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Are you making a trip to Switzerland? Not sure what to include in your travel itinerary? Look no further. In this post I will outline the top 10 things you MUST do when visiting Lausanne, Switzerland.
Forget the bigger cities like Zurich and Geneva, Lausanne is the cutest city to visit in Switzerland. In fact, Lausanne was named as the best small city to live in, so I am going to give you a local’s perspective on the top 10 things to do in Lausanne!
Here’s my top 10 things to do in Lausanne!
1. Ouchy Port
The Ouchy Port is located right on Lake Geneva. Here you will find boats that can take you across the lake to France! Evian(where the famous bottled water is from) is actually just across the lake and is about a 40 minute boat ride away!
Of course, taking a boat is not a must-do, but really fun. Alternatively, you can simply walk around the port and enjoy the beautiful views. On a clear day, you will get a magnificent view of the lake and of all the mountains. It’s one of my favourite views in all of Switzerland.
Also, typical of major tourist hotspots, there are plenty of people here selling souvenirs. There are also plenty of cute local restaurants along the port as well as the Château d’Ouchy, which is a castle that is now turned into a hotel/restaurant/bar.
If you’re here towards the end the day, it’s worth sticking around for the sunset.
2. Musée Olympique
Did you know the IOC (International Olympic Committee) is located in Lausanne? And we also have a super cool Olympic Museum! It’s just a short walk from the Ouchy Port.
The entrance fee to the Olympic Museum is 18 CHF for adults and 10 CHF for kids. If you love the Olympics, then I would say it is completely worth it. Expect to spend about 1-2 hours here.
Upon arrival, you will be greeted by the beautiful garden, full of green shrubbery that is groomed into fancy sculptures. Inside, you get to relive some of your favourite Olympic memories and see cool artefacts like old Olympic medals and famous athlete’s Olympic equipment.
I was surprised to see how small Michael Phelps’ swimming suit is! That was the greatest surprise for me.
The Olympic Museum is also a great destination for families because children can play with the many sports simulations and also learn about the friendly spirit of the games.
3. Lausanne Cathedral
The Lausanne Cathedral is located at the center of Lausanne. The full name is actually the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Lausanne. It is Paris’ Notre Dame’s little sister.
Here you will find beautiful stained glassed windows and enjoy a spectacular view overlooking all of Lausanne from its bell tower!
4. Tour de Sauvabelin
The Sauvabelin Tower is a wooden tower located a bit north of Lausanne. It’s easily accessible by metro. To get to it, you will also walk through the forest and see a big lake.
After you climb the 300 steps, you will see a beautiful view overlooking all of Lake Geneva.
There’s also a cute little restaurant located not too far from this tower where you can enjoy Swiss delicacies such as Swiss fondue.
5. Palais de Rumine
This is a beautiful Italian style building which now houses the library as well as several cantonal museums. The museums are usually free and showcase many cool things like dinosaurs, rare crystals, artwork, etc.
I really enjoyed checking out these exhibitions and it makes for a great indoor activity in case the weather isn’t so great.
6. Walk around the city center
The old town of Lausanne is quite small so you can walk around all of it in less than an hour. There are lots of cute shops and restaurants that you can check out, as well as a fountain.
The newer part of town is called Flon and here you will see more modern shops and restaurants.
I honestly wouldn’t recommend coming to Lausanne to shop because everything will feel super overpriced and the selection just isn’t all that great unless you’re looking for something that’s really exclusive to Switzerland!
7. Eat fondue at Café Romand
I normally eat fondue (pot of melted cheese) with friends at their houses but if I have to go out, this is the place I choose. It has a very family-friendly atmosphere and the fondue is superb. Order the moitié-moitié, you won’t be dismayed!
A fondue will cost you about 30-35 CHF depending on how many sides you get, so do keep this in mind. Probably not for budget travellers.
8. Drink coffee at The Coffee Project
Ever since I discovered this coffee gem, I have become an addict. There are two locations in Lausanne. The coffee is sourced from the best farms around the world.
What I love the most about this coffee shop is how much you can customise your drink – they literally have six different options for milk alone 🙂
9. Eat crêpe at La Crêperie Bretonne or a gelato at Loom Gelateria
Oh course you’re probably wondering where to go for dessert. I have two places to recommend.
La Crêperie Bretonne offers the best Breton style crêpes in town! You can have a crêpe as a meal or as a dessert!
For gelato, I highly recommend Loom Gelateria. They offer some unique flavours at a low price (for Lausanne). And in terms of quality, I would say it was just as good or even better than gelato you can find in Italy. My favourite flavours are: matcha green tea, salted pistachio. They also offer cakes and other desserts that are just soooo good. Don’t miss out!
10. Eat chocolate
The Swiss are world-renowned for their chocolate, and for good reason! One of the best chocolatiers in Lausanne is Durig.
This chocolate shop offers an amazing assortment of chocolate. You can get chocolate sourced from all over the world. I’ve also seen them selling some chocolate with flowers/herbs and they look pretty interest (haven’t tried it yet myself though!)
I’m not going to lie, the chocolate is really expensive here. Expect to pay close to 10 CHF for one bar of chocolate.
Other day trips
If you have more time, I would definitely recommend doing some day trips from Lausanne.
Some really great day trips are:
- Rochers de Naye
- Lavaux vineyards (UNESCO site)
- Skiing or hiking in a mountain nearby! Ski stations are relatively close to Lausanne and easily reachable by train (1.5-2 hours)
When is the best time to visit?
Lausanne is beautiful year-round but there are some months that are better than others. In general, spring/summer (around May-September) is an excellent time to visit. The weather is warm and most days are very sunny.
If you’re into winter sports and general winter festivities, then December-February can be a good time too. In December you can also enjoy the Christmas markets here.
March/April and October/November tend to be the rainy and depressing months where we can go days and even weeks with no sunshine.
These are the top 10 things to do in Lausanne, from a local’s perspective. I hope you enjoyed this little travel guide. If you have any further questions or recommendations, please feel free to comment below!
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