Gruyères Castle, and don’t miss the HR Giger Museum, dedicated to the Swiss artist known for his work on “Alien.” The town’s cobbled streets and charming chalets offer a picturesque backdrop for a day of exploration.

3. Lavaux Vineyard Terraces

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces offer stunning views over Lake Geneva and the Alps. Take a guided wine tour, hike through the vineyards, or simply enjoy a glass of local wine at a terrace café. The area is especially beautiful at sunset when the terraced vineyards glow in the golden light.

4. Château de Chillon, Montreux

While technically part of a trip to Montreux, Château de Chillon deserves its own mention. This water-bound castle is one of the most visited historic sites in Switzerland, offering insight into medieval architecture and life. Explore its dungeons, grand halls, and towers, and enjoy stunning views of Lake Geneva.

5. Geneva

Switzerland’s international city, Geneva, is just an hour away by train. Home to the United Nations and the Red Cross, Geneva offers a wealth of cultural and historical attractions, including the Jet d’Eau, the Old Town, and the International Museum of the Red Cross. Stroll along Lake Geneva’s shores or explore the city’s diverse museums and galleries.

6. Vevey

Nestled between the lake and the mountains, Vevey is known for its picturesque market square and being the headquarters of Nestlé. Visit the Alimentarium, the world’s first food museum, or the Charlie Chaplin Museum to delve into the life of the cinematic legend who called Vevey home. The town’s relaxed atmosphere makes it perfect for a leisurely day trip.

7. Rochers-de-Naye

For breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Geneva and the Alps, take a scenic train ride from Montreux to Rochers-de-Naye. Enjoy hiking trails, visit the marmot paradise, and explore the alpine garden at the summit. It’s an ideal escape for nature lovers and those seeking adventure.

8. Yvoire, France

Cross into France to visit Yvoire, a medieval village on the shores of Lake Geneva. Known for its floral beauty and historic architecture, Yvoire offers a glimpse into the past with its fortified gates, castle, and cobblestone streets. The village is also known for the Garden of Five Senses, a beautiful botanical garden.

9. La Gruyère region

Beyond the town of Gruyères, the broader La Gruyère region offers stunning natural landscapes, including the serene Lake Gruyère and the impressive Moléson mountain. Enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and in winter, skiing. The region is also home to thermal baths, providing a perfect relaxation spot.

10. Bern

Switzerland’s capital, Bern, is famed for its well-preserved medieval city center, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the Bear Park, the Zytglogge clock tower, and the Federal Palace. Bern offers a rich mix of history, culture, and shopping, easily accessible from Lausanne.

Lausanne town hall with the sun shining

Lausanne Transportation Guide

Whether you’re exploring the historic Old Town, heading to a business meeting, or embarking on a day trip to the surrounding areas, here’s a comprehensive guide to getting around Lausanne and beyond.

Public Transportation

1. Metro: Lausanne boasts the world’s smallest metro system, including the fully automated Line M2, connecting Ouchy-Olympique to Epalinges via the city center and the main train station. It’s a quick and convenient way to traverse the city’s steep hillsides. Line M1 connects the city center with the University of Lausanne and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL).

2. Buses and Trolleys: The TL (Transports publics de la région Lausannoise) operates an extensive network of buses and trolleybuses throughout Lausanne and its suburbs. This network is particularly useful for reaching destinations not serviced by the metro, such as the Lavaux vineyards or the picturesque village of Lutry.

Tickets and Passes

3. Swiss Travel Pass: For tourists, the Swiss Travel Pass offers unlimited travel on Switzerland’s extensive public transportation network, including trains, buses, boats, and some cable cars. It also provides free or discounted entry to many museums and attractions.

4. Mobilis Pass: For regional travel within the Vaud canton, the Mobilis pass offers flexibility and value, allowing unlimited travel on a network of trains, metros, and buses within designated zones.

On Foot

5. Walking: Lausanne’s city center is compact and pedestrian-friendly, with many sights and attractions within walking distance of each other. Exploring on foot is often the best way to appreciate the city’s vibrant streetscapes, historic architecture, and stunning lake views.


6. PubliBike: Lausanne supports a healthy cycling culture with its PubliBike service, offering bike and e-bike rentals across the city. It’s an eco-friendly and fun way to explore, with dedicated bike lanes and routes designed to showcase the city’s natural beauty and cultural landmarks.

