THE 10 BEST THINGS TO DO IN LAUSANNE
There’s no denying that you work very hard when you study your Masters at AISTS, but you can also play hard too. And no matter what your hobbies or tastes you will never be short of things to do. From exploring the stunning shores of Lac Léman to enjoying local Swiss food, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy your surroundings. Here is our list of the 10 best things to do in Lausanne.
1. VISIT THE OLYMPIC MUSEUM
Located on the shores of Lac Léman, the Olympic Museum is home to interactive exhibitions, documents, films and collections and objects dating from Greek antiquity up to modern times. The museum is the largest information centre on the subject of the Olympic Games in the world. It’s also home to the AISTS graduation each year.
2. EXPLORE LAC LEMAN BY KAYAK OR PADDLEBOARD
Lac Léman is over 80k in length and is framed by majestic mountains in the background. A perfect way to discover the lake is to hire a paddleboard or kayak and spend a few hours following the shoreline. Time it with the sunset for a truly magical experience. If you want something with a bit more adrenaline why not try sailing or windsurfing? There is a watersports club available to AISTS participants, where you can hire equipment and take lessons.
3. VISIT THE VINEYARDS OF LAVAUX
Lavaux is situated next to Lausanne and consists of 830 hectares of terraced vineyards that stretch for about 30km along the south-facing northern shores of Lake Léman. The vineyards are an excellent place to hike, cycle and of course, sample local wines. Each year, AISTS arranges a day-trip to the vineyards for the class, which is always a highlight.
4. NIGHT SLEDGING IN LES DIABLERETS
The ski resort of Le Diablerets is located just 1.5 hours from Lausanne via public transport and is home to every winter sport imaginable; skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and more. But one of our favourites is the 7.2km sledge run. And, during certain times of the winter, the run is open at night. It’s truly a do-not-miss experience.
5. VISIT THE LAUSANNE CATHEDRAL
At the heart of the old town, the majestic Lausanne Cathedral overlooks the city. According to Lausanne Tourism, the cathedral is seen as one of the most beautiful gothic art monuments in Europe and attracts more than 400,000 visitors every year. Between 10pm and 2am, Renato Häusler stands at the top of the Cathedral’s bell tower and shouts out each hour to the residents, a 600-year-tradition and one that’s worth staying up late for.
6. TAKE IN THE VIEWS FROM ROCHERS DE NAYE
Located just along the shores of Lac Leman is Rochers de Naye, offering expansive views over the surrounding mountains and lake. Take the cog railway to the top or work up a sweat by hiking from the train station of Montreaux. At an elevation of 2,042m you may sometimes find yourself above the clouds, a very special experience. Activities at the top include hiking, dining, via Ferrata and the Marmot Paradise, an animal farm dedicated to the famous Swiss marmot.
7. INDULGE IN CHEESE. LOTS OF CHEESE
Switzerland is famous for its cheese and the two best dishes to indulge in are certainly fondue and raclette. In winter, many restaurants throughout Lausanne offer these traditional dishes, but there is also a wide range of fondue or raclette-based experiences too. Try unlimited raclette at the top of Rochers de Naye or take the ‘Fondue Train‘ from the neighbouring city of Morges.
8. RELAX IN NATURAL THERMAL SPA
Close to Lausanne, you will find many natural thermal baths and one of our favourites is Les Bains de Lavey. With a mix of three thermal indoor or outdoor pools, the water is naturally warm at a temperature of between 33 and 36°C. There’s also bubble beds, massage jets, swan-necks, underwater currents and an underwater sound system. After a hard week of studies and exams, relaxing at the thermal baths is the perfect way to spend a weekend afternoon.
9. TAKE A BOAT TRIP ALONG THE SHORES OF LAC LEMAN
For a leisurely experience on the lake, try a boat trip from CGN. You can go from Lausanne to Montreaux or Geneva, and you can also take a boat from Lasuanne across to France for a day trip. There are also options for evening tours where you can enjoy an apéro and watch the sunset.
10. BOND WITH YOUR CLASSMATES AT LACUSTRE OR THE GREAT ESCAPE
There is no shortage of places to go for a celebratory drink (be sure to be inspired with this list of the best terraces in Lausanne) and a bite to eat, but The Lacustre (pictured) in the port of Ouchy and the Great Escape located near Place de la Riponne have become firm favourites for AISTS participants and alumni. Of course, it’s not really about the place you go, but about getting to know the classmates who will become your family during your time studying.