Skydiving – 2 Days in Lausanne: The Perfect Lausanne Itinerary

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Resting on high hills overlooking Lake Geneva, the city of Lausanne combines dramatic scenery and a proud sense of culture to create a great tourist destination. The city is Switzerland’s fourth largest and yet is much less known internationally than places like Bern and Geneva. But visit Lausanne in the French-speaking region of Vaud for even a short time and you’ll see what makes it so special.

Even with just a couple of days there, you can confidently cover the best things to do in Lausanne and the surrounding parts along Lake Geneva. To make sure you don’t miss anything, though, you’ll need a plan for your visit. That’s where this Lausanne itinerary comes into play, as it’s the key to confidence regarding what to do in Lausanne in two days and how to get the most out of your visit.

Best Time to Visit Lausanne

There’s no great secret to understanding the seasons in Switzerland and what it’s like to travel there at different times of the year: Summers bring warm and sunny weather, while winters offer short and cold days with a decent chance of snow.

Lausanne is known for being particularly rainy, even in summer, which is the city’s high season for tourism. Despite that, it’s generally agreed that June to September is the best time to visit Lausanne. However, if you wait until late September or October, you should see prices for accommodation begin to fall a little and find that the rain eases off a bit as well.

Lausanne isn’t much of a winter destination. Winters there are cold and don’t see much in the way of snow for skiers. That said, nowhere in Switzerland is too far from mountains; you can reach the slopes of Leysin in under 1.5 hours by car or train from Lausanne.

How to Get Around Lausanne

To make the most of your time visiting Lausanne and Lake Geneva, you need to know the best way to get around. This itinerary will have you covering plenty of ground, and even just in and around Lausanne, walking isn’t really the best option. At the very least, you’ll need to know how to get from one area to the next, like from the Old Town down to Ouchy.

Lausanne’s public transport consists of the metro, a trolley, and bus services, as well as regional trains connecting the city to places like Montreux and Chillon Castle. Perhaps the most important option for tourists is the M2 line, a metro route that climbs the steep hill from Ouchy to the city center. 

Lausanne has a great promotion for tourists using public transport: If you stay at a hotel in the city, you can ask for a complimentary Lausanne Transport Card, which provides free travel on public transport for the duration of your stay. Otherwise, tickets start at €3 for a one-hour pass for travel within the city. Regional trains are more expensive, of course.

Gothic cathedral behind Charles Bessieres bridge in Lausanne, Switzerland
trabantos /

Where to Stay in Lausanne

Your accommodations have a big impact on the quality of your trip, making the decision of where to stay in Lausanne a pretty important one. The city isn’t very large, and you’ll spend most of your time either in the Old Town area or down near Ouchy. That means those are the best places to stay in Lausanne, but somewhere else with good access to public transport may also do.

If you’re looking to surround yourself in luxury and refinement, the Lausanne Palace is the place to be. This five-star hotel is perfectly positioned in the city center, with spacious rooms offering views of the Old Town and Lake Geneva, not to mention four restaurants and spa facilities.

For a nice mix of comfort, style, and affordability, Agora Swiss Night by Fassbind is a nice place to station yourself. Centrally located and sleekly designed, this four-star hotel has everything you need for a pleasant stay.

You won’t find anywhere cheap in Lausanne to stay, the most affordable option being the Lausanne Youth Hostel Jeunotel. A short walk from the lake and public transport to the west of the city center, this hostel provides clean dorms as well as private rooms, and it serves up a great free breakfast.

Another possibility to consider for accommodation is Airbnb, where you can generally find a wider range of price points and property types.

For more accommodation options in Lausanne, check out This site consistently offers the best rates, and its customer service is on point.

The Perfect 2-Day Lausanne Itinerary

Even if Lausanne isn’t a huge tourist destination in Switzerland, it has more than enough going on to keep you happily busy for two or more days. The city offers a nice variety of attractions, with something to interest nearly every visitor. 

To experience the best of Lausanne, you’re going to be moving around the city. This Lausanne travel itinerary will explain what to see in not only the city center, but also in other towns and spots along the shores of Lake Geneva. 

