Explore Lausanne

With a mix of historic and modern architecture and breathtaking natural scenery, Lausanne, Switzerland, combines the dynamics of a business town with the ideal location for a holiday retreat. Located just 62 km (39 miles) northeast of Geneva, the Olympic capital boasts a vibrant nightlife, world class Gothic architecture, museums, monuments, art galleries, cultural events, and a vibrant nightlife.

A comprehensive public transportation network gives you the freedom to travel from the shores of Lake Geneva to the city’s trendy neighbourhoods within minutes. As one of the greenest towns in Europe, Lausanne is largely car free —preference is given to foot traffic and bicycles. Bikes are available for free, giving visitors the opportunity to explore the cobblestone side streets or the vineyard trails of Lavaux without the need for an automobile.

Lausanne skyline - the Notre-Dame of Lausanne cathedral, dating back to the 12th century.

Lausanne’s natural beauty is awe-inspiring. The city began as a Roman camp and was later ruled by the Dukes of Savoy and the Bishop of Lausanne, and then by Bern, before joining the Swiss Federation in 1803. Surrounded by vineyard-covered slopes, the town is built on three hills with the waters of Lake Geneva lapping at its shoreline. Small alleyways with cafes and boutiques frame the city’s medieval centre, while the Savoy Alps rise majestically from French side of the lake.

The old town is dominated by Lausanne Cathedral, long regarded as Switzerland’s most impressive piece of early Gothic architecture. Also worthy of a visit are the city’s parks, containing a diverse selection of Mediterranean plant species.

Quaint, welcoming inns, and grand palace hotels like the Beau-Rivage Palace in Ouchy and the Hotel de l'Angleterre, were Lord Byron once stayed, beckon visitors. Lausanne is also home to several star-studded chefs giving foodies the opportunity to savour many regional specialities such as cabbage-filled sausage with leek gratin.

Escaliers du Marche is a steep route coming down from the Cathedral to the Place de la Palud in the historical center of Lausanne. Some of the houses lining up this pedestrian street date back to 13th century, but on the overall the current shape dates back to 1719.

Travelers interested in arts and culture will have their senses stimulated as well: the collection of marginal art (“Art Brut”) in Beaulieu Castle, the Fondation de l'Hermitage, the Musée de l'Elysée photo museum, and many others merit a visit. And don’t forget theatre productions, musical performances, and the world-famous Béjart Ballet.

Lausanne has been home to the International Olympic Committee since 1914. As the Olympic capital, the city is home to the Olympic Museum, the world’s largest repository of information and artifacts covering the games.

Those wanting to experience the wonders of a worldclass European city and save money on high-quality dental care will find Lausanne to be the perfect match. While some plan their trip for a particular dental procedure, others choose Lausanne as the perfect combination for a vacation/holiday with the opportunity to experience high quality dental care at very reasonable prices.

Lausanne is a city waiting to be discovered at every turn: monuments, architecture, parks and gardens.

Lausanne is within easy reach of châteaux, mountain resorts and leisure parks.

Lausanne highlights

Lausanne Cathedral — car-free roads surround the city’s cathedral and medieval city centre

Chateau d’Ouchy — gothic chateau turned boutique hotel

Laveux vineyards — a celebrated wine-growing region dating back to the 11th Century

Olympic Museum — showcases the history of the Olympic games

Lake Geneva — paddlewheel steamers and other motor vessels ply the lake’s waters giving visitors a unique view of the lakeshore and surrounding hills and mountains

Lausanne Cathedral

Medieval beauty in the centre of the city

Lausanne Cathedrale

Perched atop a hill in the centre of the ancient city, Notre-Dame de Lausanne is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The majestic exterior and elaborate interior gives the cathedral status as one of Europe’s most treasured structures. With its soaring towers and spires, a giant rose window, and flying buttresses, the cathedral is considered to be on par with French Gothic architecture.

The spiritual stronghold of French-speaking Switzerland, majestic Lausanne Cathedral was built atop a hill in the center of the ancient city. Construction began in 1175 and the cathedral was consecrated by Pope Gregory X in the presence of Emperor Rudolph of Hapsburg in 1275. During the Reformation in 1536, the cathedral was stripped of many of its altars, statues, and paintings. Restoration of the cathedral began in the late 19th century.

Lausanne was one of many medieval cities to institute a nightwatch to prevent the all-too-common threat of devastating fires.

Highlights of this magnificent structure include the rose window, a stunning medieval mosaic that depicts the universe. With a diameter of eight metres, Lausanne's huge rose window contains an image of God surrounded by the four seasons, four elements, four winds, four rivers of paradise, the twelve labors of the months, and the signs of the zodiac.