By Car

7. Car Rentals: For more flexibility, or for exploring regions outside the city, car rental services are available at the airport and various locations in the city. Keep in mind that parking in the city center can be challenging and is often expensive.

Water Transport

8. Lake Geneva Cruises: CGN (Compagnie Générale de Navigation) offers regular boat cruises and ferry services across Lake Geneva, connecting Lausanne with French towns like Évian-les-Bains and Swiss cities such as Geneva and Montreux. It’s a scenic way to travel and explore the region.

Rail Network

9. Trains: Lausanne’s main train station, Lausanne Gare, is a central hub for Swiss Federal Railways (SBB/CFF) with frequent services to major Swiss cities like Geneva, Bern, Zurich, and international destinations. The train network is especially useful for day trips and longer journeys.

Air Travel

10. Lausanne Airport: For private charters and some domestic flights, Lausanne has a small airport located in Blécherette. For international flights, Geneva Airport is the nearest major airport, offering easy connections to Lausanne by train or car.

Geneva is a great day trip from Lausanne, Switzerland

Where To Visit After Your Trip To Lausanne?

Here’s a list of must-visit places after your trip to Lausanne, each offering unique experiences to enrich your travel diary.

1. Geneva

Just a short train ride from Lausanne, Geneva is a global hub of diplomacy and culture, nestled at the western tip of Lake Geneva. Explore the United Nations headquarters, marvel at the Jet d’Eau fountain, and stroll through the Old Town’s cobblestone streets. Geneva’s museums, like the Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, offer deep insights into global humanitarian efforts. Don’t miss the vibrant Carouge district, with its bohemian vibe and artisan shops.

2. Montreux

Famous for its annual jazz festival, Montreux offers a picturesque lakeside setting with stunning views of the Alps. Visit the Château de Chillon, an island castle that inspired poets and writers, or walk along the flower-lined promenade for a relaxing day out. The nearby Rochers-de-Naye mountain offers breathtaking vistas and hiking opportunities. In December, Montreux’s Christmas market is among the most charming in Switzerland.

3. Gruyères

Step into a fairy tale in the medieval town of Gruyères, renowned for its namesake cheese. Explore the Gruyères Castle, stroll through the charming streets, and indulge in a fondue or raclette at a local eatery. The HR Giger Museum adds a surreal contrast to the town’s historical ambiance. Nearby, the Cailler chocolate factory in Broc offers delicious insights into Swiss chocolate-making.

4. Zermatt and the Matterhorn

For the ultimate Alpine experience, head to Zermatt to see the iconic Matterhorn. This car-free village offers world-class skiing, hiking, and mountaineering opportunities. The Gornergrat Railway provides spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Zermatt is also a gateway to the Glacier Paradise, the highest cable car station in Europe.

5. Bern

The capital city of Switzerland, Bern, impresses with its UNESCO-listed medieval city center, bear park, and the Zytglogge clock tower. The Aare River adds a unique charm, with opportunities for swimming or rafting. Museums like the Zentrum Paul Klee and the Bern Historical Museum showcase Swiss art and history. The Rose Garden offers a panoramic view of the city’s rooftops.

6. Interlaken and the Jungfrau Region

Interlaken serves as a base for exploring the stunning Jungfrau region, known for its dramatic mountain scenery and outdoor activities. Take the train to Jungfraujoch, the “Top of Europe,” for snow-covered landscapes year-round. Paragliding, skydiving, and hiking are popular ways to enjoy the area’s natural beauty. The nearby Lauterbrunnen Valley, with its 72 waterfalls, is breathtakingly picturesque.

7. Lugano and the Ticino Region

Experience the Mediterranean flair of Switzerland in Lugano, located in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino. The city offers a mix of Swiss-Italian culture, palm-lined lakeshores, and vibrant piazzas. Monte Brè and Monte San Salvatore provide stunning views over Lake Lugano. The Verzasca Valley, with its clear turquoise waters and rustic stone houses, is a peaceful retreat.

8. Lucerne

Nestled beside Lake Lucerne and surrounded by mountains, Lucerne is known for its preserved medieval architecture. The Chapel Bridge and Water Tower are iconic landmarks, while the old city walls offer a glimpse into the past. Take a boat tour on Lake Lucerne for scenic views of the surrounding peaks. The nearby Mount Pilatus and Rigi are excellent for day hikes.

