Lausanne for a day, a stay forever!

A very human “metropolis” built on three hills, Lausanne extends over gently sloping land to the shores of Lake Geneva. Both an urban site and a coastal resort, the town nestles in a stunning natural setting, between lake and mountains, between vineyards and forests. This effervescent city offers its visitors a plethora of activities, whether they are the urban pleasures of shopping and walks in town, the delights of gastronomy, the exploration of new cultural horizons or the thrill of a sporting activity. Located at the heart of Europe, it is only 45 minutes away from Geneva International Airport.

 Chilling out, the urban way

What makes Lausanne so attractive are its “dolce vita” lifestyle, relaxed atmosphere and situation surrounded by natural landscapes: the largest lake of Western Europe, the majestic Alps and the terraced vineyards of Lavaux, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. While urban and chic, it offers a gust of fresh air, a breathing space that each and every one can savour during their stay.

Close to you and close to all

It’s so easy to get here! The smallest of Switzerland’s four main cities is easily accessible: by road (A1/E25 and A9/E27 motorways), by rail (CFF network, EC Direct and TGV from Paris and Milan), by air (60 km from Geneva International Airport) and even across the water, thanks to the boats operated by the Compagnie Générale de Navigation on Lake Geneva.

Lausanne is close to numerous popular tourist destinations, including Montreux and Chillon Castle, Zermatt and the Matterhorn, the Jungfrau, Lucerne, the historic city of Gruyères, the Diablerets Glacier and the Vaudois Alps, as well as the thermal spa town of Evian.

Wanderings and urban delights

Once you’re here, it’s up to you to put together a programme of activities to your taste from the vast choice available. Lausanne urban tourism takes on an atmosphere of hospitality for everyone – families, the young and not-so-young, business people, culture enthusiasts, athletes – and does it all against a backdrop combining the beauty of the location with architectural aesthetics, the tranquillity of old districts and the vitality of the modern city. You will no doubt appreciate wanderings in the centre with its pedestrian areas, small shops and department stores, brand-name boutiques, restaurants, bars, cafés and terraces, not forgetting the nightclubs with a fame that transcends borders…

A living culture with multiple facets

Lausanne can pride itself on an exceptional cultural density: opera, theatres, an eclectic and inspirational musical scene, dance with the Béjart Ballet Lausanne that is headquartered in the city, not to mention the numerous festivals in the town and its surroundings. Avant-garde theatres, DJs from the world over, jazz haunts and art galleries, there’s something for every taste!

Witnesses to a rich past, landmarks of modern culture, more than 20 museums are there for you to visit, covering history, sciences, fine art, contemporary art and photography:

  • What could be more logical, when you’re in the Olympic capital, than to go and visit the museum dedicated to the Games, one of the most popular in Switzerland! The Olympic Museum presents the cornerstones of olympism – sport, art and education – in an interactive manner;
  • You’ll experience a wide range of wonderful emotions in contemplating the major exhibitions devoted to fine arts from the Renaissance to the present day at the Fondation de l’Hermitage;
  • Far removed from conventional artistic codes, discover the surprising and sometimes disconcerting works of self-taught artists in the famous Collection de l’Art Brut (Outsider’s Art Collection);
  • Renowned far and wide, the Musée de l’Élysée is one of the largest museums dedicated entirely to photography and enjoys experimenting with picture and encourages young creators;
  • The Vaud Museum of Fine Arts presents several temporary exhibitions a year from its collection of 10,000 works. Currently closed, it opens on October 5, 2019, the doors of a new showcase of international format and stature at Platform 10, the new arts quarter next to the Lausanne train station;
  • At Aquatis, the largest aquarium-vivarium in Europe located above the town, you can explore and marvel at the freshwater fauna and flora from the five continents;
  • At the foot of the Cathedral, the former bishop’s palace has been housing Lausanne’s Historical Museum for the past hundred years. Recently refurbished, it displays a new permanent exhibition with a completely redesigned scenography and narration.