However, before we get to our Lausanne itinerary, we just wanted to remind you to purchase travel insurance. You never know what will happen and, trust us, you do not want to get stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills. As a wise man once said, “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.” So don’t leave home without it.

SafetyWing offers travel insurance for only about $10 a week, making it a no-brainer to get. You can get a quick, non-binding quote below:

SafetyWing is, of course, not the only option available. Two other popular alternatives are World Nomads and Heymondo.

With that important note covered, it’s time to jump into all the best places to visit in Lausanne. Using this city guide, you won’t have any trouble keeping busy during your two days in Lausanne.

Day 1 in Lausanne

Since you’re here to see Lausanne, it only makes sense to begin with the main attractions around the city. To do that, you’ll need to explore both the Old Town and the waterfront neighborhood of Ouchy.

Old Town

The best place to start in Lausanne is the Old Town, the central part of the city that retains some historical character. 

Lausanne’s historic center is not as completely preserved as others in Europe, but a notable exception is Place de la Palud, a small square among the cobblestone streets. Here you’ll find the Fountain of Justice, some old apartments, and the distinguished Town Hall, which was built in the 15th century and features two detailed bronze dragons emerging from its roof.

Another sight you won’t want to miss in the Old Town is the beautiful Escaliers du Marché. This covered wooden stairway starts just near the Place de la Palud, taking you past pretty storefronts and small terraces all the way up to your next stop, Lausanne Cathedral.

Place de la Palud or Palud square with the iconic Justice fountain and the Lausanne city hall in Lausanne Switzerland
Keitma /

Lausanne Cathedral

This cathedral is a fair reward for your climb up the Escaliers du Marché. Completed in the 13th century, the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Lausanne has a striking Gothic look. The now-Protestant church has an equally impressive interior, including some beautiful stained-glass windows that were reintroduced during the cathedral restorations in the 19th and 20th centuries. At nighttime, listen for the church’s night watchman calling out the hours from the tower, 72 meters up.

View of the Swiss city of Lausanne on Lake Geneva and the Alps
Eugen Bond /

Palais de Rumine

A short walk from the cathedral lies Palais de Rumine, an extravagant 19th-century landmark with a Florentine Renaissance design. The palace is hard to miss, given how large this public building is. In fact, it’s now home to multiple museums and the library of the University of Lausanne. Even if you’re not interested in the museums there – which include the Cantonal Museum of Zoology and the Vaud Geology Museum – it’s worth ducking inside anyway to see the exquisite main hall.

The Palais de Rumine in Lausanne - Switzerland
Leonid Andronov /

Tour de Sauvabelin

Being a city on a steep hillside, Lausanne spoils tourists with viewpoints. But none quite compare to the panorama you’ll find at the top of the Tour de Sauvabelin north of the city center. 

Built in 2003 with a distinctive double-helix design and surrounded by forest in Sauvabelin Park, this wooden tower requires a bit of a trek, but that’s what it takes to enjoy the highest viewpoint in Lausanne. You’ll need to climb 151 steps to reach the views of Lausanne, Lake Geneva, and the Alps on both sides of the French-Swiss border.

Aerial view of Lausanne, Lake Geneva, Switzerland
Sina Ettmer Photography /

Olympic Museum 

One of Lausanne’s claims to fame is being home to the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee. That relationship has led to one of the most popular tourist attractions in Lausanne: the Olympic Museum. This world-class museum in Ouchy takes you through the ancient and modern history of the games, the values of the competition, and its various sporting events.

The museum boasts plenty of memorabilia, including a room dedicated to the different Olympic torches over the years. It even has interactive elements that are perfect for kids, such as fun tests of hand-eye coordination and physical abilities.

The Olympic Museum in Olympic Park in Lausanne, on the shore of the Lake Leman (Lake Geneva) near Olympic Museum, Swiss Riviera, Switzerland
Aliaksandr Antanovich /

Musée de l’Elysée

July 2022 Update: The Musée de l’Elysée has been relocated to Plateforme 10, Lausanne’s arts district, in a building designed by the Portuguese architect Aires Mateus; the building also houses two other museums: the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts.

Just over from the Olympic Museum, surrounded by carefully manicured gardens, is the Musée de l’Élysée. This is one of many museums in Lausanne that celebrate the arts, but its focus on photography is unique.

