If you are planning a trip to Lausanne, then here are three spectacular things you should not miss. These stunning things to do near Lausanne will leave you dreaming of packing your bags and changing nationality.
Things to do near Lausanne
Lavaux wine terraces
A trip to Lutry is a must. From St Francois, take bus 9 to the stop Voisinand and head to the port. You will find a small esplanade and a ticket office for the Grand Tour of the vineyards.
Unlike the wine tram in Franschhoek, this is more of an opportunity for you to enjoy the magnificent scenery of the UNESCO world heritage vineyards which cling to vertiginous hillsides. The terraces were built by monks in the 12th century, and they were clearly desperate for a glass of wine, as the inclines are calf busting at best, and heart attack inducing at worst.
The hour tour on the cute green and yellow train is panoramic bliss, with far reaching views over the lake to France and the Alps. You can also admire chocolate box Swiss chalets, decorated with geraniums in vivid shades of red and pink, as you meander through quaint lakeside villages. There’s one short stop towards the end, where you can jump out and sample some local wines, overlooking a superb view of the lake.
Steep inclines and narrow lanes are the norm for this tourist train which occasionally paps its horn to alert locals to its arrival.
From the port it is also worth jumping on the 68 or 69 bus and heading to Grandvaux. Jump off at the railway station and take a short stroll to the town of Cully. Whilst there’s nothing much to see there (although it is another cute little town) the walk through the vineyard paths is spectacular.
You will get a close encounter with the vines and appreciate how hard cultivating and harvesting this wine must be.
Getting to Lutry and Cully
Guests of Lausanne hotels receive a free transportation card for durations of up to 15 days. Make the most of it as this is the only bargain you will find in Lausanne. This saves visitors 26 CHF per week and is a welcome gift as Lausanne is not exactly flat.
The card includes the bus trip to Lutry and return train from Cully.
You can also walk the 3.5 miles along the lakeside from Ouchy to Lutry which is a pleasant and scenic amble.
You can do this trip by boat or train, but the boat round trip to Montreux costs 53 CHF and you do not seem able to hop off and off. Alternatively, buy a day pass, allowing unlimited travel and this costs 64 CHF.
If you have the aforementioned Lausanne travel card, you get pretty impressive discounts on the train. Our trip should cost 52 CHF but with the card, it was just 29 CHF. The journey takes around twenty minutes and offers elevated views of the lake shimmering under blue skies.
Once you arrive in town, head to the lakeside and turn left. It’s around a 40 minute walk along the lake to Chillon Castle. This is one of the most visited attractions in Switzerland and even if you choose not to go inside, it’s worth the trip. It’s thick walls tumble to the lake while fairytale turrets tower above you.
To return to town, jump on the 201 bus back to town. There’s a ticket machine at the back of the bus and the fare is around 3 CHF.
Two bonus attractions in Lausanne
If you are starting to expand your visit into surrounding areas, chances are you already have discovered these two gems, but just in case….
Its hard to miss the imposing hulk of the cathedral towering above the town. It’s pretty impressive from the outside but the inside truly has the X Factor. I was particularly impressed by the stained glass windows and the long aisle.
The Olympic museum
Another attraction on the outskirts of Lausanne that you should not miss is the Olympic museum. For sports lovers, this museum has a great mix of fascinating facts, sports memorabilia and interactive exhibitions.
Other ideas for activities near Lausanne
Have you visited Lausanne?
So there you have it, three great places to visit near Lausanne on a weekend jaunt, and two bonus attractions. Maybe you’ve already visited and have other suggestions to add to mine. Feel free to pop your thoughts in the comments below. Lausanne may not be top of your list for a weekend city break, but if you are someone who loves culture, wine and scenery, it is the perfect escape.