A city of taste

Epicureans, rejoice! Lausanne is the capital of a canton wholly devoted to the pleasures of the palate, with a plethoric and extremely diverse gastronomic offer concentrated in a compact area: from starred chefs who express their talent in legendary establishments to restaurants serving regional dishes to the town’s trendy places. Add to this a wine-growing region that produces wines of great finesse, and your Lausanne epicurean experience will be complete.

The local culinary scene is a bustling one, boosted not only by the new trends represented by foodtrucks and vegan and vegetarian cuisine as by the food festival Lausanne à Table. The latter will tingle your taste buds from April to December with surprising, exquisite and audacious culinary experiences.

As for the local specialties, they reflect the variety of Lausanne’s facets: Lake Geneva supplies lake perch fillets, artic char and whitefish; the surrounding countryside provides the papet vaudois (sausage with cabbage) and other pork dishes; whereas the mountain regions share their traditions of fondue and raclette. As for sweets, there are the gateau à la raisinée and chocolaty delights in all their guises – and believe us, Lausanne artisans don’t lack creativity in that area!

Sport in Lausanne, Olympic and popular

Sport enthusiasts, you will be delighted! The Olympic capital that is Lausanne houses the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as well as some 50 international sports federations and organisations.

For both people from Lausanne and visitors, sport is part of everyday life, as the town and its region form a vast open-air playing field: from the lake where nautical activities take place to a magnificent 18-hole golf course to the surrounding forests, with their network of walking trails, mountain-bike and Nordic skiing courses, as well as a full range of outdoor and indoor sports. Each year is also marked by major sports events such as the Diamond League international athletics meeting Athletissima, the Lausanne Marathon that follows a route between lake and hillsides of vineyards, or the Lausanne Triathlon.

Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games

From January 10 to 20, 2019, the Youth Olympic Games will take place in the town: the best young athletes from the whole world will come to Switzerland for the largest winter multisport event after the Winter Olympic Games, and will experience an unforgettable Olympic adventure. Culture, performance and education meet to create a true festival of sport!

A compact and intimate town…

Lausanners and visitors know it well, Lausanne is an attractive place to live in that has kept a human dimension. With walking distances, an efficient public transport network and self-service rental bicycles, you will easily reach all areas of the town as well as the surrounding countryside.

Besides, when staying in accommodation that pays the tourist tax, you will receive your personal Lausanne Transport Card (LTC) and will be able to use the urban area’s public transport (bus, train, metro) for free during your whole stay, for 15 days at the most.

But that’s not all: you also benefit from exceptional discounts and advantages from many museums and shops. Don’t forget to ask the establishment providing your lodging for your LTC!

… Stimulating and energetic

Energetic but not frantic, such is the tempo that characterises life in Lausanne, a vitality resulting in particular from the sectors of education, research and innovation.

The city’s youthful image is linked to its growing reputation as school town, with close to 200 public and private schools, in addition to one of the largest university campuses in the country – 25,000 students for Lausanne University and the Federal Institute of Technology. In the biomedical field, Lausanne is home to prestigious, state-of-the-art research centres, particularly in the area of cancer research.

Geographically located in the centre of Europe, with its convention centres and poles of excellence in the fields of sport, technology, medical research and innovation, Lausanne is a well-known and popular business destination.

A town with breathing space

In Lausanne, you’ll enjoy great bursts of oxygen and greenery. In its stunningly beautiful natural setting, with wide-open vistas on the lake and mountains, it extends from the flower-bedecked walkways along the Ouchy lakeside in the south to the Jorat woodlands in the north, surrounded by the Lavaux vineyards to the east and those of La Côte to the west. In the town, the vast parks and public gardens are there for you to relax and wander in.

The town’s location makes it an ideal departure point for excursions: a walk in the spectacular terraced vineyards of Lavaux, a UNESCO world heritage site, a more challenging hike in the Alps, a visit to Chillon Castle, a mediaeval fortress on the shores of Lake Geneva, an exploration of Gruyères, the Mecca of the eponymous cheese production, or an unforgettable cruise in a Belle-Epoque boat, are but some of the various attractions easily accessible from the Olympic capital.

Lausanne Tourisme, April 2019

Coronavirus: situation in Lausanne