9. Annecy, France

Just across the border, the French town of Annecy mesmerizes visitors with its crystal-clear lake, canals, and colorful buildings. Known as the “Venice of the Alps,” Annecy is perfect for a day of exploration, relaxation, and enjoying French cuisine. Lake Annecy offers various water sports, while the town’s castle provides historical insights. The market days fill the streets with local flavors and crafts.

10. Chamonix, France

For those seeking adventure, Chamonix, at the base of Mont Blanc, is a legendary destination for mountaineering, skiing, and hiking. The Aiguille du Midi cable car offers stunning views of the French Alps. The Mer de Glace glacier and ice cave present a fascinating natural wonder. Chamonix’s bustling town center is filled with shops, cafes, and restaurants, providing a lively atmosphere year-round.

Lausanne architectural views in Switzerland

Lausanne Travel Guide: Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it – we’ve journeyed through the cobbled streets of Lausanne, sipped wine on the terraces of Lavaux, and immersed ourselves in the cultural tapestry that makes this city truly unique. So, as we wrap up our guide, let’s reflect on the highlights and hidden gems that make Lausanne a must-visit on any Swiss itinerary.

City of Culture and Innovation

Where Past Meets Present: Lausanne’s vibrant cultural scene, from cutting-edge art installations to performances echoing in ancient halls, showcases a city that honors its heritage while embracing the new. The Olympic Museum and the innovative Platform 10 district stand as testaments to Lausanne’s forward-thinking ethos.

Culinary Delights

A Taste of Switzerland and Beyond: Lausanne’s culinary landscape is a testament to the city’s diversity, offering everything from traditional Swiss fare to global cuisines. Whether you’re indulging in a cheese fondue overlooking the lake or exploring the burgeoning cafe culture, Lausanne promises a feast for the senses.

Nature’s Playground

Lakeside Serenity and Alpine Adventures: The natural beauty surrounding Lausanne offers endless opportunities for exploration and relaxation. The serene waters of Lake Geneva and the verdant vineyards of Lavaux provide a tranquil escape, while the nearby Alps call out to the adventurers at heart.

A City of Discovery

Every Corner Holds a Story: Walking through Lausanne is like unwrapping a gift, with surprises at every turn. From the hidden alleyways of the Old Town to the bustling energy of Flon, Lausanne invites you to discover its secrets, one step at a time.

Final Thoughts

So, until next time, keep exploring, keep wandering, and let Lausanne’s spirit inspire your next adventure.

Lausanne on a map

Ode To Lausanne

In the heart of Switzerland, where beauty thrives, Lies Lausanne, a city that truly survives. Nestled by the shimmering Lake Geneva’s side, Its charm and grace are impossible to hide.

Stroll through the streets of the Old Town’s delight, Where history and culture come alive, day or night. Admire the Gothic Cathedral, reaching for the sky, Its grandeur and beauty will make you sigh.

The Olympic spirit echoes throughout the land, With the museum’s tales, oh so grand. Learn of the games and athletes’ inspiring feats, Feel the passion and excitement, as your heart beats.

Gaze upon the lake, a glistening sight, Reflecting the mountains, pure and bright. The Ouchy Promenade invites you to explore, With its tranquil views and lakeside allure.

Indulge your senses in culinary bliss, With Swiss delights that you simply can’t miss. From cheese fondue to chocolate divine, Lausanne’s flavors will make your taste buds shine.

Venture beyond, to vineyards and mountains so high, Lavaux’s terraced slopes, a sight to defy. Hike the trails, breathe the crisp alpine air, In nature’s embrace, you’ll find solace and care.

Art and culture thrive, in Lausanne’s embrace, Museums and galleries, a creative space. The vibrant Flon district, where innovation thrives, Modern art and entertainment, in captivating dives.

As the sun sets, and the city aglow, Lausanne’s magic continues to grow. With every step, a story unfolds, A journey of discovery, waiting to be told.

So come, wanderer, to Lausanne’s embrace, Immerse yourself in its captivating grace. Let the city’s beauty and spirit inspire, For in Lausanne, your heart will transpire.

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