Lausanne’s unconditional love for sports

Lausanne, the Olympic Capital, has a long-term love affair with sports. Whether they’re Olympic, elite or popular, they take pride of place in this lakeside city, headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and many other international sports institutions. Not to mention that the town regularly organises worldwide sporting events and supports both research and education in the field. Furthermore, inspired by an environment extending between lake, vineyards, forests and countryside that is ideal for the purpose, it develops numerous sports activities for its inhabitants and visitors.


From water sports to cross-country skiing to golf on a superb 18-hole course, including most individual and team sports, all can be enjoyed in Lausanne… From a birds-eye view, the city looks more like an open-air playing field than an urban space, to the delight of sports enthusiasts.


First and foremost, the lake!

Bathing in Lake Geneva’s clear waters is one of the pleasures Lausanners indulge in, often imitated by their visitors. If you prefer a spin on the water, you can rent a pedal boat, kayak or motorboat, or practise wakeboarding and water-skiing. 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.

The town’s swimming pools add to the range of water sports: Bellerive-Plage, with its breathtakingly beautiful natural setting; Pully-Plage, which also provides access to the lake; Montchoisi, with a 50-metre pool equipped with a wave machine; and in Renens, the slides of Aquasplash will give you your fill of refreshing and intense sensations.


On foot, on a bike, on horseback or… on wheels!

Running along the lakeside or slaloming between trees, road biking on the quays or mountain biking in the forests above the town, horse riding near the Chalet-à-Gobet, Mont-sur-Lausanne and Bois d’Archens stables, playing golf on a superb 18-hole course or cross-country skiing: outdoors sports are enjoyed from the south to the north of the town…

… Or rather from the north to the south, if you’re a roller sports fanatic as well as a thrill seeker! Lausanne’s topography offers you a unique urban playground. We do, however, strongly suggest practising at the Vidy bowl or the Skate park hall Sévelin 36 before hurtling down the hills.

When the weather is bad, you can choose between badminton at Malley, tennis at Montchoisi or La Pontaise, squash in Renens or indoor climbing at Bussigny. You can rent all the equipment for an hour, a day or your stay. In winter, the town’s ice rinks await your graceful figures: the largest in Malley, La Pontaise and Montchoisi; and the smaller, temporary ice rinks, either the one with an urban atmosphere in the Flon or the more picturesque one by the lake in Lutry.


To enjoy the spectacle… or take part in the effort!

In the Olympic Capital, the year is punctuated by several major sports events. The Diamond League international athletics meeting Athletissima is THE highlight of the summer. Close to 15,000 spectators gather every year to cheer the exploits of 250 international athletes.

Under the warm July sun, you’ll also appreciate the high-quality tennis on show at the Ladies Open Lausanne. After three successful years in the Bernese Oberland, this world-renowned women’s tennis tournament has chosen to settle on the shores of Lake Geneva.

On August 23 and 24, 2019, it’s time for an urban version of basketball! The Lausanne FIBA 3×3 World Tour features the best 3×3 teams in the world and promises plenty of thrills and spills. And once the competition is over, the party begins – with DJs at the decks until late into the night.

This year, from August 29 to September 1, the traditional Lausanne Triathlon will be replaced by the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final, the last of the eight stages of the World Triathlon Series and the qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games! In addition to the 130 best male and female triathletes of the year, this event will bring together some 4,000 international athletes in all categories.

Taking advantage of the late summer warmth, equissima Lausanne is a unique international equestrian event in Switzerland that takes place in the green surroundings of the Chalet-à-Gobet stables, north of the town. It blends various riding disciplines such as dressage, jumping and eventing (which consists of dressage, jumping and cross-country), combined with driving and trick riding.

With the autumn, the Lausanne Marathon winds its way between lake and vineyards, which has earned it the reputation of one of the most beautiful races in Europe. Spurred on by this exceptional natural setting, 15,000 participants run along the shores of Lake Geneva and the Lavaux vineyards, cheered on by enthusiastic onlookers in increasing numbers each year.

Other events are more popular, such as the Lausanne 20 KM, one of Switzerland’s biggest classical runs! 27,000 participants, adults and children alike, compete on trails from 2 to 20 km long to celebrate the arrival of spring weather in the sportiest of ways.

Finally, you need a spark of madness to take part in the Christmas Run. Mid-December, participants run across town dressed up as Father Christmas. Lace up your running shoes or cheer on these runners in a class of their own!


