One of the first things that come to mind at the mention of Lausanne in Switzerland is the sheer amount of history that this municipality holds. Lausanne is located right on the shores of Lake Geneva, offering all and sundry an impressive view of the Lake’s spread. Commonly referred to as the most beautiful location in Switzerland, this remains what would be one unforgettable trip. A picturesque setting consisting of a cathedral with Renaissance architecture and age-old buildings spread as far as the eye can see remains one of the main selling points of this ancient city.
Lausanne, which is the fourth largest city in Switzerland is very much involved in recent happenings and is also a major focal point of international sport. It has been recognized as the Olympic capital since 1994 by the International Olympic Committee which it plays home to. It is the site of the Court of Arbitration for Sport alongside some 55 other international sports organization making it a reputable and significant location to the sports world.
Located in a popular wine-growing region, residents of Lausanne are great wine lovers and makers of various local cuisines which is highly relished. This city is also home to about 46 buildings or sites which are included in the list of Swiss heritage sites of national significance. The Notre-dame cathedral, various civic structures, museums and libraries, archeological sites, and archives are some of the top visited sites in Lausanne. On a lighter note, Lausanne is home to art galleries that hold awe-inspiring works from famous masters, street markets where you can taste the local delicacies and breathtakingly beautiful hotels.
How to Spend One day in Lausanne Switzerland
Here’s what to see if you plan to visit Lausanne for just one day.
First Stop: The Notre-Dame Cathedral
A visit to the Notre-Dame Cathedral is one of the first things to do in Lausanne. The Notre-Dame Cathedral is a Medieval Catholic Cathedral which is consecrated to the Virgin Mary.
A clear example of the splendid French Gothic architecture, the Notre-Dame is also famous for its enormous bells and for housing one of the world’s largest organs. Take a walk through the hallowed halls of this UNESCO world heritage site and soak in the sights and feel of history. The Cathedral is open every day of the year from 08:00 am to 06:45 pm on weekdays and 08:00 am to 07:15 pm on weekends every day of the year.
Second Stop: Le Grand Pont
The Grand Pont which is located in the very heart of the city offers extraordinarily breathtaking views of the city and the cathedral in particular. The existence of the lower arches of this bridge dates back to 1844, however, they were buried when the Flon being covered over. This indicates that this site has a bit of history itself. This awe-inspiring monument remains a significant part of what to see in Lausanne.
Pass by the Church of Église réformée Saint-François
Saint François Church remains the only other medieval church in Lausanne apart from the Notre-Dame Cathedral dating from the last century.
The construction of this church dates back to the 12th century while its bell tower whose design can be traced to the cathedral dates back to the beginning of the 15th century. Pass by this impressive edifice and marvel at the sights while admiring the contemporary buildings like the stores and post office buildings.
Third Stop: Quartier du Flon
The Quartier du Flon has evolved over the years from a site of transshipment and storage facilities to a hub of modern buildings, including offices, apartments, shopping malls, and nightly entertainment places.
A unique feature of this area is that the architects were careful to preserve the original style in spite of the modern design. Ensure that you do some shopping and have a feel of the Lausanne nightlife as well.
The Countdown Clock
Ouchy is located at South of the center of Lausanne and is a very common rollerskating area. It offers amazing views of the lake, especially when taking a leisurely walk.
While on your tour, be sure to pass by the Lake Promenade and spot the swans floating around lazily. Also, don’t leave without checking out the countdown clock which symbolizes the Olympic spirit of Lausanne Olympic capital.
Visit the Olympic Museum
The Olympic Museum is located in Ouchy and is home to both temporary and permanent exhibits all relating to the Olympic movement and other sport.
Will over 10,000 artifacts, the museum boasts of being the largest archive of Olympic Games in the world. This site is one of the largest tourist centers in Lausanne and draws over 250,000 tourists every year.
Tower and Park of Sauvabelin
This location offers a surreal site for picnics and leisurely strolls will your significant other. An idyllic lake is situated in this scenic forest park while the Sauvabelin Tower, a 35-meter timber construction which is rumored to be the work of Leonardo Da Vinci stands just by the side. Be sure to take time out for some quality relaxation in this amazing location.
Take a Cruise of Lake Geneva
There is no better way to experience the beauty of Lake Geneva than to take a boat tour of the lake surrounded by the calm waters and the birds flying overhead. You also get to have a close-up look at the mansions and estates that line the shores. Finally, the calm is described as being out of this world.
Old Town: Place de la Palud and Rue de Bourg
Old Town provides you with a myriad of shops and malls all located within a small area that allows you to choose from different options. The pedestrian areas consisting Rue de Bourg and Place de la Palud boast of some exotic boutiques. You should also check out La Ferme Vaudoise to pick up some delicious regional specialties.
Take a Self Guided Food Tour
A list of what to do in Lausanne for a day is never complete without a self-guided food tour of the city. Go on to experience a massive tongue fest with a wide range of exquisite local delicacies all waiting to be tasted. The sensation of eating these meals in their original setting offers a unique satisfaction that you can only get in Lausanne.
Day Trips from Lausanne
From Lausanne: Riviera Line Montreux, Lavaux & Long Cruise
This day trip takes you on an exciting journey to three spectacular locations in Lausanne. Begin with a trip from Lausanne to Vevey for a red trolley ride to the Lavaux, one of the most beautiful sights in the whole of Switzerland thanks to its vineyard terraces.
It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site as well. Next, return to Vevey for a lakeshore stroll before embarking on a thrilling1.5 hour cruise of the Lake Leman. After a guaranteed amazing sightseeing which should top your list of what to see in Lausanne in one day, arrive in Montreux and let yourself get lost in the calming feeling that the city gives. Book this tour here.
Discover the Vineyards By Train
The vineyard train or Train des vignes follows a route that sets the terraced vineyards of Lavaux on its path. This landscape which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007 offers explicit views of the Valais Alps and the Savoy. This hourly train presents you with an opportunity to check out the awe-inspiring terraces and learn more about the grape varieties that are grown there. The train usually departs in the morning, so be sure to arrive at the station early enough.
Where to Stay in Lausanne
If you are looking for some comfortable yet convenient place to stay during your visit to Lausanne, then the Agora Swiss Night by Fassbind is the place for you.
This four star hotel located near the center of Lausanne is within close walking distance to all sights in Lausanne. Agora Swiss Night by Fassbind boasts of a cafeteria as well as a 24-hour front desk service. Recreational and relaxation areas are available for guests and more importantly, this great centrally located hotel offers parking which is really convenient, especially if you’ve got a rental car.
Lausanne boasts of a myriad of beautiful, historic sites as well as friendly people who are very fond of tourists. However, a trip to Lausanne is incomplete without visiting all of the places mentioned. Using this as a guide, you are guaranteed an exciting and unforgettable tour of Lausanne.