Voted Best Small City, Lausanne is for sure a town where it’s impossible to be bored.
Discover the places absolutely not to be missed when you visit, with our tips to explore the town like a local!
1. Lausanne Cathedral
You can’t miss it! Lausanne Cathedral is undoubtedly a must-see attraction of the Vaud capital. An essential port of call for any visitor. Renowned as one of most beautiful gothic art monuments in Europe, the Cathedral offers a splendid view over the whole town, Lake Geneva and the Alps. The 224 steps that separate you from the top of the belfry will be quickly forgotten as you contemplate the breathtaking landscape! That’s it then, we put the Cathedral as number 1 on our to-do list and pack a pair of sturdy shoes (not forgetting a camera).
Our tip: go for a wander in the vicinity of the Cathedral between 10 pm and 2 am to hear the watchman call out the hours to the citizens from the Belfry. A typically Lausanne tradition that goes back 600 years!
2. The Olympic Museum and the history of the Olympic Games
Lausanne is also a cultural hotspot with its many internationally renowned museums, such as the Musée de l’Elysée (photography), the Fondation de l’Hermitage (fine art) or the Art Brut Museum. Among that long list, the Olympic Museum remains an absolute must for lovers of sport. An interactive museum that takes you on a journey through the history of the Olympic Games and that’s sure to appeal to children and adults alike! (After all, there’s no age limit for having fun)
Our tip: after the visit, we take a well-deserved break on the terrace of the TOM Café, the museum’s restaurant. Best place to chill while enjoying the breathtaking view on Lake Geneva and the mountains.
3. Ouchy and its lakeside walk
For a walk, a siesta in a park or just to admire the view on Lake Geneva and the mountains, head to Ouchy. It only takes a teensy ray of sunshine for the lakeside walkways to be packed with joggers, cyclists, people rollerblading and strolling. A brief stop at the small Veneta stall next to the pedal boats for an ice cream is compulsory before relaxing in the sun. As for us, we’re partial to the meringue, double cream and speculoos flavours. Delish!
Our tip: we rent a pedal boat or a stand-up paddle to go for a spin and discover the town from a whole new angle. In addition, we can’t resist diving into the lake’s clear, turquoise waters.
4. Lavaux vineyards
A UNESCO World Heritage site that is a must-see during any stay in Lausanne, Lavaux seems to be unaffected by the passing of time. Terraced vineyards with Lake Geneva and the Alps as a backdrop, the beauty of this landscape can’t fail to move you. It’s a unique area where Lausanners love to go for walks on steep paths. The cherry on the cake is that you can end it with an authentic wine tasting in one of the local winegrower’s cellar.
Our tip: we stop just before Rivaz at Didier Imhof’s small wine-tasting hut located on the Chemin de la Dame (the Lady’s Path!). We indulge in a lovely glass of local wine and savour it as we admire the sunset, with the vineyards, lake and mountains as a backdrop.
5. Le quartier du Flon
Wandering in the Flon’s lanes, you discover boutiques, cafés, new trendy addresses, but also much more. The Flon district has been transformed in recent years to become an area of artistic expression. Artists’ workshops and studios, architect firms and art galleries have opened in the heart of these former warehouses. And of course, you can sense that on the streets. ? By looking upwards, you’ll discover frescoes on the walls of some buildings in the middle of modern constructions, such as the Pépinières. A treat for the eyes!
6. Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva is the gem that makes Lausanne sparkle and its heart beat. From an esplanade, an unexpected opening between buildings, on a terrace, the largest freshwater lake in Western Europe can be seen from a great many viewpoints in Lausanne. Just about everything lures you down to its shores: chilling on one of the small beaches along the waterfront, a short cruise on one of the Compagnie Générale de Navigation’s famous steamboats or a dip in the lake in Vidy for those who enjoy more sedate activities… The lake is well and truly part of the Lausanne lifestyle.
Our tip: to enjoy Lake Geneva like a true Lausanner, head to the Jetée de la Compagnie: it’s the perfect spot to go for a dip when you’re not sipping a cocktail, and work on your tan as you’re comfortably seated in one of the wooden deckchairs set out along the full length of the deck.
7. Points of view
Built on three hills, Lausanne is a very steep town. So much so that film director Godart used to say of Lausanne ladies that the constant uphill walking gave them the nicest legs in the world. This unusual topography offers incredible points of view: from the top of the Cathedral’s belfry, Sauvabelin Tower, Montbenon Esplanade or the Flon esplanade…Armed with a camera, you can roam the town to admire Lausanne from all angles. It’s a city packed with surprises!
Our tip: to ensure we don’t miss any viewpoint, we follow the panoramic stroll, specially created to easily catch Lausanne’s most Instagrammable spots!
So, are you ready for a weekend in Lausanne?