Setting off to discover Lausanne without spending a penny? Yes, it’s possible, thanks to one of its most beautiful assets: the natural environment that surrounds it!
Mon-Repos Park is Lausanne’s green oasis. Landscaped during the 17th century, its most noticeable feature is its slope – in keeping with the town. It’s a meeting place where city dwellers soak up the sun on its lawns or enjoy the playgrounds with children while quenching their thirst at the picturesque Folie Voltaire refreshment bar. You can also go and see the lovely aviaries. The bravest will climb to the top of the park to admire the neo-Gothic tower that is perched on a rock.
All the parks in town, including Mon-Repos, are free and accessible 24/7.
If you’re prone to vertigo, give this one a miss! Sauvabelin Tower is located above Lausanne. It was built entirely from wood in 2003 and is no less than 35 metres (115 feet) high.
Once you have climbed the 302 steps, there’s eye candy galore! You can admire a 360-degree panorama over Lake Geneva, the Alps and Jura ranges of mountains as well as the town of Lausanne.
Bus no 16 will take you straight to Sauvabelin. Then, you can climb the tower for free, all year round from 5.45 am to 9 pm (6.30 am to 5 pm in winter). Only challenging weather conditions can limit its access.
Lausanne Cathedral, in its present form, was completed in 1215. Sitting atop the Cité Hill, it is visible from the whole town, so you just can’t miss it. Access to this monument – the largest gothic-style one in Switzerland – is free. Inside, several architectural gems await you:
> The Rose and its stained-glass windows
> The painted doorway and its period paintings
> The grand organs and their 7,000 pipes
By night, from outside the building, you can also witness an age-old tradition: the calling of the hours by the Cathedral’s watchman. From 10 pm to 2 am, he calls out the time for the city inhabitants. Initially designed to provide early warning in case of fires, the watchman has been present ever since 1405.
The building is accessible for free all year round (except on December 25, January 1-2 and on Sundays from 10 to 11.30 am for church service), from 9 am to 7 pm (5.30 pm in winter).
Every first Saturday of the month, entrance to the cantonal and town museums in Lausanne is free. In all, there are 15 of them. It’s the opportunity to discover unique museums such as the Art Brut (Outsider’s Art) one. Don’t forget to visit the botanical garden that opens its greenhouses for you, an ideal outdoors attraction for the summer.
For all the information you need on Lausanne museums, head this way.
What’s more, the MCBA offers an entirely free access to its permanent collection … every day (except for Monday, the museum’s closing day). A chance to discover exceptional works of art without digging into your wallet. What more could we want!
Why not visit Lausanne while going for your daily run and with an audioguide? That’s what Urbirun offers, with two tours: one in the town centre and one along the lakeside. These trails go by Lausanne’s must-sees, while your smartphone guides you and gives you some information on the monuments you meet on your way. The 17.2- and 18.5-kilometre loops are also designed for walkers. The less sporty can choose the shorter loops, less than 10 kilometres. The app as well as the tours are downloadable for free.