Things to do for families in Lausanne
Most events now have families at heart and Lausanne in particular hosts a number of family-friendly festivals throughout the year. There are family friendly mountain resorts, medieval castles and theme parks all within easy reach. Keep an eye on the Hello Switzerland Events page to learn about upcoming events in your area. English radio, local publications and Lausanne Tourism provide an abundance of useful information.
There are many lovely parks and playgrounds in Lausanne, including Parc de Milan, Ouchy Port, and Lac de Sauvebelin (FR). Lac de Sauvebelin has a wooden tower to climb for magnificent views over the city. Signal de Bougy (FR) has a large outdoor play park with free entrance. It has a mini zoo, golf, child-friendly restaurant and an adventure park.
For an outing outside of Lausanne, think about a visit to Gruyere. Or, take the marvellous Chocolate Train that operates between Montreux and the Cailler (Nestlé) factory in Broc. The one-day excursion is a mouth-watering must for chocolate lovers and railway enthusiasts. Château de Chillon is another great option. It is an architectural jewel with over 1000 years of history, located on the beautiful shores of Lake Geneva near Montreux. Golden pass Panorama Trains offer panoramic trips from Montreux and Vevey to various locations with amazing views and modern comforts. For many more day trip suggestions around Swiss and French Lake Geneva, take a look at Léman Sans Frontier.
There are some outstanding summer camps in Switzerland and a real tradition of inviting young adventurers to discover new horizons. However, they are very popular so it is often necessary to book early in the year.
Find more ideas in the Enjoying Lausanne article.
Outdoor family activities in Lausanne
There are plenty of open spaces in Lausanne and many offer stunning views across the lake to the French Alps. Much of the lakefront in the city is open to the public with beaches, barbecue areas, play parks, pedalo hire and minigolf. The largest beach in Lausanne is at Vidy (FR). There are also outdoor swimming pools on the lakefront at Morges, Pully and Lausanne Bellerive. The Lac de Sauvebelin (season from May to September) has a variety of pools ranging from a small paddling pool to an Olympic-sized lap pool. Other public pools are located at Bellerive, Montchoisi, Bellevaux, Boisy, Montétan and Vieux-Moulin.
Other outdoors suggestions:
- Take a walk through the woods at the Aubonne Arboretum.
- Check out a horse related event at the Parc Equestre (FR).
- Discover the lovely but shy marmottes at Marmottes Paradis (FR). If you listen you can hear them whistling but they are rarely seen in the wild.
- Astro Pleiades offers free guided tours in the summer on topics of astronomy. Take part in a themed walks, use a mountain scooters or simply relax at the restaurant.
- Aqua Splash (FR) in Renens is an outdoor aqua park open during the summer from May to August.
- Adventure parks are also a fun option for families. Parc Aventure (FR) has a rope-walk adventure track that suits all ages, or try Labyrinth Adventure (FR).
- The Zoo in Servion (FR) is a fascinating place for both children and adults. It is located just outside Lausanne on the edge of the Jorat forest.
- Aquaparc in Bouveret is waterpark heaven for young seafarers since it has direct access to the lake, a 25m outdoor swimming pool, toboggans, beach volleyball and much more.
Winter is great for skiing lessons, sledging, snowshoeing and ice skating. Les Paccots is about 45 minutes from Lausanne. It has great slopes for kids and beginners, plus an ice skating rink, sledging slopes, snowshoeing, a ski school and restaurants. Les Pleiades (FR) is also about 45 minutes away and boasts ski slopes for kids and beginners, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sledging slopes, ski schools and restaurants. Also check out the Tobagganing Park in Leysin. If you're looking for a night sledging, go to Les Diablerets. This area is open 3 days a week from December to March depending on snow conditions. There is a 7.2km sledge track guaranteed to thrill (appropriate for anyone over age 6) as well as fondue and mulled wine.
Rainy day activities with children in Lausanne
A rainy day provides an excellent opportunity to visit the beautifully renovated Olympic Museum . It is extremely interactive and will amuse children for hours. Another good museum option is the Museum of Games in La Tour-de-Peilz, located in a castle on Lake Geneva between Montreux and Aigle. For all those who like railroads and museums, the Blonay-Chamby is the place to be. The museum has over three kilometers of trestle, tunnel and viaduct and all of the equipment was built between 1874 and 1935. Plus, it is ideally located in a stunning setting overlooking Lake Geneva.
If you are looking for libraries or book stores try the English Bookstore called Books Books Books and the BCU in Lausanne or The English Library in Vevey. Two good kid's theatres to check out are Marionettes Lausanne (FR) and Theatre des Lutins (FR).
The Vivarium de Lausanne (FR) is one of Europe's largest living reptile collections open to the public. The Bex Salt Mines are another fun stop. They are made up of a man-made world of underground tunnels, galleries, shafts, stairs and halls that extend more than 50 km. Franz Carl Webber (DE/FR) is a cool toy shop to spend some time in.
There are a couple of good options for indoor play areas. Urba Kids (FR) is one popular option. Another choice is Jay Land (FR) in Crissier/Bussigny, which has trampolines, bouncy canstles, slides, mini karting and a play area for toddlers. Fun Planet (DE/FR) also has different venues for bowling, karting, billiards and laser games.
Many spas and wellness centres in and around Lausanne are family friendly. Try out one Lavey les Bains spa resort or Les Bains du Val-d'Illiez for thermal springs with its Jacuzzis, massage pools, swan-neck jets, mushroom fountains, waterfalls and bubbling water beds.
Babies and small children
Babies and small children can enjoy music at Kindermusik classes at different locations in Lausanne. Bébé nageurs (FR) offer baby swimming and water play classes. Kids Up (FR) in west Lausanne runs baby gym classes. The cantonal website for families Vaud Famille (FR) has details about these activities as well as other ideas.
Essential tips for planning family activities
- Check with SBB/CFF for special discounts and family tickets. SBB/CFF trains also sometimes have family carriages.
- Become a member of the Touring Club Suisse (DE/FR/IT) for security while travelling by car.
- Check the Swiss weather forecast in order to plan your activities.
Photo: swiss-image.ch/Lausanne Tourisme