Get to know Lausanne and meet new people
Lausanne is a multicultural city and a great place to meet people. Locals are open-minded and keen to help others fit in. Local publications, expat groups and Lausanne Tourism are good places to start. Xpatxchange lists the various expat clubs in the Lausanne area. Stay up to date on interesting events in your area through the Hello Switzerland Events page.
Another great way to meet new people is by taking part in an after work apéro. Many people in Switzerland get together in the evening to have a drink, a bite to eat, and meet friends or new people. Two popular gathering points in Lausanne for expats and locals alike are King Size pub and Etoile Blanche.
Use Lausanne's City Guide app to find extensive information about the city.
Things to do in Lausanne
Lausanne is small but diverse, with a scenic lake, an historic old town and a vibrant nightlife. Use the Around Me feature on the Hello Switzerland app (on iPhone and Android) to locate points of interest in your vicinity.
The city centre is a great place to spend your time. Due to its small size you can easily move around by foot or by public transport. The Flon is a vibrant cultural district with shopping, a cinema, night clubs, restaurants and cafés. With its charming buildings and impressive cathedral, the historic old town is also a wonderful area to explore.
From the city centre you can reach the lakeside in less than 15 minutes by foot. Walking along the lake is breath taking at any moment of the day. At the top of the city, the Sauvabelin Park (FR) is a great place to bring the family together. There is a large playground, a small zoo and the possibility to rent boats. The wooden tower at the edge of the park is the main attraction. Climb the 302 steps to the top for a beautiful view of the city, the lake and the mountains.
For those interested in sports, Lausanne offers plenty of options. Enjoy outdoor swimming pools in the summer that are converted into ice skating rinks in the winter. There are also several other outdoor activities that can be practiced: golf, tennis, soccer and beach volleyball, to name a few. Find a complete list of the different facilities in Lausanne on the city website.
Find other great suggestions in the Family activities in Lausanne article. Otherwise, The Lausanne Guide and MySwitzerland are great tools for discovering what to do, where to go in Lausanne and Switzerland.
Cultural activities in Lausanne
La Grange de Dorigny is a well-known theatre on the university campus in Lausanne. It offers a large range of shows, including art exhibitions, festivals, debates and unique theatrical performances. If you're on the lookout for something less traditional try the theatre Arsenic.
For music venues, Les Docks is a cosy one-of-a-kind venue. Expect a varied program with local and international musicians playing jazz, rock, hiphop and reggae. A more "classic" choice, the Lausanne Opera is a beautiful venue for ballet and baroque music lovers.
At least 15 museums in the Lausanne and Pully area offer free entrance on the first Saturday of the month (FR). The Musée de l'Elysée is a unique museum, entirely devoted to photography. With a collection of more than 100,000 pieces, it is a must see in Lausanne. After more than a year of renovations, the astounding and interactive Olympic Museum is open again. This innovative museum is well worth a visit.
Eating out, restaurants & nightlife
Lausanne offers many wonderful choices for dining out. Le Coup de Fourchette is a useful gastronomic guide that provides regular dining recommendations written by journalists. The lakefront in Ouchy is popular with tourists but locals also enjoy sampling the regional filets de perche followed by a sunset lakeside walk. Café de Grancy, Bavaria, and Tramway are also local favourites. Elephant Blanc offers a lovely brunch, Couronne d'Or has a large choice of beers and L'AO has a nice terrace on the cobblestoned street.
In the town centre bars and clubs are all within easy reach of each other. Bar Tabac is a small cosy spot to get a drink, The Great Escape is the perfect place to watch a sports match and Les Brasseurs (FR) has a good beer selection. Both Bourg-plage and Les Arches have lovely terraces in the summertime and Yatus is a good wine bar with yummy finger food. For nightclubs, try Le Romandie or Bleu Lézard.
Switzerland has strict drinking and driving laws. Make sure to take advantage of the Pyjama Night-time Service (FR) to get home safe. Buses and trains stop at most of the main villages surrounding Lausanne.
Leisure and day trips in and around Lausanne
- Hop onto a CGN (the Lake Geneva General Navigation Company) boat at Ouchy and stop at various picturesque destinations along the shores of Lake Geneva. Highlights include Yvoire, Evian, Rolle, Morges and Vevey.
- Explore the fabled medieval castle Chateau de Chillon on its imposing lakefront location near Montreux.
- Visit the roman ruins in Vidy and the nearby Roman museum (FR) to discover more about Lausanne's history.
- Sample regional wines at the vineyards of Lavaux. This much-photographed UNESCO World Heritage site has picturesque villages and walkways through vineyards with spectacular views of the lake.
- The cog railway from Montreux to the peak of Rochers de Naye also offers panoramic views. The train runs in summer and winter (when Santa Claus makes an appearance!)
- If you need time out to rejuvenate, treat yourself to a getaway at a wellness centre.
Local Lausanne celebrity Pierrick Destraz takes you on a trendy, urban tour of his hometown in this cool interactive video from Lausanne Tourism: