Lausanne is one of the largest cities in Switzerland, and the capital of the Swiss canton of Vaud. It’s located on the shores of Lake Geneva and was originally a Celtic and Roman settlement.
Lausanne is currently the smallest city in the world to have a rapid transit system, so it’s easy to get around the city and explore the various points of interest in Lausanne.
In this article, I have listed some of the best places to visit in Lausanne and the surrounding area.
Palais de Rumine
Palai de Rumine is a fantastic late 19th-century building featuring a splendid Florentine Renaissance style. It is dedicated to Gabriel de Rumine who left the city a fortune after his death in order to erect a public building.
The Palai is not just stunningly beautiful but also of historic significance as the famous Treaty of Lausanne was signed here. Anyone with an interest in history and culture should not miss coming here as the building contains five interesting museums dedicated to archaeology and history, fine arts, money, geology, and zoology.
The Palais is perfect for spending a rainy day as the many museums can keep you busy for many hours
Collection de l’Art Brut
The Collection de l’Art Brut is one of the city’s most interesting museums and offers a collection of unconventional art. The museum is situated in the beautiful Château de Beaulieu, one of the most impressive mansions of Lusanne.
What makes the art collection on display here particularly interesting is that many of the artists responsible for creating these masterworks were marginalized people, often prisoners or people rejected by society for different reasons.
The Collection de l’Art Brut also features many cultural events that are worth a visit.
The Olympic Museum Lausanne (Musee Olympique)
Sports fans will find the city’s Olympic Museum an interesting attraction. The museum houses more than 10,000 artifacts of the various Olympic Games.
It is located in the Olympic Park in Ouchy, which also serves as the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee. There is a beautiful sculpture garden found here that is also worth exploring.
Cathedrale de Lausanne
The construction of the beautiful Cathedrale de Lausanne started in 1170 and carried on for around 100 years before the cathedral was consecrated by Pope Gregory X in 1275, making it a great symbol of Christianity in the city.
This church is built in a fantastic Gothic style of architecture and features an 80 m high tower that makes the cathedral one of the highest buildings of the city.
The viewing platform of the tower allows for a breathtaking panorama over Lake Geneva and the city as well as the surrounding mountains.
The Sauvabelin Tower is another fantastic destination for great panoramas. This tower offers visitors a breathtaking 360° view on Lake Geneva as well as the three geographic regions of Switzerland (Alps, Jura, and the Plateau).
The 35 m high structure is built of wood obtained from local forests and has been built in a sustainable way. It is located just north of the city center and is surrounded by beautiful forests that are a very inviting place for walks, jogging or cycling.
La Suisse – Belle Epoque – paddle steamboat
The recently renovated La Suisse is one of the most beautiful leisure boats you will ever see and offers fantastic tours of Lake Geneva. The owners of the boat proudly call it the world’s most beautiful and it’s very hard to prove them otherwise.
The boat offers interesting mythical figureheads at the bow and stern which are sculpted of wood and covered in gold. Don’t miss them when taking part in the fantastic tours offered. The boat is used for round trips as well as special culinary trips.
The Thai Pavillion is one of the most outstanding attractions of Lausanne. It was gifted to the city by Thailand’s former King Bhumibol Adulyadej and is dedicated to the diplomatic relations between both countries.
The pavilion is built in a so-called Jaturamuk style and resembles a miniature version of Bangkok’s royal palace. Visitors can find the pavilion in the Le Denantou park right on the shores of Lake Geneva.
Rolex Learning Center EPFL
The Rolex Learning Center (alternatively “EPFL Learning Centre”) is the campus hub and library of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. It opened in 2010 and is one of the most impressive modern buildings in the city.
The multi-purpose structure offers a large library and student workspace as well as a hall that is used for cultural events, meetings and exhibitions.
Even though the Rolex Learning Center is not a touristic attraction in the classical sense there are guided tours available that lead you around the most important rooms of the building and explain its fantastic architecture.
Eglise de Saint-Sulpice
The Eglise de Saint-Sulpice is the highlight of the lovely Saint Sulpice, a small town situated on the banks of Laka Geneva just west of Lausanne. The town has a very atmospheric feel and is much quieter than Lausanne.
Its historic church is considered one of the oldest in Switzerland and is around 1,000 years old. Many of the structures found on the grounds of the church have been added over the centuries.
There is also an interesting tower of the 12th century found here that shows the region’s Burgundian influences.
Esplanade de Montbenon
The Esplanade de Montbenon is one of the city’s most beautiful spots and features a beautiful lawn that is known all over the city for its great views of Lake Geneva.
Especially during the summer months, many local students come to meet their friends here or just lay on the grass and enjoy the sun. The beautiful Casino de Montbenon is also located here, serving as a great example of the Florentine style of architecture.
Fondation de l’Hermitage
Fondation de l’Hermitage is a beautiful mansion located in Lausanne’s Vaud City. It was built in the 19th century by a wealthy banker and features a beautiful park that is home to many rare species.
Today the mansion serves as a fine-arts museum and offers great exhibitions of Impressionist art as well as a total of 80 international exhibitions. Due to its wealth of art, it was classified as a Swiss cultural property of national importance.
Lausanne’s world-renowned opera offers many first-class musical performances including not just operas but also concerts and ballets. The opera is a very modern facility and has undergone several renovations works emphasizing quality acoustics and state-of-the-art stage technics.
If you ever wanted to experience a truly world-class musical performance the Lausanne Opera shouldn’t be missed. Attending an opera show is definitely one of the best things to do in Lausanne if you enjoy music.
Place de la Palud
The Place de la Palud is considered the heart of Lausanne and connects several pedestrian streets, making it one of the main commercial centers of the city.
But there are not only numerous luxurious shops found here, the Place de la Palud is also home to the city’s oldest fountain and a fascinating clock that presents the history of Vaud.
The site also serves as a marketplace as every Wednesday and Saturday many vendors open up their stalls selling fresh fruits and vegetables as well as other specialties.
The Béjart Ballet is a famous Lausanne ballet company that is world-famous for its fantastic performances. The ballet is at home at the Lausanne Opera but travels internationally performing in various locations.
Fans of opera shouldn’t miss the chance of experiencing the Bejart Ballet in its fantastic home venue. Make sure to check the company’s schedule to see when performances take place.
Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts (MUDAC)
Another interesting museum found in Lausanne is the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts (MUDAC). The museum has been established in 2000 and aims at creating a creative venue that allows for dialogue and artistic exchange.
There are usually between five and eight exhibitions taking place here each year, most of them presenting young artists to the general public.
The museum also features talented dancers, film directors, performers, and musicians and aims at offering as many great young artists as possible a stage to present themselves.
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Want more recommendations on places to visit in Lausanne? Leave a comment below!