Lausanne was one of many medieval cities to institute a night watch to prevent the all-too-common threat of devastating fires. Watchmen stationed on the wall surrounding the town would call out to each other, ensuring that there were no fires burning uncontrolled in the city, and that no enemy forces were mounting an attack.

The cathedral night watch was considered the most important. To this day, every night the watchman climbs just over 150 stairs to the top of the west tower, where every hour on the hour from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. he calls out to the four directions: “This is the night watch. The hour has struck.” Lausanne is the only city in Europe to maintain this tradition.

Those wanting to experience sweeping views of the city and Lake Geneva can climb the 225 steps to the observation deck of one of the towers Cathedral Tower.

Chateau d'Ouchy - the old fishing port of Lausanne, is now a popular lakeside resort. The old, 12 century castle was enlarged in 1890 to form the present shape of a neo-gothic Chateau-Hotel.

Chateau d’Ouchy

A tranquil respite overlooking the lake close to the centre of Lausanne

Nestled on the banks of Lake Geneva, spectacular Chateau d’Ouchy boasts breathtaking waterfront views. Steeped in history, this neo-Gothic chateau was built in the beginning of the 12th century and reconstructed in the late 1800s into a hotel.

This haven of tranquility offers guests the opportunity to experience old world history, with all the modern amenities one would expect from a luxury four star hotel. Enjoy a meal on the restaurant terrace with imaginative dishes created with local products, and breathtaking views overlooking Lake Geneva and the Vaudois Alps in the distance.

Located just minutes from the centre of Lausanne, this delightful chateau is now an inviting blend of contemporary styling and period charm with a gourmet restaurant, a sauna, and a private boat for sailing trips on Lake Geneva.

Lavaux vineyards - the northen hillside of Lake Geneva, between Lausanne and Montreux is covered in scenic vineyards, all under the name of Lavaux and today a World Heritage Site.

Lavaux Vineyards

Terraced estates with sweeping views

Perched on the terraced hillsides of Lake Geneva, Lavaux is one of Switzerland’s most celebrated wine-growing regions. The Lavaux vineyards cover a 30 km stretch of land from Lausanne to Montreux, and include several lakeshore villages and the city of Vevey. Although there is some evidence that vines were grown in the area in Roman times, the roots of many of the area’s present-day vineyards can be traced back to the 11th century, when Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries controlled the area.

By the 12th century several large abbeys had been given land by the Bishops of Lausanne. By the 14th century, the monks and brothers of the monasteries let out most of their property to tenants who cultivated the land, paying a percentage of their crops to the monasteries. Many of the vineyards in this area have been owned by the same families for generations — the Chappuis family, for example, have tended vineyards in the area since 1335.

The Lavaux region includes many small villages featuring traditional restaurants and inns. The terraced vineyards provide sweeping views of Lake Geneva and the surrounding mountain ranges. Part of the area was recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 2007.

Olympic Museum

Olympic Museum

Relive the glory of past Olympic Games

The Olympic flame burns bright in Switzerland — in fact all of the torches used for the modern Olympic Games are on display at the Olympic Museum. Discover and experience the highlights and memorable moments of the Olympic Games through exhibits and interactive displays.

The museum is a showcase of the Olympic Movement, with its permanent and temporary galleries, unique collection of Olympic-related objects, a study centre, library, auditorium, meeting rooms, restaurant, and souvenir shop.

Lake Geneva

Old steam boat cruising on the Lake Leman near Ouchy - Lausanne

Situated in both Switzerland and France, Lake Geneva ranks as one of the largest lakes in Western Europe. Carved by a retreating glacier, Lake Geneva is shaped like a crescent, with the horns pointing south. The eastern portion of the lake, between Vevey and Villeneuve, assume an Alpine character while the shores located on the north side of the lake are home to villages, castles, and vine-covered slopes.

Lake Geneva has long been the destination for celebrities. Mary and Percy Shelley and Lord Byron spent time at the lake while actor Charlie Chaplin spent the last 25 years of his life in Vevey — make sure you see the Charlie Chaplin memorial bronze statue in the small lakeshore park in Vevey, just off the plaza that bears his name.

Leisure activities on Lake Geneva include boating, wind surfing, waterskiing, scuba diving, and swimming.

The Rolex Learning Center, a startling and spectacular structure designed by the internationally renowned Japanese architects SANAA, accommodates services, libraries, information centres, social areas, study rooms, restaurants and cafés forming a giant wave opening out onto a magnificent landscape on the doorstep of Lake Geneva. Lausanne is a city of training and research.

Château Saint-Maire is a castle in Lausanne, that serves as the seat of the cantonal government of Vaud. It is a fifteenth century Swiss heritage site of national significance.

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Places of architectural significance

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