How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

The closest airport is the Geneva airport. Direct trains between Geneva Airport and the Lausanne take about 45 minutes and normally run 4 times per hour and less frequent very early or very late. A full fare from Geneva-Airport to Lausanne is currently about 27 CHF. Call tel. 0900-300-300 or visit for train schedules.

How do I get from the train station to my hotel?

The central railway station of Lausanne: Gare de Lausanne.

Lausanne is served by one of the most efficient passenger rail services in the world, the Swiss Federal Rail system. Trains run roughly every half-hour between 4:45AM and 1:30AM every day to and from Geneva, Zurich, Berne, Neuchatel, St. Gallen, Brig and points in between. There are up to 5 trains daily from/to Paris Gare de Lyon via the TGV Lyria (High Speed Train), 4 per day from/to Milan and 1 train per day from/to Venice.

From the central station, you`ll reach the town center in 10 minutes on foot, or in just a minute by taking the metro/subway. There is plenty of public transport to get around in town, which is recommended over driving.

How do I get to Lausanne by boat?

Between late May and late September, a lake steamer cruises several times a day in both directions between Geneva and Saint-Gingolph, Lausanne, Vevey, Montreaux, and Nyon. Sailing time from Geneva is about 3.5 hours. For information, call (tel. 0848-811-848;

How do I get around Lausanne using Public Transportation? Is the public transportation system safe?

Public transport in Lausanne (and all of Switzerland) is extensive, reliable, safe and easy to use. It is simple to get around without a car. Enjoy significant savings with many discounted passes available for youth and families. Make sure to take advantage of day trip combination offers.

Public transport is free if you book a hotel in the city of Lausanne, you will receive a free Lausanne Transport Card when you check in. It grants free access to all public transport in and around Lausanne during your entire stay. It also gets you discounts on various local activities.

Geneva Public Transport network is named UNIRESO. It is an interconnected system of trams, buses (TPG), mouettes (yellow transport boats) and trains (CFF) in the city of Geneva. The whole system uses the same tickets. The public transport office at the main train station provides comprehensive information and advice on suitable ticket options.

Single, multi-journey, day tickets and Mobilis Travel Cards ( are available. These provide access to the entire public transport network including the metro, trolleybus and bus services, as well as an extensive regional train network to surrounding areas. TL ( is the public transport provider of Lausanne. Vevey/Montreux ( and Nyon ( have their own regional transport networks. Tickets are available at bus stops and stations.

Night buses, known as the service pyjama, run between 1:00 am and 4:00 am on Friday and Saturday evenings. There is no supplementary ticket necessary for night trains, but you need to purchase an extra CHF 4 ticket before boarding night buses. Switzerland has very strict drinking and driving laws so these are good options to take advantage of when going home after an evening out.

CGN operates boats on Lake Geneva that offer cruises and excursions to various destinations from the port at Ouchy. It is common to live just across the lake in Evian, France, from which transport to Lausanne for work is less than 30 minutes.

What is the city layout in Lausanne?

Lausanne is spread out along the shore of Lake Geneva, surrounded by suburbs. There are two sections in particular that attract the most visitors: the Upper Town (Haute Ville and the once-industrial neighborhood of Flon, which collectively comprise the oldest parts of the city, and the Lower Town (Basse Ville), and its lake-fronting district of Ouchy; the two sections are connected by a small subway (metro). The metro features 14 separate stations, incorporating Lausanne with many of its outlying suburbs.

Haute Ville is Lausanne`s Upper Town and still evokes the Middle Ages. A visit to the Haute Ville takes about 2 hours and is best done on foot. In fact, walking through the old town of Lausanne is one of its major attractions. This area is north of the railroad station; you can reach it by proceeding uphill along rue du Petit-Chêne. The focal point of the Upper Town, and the shopping and business heart of Lausanne, is place Saint-François. The Church of St. François, from the 13th century, is all that remains of an old Franciscan friary. Today, the square is filled with office blocks and the main post office. The historic area to the north of the church is a pedestrian-only zone; it has more than 1 1/4 miles of streets, including rue de Bourg, northeast of the church, the best street for shopping. Rue de Bourg leads to the large, bustling rue Caroline, which winds north to Pont des Bessières, one of the three bridges erected at the turn of the 20th century to connect the three hills on which Lausanne was built. From the bridge, you`ll see the Haute Ville on your right, with the 13th-century cathedral of Lausanne, opening onto place de la Cathédrale. From the square, rue du Cité-de-Vant goes north to the 14th-century Château Saint-Maire, on place du Château.

Ouchy, once a sleepy fishing hamlet, is now the port and hotel resort area of Lausanne. The lakefront of Lausanne consists of shady quays and tropical plants spread across a lakefront district of about half a mile. Adjoining place de la Navigation is place du Port immediately to the east. Quai de Belgique and quai d`Ouchy are lakefront promenades bursting with greenery and offering the best views of the lake.

Is Lausanne a walking city?

