There are few better places to get in the festive spirit than Lausanne. This beautiful city on the shores of Lake Geneva has plenty of treats in store. Here’s everything you need to try before you leave!
1. Lavaux Vineyard Terraces
The Lavaux vineyards were founded by Benedictine monks who tamed the steep slopes surrounding Lake Geneva to cultivate grapes. Today the terraces are a recognised UNESCO World Heritage site and still used to produce wine. Domaine Croix Duplex is a family-run vineyard which produces some of the best Chasselas in Switzerland.
2. Olympic Museum
Lausanne is home of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and has a museum dedicated to the history of the games. The Olympic Museum has everything from equipment used by former Olympic champions and original posters, to interactive displays challenging visitors to compete with Olympians in tests of speed, coordination and memory.
3. Belle Époque breakfast
The ferry connecting Lausanne with Evian across Lake Geneva runs a weekend Belle Époque breakfast service on Sundays. Take the half-hour ferry journey there and back while you enjoy a breakfast of teas, coffees and pastries with gorgeous views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
4. Collection de l’Art Brut
The Collection de l’Art Brut is a museum dedicated to outsider art. The term ‘Art Brut’ was coined by French painter Jean Dubuffet, whose collection of objects created by inmates of psychiatric hospitals and prisons is joined by sculptures and literature from others untouched by artistic culture.
5. Christmas markets
Lausanne has some of the most idyllic Christmas markets where you can experience traditional food and drink including fondue and mulled wine. There are three markets spread throughout the city, each with their own selection of locally-produced cheeses, meats and spirits. There’s also a twice weekly farmer’s market (Wednesdays and Saturdays) to stimulate the senses.
6. Lausanne Cathedral
Switzerland’s largest cathedral sits atop the hillsides overlooking Lausanne. The dramatic Gothic building was once split in two, allowing carriages to pass through, and today it’s used for services and home to the country’s largest organ. Local artists recreated the cathedral’s rose window from plastic bottles for Festival Lausanne Lumières – a collection of light installations spread throughout the city.
7. Local cuisine
Located in the French part of Switzerland, Lausanne has no shortage of amazing restaurants, cafés and bistros serving seasonal recipes. Be sure to check out The Lacustre, Brasserie de Montbenon, Café des Artisans, Café de Grancy and Lausanne Palace, the city’s iconic five-star hotel, for a cocktail before dinner.
Swiss chocolate comes in all manner of appealing shapes and forms. Head to Royaume Melazic and create your own Christmassy cupcakes using the good stuff. Founded by two sisters, the adorable shop hosts workshops where guests learn how to decorate their desserts.
9. La Nébuleuse distillery
La Nébuleuse is putting Lausanne’s craft brewing scene on the European map. Take a tour of the brewery and enjoy a beer tasting including Embuscade, recently awarded third-best Indian Pale Ale (IPA) at the European Beer Awards, and other quirky small batch recipes, including shrimp-flavoured beer and coconut porter.
10. Dance the night away
Lausanne is home to two award-winning nightclubs. Mad Club was recently awarded 83rd best nightclub in the world by DJMag, while D! Club has won plaudits for its dedication to techno. Both are easy to reach from the city centre and close to the Christmas markets.