Life in Lausanne is almost like Grandma threw off her dressing gown, took you out into town for the usual church visit… then stuffed you full of beer and cheese before shouting you drinks at an underground club. The medieval centre of Lausanne is a grand old dame and the Gothic Lausanne Cathedral is just one of her ancient gems.
The beautiful Lake Geneva setting lends itself to the grand museums Musée de l’Elyséeand the Musée Historique de Lausanne (plus 22 others), as well as to slow walks, more cathedrals and picnics. But the real draw card is the arts scene. You’ll find underground bars playing jazz at all hours, tiny restaurants with the best food in the city and pop-up galleries run by students and locals. So get on your restored vintage bike, grab a beer and get involved. Age is no excuse.
Lausanne's Top 10
10. Fondation de l’Hermitage This building has a constant turnover of art exhibitions. If you’re lucky, you might see two.
5. Place de la Palud This ninth-century market square was home to the city government for five centuries.
9. Musée de Design et d’Arts Appliqués Contemporains If you visit on the first Saturday of the month, it’s free.
4. Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts Home to art ranging from local work to Ancient Egyptian pieces.
8. Palais de Rumine Check out the biggest stuffed shark in the world. This isn’t your average soft toy.
3. Cathédrale de Notre Dame Some say this is the finest cathedral in Switzerland. You be the judge.
7. Église de St François What used to be a 13th century monastery now boasts restored frescoes and manicured fields.
2. Musée Olympique Marvel at the size of Carl Lewis’ shoes and the height of the highest jump.
6. Palais de Rumine This was where the Treaty of Lausanne was signed, and now holds a large number of historical treasures.
1. Tour de l’Ale Built in 1340 and saved from demolition by the locals, it’s a miracle we can see this tower at all.
- Palais de Rumine – A building based on an Italian renaissance style. Five different museums are found inside of the building.
- Musée Romain lausanne-Vidy – A Roman settlement site which features the remains of walls from a time when Caesar ruled.
- Cathedral Tower – The view from the top of the Cathedral Tower is well worth the climb. Tourists who are unable to explore the whole of Lausanne should climb to the top of this tower to take in the main sights from above.
- La Tour d'Ale – A few surviving parts of a medieval rampart.
- Fondation de l'Hermitage – Constructed in 1841, this building plays host to travelling international art exhibitions.
Lausanne Art & Culture
- Collection de l'Art Brut – This museum is home to a must-see collection of artwork in Lausanne.
- Olympic Museum – A museum presenting memories from the Olympics. The sculpture garden, which overlooks Lac Léman, can be explored by the public.
- Musée Historique de Lausanne – Here, tourists will find a collection of maps, images and documentation relating to the history of Lausanne.
- Mudac – A museum of design and contemporary arts.
- Musée de l'Elysée – A world-renowned photography museum found in a beautiful park.
- Maniak – One of Lausanne’s most popular shopping destinations.
- Pompes Funèbres – A shoe store selling all the most fashionable shoes around.
- Coup de Chapeau – A hat store that boasts clients from all over the world.
- Boutique Séduction Lingerie – A lingerie store featuring brands such as Banana Moon.
- Saturday Old Town Market – A colourful farmers’ market located on the winding streets of the Old Town.
Gay & Lesbian Lausanne
- 43 10 CLUB – Located in downtown Lausanne, this unique gay-friendly bar welcomes tourists and locals alike.
- Trixx – Trixx night is held on Sundays at the MAD-Club. This popular night out attracts mostly men and some lesbians.
- One Café – As its name suggests, this café welcomes all genders and is where tourists can relax in Lausanne.
- L’entrée – A classy bar lounge ideal for Sunday brunch.
- Le Saxo – A gay-friendly bar open Wednesday to Sunday.
- Vidy Park – This beautiful park dates back to the 1960s. It is the ideal spot to enjoy a peaceful day out in Lausanne.
- Vidy Beach – Located west of Vidy Park, this beach is where Lausanne tourists popularly visit.
- Vidy Harbour – Located in the centre of Vidy Park, tourists can check out the boats at this harbour.
- Vidy Pyramids – Located west of Vidy Park, the pyramids are a Lausanne hotspot.
- Lausanne Skate Park – The HS 36 Skate Park is home to Lausanne’s annual roller contest.
- Watch Lausanne Hockey Club play at their home arena, CIG de Malley.
- Enjoy a game of rugby at the Chavannes-Centre Sportif courtesy of the Stade Lausanne Rugby Club.
- Check out the talents of the Montriond Lausanne F.C. at the Stade Olympique.
- Take a trip to Vidy-Lausanne and see the Lausanne-Sports Aviron rowing club in action.
- Catch the Tour de Romandie as it passes through Lausanne. This exciting cycling race is a part of the UCI World Tour.
Ballroom-dancing enthusiasts flock to Prix de Lausanne in early February, where dancers compete to win a prestigious scholarship.
April sees the Carnaval de Lausanne take over the city with parties, rides, entertainment, music and local fare to nosh on.
June gives tourists what they want at the Fête de la Biere et des Musiques Festives. Sample over 200 types of Swiss beer at this traditional summer beer festival.
Outdoor Movies by the Lake sees July take advantage of Lausanne’s stunning backdrop. This is a rare chance to enjoy Hollywood on a big scale, alfresco-style.
New Year’s Eve is a huge celebration across Switzerland. Lausanne parties as hard as anyone, with booze, events and fireworks.
When To Go
- July and August are the hottest months, with average temperatures of around 25°C (77°F) during the day and 14°C (57ºF) at night. The daylight hours are longer, which sees restaurants and bars open late.
- Temperatures drop to around 17ºC (63ºF) in September and October.
- Although the winter months get chilly, there’s a festive glow about the city and far fewer tourists.
- Walking is a great way to get around the city centre.
- The metro has its hub at the Flon Metro Station, and tickets are fairly cheap as long as you work out where you’re going first.
- Bikes can be hired for very reasonable rates. Be prepared, though – there are lots of hills!
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23 hotels in Lausanne
Agora Swiss Night provides ideal accommodations for business or leisure travellers to the official Olympic capital of the world. With its prime location, Agora Hotel Lausanne is minutes away from... More
Offering luxurious accommodations in the heart of the world's Olympic capital, Movenpick Hotel Lausanne provides an ideal place from which to conduct business or leisure activities in Switzerland.... More
Positioned in the heart of downtown Lausanne, Hotel Alpha-Palmiers combines stunning architecture with elegant interiors and offers all its guests a warm and pleasing welcome. GeneralGuests at... More
Whether you are on a leisure or business trip, the cordial atmosphere and attentive service will make your stay at the Continental Hotel Lausanne a pleasant one. GeneralThis hotel offers 4... More
Featuring plush accommodations overlooking Lake Geneva, De La Paix Hotel Lausanne makes for an ideal base for travellers looking to explore the vibrant city of Lausanne in Switzerland. Patrons can... More
Tucked on the edge of Lac Leman, Chateau d'Ouchy Hotel Lausanne is a relaxing sanctuary in a neo-gothic castle that offers a blend of old-world style and comfort in Lausanne, Switzerland.... More
Hotel Victoria Lausanne is a charming stopover for cosmopolitan travellers with its fashionable flair and central location in Lausanne. Holidaymakers can explore the historic centre to see... More
Situated in a quiet pedestrian street, Hotel Crystal Lausanne provides a comfortable stay for its guests by offering quality services. Guests can visit city attractions such as Museum of the Human... More
The BEST WESTERN PLUS Mirabeau Hotel Lausanne represents the perfect combination of materials, colours and scent, an atmosphere that will turn your vacation into a marvellous experience. General... More