Top 10 best things to do and see in Lausanne (Switzerland)

best things to do in Lausanne

WHAT ARE THE BEST THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN LAUSANNE?

Lausanne is a pretty city very pleasant to live in, with a lot to see and deserves a day or two to discover its old city and its monuments. Even if Lausanne is smaller than Geneva, you will need good legs to visit it because the streets are extremely steep. Indeed, Lausanne is built on three hills overlooking Lake Geneva: everything is sloping!

I reassure you, if you are not very sporty, you can use the bus and the metro. As everywhere in Switzerland, everything is very expensive and it will be necessary to plan a significant budget to go to the restaurant, go out in the evening, stay overnight… However, you can very well enjoy the superb setting without ruining yourself, with a little preparation. This selection of the 10 best things to do and see in Lausanne should help you to prepare your itinerary if this is the first time you are going there.

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Here are 10 must-see things to do and see in Lausanne:

1. LAUSANNE CATHEDRAL

A major pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages, Lausanne Cathedral is the city’s most important monument. An impressive Gothic building completed during the 13th century, it can be the subject of a guided tour for history lovers. After your paid visit, don’t forget to wait 22 hours at the foot of the cathedral to see the watchman announce the time at the auction, a tradition maintained since 1405.

2. THE OLYMPIC MUSEUM

Les expositions permanentes et temporaires du musée Olympique sont présentées sur 3 étages et plus de 11 000 m2. Son joli parc vert abrite, quant à lui, de nombreuses œuvres d’art sur le thème du sport et de l’olympisme. Inscrit depuis 1995 comme bien culturel suisse d’importance nationale, le musée présente une passionnante rétrospective des Jeux olympiques depuis les toutes premières épreuves jusqu’à l’époque moderne. Un voyage au pays du sport qui intéressera tous les âges grâce à ses films, ses objets de collection et ses activités interactives. L’entrée est payante.

3. THE BEACHES OF LAKE GENEVA

Les habitants de Lausanne savent bien qu’ils n’ont pas besoin de rouler pendant des kilomètres pour se baigner. La ville étant située au bord du lac, elle foisonne de plages naturelles toutes plus agréables les unes que les autres. La plus connue, la plage de Vidy s’étend sur plus de 500 mètres au bord des eaux calmes du lac. Un après-midi au bord du lac sera l’occasion d’observer quelques cygnes, de profiter gratuitement des rives boisées et de passer un agréable moment en famille. Barbecue, Beach Volley, location de pédalos, ballade sur la plage, pique-nique ou location de vélo, il y a plein d’activités possibles à faire.

4. THE FONDATION DE L’HERMITAGE

La maison, construite au milieu du XIXe siècle, est située sur les hauteurs de la ville. Elle abrite un musée des beaux-arts qui compte une collection complète de plus de 600 oeuvres présentées au public lors d’expositions temporaires. La bâtisse est entourée d’un somptueux parc vert luxuriant qui surplombe le lac et offre une magnifique vue sur toute la ville. Une visite payante mais qui vaut assurément le coup d’oeil pour la qualité des expositions et la promenade dans le parc, l’occasion de prendre quelques beaux clichés de la ville et du lac.

5. STROLL THROUGH THE OLD TOWN

Voilà une activité gratuite à ne pas manquer si vous projetez de visiter Lausanne. Votre promenade dans la vieille ville sera l’occasion de déguster quelques chocolats d’une des boutiques du centre, de goûter à la gastronomie lausannoise, de découvrir les moulures du n°33 rue du Bourg, de passer sous le Grand-Pont ou d’emprunter les escaliers du marché. L’horloge de la place Palud vaut également le détour et vous permettra de vous retrouver au centre historique de la ville, profitant de l’ambiance purement helvétique du lieu. Statues, passages, ruelles et vieilles boutiques seront au rendez-vous.

6. OUCHY AND ITS LAKESIDE PROMENADE

Inaugurated in 1901, the Ouchy quays allow tourists to discover the shores of the lake comfortably. Unlike the other quays in the region, the Ouchy quays are particularly green and connect three of the city’s largest parks, including the Olympic Park and the Elysée Park. This hiking trail is completely free of charge and will provide a great opportunity to take pictures of the impressively sized conifers and rows of lime trees that border Lake Geneva or to marvel at the dozens of boats moored in the port area.

7. THE VINEYARD TERRACES OF LAVAUX

Lavaux is none other than the breathtaking wine-growing region of the canton. It’s classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While walking along the paths of Lavaux, you will observe a unique variety of landscapes, oscillating between hills, terraces, mountains, views of the lake and views of the vineyards. Many free hikes are to be undertaken on the terraces of Lavaux to discover the vineyards around Lausanne and take the time to stop in one of the cellars to enjoy a drink in a setting of greenery and serenity. An unmissable discovery, to be enjoyed on foot, by car, by bike or even by mini-train!

what to do in lausanne

8. THE SAUVABELIN TOWER

This solid wood tower is a modern construction completed in 2003. It’s just over 35 metres high and has two double spiral staircases with wooden steps fixed on a single central axis. Admission is free, but the ascent will still take a small effort to complete the 151 steps. However, it will quickly be forgotten once at the top when you discover the view. From the observation platform, you can see the whole city of Lausanne, the Vaud Alps and the French Alps as well as almost the entire Lake Geneva area. Visiting Lausanne without going through the Sauvabelin tower would make you miss superb photographs of the city and the panorama of the region.

9. THE RUMINANT PALACE

An astonishing neo-Renaissance building that houses six cantonal museums. Admission is charged, but gives access to all museums. On the program, a visit to the Museum of Zoology for children, a discovery of the Museum of Archaeology and History and the Museum of Geology for lovers of history and precious stones. The Money Museum will interest the whole family with its beautiful collection of coins, banknotes and reproduction machines, while the visit to the Espace Arlaud and the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts will appeal above all to art lovers.

10. THE BOTANICAL GARDEN

Admission to the botanical garden is free and gives access to a pleasant walk among the flowers typical of the Swiss landscape and the aromatic plants of the region. Children will be able to discover many species of birds, carnivorous plants, frogs and an amazing tadpole pond. The botanical garden is a quiet place, appreciated by Lausanne residents who want to relax and forget the stress of everyday life. A place to discover especially in spring or summer to enjoy a wide range of colourful flowers.

MORE THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN LAUSANNE

If you have some time in Lausanne, here are some other places to visit and activities to do:

  • Admire the view from the Montbenon esplanade
  • Walking in the Quartier du Flon (Flon District)
  • Visit the Collection de l’art brut
  • Visit the Rolex Learning Center

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