The collection of photographs in this stately 18th-century mansion is extraordinary, with more than 100,000 on display. Exhibits range from the early days of color photography to contemporary work, showcasing famous and obscure artists and subjects in equal measure. The museum also details the history of the medium, showing how it has developed over the years.

Ouchy Promenade

At the base of the hill, you’ll reach the lovely waterfront of Ouchy along Lake Geneva. Running by the lake is a pretty promenade lined with parks, gardens, and Belle Époque architecture. Whether you stroll along the water’s edge or sit down to watch the ferries come and go, there’s no denying the beauty of the view here, with the Savoy Alps looming large on the far side of the lake.

Motorboat with man wakeboarding on Lake Geneva embankment near Chateau Ouchy in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Roman Babakin /

Day 2 in Lausanne

Rather than spend the rest of your 48 hours in Lausanne seeing more of the city, take to the shores of Lake Geneva on your second day. There you can experience an interesting mix of places and make the most of the lake’s stunning scenery. 

1. Lake Geneva Cruise

During your first day, you undoubtedly had many moments to appreciate the beauty of Lake Geneva from the city. Why not enjoy the lake from a new angle by taking a boat ride? There are many ways to enjoy a boat ride around Lake Geneva, including group and private tours, but the easiest is to simply take a CGN ferry around to Montreux or Vevey. You’ll get to see not only more of the lake and the city, but also the Savoy Alps and the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces.

Panoramic view of Geneva Lake with touristic old ferry in Vevey town. Vaud canton, Switzerland
Valery Bareta /

2. Montreux

As you head east along the shores of Lake Geneva from Lausanne, the main town you’ll come across is Montreux. Famous for the Montreux Jazz Festival, which draws huge international crowds each July, this resort town boasts a clear love of music and a splendid waterfront. These two elements combine perfectly with one of its most popular photo spots – a statue of singer Freddie Mercury on the lakeside promenade. Montreux takes its love of Queen even further with Queen: The Studio Experience, a museum inside a former recording studio that the band favored.

Freddie Mercury former Queen music band leader bronze statue by artist Irena on Geneva Lake shore in Montreux Switzerland
Keitma /

3. Chillon Castle

Follow the waterfront out of Montreux to one of Switzerland’s most photogenic buildings, Chillon Castle. Once you’ve visited, you’ll have no trouble believing that it’s the most visited historic monument in the country. 

Sitting just off the shore of Lake Geneva, this island castle dates back to the 10th century, though there was once a Roman outpost there as well. While the best views of the castle are from the lakeside promenade, you can also take a tour inside to learn about its medieval history. 

Sunset of Chillon Castle at Geneva lake, Switzerland
FenlioQ /

4. Vevey

Another town worth stopping at on your way back to Lausanne is Vevey. Exploring this historic resort town, you’ll find a wonderful collection of Belle Époque hotels, including the Grand Hotel du Lac, hinting at the town’s golden age in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Vevey also enjoys pretty views along Lake Geneva’s shores, while the statue of Charlie Chaplin and a giant fork sculpture add a little whimsy to the promenade.

Vevey old town pedestrian laneway with people walking and ancient houses during summer in Vevey Vaud Switzerland
Keitma /

5. Lavaux Vineyards

Finally you come to the incredible terraced vineyards of Lavaux, which spread across a large section of the hills overlooking Lake Geneva. The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces are a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to their grand heritage of viticulture, which can be traced back to Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries from the 11th century.

There are 32 kilometers of paths through the vineyards for you to explore. The hills above the stations of Cully and Villette are particularly good places for sweeping views of these breathtaking terraces. Needless to say, you won’t have much trouble finding wine cellars here where you can try the local wines.

Lavaux, Switzerland: Landscape of Lavaux Vineyard Terrace hiking trail, Lake Geneva and Swiss mountains
Mor65_Mauro Piccardi /

That just about sums up everything you need to know to visit Lausanne in two days. There’s plenty to see in and around this underrated city, making it a worthwhile inclusion for your Swiss vacation. Make sure to look at our other Swiss city guides to round out your itinerary, including Zurich, Lucerne, Geneva, and Bern.

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