The must do city break of 2024 – Lausanne, Switzerland

LOCATED in the stunning Swiss region of Vaud on the shores of Lake Geneva, Lausanne is one of the oldest recorded towns in Switzerland.

As with all Alpine destinations, the place seems to sing with vitality and wellbeing, with clear, fresh air, stunning mountain and lake views and pristine waters. Even the tap water boasts being the best and purest in the world, coming directly from protected underground natural springs.

Lausanne’s Gothic skyline framed by the Alps ©Switzerland Tourism Lorenz Richard

We stayed at the beautiful Lausanne Palace. Opened in 1915, the décor retains its original Belle Époque glamour and it’s easy to imagine the glamorous cocktail parties of bygone eras at the hotel bar.

The hotel features an indoor swimming pool and spa and four distinctive restaurants: Matcha Picchu – a culinary journey from Japan to Peru, Côté Jardin – famed for its summertime haute barbecue, Brasserie Grand Chêne – which regularly welcomes celebrity guests, and the two times Michelin-starred La Table du Palace.

The hotel even boasts a private chef’s show kitchen and a secret fumier and wine tasting room in the very depths of the hotel, reached only by passing through the kitchens and the laundry to what feels like a secret speakeasy.

Brasserie Montbenon located in the stunning esplanade de Montbenon overlooking Lake Geneva ©Schweiz Tourismus Colin Frei

The hotel is located in the centre of town, so all the main attractions are within walking distance. Very close by is the stunning Montbenon Park which overlooks the lake. Here we had dinner at Brasserie de Montbenon, which serves an impeccable blend of Swiss and French cuisines with a focus on fresh, seasonal, local ingredients.

Lausanne is adorned with stunning gothic mediaeval architecture and is framed by the Alps and 11km of lake shoreline. We highly recommend a walking tour with Anna Decoro (+41 79 510 25 29) to fully soak in the history and cultural richness.

Lausanne is the Olympic capital of the world and is home to the Olympics committee and museum along with 40 other international sports federations. In addition, Lausanne university is globally renowned and attracts 25,000 students from around the world, adding to Lausanne’s hip and diverse feel.

The five star Lausanne Palace ©Lausanne Palace

In the old town, cool, modern cafés and fashion boutiques sit alongside traditional chocolateries and toy shops on the ancient streets. Have a coffee outside at Place de la Palud and enjoy the historic clock tower putting on its charming display of the history of the Vaud region through animated wooden figures as the clock chimes the hour. Then head for the best ice cream in town at Loom Gelateria before taking in an afternoon of art at Platforme 10. 

The Lausanne shoreline ©Switzerland Tourism Lorenz Richard

For a day trip, France’s oldest spa town – Évian-les-bains, home of the eponymous Évian water company, is a short boat ride away. Here one can take in the stunning architecture and experience the healing effects of the mineral water, which is officially recognised by the medical association of France for its restorative properties, at the Évian spa.

Or if you prefer to stay in Lausanne, the town has several idyllic white sandy beaches which are a popular spot for sunbathing and lake swimming in the warmer months. This really is the town that has it all!

by Nicola Kavanagh

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