By its very nature, Lausanne is a green city. Located in an exceptional natural setting and packed with public parks, the Olympic capital’s air is green and pure, so that Lausanners and visitors see life in a beautiful light. Built on three hills, it offers many breathtaking panoramas with openings on the lake, the Alps and Jura mountains.
By its “green vocation”, Lausanne particularly focuses on the quality of its parks, the opportunities for walking and cycling, its relaxing and leisure areas, sports in the countryside, tours and visits of the vineyards… not forgetting regional products, “terroir” dishes and Vaud wines!
A stunningly photogenic setting
Stretching between the largest lake in western Europe, the UNESCO world-heritage Lavaux vineyards and, above the town, the Jorat woodlands and the Chalet-à-Gobet sports area, Lausanne offers you great bursts of oxygen and greenery. While urban and chic, it appeals to all thanks to its relaxed lifestyle and friendly atmosphere that each and every one can savour during their stay.
Parks aplenty, ecologically cared for
To encourage nature wherever possible! Such is the Town of Lausanne’s motto for the management of its 350 hectares of parks and estates – making it one of the greenest cities in the world. These areas give inhabitants and visitors many opportunities to refresh mind and body. And to make them as wholesome for both nature and people, Lausanne is gradually moving away from the use of pesticides and inviting the wilderness back in town: as you’re strolling, you can see alleys of wildflowers, hedgerows bordering the pavement or flower meadows.
Thanks to this ever more ecological maintenance, the diversity of the flora is exploding, much to the delight of… bees! Wishing to promote biodiversity, Lausanne has set up beehives on green roofs, in parks, cemeteries or vegetable gardens. The experience is bearing fruit and produces very high-quality honey, containing the nectar of 30 to 50 flowers.
Lausanne… sustainable, on foot and in public transport
To improve its quality of life, Lausanne has made sustainable development one of the spearheads of local policy making for many years. Whether they come for leisure or business, visitors appreciate the cleanliness, respect for nature, careful upkeep of green spaces, as well as the town’s energy management and fight against pollution.
Lausanne Jardins 2019
The Vaud capital has for many years adopted the approach of letting nature takes its course in its public spaces. With a similar philosophy, it organises every five years Lausanne Jardins, a major cultural and landscaping event. Over one summer, the event embeds gardens in the urban space, that is in streets, squares, neglected plots, buildings’ facades and roofs, inviting us to stop and rethink the town.
From June 15 to October 12, 2019, magicians of the contemporary art of gardening will infiltrate the city once more. This year, Lausanne Jardins will be “terre à terre” (down-to-earth) to dig deep into the theme of open ground. This edition speaks to us about the use of soil, the importance of public spaces and the earth; about this richness that leads back to ourselves, through a tree, a covering of moss, a garden.
Thirty-one poetic, didactic or even unbalancing installations are strewn along a route that crosses the town from west to east. Here, we incise the earth to read its entrails, there, we shrink to the size of an ant before slipping down the worms’ slide. Further on, a water jet interrupts for an instant the traffic, cars and our thoughts.
The itinerary extends along the current No. 9 bus line. It connects the town of Prilly on one side to Pully on the other, following one of the historical routes of Lausanne’s first tramways. The special feature of this axis is that it follows a ridge line. Despite the itinerary’s low gradient, it offers a series of panoramic viewpoints with spectacular vistas of the landscape and the lake. Access is free, 24/7.
Efficient and environmentally friendly mobility
A holder of the Swiss “Cité de l’énergie” label, Lausanne offers you the possibility to travel in the area with a variety of environmentally friendly means of transport. In addition to walks – individual, audio guided, unusual, with a theme or for children – made pleasant by the town’s multiple pedestrian areas, self-service bike rentals, a state-of-the-art metro, electric- or natural gas-powered buses are available to help you get around the whole town and its surroundings quickly and easily.
Besides, when staying in accommodation that pays the tourist tax, you will receive your personal Lausanne Transport Card & More (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. You will also benefit from exceptional discounts and advantages from several partners. Don’t forget to ask the establishment providing your lodging for your LTC!
The pleasure of sport surrounded by nature
Just a short trip from the city centre, the broad expanse of the Mauvernay Plain with its surrounding woods north of the town offers an extensive range of sports activities: jogging, mountain-bike trails, horse riding, golf or piste VITA, a sports trail with exercise stations that is very popular with the Swiss.
If you’re more attracted to water activities, you could go for a spin on the lake in a pedalboat, a kayak or a small electric-powered boat. The trendy thing to do nowadays is stand-up paddle: on a paddleboard, with an oar to propel yourself forwards, your mind can wander as you discover Lausanne from the lake, during a stroll like no other.
In recent years, green (or soft) tourism has undergone rapid growth, whether for visits to the city’s wine-producing estates, a chambre d’hôte centred around ecotourism, guesthouses offering local produce, designated trails for walkers, cyclists and horse riders or indeed sporting activities combining nature with physical exercise.
Lausanne’s pop-up terraces, which also favour regional products and local craft-brewed beers, are meeting with resounding success. On the lakeshores, the Jetée de la Compagnie lets you enjoy the lake and sunshine, with the additional benefits of brunch every Sunday and yoga on the decking, facing the lake, every Wednesday at 6.30 am. In the town centre, La Grenette is a popular meeting point for afternoon breaks and afterwork drinks, while in the west, La Galicienne aims to be a forum for exchanges, discoveries and reflections on its neighbourhood.
A jewel amongst jewels, the Lavaux vineyards that extend from Lutry to Vevey are listed as a cultural UNESCO World Heritage site. Handcrafted since the 11th century into a mosaic of terraces that seem to link the lake, the land and the sky, it seizes the soul of its visitors as it fascinated the many artists who have lived in its small picturesque villages.
Today, the vineyards are criss-crossed with marked trails offering stunning views over Lake Geneva and the Alps. Small tourist trains help you up the steep incline, for a leisurely ride.
All along the educational trail from Lausanne to Montreux, Lavaux winegrowers invite visitors to explore the exceptional and authentic beauty of their vineyards, whatever the season. Wine tourism breaks offer wine tastings and the chance to sample typical products in the vineyard’s wine cellars, the ideal complement to walks through the vines.
Set on a hillside with a difference in height of 500 m, Lausanne offers you a series of viewpoints on the city and lovely vistas on the lake, the Lavaux vineyards, the Alps and Jura mountains. The downhill panoramic walk allows you to discover the 10 most beautiful viewing points.
The six-kilometre itinerary, achievable in two hours, guarantees walkers an enchanting experience. Its starting point, the top of the Sauvabelin Tower, invites you to fully take in the 360° view looking over the treetops, across the lake and mountains. The walk takes you through the Hermitage estate, the monuments of the historic neighbourhood of the City, the Montbenon esplanade and the Languedoc hill to reach the Ouchy lakeside, making the most of the town’s crests and showing you the town under unusual angles.