Major events, masterfully organised

Lausanne has also built a solid reputation as an organiser of major sporting events, including World and European championships, Davis Cup events as well as stopovers for the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia. It skilfully ran the World Gymnaestrada in 2011, which welcomed 19,000 gymnasts from all over the world for a week.


The Lausanne Youth Olympic Games 2020

From January 10 to 22, 2020, the Youth Olympic Games will be held in the city. The world’s top young athletes will gather in Switzerland to take part in the biggest winter multi-sport event after the winter Olympic Games and will enjoy an unforgettable Olympic experience. The combination of culture, performance and education will give rise to a genuine celebration of sports!


The Hockey World Championships 2020

The Malley Sports Centre will welcome from May 8 to 24, 2020, the world’s best hockey players in front of their enthusiastic fans for an exciting competition in the new sports arena.


Then, from July 16 to 19, Malley will host the Petanque World Championships 2020, with more than 200 of the best placers and strikers from 48 countries.


“Vortex”, the spectacular 2020 Youth Olympic Village

Vortex is a real architectural challenge: a ring-shaped building reaching 27 m in height and 430 m in circumference, with a total surface area of 36,700 m². Around a vast inside courtyard, the building consists of a single 2.8 km long spiral-shaped ramp which will be the access to all apartments.

Based on the University of Lausanne’s campus, this unconventional housing complex will act as Lausanne 2020’s Youth Olympic Village, playing host to 1,700 athletes and officials. After the games, Vortex will be the home of 1,000 students, professors and guests of both universities, demonstrating that when they are approached in the right way, the Games can leave a positive legacy to the host region.


Lausanne, a pledge of freedom for the Olympic spirit

“The Olympic spirit will find an independent and proud atmosphere where reigns the pledge of freedom that it needs to progress”, declared Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1915, when he chose the town on the shores of Lake Geneva to set up the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Since then, the city captures the Olympic spirit so perfectly that it was promoted Olympic Capital in 1994. Indeed, the main institutions related to the Olympic Movement as well as over 50 international sports federations and organisations have joined the IOC in making Lausanne their home.


All things Olympic are in Lausanne

Founded by the IOC on the shores of Lake Geneva, The Olympic Museum presents the cornerstones of Olympism – sport, art and education – through ultramodern, interactive facilities. On three floors, the exhibition presents the origin of the games, the competitions and the athletic spirit through over 150 screens and 1,500 objects: the Olympic torches and medals of all the Olympic games, as well as the equipment of the most famous athletes. Children love putting themselves in the shoes of an athlete thanks to the many interactive activities.

This unique showcase of the Olympic Movement attracts close to 300,000 visitors every year.

In addition to the Olympic Museum and headquarters of the IOC presided by Thomas Bach, Lausanne is home to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the Olympic Solidarity and the Maison du sport international. This complex brings together many of the headquarters and administrative secretariats of the over 50 international sports federations and organisations that are based in the town and its surrounding area.

Drawing on its long experience in sustainable development, Lausanne is also a co-founder and signatory of the World Union of Olympic Cities (WUOC), which aims to apply ecological principles to sites for the Games.


The University’s Institute of Sport

Since the city bathes in sport and Olympism, developing training and research programmes in that field was an obvious choice. Lausanne University’s Institute of Sport (ISSUL) has become an international reference in sports science.


Lausanne’s sports metamorphosis

The Olympic Capital is undergoing ambitious transformations extending over more than ten years. Its Metamorphosis project in particular is equipping the town with major modern sports infrastructure.

  • The new football-specific stadium (i.e. rectangular-shaped and with no athletic track) in La Tuilière is designed to host international matches such as the European Cup and will resound with the cheers of 12,000 fans;
  • In Malley, the new sports complex will offer ice rinks and swimming pools, as well as areas for table tennis and fencing;
  • In a renovated Pierre-de-Coubertin stadium, temporary stands may be erected to welcome 12,000 spectators during Athletissima and many popular events.


After exercising, it’s time for pampering

There’s no sport without relaxation! The reputation of Lausanne as a sports town goes hand in hand with a broad range of services to enhance visitors’ wellbeing. While several small establishments offer some facilities (sauna, hammam, fitness centres and other ways of reducing stress), the city’s three five-star hotels provide what can only be called true paradises of wellness.


Lausanne Tourisme, May 2019

Coronavirus: situation in Lausanne