Must-knows about Lausanne

  • Lausanne is a Swiss city on Lake Geneva, between the western and eastern parts of the lake.
  • Lausanne is not in the Alps.
  • The historical town center of Lausanne is situated on a hill. It offers views of Lake Geneva and the mountains in the distance.
  • The district of Ouchy is about 125 m lower and prettily situated on the lake.
  • Navigating by car is challenging in Lausanne, so our advice is to use public transport.
Region: Lake Geneva
Recommended season: all year
Altitude: 495 m (1624 ft)
Town size: Big
This town is on a lake
Local language: French
There is a train station

Sightseeing in and near Lausanne Copy link to clipboard

Find your activities near Lausanne

Steam boat on Lake Geneva seen from Territet
Boat Lake Geneva
Scenic boat tripMin. time required: 1:00
Plan your trip on the largest lake of Switzerland: Lake Geneva. We explain about the cruises on the western and eastern part of the lake, …
The Palais de Rumine in Lausanne
Town walk Lausanne
City trip, HikingMin. time required: 1:00
Discover the architectural highlights of Lausanne on Lake Geneva with this easy 1-hour town walk.
Lausanne (City Center) Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour
GamingIndependent day tour
Discover Lausanne from a different perspective on a self-guided walking tour and scavenger hunt of the city. Solve riddles and clues that lead to the next location, showing all the city highlights. - Solve interesting puzzles, have fun and learn new things about Lausanne - Explore the city and find …

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Lausanne Foxtrail Citi
GamingIndependent day tour
A Foxtrail is a mixture of sightseeing, scavenger hunt and escape game, with the trail of the virtual fox holding puzzles and hidden messages for you that have to be found and solved so that you can find the next post. But watch out, the fox is very cunning every …

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Lausanne: Scavenger Hunt and Self-Guided City Walking Tour
Lausanne: Scavenger Hunt and Self-Guided City Walking Tour
City tripIndependent day tour
Discover Lausanne’s iconic sights at your own pace on a self-guided walking tour and scavenger hunt. Solve puzzles as you see the Cathedral square, the Bel-Air tower, and the Esplanade of Montbenon.

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What not to miss during your stay in Lausanne

We recommend visiting:

Winter activities in Lausanne

Lausanne is an attractive destination in late November and December. You can enjoy Christmas shopping in the decorated old town and watch the artistic light shows projected on buildings. There’s a Christmas market in town. Other Christmas markets are available in nearby Montreux and Yverdon-les-Bains.

Lausanne is at low altitude and in a mild climate zone. You’ll have to travel to reach snow and ski areas. The one closest to Lausanne is Les Paccots above Vevey. Other options are Leysin (about 1h10 by train) and Glacier 3000 (about 2h15).

Travel tips and city map Copy link to clipboard

How to reach Lausanne by train

Lausanne is easy to be reached by train. From the central station, you'll reach the town center in 10 minutes on foot, or in just a minute by taking the metro/subway.

Examples of train traveling times to Lausanne from the Swiss airports and other towns:

Plan your journey to, from or in Lausanne with the Swiss timetable. Here's how to use it.

Finding your way in Lausanne

In our view, navigation by car is quite challenging in Lausanne. The city is built on a slope, and an old river bed causes additional altitude differences.

Streets that may look like a crossing on a map, may actually be one road crossing the other by a bridge. The Pont Charles Bessières near the Notre Dame Cathedral is an example.

This unique terrain also adds to the city's attractiveness. The two rivers that once crossed town, the Flon and the Louve, are now covered over.

Public transport is convenient

If you can avoid traveling to and in Lausanne by car, we recommend you do. The city center is small enough to explore on foot, and there's excellent public transport:

  • Lausanne is on the main rail line from Montreux to Geneva. Also, there are trains to Yverdon-les-Bains, Fribourg, Bern and even Paris. Also, there's a local LEB train from Flon, in the center of town, to Echallens and Bercher.
  • There are two metro lines: one from Croisettes in the north via Flon to Ouchy on the lake, the other from Flon to Renens in the west.
  • There's a dense network of (electric) buses.

