Lausanne is a beautiful city on the shores of lake Leman. Often called the San Francisco of Switzerland (because of its slanted streets), it is a beautiful city but not touristic enough to be flooded like Lucern or Interlaken. So, my tip is to visit Lausanne instead to avoid the crowds and meet the coolest people in Switzerland.
Lausanne, like most of other cities in Switzerland, is blessed with excellent nature. Every season has its own charm here. I am in Lausanne more often than not and hence have explored it multiple times and have my own favorites. There is a short guide for what I think Lausanne offers the best.
Things to do in Lausanne
Notre Dam Cathedral:
It is the largest Gothic cathedral in Switzerland with characteristic high ceilings and painted glass windows. You can climb up the stairs for a view over the city. But if you want to save some money (and trust me you will need to when in Switzerland), the view from outside the Cathedral is equally nice!
The port in Lausanne. Usually crowded with lots of events happening during the weekend like local markets and families hanging around with their kids. You can also paddle boat here. Additionally, you can take a ferry from here to Evian or Montreux (and Chateaux de Chillon)!
Lausanne is called Olympic city as it has the international headquarters of Olympic Committee. The museum itself is very innovative and modern showing both historical and motivational aspects of the games. Excellent use of lights and modern technology. It also holds a collection of all the previous Olympic torches, medals and other fancy objects.
One of the university campus in Lausanne. It is famous for its out of the box architecture. The public library building looks like a cheese slice from the top. Really, I am not kidding!
Walk in the city center
The city center is not very big but is definitely worth a visit. Just getting down from the Cathedral, you will find yourselves in the twisting streets of Lausanne with artisanal shops.
Picnic at the lake
This is probably one of my favorite things to do in Lausanne. Pack up your lunch, games, swimwear and head out to the lake for a picnic. You can also barbecue at most of the places.
Where to eat/drink in Lausanne
Les Barbare (Closed temporarily!)
One of the oldest and my favorite places in Lausanne. You cannot miss their hot chocolate and delicious omelets. I also like their Gateau au Fromage (Like a salty cheese pie!). Closed on Sundays!
Undoubtedly the best Coffee in town! I love their cappuccinos and (not to forget) their hummus. They are usually crowded for brunch so book ahead if you want a spot.
The best place for burgers in Lausanne. It is a small place so advance reservations are recommended. They mostly have beef burgers (no chicken and some vegetarian options).
Amazing crepes. Perfect for the nice summer evenings. Both salty and sweet crepes are good. Reservation recommended. Closed on Sundays!
Cheese fondue/Raclette. Be prepared that your clothes will stink for a while 😀 But with the food-quality they offer, I am not complaining.
Mostly known for their brunch menus. Close to the main train station. Reservations recommended.
Locally brewed beer with lip smacking flammkuchen. One of my by-default place. When I am in the city center and just want to hang around longer, I can be found in there gorging on the delicious flammkuchen with the fruity beer they offer. You have to try it, guys!
Delicious Ethiopian restaurant in the center of Lausanne. Don’t forget to try Doro wet key (chicken) and Mongozo mango beer 🙂
Day trips from Lausanne
Lausanne offers many nice day trips. From medieval Bern, to lake maggiore to vineyards to Sci-fi museum.
Switzerland in general in quite expensive and Lausanne is not an exception either. So keep track of how much you are spending because it is very easy to go off budget at a place like this.
City day ticket
Depending on how much you want to do in one day and how much metro travel it needs, you can buy a day ticket which would definitely be cheaper than buying an individual ticket every time. More information on SBB website.
Swiss day passes
Travelling (and most of other things :D) in Switzerland is quite expensive. So, if you are there for a longer trip, it is a better idea to buy day passes. There are 2, 3 or 4 day passes available at SBB website. Using these passes you can use most of the trains for free (few exception for mountain trains and cable cars).