10 CAN’T-MISS EVENTS IN LAUSANNE
Lausanne was recently named the Best Small City in the World, but although it might be small, it’s certainly not short of world-class events. When you’re studying in Lausanne there’s plenty of events to keep you busy at weekends, including popular sporting events, Swiss traditions, live jazz and film festivals, and plenty more besides. Here is our list of 10 can’t-miss events in Lausanne.
1. TAKE PART IN THE LAUSANNE 20K
Held each year in May, the Lausanne 20km is one of the largest annual sporting events held in the region. Sign up and join the 27,000 runners who have participated each year for over 38 years. We usually see a team of AISTS participants take part, with the rest shouting from the sidelines. If a 20km doesn’t appeal you can try the 10km distance.
2. WATCH LAUSANNE ICE HOCKEY CLUB IN ACTION
You simply cannot move to Lausanne without watching Lausanne Hockey Club play a match. This is one of Switzerland’s most popular sports and during the season you’ll hear the jubilant cheers of the crowds as they cheer on their favourite national teams. The club is based in a brand new stadium, Vaudoise Arena, which opened in September 2019, just in time for the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games.
3. ENJOY THE MUSIC AT MONTREUX JAZZ FESTIVAL
The Montreux Jazz Festival is held in the neighbouring city of Montreux every July and is the second-largest annual jazz festival in the world after Canada’s Montreal International Jazz Festival. Held on the shores of Lac Leman with the mountains in the background this is an unmissable event for music lovers.
4. EXPERIENCE THE SWISS TRADITION OF LA DESALPE
La désalpe is an alpine celebration and Swiss tradition that you surely must experience at least once during your time in Lausanne. The annual event celebrates the cows returning to the pastures after spending the summer in the mountains and happens in various locations across Switzerland in September. One of the closest is Charmey in the Gruyere region (yes, it’s where the cheese comes from!). You can expect cows dressed up for the occasion, traditional alphorn music and plenty of local food and drink.
5. WATCH WORLD-CLASS ATHLETES AT ATHLETISSIMA
Part of the Diamond League, Athletissima is an annual athletics meeting held every September in Lausanne. Welcoming the world’s finest athletes it is THE sporting event of the summer and one not to be missed. Nearly 13,000 spectators meet up here each year to admire the exploits of 250 international athletes. The AISTS class sometimes have the opportunity to volunteer, to get a true behind-the-scenes look at the world of athletics.
6. EXPERIENCE THE WONDERS OF THE FESTIVAL DE LA CITE
Taking place each July, The Festival de la Cité is a festival dedicated to arts and innovation in the centre of the city. Theatre, music, dance, circus acts, street art, art installations and urban culture; there really is something for everyone. The Festival de la Cité is part of the Lausanne Estivale programme, which includes events, concerts, screenings and tours from May to September in Lausanne. Anf the best thing? They’re all 100% free.
7. EXPERIENCE THE NIGHT OF THE MUSEUMS
Happening each September, the Lausanne and Pully Night of the Museums aims to introduce museum institutions to a wider audience. Each year, on the third Saturday in September, nearly 15,000 visitors discover the city’s museums from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Expect a night to remember with plenty of special activities and changes to learn and discover.
8. GET FESTIVE AT THE MONTREUX CHRISTMAS MARKET
When winter rolls in and the weather gets colder, nothing quite beats a Christmas market. In its 25th edition this year, Montreux Noël is the best in the region, stretching along Montreux’s lakeside promenade. Discover crafts, traditional foods, and admire the views from Santa Claus’s house at the top of Rochers de Naye.
9. EXPERIENCE THE MUSIC AT CULLY JAZZ FESTIVAL
The Lausanne region loves its jazz music, and although Cully Jazz Festival might be smaller (and less expensive) than Montreux Jazz festival it is still a can’t miss event. On the shores of Lac Leman, Cully Jazz Festival takes place over nine days in April and sees some of the biggest names in jazz, along with and up-and-coming talents congregate in the vine-growing village of Cully to entertain locals and visitors alike.
10. CELEBRATE THE MOUNTAINS WITH THE INTERNATIONAL ALPINE FILM FESTIVAL “FIFAD”
Over 10 days in August, the Diablerets International Alpine Film Festival (FIFAD) screens about thirty films competing for the Grand Prize. The alpine resort then becomes the cultural centre of the region, welcoming about 20,000 spectators. When you study in Lausanne you are surrounded by the world’s most majestic mountains and this is a fantastic way to celebrate them.