We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

One or two days in Lausanne?

Broomfield, Colorado
Level Contributor
63 posts
Save Topic
One or two days in Lausanne?

We are coming to Switzerland for ten days. Our plan was to head straight to Zermatt from Paris and spend two days in Zermatt, but drama (awful weather forecast, super expensive train cost from Paris, hotel bed shortage) made us rethink our plan. We decided to instead opt for Lausanne.

We will be arriving in the early afternoon on 6/28 and must be in Murren by 6pm on 6/30. We have a hotel for two evenings in Lausanne (evening of of 6/28 and 6/29). This leaves us basically two full days, though they are divided up into a half day on Thursday, all day Friday, and another half day Saturday.

We are interested in strolling the city and definitely spending time in Ouchy. My question is whether it would be advisable to spend all of our time in the Lausanne area or take a day trip elsewhere? Montreux? Gruyeres? Leave early Saturday and see some of Bern?

I recognize it's hard to give advice to someone when you don't know what they like to do, but I guess I'd just like some opinions on what you would do if you were me. We are generally easy to please. We enjoy nice views, charming streets, European parks (way more fun than those in the US!!), people watching, picnicking, pretty much anything other than indoor museums which I'm sure are great, but we would rather be out and about hanging with the locals.

I would appreciate your thoughts. Thank you!

10 replies to this topic
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
72 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: One or two days in Lausanne?

Montreux and Vevey!

Canton of Valais...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
42,719 posts
200 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: One or two days in Lausanne?

For Lausanne - which is a complicated place to get around - see this link:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g188107-c180593/Lausa…

Since you mention parks - there is a lovely park in Ouchy - a little further along the lake than the Olympic Museum. In it you will find a Thai temple. Why? Because the late King of Thailand spent much of his youth in Lausanne and it was his gift to the people of Lausanne.

Basically you can do anything from Lausanne that you could do from Vevey and Montreux with a 20 mins train ride tacked on. So go to the Montreux forum and look at the links of the right hand tool bar. They will take you to articles on sightseeing in and around the area.

I would not have chosen Lausanne - I know it well and still get lost. And the lakefront is a long way from the centre which is a shame. But it seems you are stuck wtih it!

In hindsight - a shame you did not post here about getting from Paris to Zermatt. TGVs run frequently between Paris and Lausanne and Basel. The "horrendous cost" of the train ticket you mention was probably from one of those towns on to Zermatt. But we would have told you how to get a Saver Day Pass which would drastically have reduced the cost of the ticket!! Water over the dam...

Broomfield, Colorado
Level Contributor
63 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: One or two days in Lausanne?

I'm not stuck with Lausanne. We have refundable reservations for our hotel. It's basically just our entrance point to Switzerland because I got a really cheap ticket from Paris (175 Euros for five people). We can go on anywhere from there, if there is a better option.

Being from Colorado, I know how mountain weather behaves. However, the forecast looks brutal for Zermatt and Rick Steves basically said it's not worth going there if it's cloudy, so that freaked me out.

Should I change things up again? We don't leave for Paris until Sunday, so I can change things up if there is a better option.

Thank you for the help!

paris london
Level Contributor
4,858 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: One or two days in Lausanne?

Like most cities, Lausanne is very much an 'indoor' place. While there is plenty to do, it's more suited for visitors (and locals) with cultural and gastronomic interests. It is far less touristic than Montreux/Vevey, and while this does mean that you will encounter plenty of locals in the bars of an evening, you can't expect them to be lolling in the parks and cafés all day as they have to work. You will enjoy Ouchy, also perhaps the outdoors terrace bars in the central Flon district or the Great Escape behind the cathedral. Wandering around will take you through some ancient streets and past some interesting buildings, but you need to be prepared for steep inclines almost everywhere.

You might enjoy a half-day in Yvoire, which is a quick ferry ride across the lake, and far smaller and more 'picture postcard'.

By the way, Switzerland is not Italy - privacy is valued, and 'people watching' is not an activity many would entertain.

Broomfield, Colorado
Level Contributor
63 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: One or two days in Lausanne?

Thank you all for the feedback. It sounds like maybe I should reconsider my plans. Maybe we should use Lausanne just as an entry point to Switzerland and go on to Zermatt from here, taking our chances with the weather. Rick Steves just has me freaked out about Zermatt if it's not sunny. He seemed to suggest it wasn't worth the trouble. Now I'm even more stressed out!

Canton of Valais...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
42,719 posts
200 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: One or two days in Lausanne?

You cannot get to Yvoire from Lausanne. If you want to go there go to Nyon and take the shuttle boat across. Going from Lausanne means getting a boat to Evian and connecting there to one that will stop in Yvoire and they are not that frequent. See www.cgn.ch for details.

Nomarmite's points about locals not using parks much (aside from weekends of course) AND more importantly the fact that we like to guard our privacy are important...

Rick Steves very often doesn't know what he is talking about. Zermatt, being in the southern Valais alps which is quite arid, has lots of sunny dry weather. It is just important to allow enough time up there as an "insurance policy". I think we have all had experiences of low clouds in Zermatt which block the views. I would drop Steves books if I were you - use the Michelin Green Guides which are great!

Broomfield, Colorado
Level Contributor
63 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: One or two days in Lausanne?

Thank you again! Alright, I'm going to cancel my hotel in Lausanne and rebook for Zermatt (thankfully, my original Zermatt hotel is still available!). I'll use one of the supersaver tickets to get from Lausanne to Zermatt, as you suggested. It looks like those are very reasonable at 20CHF for the time we would need to travel. I have no idea why it was so expensive from Paris, but I was getting a 1700 Euro quote and I thought I was going to have a heart attack!

I'm not planning to gawk at the locals, don't worry. :) I meant it more as hanging out in a park - like Vondelpark in Amsterdam - and watching the world go by. We plan to spend most of our time in Switzerland hiking and hopefully enjoying the Alps.

I'm so glad I posted this so I didn't make a mess of the start of our Switzerland stay! I truly appreciate the feedback, everyone!

Canton of Valais...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
42,719 posts
200 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: One or two days in Lausanne?

Sounds great to me. And I checked the Zermatt weather for 28th and 29th though it is too early to be reliable the forecast on Meteoblue is for sun and clouds and on the Friday, a thunderstorm. Since those generally don't happen in the mountains until the late afternoon my guess is you will be OK.

Saver Day Pass: Go to www.sbb.ch/en. Then search for Saver Day pass. Choose date(s) of travel. And buy. Don't delay because prices go up as date of journey comes nearer. Right now, for 28th June price is 52frs in 2nd class. The SDP is valid on ALL trains to all inhabited places here for the day in question. You can use it to go to Zermatt any way you like (but clearly the fastest from Lausanne is train to Visp and connect to Zermatt. Normal 2nd class fare on that route is 81frs so you will save almost 30frs...

Level Contributor
6 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: One or two days in Lausanne?

I have been to Zermatt, you cannot predict the weather at all. Please take a chance & definitely visit the Toblerone mountain for sure. 110% better than Lausanne for sure 😎

Canton of Valais...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
42,719 posts
200 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: One or two days in Lausanne?

WHAT on earth is the "Toblerone mountain" ??? There is no mountain in Switzerland called that.

Reply to: One or two days in Lausanne?
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted