Nestled on the northern banks of Lake Geneva, Lausanne is a hilly city in the canton of Vaud. Set on a series of terraces, the charming old town sits at the top with the former fishing village of Ouchy at the bottom.
The snow-capped Savoy Alps in the distance provide a stunning backdrop to this picturesque city, known as the Olympic Capital. Its old town is free of cars, creating a pedestrian’s paradise replete with cobbled alleyways, gourmet eateries and boutique coffee shops.
The old town is filled with early Gothic architecture, the Cathedral of Notre Dame dominating the skyline. The waterfront district of Ouchy is perfect for wandering, boasting views of nearby France as well as the Olympic Museum.
Also in the canton of Vaud is Montreux, nestled in a sheltered bay on Lake Geneva. Surrounded by vineyards and the snow-covered Alps, it is an incredibly picturesque town. Embark on walks along the flower-adorned promenades, taking in the waters which have inspired musicians such as Deep Purple and Freddie Mercury.
The ancient stones of Crêtes Castle stand resolute on the banks while the tower fort of Châtelard Castle is unmistakable, perched on a hilltop overlooking vineyards and valleys. Perhaps most striking of all is Chillon Castle, a 12th-century fort set on the edge of Lake Geneva, with paintings dating back six centuries.
When to go
Visit in the warmer months to take advantage of the lakeside locations of Lausanne and Montreux and to visit the vineyards.
What to do
- Visit the Olympic Museum in Lausanne
- Explore the Ouchy waterfront
- Discover Crêtes, Châtelard, and Chillon Castles in Montreux
- Boat trips on the lake