When we think of Switzerland, the first things that cross our minds are cheese and chocolate. But Switzerland is not only about that. Surrounded by vineyards, rolling down the hillsides to the lakeshore of glimmering Lake Geneva, Lausanne, which hosts the world headquarters of the Olympic Committee, is one of the most beautiful cities of Switzerland.
Lausanne offers its tourists various activities and sightseeing locations. A visit to the Alps to enjoy the panoramic views, a hike to vineyards overlooking Lake Geneva, or wine and cheese tasting in some of the best wineries, make a tourist’s visit to this beautiful city worthwhile.
Being born in Turkey, I have visited many places in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, America, and still, my favorite place remains Switzerland, especially Lausanne. Even though I have lived here for more than 30 years, one can never get bored in Lausanne, as this place has so much to offer. The city welcomes many internationals throughout the year, giving its citizens the opportunity to meet people from around the world. The Swiss nature, which is well-preserved, means that you can use your free time to hike in the mountains, walk along lakes and rivers and also visit famous cities such as Lucerne and Geneva. Lausanne is a city where education is the main focus; accommodating prestigious universities that offer degrees recognized worldwide in different areas, with a focus on technical and technological studies.
Touring a Fairytale Land
Lausanne is home to the International Olympic Committee, but there are also museums, award-winning nightclubs, breweries, and some of Switzerland’s most famous vineyards to explore. Lausanne is perfect for adventurous and outdoor activities during the summer.
The Olympic Museum
Musée Olympique is an impressive 3-floor museum which offers a great social commentary on how the sports movement has evolved. Every possible aspect is covered in a lively and engaging way with stunning designs, fascinating exhibition floors with inspiring interviews and historical facts. The scenery is amazing and when you are done visiting the museum you can rest on the rooftop in Tom Café, which sports gold-medal-worthy views. Afterward, you can take a walk to the lakefront in Ouchy, on the shore of Lake Geneva.
Notre Dame Cathedral
….and now it’s time to explore the old town of Lausanne.
The Place de la Palud is one of the Old Town’s main square which holds an impressive fountain near the city hall. In the old town, you’ll find shops, restaurants, delicious pastries, and a chocolatier. There you will also get the chance to see the Clock Tower, with a moving narrated story of Lausanne (every hour). A few steps from there is the medieval Escaliers du Marché, a steep wooden staircase which takes you to one of the picturesque sites that date back to the 13th century.
If you get tired by the long walks, you can stop by chic cafes and have a rest while enjoying the view. It is highly recommended to visit the most attractive building of the Old Town, the Cathédrale de Notre Dame, which is one of the most beautiful Gothic Cathedrals in the world. It takes around 300 steps to get to the hill where the Cathedral is situated, but once you’re there, you will find out that the view is worth every step.
If you’re looking for luxurious and exclusive places to stay, Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel, is an ideal choice. Located in front of Lake Geneva, a historical building, constructed in the early 1900’s. The property is very close to the Olympic Museum and offers exclusive views to a big private garden. The delicious breakfast served in the gardens of the hotel with scenic views of the lake and the Alps is a great kickstart for a busy day ahead of you.
The hotel is built in neo-baroque style and offers quality restaurants and 1st class service. Another alternative located at the center of the city is the Lausanne Palace Hotel, just 1-minute walk to St. François square, a 10-minute walk to the 12th-century Lausanne Cathedral, and a 1.8 km walk to Lake Geneva. The Coté Jardin restaurant offers a variety of Mediterranean cuisine with a great selection of wines, served on a wooded terrace, overlooking Lake Geneva and the Alps. Their dessert buffet is a must-try, as it offers some of the most delicious sweets you will ever eat.
Indulge Yourself in Chocolate Heaven
A trip to Lausanne will not be complete without treating yourself with the country’s famous chocolate. Swiss chocolate has conquered the world, and it always makes us think what is so special about it. One of the most famous chocolatiers in Lausanne is the Blondel, founded in 1850. Their pretty little shop is located in Rue de Bourg 5, and you can’t miss it because there’s always a long line of tourists coming up to taste the chocolates. These chocolates are packed with delicate ribbons and handled by the hosts with so much love and care. These delicacies are the perfect gift for your loved ones. Tip: Don’t miss the delicious chocolate-dipped dried fruits!
A Swiss Taste
This lively city features many great places to eat, from bistros to fancy gourmet restaurants, as well as bars, lounges, and clubs. The Anne-Sophie Pic restaurant is one of the most exquisite restaurants situated at the Beau-Rivage Hotel. The famous chef Paolo Boscaro will cook you unique and delicious meals, or you can get a food-tasting menu and enjoy a little bit of everything. If you’re up for something simpler, like a caféstyle bistro, then Café Romand is the right place for you. The bistro, located in the center of Place Saint François, close to the railway station and the main shopping area, is decorated in wood and is famous for its fondue (melted cheese dip, served with bread cubes).
The bistro offers a cozy atmosphere and is a great place to enjoy the authentic local cuisine. The famous fondue is not to be missed once you visit Switzerland and Café Romand will give you the real flavor of this Swiss specialty.
Besides fondue, I recommend you ask for the daily menu, which is usually written on the blackboard on the wall, and the wine menu which offers some really nice local wines.
Where the Green Blends with Blue
Another must-see place is the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can have a glass of wine while enjoying a breathtaking view. Whichever season, be that spring or autumn, this place will not let you down. The three-hour walk path called “Terrasse de Lavaux” will take you to the vineyards. The path is easy to walk and enjoyable because of the beautiful scenery throughout the whole trip. Once you get to the vineyards, you can go wine-tasting of delicious Lavaux wines, some of the best being Dézaley, St-Saphorin, and Epesses. Wine lovers will be thrilled by the views of the Alps, lake, vineyards, and chateaux.
Business and Pleasure: The Winning Combination
It’s no secret that when it comes to business trips, I always enjoy adding a few days to explore the destination I’m visiting. Business trips have given me the chance to visit many interesting cities and meet new people, which is so inspiring. PECB clients can enjoy a trip to beautiful city of Lausanne, while getting a high-quality PECB training at ACTAGIS training facilities, just a 3-minute walk from the lake shore with a splendid view of the Alps.