Things to do in Lausanne

5 activities not to be missed when visiting Lausanne

Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, facing the Alps, Lausanne is a Swiss city appreciated for its charm and culture. Combining modern living with remarkable historical heritage, Lausanne is full of activities to keep you busy on a Swiss holiday. 

Thinking of visiting Lausanne soon and not sure which activities to pick? Between the city’s various museums, a lively cultural and sporting scene, the old town, and the Swiss Riviera, you will be spoilt for choice. Here is a list of top things to do in Lausanne. 

The Olympic Museum

As Lausanne is the city of the International Olympic Committee, it's not surprising that the Olympic Museum was established here. In addition to artefacts tracing the competition's history, the museum emphasises the spirit and values that make the games a success. The exhibitions will take you from the Olympics’ origins in Ancient Greece to modern events. You can also admire Olympic torches, historic posters and athletes' outfits, or relive the greatest moments through filmed excerpts. As well as the exhibitions and interactive experiences offered in the building, the lakeside park features several sculptures and works of art as well as the Olympic flame.

Museum hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9am-6pm (all year.)  

Getting there: Metro M2 – Ouchy stop. 

Swimming or boating on Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva separates France from Switzerland, with Lausanne, on its northern shore, offering a magnificent view of the French Alps with the lake in the foreground. The shores from Lausanne to Montreux are known as the Swiss Riviera, and boast beautiful seafront landscapes. Terraced vineyards and picturesque villages stretch along the lake and make the most of the local microclimate. To enjoy the lake, you can either swim from the beaches of Ouchy, Vidy-Bourget or Saint-Sulpice, or enjoy a boat ride. Steamboats even provide the connection between the different cities on the lake. Ferries also connect the French banks: the most popular of these is the spa town of Évian-les-Bains, a 35-minute drive away. 

Perfect for: a romantic evening on the water.  

Depart from: Quai d'Ouchy. 

The Art Brut Collection

Found in the 18th-century Beaulieu Castle is an impressive collection of 'art brut' (literally: raw art). Most of these works were collected by Jean Dubuffet. There are drawings of children, folk art pieces and paintings by patients from psychiatric hospitals. The characteristic that binds all these artists? Their marginality in the art world. Some consider that their art is more authentic than if it had been created with the aim of achieving fame or wealth. The collections of this original museum include works by over 1,000 artists from outside the traditional artistic community. Naïve paintings, sculptures, masks and more... The works are as varied as the artists themselves. Perhaps the most famous of them all is Aloïse Corbaz, an artist born in Lausanne with schizophrenia.

Museum hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11am-6pm. 

Getting there: Bus no. 3 and no. 21 – Stop: Beaulieu-Jomini. 

The Promenade and Ouchy Castle

When the sun is out, the one-kilometre walk along Lake Geneva is a little slice of paradise. The view of the lake and the Alps is particularly beautiful. Walkers will also appreciate the liveliness of the Place de la Navigation, which often hosts a market or various open-air shows. The area around the Promenade d'Ouchy is as chic as the rest of Lausanne. It‘s home to the famous 12th-century Ouchy Castle, in which the peace treaty between Turkey, Greece and the Allies was signed in 1923. It is now home to a luxury hotel and gourmet restaurant.

Perfect for: a family walk.  

Depart from: Quai d'Ouchy. 

Discover Platform 10

In 2022, three of Lausanne's largest art museums joined other cultural institutions in a new purpose-built complex in the city's heart, near the train station. Platform 10 aims to become the nucleus of a future artistic district, and the galleries already on site will allow you to discover temporary exhibitions. With the upcoming relocation of the three major museums in Lausanne, Platform 10 will become a remarkable centre for arts and culture. There will soon be the Musée des Beaux-Arts, with works by Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Auguste Renoir, Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse and Maurice Utrillo, as well as numerous works by Swiss artists. The Musée de l'Elysée, which is devoted entirely to photography, will also be located there, as will the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts (MUDAC).

Perfect for: art enthusiasts.  

Hours: 10am-6pm from Tuesday to Sunday, 8pm on Thursday, closed on Monday. 

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