Yes, Lausanne can be explored on foot. Try one of the self-guided tours organized by the city. They have excellent ideas for discovering a new side of the city and each one is supplemented by pictures, maps and itineraries.

If I have a car in Lausanne, where can I park?

Street parking can be difficult to find in Switzerland, and Lausanne is no exception. For street parking, purchase tickets from the meter to display in your window. In the occasional blue zone, free parking is allowed for up to 1.5 hours with a parking disc marking your arrival time in the window (buy this at the post office). You can also find parking at most main SBB/CFF stations.

How do I get around Lausanne by bike?

Parts of Lausanne are quite steep but the city is still great for cycling, especially along the lake. Ride either direction and reach either Vevey or Morges. Lausanne features PubliBike which is self-service stations for bike borrowing at a small cost. For a day pass (about 10 CFF). Throughout the city is an excellent network of paths, marked bicycle lanes, and bypass tunnels that will help you get through most of the busy intersections. The routes by the lake are simply beautiful but can get busy with strollers, pedestrians, roller bladders and cyclists at peak times during the summer.

Check out the downloadable site `Carte Velo` from the city website: This map helps those new to the city find the preferred bicycling routes in the area.

Is Lausanne a dangerous city? Are there certain areas I should avoid?

Lausanne has relatively little crime, compared to many other cities. Like anywhere, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and to be accompanied if it is late at night. The biggest threat may be pickpockets. Be mindful of how you carry your valuables, particularly on trams and buses.

There are also numerous drug dealers working in the center of town especially around the Chauderon area. However they will not particularly bother you but we recommend you keep away from this area.

If you ever feel threatened, go into a restaurant or use a public phone: the emergency number is 117, and operators usually speak English.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency of Switzerland is the Swiss Franc, usually indicated as CHF. While Switzerland is not part of the European Union and thus is not obliged to convert to the Euro, many prices are nonetheless indicated in euros so that visitors may compare prices.

US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for Swiss Francs upon arrival. Currency exchange desks can be found at the airport and many bank locations throughout the city. ATMs are also widespread throughout the city accepting bank cards and credit cards.

What is the weather like in Lausanne? When is the best time to visit?

In Lausanne, the summers are warm, the winters are very cold, and it is wet and partly cloudy year round. Temperatures generally range from 30°F to 79°F and is rarely below 21°F or above 89°F.

The southerly exposure to the lake creates a pleasant climate in the summer months. June through September is typically the best time to go to Lausanne. Humidity is lowest then, and temperatures are pleasant. The summer weather is mild and known to be rather changeable, so be prepared. Lausanne gets rain for over half its days in summer.

I don`t speak French or German. Will many people speak English?

Capital of the canton Vaud, Lausanne is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, with French, German and Italian, respectively, the most widely spoken languages. The official language is French.

As Lausanne has a lot of international companies, you will encounter people who speak English as well as most other European languages. However, English is not as commonly spoke as in Geneva and less than half the population can speak English at a competent level. You will probably have trouble communicating with a commoner on the street but most employees working for hotels, restaurants, and shops that are aimed at tourists can speak the English language at a competent level. We suggest you get a good English-French guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.

What is special or unique about Lausanne?

Lausanne`s location could not possibly be more picturesque. Built upon three hills and next to beautiful Lake Geneva, the Olympic capital exists in clear view of the Alps; in addition to this great natural beauty, the area also features many charming vineyards.

Lausanne`s medieval town center is full of small alleys packed with boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Additionally, Lausanne is truly home to the Olympic Games, hosting both the Olympic committee and the Olympic museum. The city has a very well developed cultural menu with a number of festivals going on at any given time.

What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city?

When you talk about the lake, never call it the lake of Geneva; the proper local term is `lac Léman.`

What is the food like?

Lausanne is a delicious destination famous for chocolate, wine and cheese. Here are some specialties of the area you have to taste when you visit Lausanne.

CHEESE: Swiss cheeses are a must-try in Lausanne; enter into any gourmet shop and you`ll be greeted by the usual suspects (think Gruyère, Emmental, and Raclette) but also a lot of local cheeses that are a delightful surprise to any cheese lover.

CURED MEATS: You`ll find most local restaurants offering up gorgeous platters of cured meats. Enjoy with a crisp glass of the local wine and a loaf of hearty bread.

FONDUE: You can`t visit Lausanne without partaking in the art of fondue. Local cheese is mixed with garlic, white wine and a touch of cornstarch to keep it from separating. It`s served with some hearty bread, which you rip into small pieces and spear onto your skewer, dip and swirl, allowing the cheese to cling to your bread and enjoy!

SWISS MERINGUES: This is a light-as-air dessert pastry that you`ll find throughout Lausanne and most all of Switzerland. Make sure to indulge in this tasty pastry!

FRESH BERRIES: You’d have to go to the Lausanne market to really enjoy the variety of fresh berries available, but if visiting Lausanne in summer, there is no better snack! While walking through the gorgeous Saturday farmer`s market you`ll find all sorts of berries - many of which you may have never even tasted. From bright red currants to plump blackberries and green gooseberries.