Public transport is free for hotel guests

If you book a hotel, you will receive a free Lausanne Transport Card when you check in. It grants free access to all public transport in and around Lausanne during your stay. It also gets you discounts on various local activities.

Check the rail passes if you need better discounts or unlimited public transport in a wider region, or even in all of Switzerland.

Lausanne on a map of Switzerland

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Travel guides for Lausanne Copy link to clipboard

Regional Tilo train Italy-Ticino

Italy to Switzerland

How to take the quick trains from Milan and other Italian towns to Switzerland, and which scenic routes to choose. …
TGV Lyria train at Lausanne rail station

France to Switzerland

The TGV train from Paris to Basel, Zurich, Geneva, or Lausanne is the best way to travel between France and …

When to visit Lausanne Copy link to clipboard

Lausanne can be visited all year.

Lausanne in spring, summer and fall

Lausanne is especially nice in spring (April-May) and autumn (October and early November). Temperatures in these months are usually pleasant, and the green hills on Lake Geneva look beautiful.

The summer months (June-September) offer the most activity options on and near the lake. Boats operate frequently. You can enjoy the town squares and terraces in the old town.

Lausanne in winter

From mid-November to March, the surroundings of Lausanne are a bit less attractive to us. Lausanne isn't a typical winter resort: don't expect low temperatures or snow.

Still, there's enough to see and do for a multiple-day city visit.

Weather in Lausanne Copy link to clipboard

What weather in Lausanne is like

Lausanne is in a mild and sunny region of Switzerland. Daytime temperatures during winter are about 5°C to 10°C. Frost and snow can occur, but it's not common.

In summer, you can expect a temperature range of 20°C to 28°C. It can get hotter than that.

5-day forecast for Lausanne

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Weather forecast

Accommodation in Lausanne Copy link to clipboard

You can choose a hotel in the old town center near the station of Lausanne. Or stay in the district Ouchy and find a hotel directly on the lake!

Escaliers du Marché in center of Lausanne

Find your hotel in Lausanne on Lake Geneva

Find the best hotels Lausanne has to offer, either in the hilly town center, near the train station, or in …

Why stay in Lausanne?

French-speaking Lausanne is one of the largest cities in Switzerland, and an attractive one if you like city trips and nightlife. There are plenty of fine hotels, shops, restaurants and museums.

The town and its location are appealing. Ouchy, the lower part of the city, is directly on Lake Geneva. You’ll find the historical town center on a hill, offering various views of the lake and the mountains.

Why not stay in Lausanne?

The city is not in the Alps, but day trips to the mountains, the Lavaux vineyards and Geneva are perfectly doable from here.

If you want to stay closer to the mountains, or prefer a smaller town, consider basing yourself more to the east. Montreux is a good alternative.

Lausanne FAQ

  1. Is Lausanne worth visiting?

    Yes, Lausanne is a vibrant Swiss city with a historic town center and great views of Lake Geneva. You can see quite a lot of the town during a 1-day trip.

    In addition, Lausanne is a good base town if you want to explore both the western part of Lake Geneva (where Geneva is located) as well as the eastern part (where Montreux and higher hills can be found).

  2. Is Lausanne expensive?

    No, Lausanne isn’t necessarily more expensive than other Swiss cities.

    Lausanne has quite some international residents and is relatively close to Geneva: a very internationally oriented city too.

    Living costs in Lausanne are high, but that doesn’t have to translate into higher costs for you as a tourist. You can find budget hotels in Lausanne for example. And if you have a Swiss Travel Pass, you can enjoy free boat rides and free access to about 10 museums in Lausanne.

  3. What is Lausanne known for?

    Lausanne is famous for its pretty location on Lake Geneva, its historical town center, and the Olympic Museum. Moreover, Lausanne is officially home to the International Olympic Committee.

Other websites of interest

More about Lake Geneva Copy link to clipboard

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Page author: AnnikaSince early childhood I've been visiting Switzerland during my holidays and I just fell in love with the country. I spent many summers in the Bernese Oberland, which still feels like my second home, and then started to explore other areas. Traveling, hiking and photographing in the Swiss Alps are my absolute favorite activities.