CHOCOLATE: Lindt chocolate was the brand that really put Switzerland on the map when it comes to chocolate with its many retail stores. What most people probably don`t realize is that milk chocolate was actually invented in Switzerland, thanks to the pharmacist Henri Nestle, and that Nestle is actually still a Swiss company. There a numerous small shops in Lausanne offering artisanal chocolates and much more.

WINE: Not a food, but certainly something you must try when visiting Lausanne. Mainly made from the Chasselas grape, the crisp and steely white wines of the famous Lavaux region are barely seen outside of the region (they export only 2% and almost all to Germany). It was a luxury to taste these special wines, as wine lovers come from all around the world to see the UNESCO protected Lavaux heritage vines.

Tipping: As in most of Europe, tipping is not a requirement. It is common (but not universal), to round up to the nearest 10 or 20 Franks, for example by refusing the change from a note. Bartenders do not generally receive tips.

What is the nightlife like in Lausanne?

When it comes to nightlife in Switzerland, Lausanne has been a leading light since the 1990s, with a reputation that attracts people who enjoy evening festivities from all over Switzerland and Europe. It is a cosmopolitan city offering lots to do. The city is full of students and a lot of the nightlife caters to nightlife they enjoy. You`ll find everything from disco nightclubs to bistro-bars to imitation English pubs around here.

Saint-François, Chaudron, Flon and Rue de Bourg are transformed when night falls to welcome the night owls who invade the clubs and bars of the Vaudois capital.

Lausanne is also a city of culture. It shares the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande with Geneva and also occasionally hosts the legendary ballet company of Maurice Béjart. The local tourist office will advise on what`s available at the time of your visit. Most performances of major cultural impact take place at the Théâtre-Municipal Lausanne, avenue du Theatre (tel. 021-310-16-00). Le Théâtre de Beaulieu, at 10, av. des Bergières (tel. 021-643-21-11;, is also a venue for dance concerts, operas, and orchestral music presentations. Tickets can be purchased at Ticket Corner (, which has various locations throughout Lausanne, including one that`s prominently positioned within Lausanne`s railway station.

What are the best areas for shopping?

There are several fashionable clothing stores in the area above the main train station in Lausanne. Some of the most interesting shopping is around the area of Place St François. From there you can also meander along Rue de Bourg. Place de la Riponne and the Lausanne Flon area are also very good places to explore for shopping. In each of these areas, exclusive clothes and shoe boutiques are found alongside international high street chains.

Crissier, to the west of Lausanne, offers extensive out-of-town shopping. In La Côte, the Aubonne Outlet Centre is worth a visit for branded bargains. Vevey, Montreux, Morges and Nyon all have appealing smaller specialty shops, ideal for browsing and gift shopping.

Shopping in France is very popular amongst Lausanne residents, who regularly shop over the border for better prices at general stores and weekly markets. However, it is important to take note of the customs regulations and limitations on bringing goods into Switzerland. The tax-free limit is (around) CHF 300 per person but there are some special regulations concerning certain goods carried across the border.

There are many weekly and seasonal markets in Lausanne. The Lausanne City Center has weekly markets selling fresh local produce and regional specialities on Wednesdays and Saturdays. On Mondays and Thursdays there is another food market on Boulevard de Grancy. On Thursdays a flea market takes places in Place Chauderon and a second-hand market takes place at Place de la Riponne. On the first Friday of each month, check out the crafts market at Place de la Palud. From April to September there is also a Sunday market in Ouchy.

Outside of Lausanne, there is a market at the lakeside in Vevey on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and yet another in Morges on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Nyon also hosts a flea market at the lakeside on the last Sunday of the month.

Shop opening hours in Lausanne: Shops in Lausanne are generally open Monday to Friday from between 8:30 am or 09:30 am and 6:30 pm or 7:00 pm. Many smaller shops also close over lunch from around 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm. Large department stores such as Globus are open until 7:00 pm Monday to Friday. On Saturdays shops close at 4:00 pm or 6:00 pm. Most shops in Switzerland are closed on Sundays. Kiosks and shops at the main train station or at large petrol stations are also open all weekend.

Note: Value-added tax (VAT) rate is 7.7% in Switzerland which applies to supplies of goods or services registered in Switzerland.

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?

In an Emergency dial 117, and operators usually speak English.

The general emergency number in Switzerland (and many other European countries) is 112. This would be the equivalent of 911 in North America, getting you to general emergency services (fire dept, police dept, emergency medical service). You should be able to dial this from any working phone. Even mobile phones with a non-functional SIM-card have an SOS mode that should allow you to dial this.

In case of a health emergency that requires an ambulance specifically, you can dial 144, in Switzerland. Some other numbers that might be handy in other emergencies are: Police (Dial: 117) or Fire (Dial: 118) or Poison control (Dial: 145).