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Are you confused about deciding whether to choose Lausanne or Vevey for your next trip to Switzerland? Both are charming destinations on Lake Geneva. These two towns boast picturesque settings, providing awe-inspiring mountain panoramas and convenient lakefront access, further enhancing their enchanting allure.
Both are beautiful on their terms. So which place is better to visit if you had to choose one: Lausanne or Vevey?
No matter which city you choose to travel both Lausanne and Vevey are very convenient and scenic. The choice would depend on your preferences. Vevey is better for those who want a quiet and relaxing space to enjoy the scenery. Lausanne is better for those who seek a variety of activities, hang out with young people, and visit historical buildings in the city.
Both cities give you all the reasons to plan a getaway at your convenience.
Overview: Lausanne and Vevey
Due to their proximity, Lausanne and Vevey share more similarities than differences. The following is a quick overview of both locations:
|Population: approx. 140,000||Population: approx. 26,000|
|Area: 41 km²||Area: 2.38 km²|
|Elevation: 526 m (1,725 ft)||Elevation: 383 m (1,257 ft)|
|Language: French||Language: French|
|Highlights: Lausanne Cathedral, Olympic Museum, Ouchy|
Plateforme 10, Lausanne Old Town
|Highlights: Alimentarium, Chaplin’s World, Lavaux Vineyards, Mont Pèlerin|
|Lake: Geneva (or Lac Léman)||Lake: Geneva (or Lac Léman)|
|Canton: Vaud||Canton: Vaud|
The Highlights: Lausanne or Vevey
Lausanne is a university town with an attractive old town and cathedral, the Olympic Museum, and some nightlife. It also has a rich history. Back in the olden days, the Celts and Romans ruled it.
Lausanne hosts one of the largest universities in Europe and has a significant student population along with restaurants, bars, and hotels around the center. As such, this city built on three hills has a young, international, and busy vibe owing to its young residents.
Vevey is a charming town on the northeastern shores of Lake Geneva near Mont Pèlerin and the Lavaux Vineyards. Located in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland, Vevey boasts several notable cultural institutions and events that contribute to its rich heritage such as the Alimentarium, Chaplin’s World, the Vevey Historical Museum, Vevey International Photography Award, and the Fête des Vignerons.
Vevey’s scenic waterfront promenade offers breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. One of the most iconic landmarks along the promenade is the large fork sculpture called Le Fourchette, a tall, stainless steel fork created by Jean-Pierre Zaugg for the Alimentarium. The large fork sculpture has since been an emblematic symbol of the town.
Vevey has a relaxed, touristy feel, likely even more so than Lausanne. It offers a tranquil and laid-back atmosphere and picturesque setting. You will find a lot of people hanging out near the lake on a bright and sunny day.
Things To Do: Lausanne or Vevey
Things To Do in Lausanne
Lausanne, with its charming old town and fantastic views of Lake Geneva, also has a lot of historical buildings and museums to visit. Here are some of the options in this city:
- Gothic Cathedral – Lausanne’s Gothic Cathedral is an awe-inspiring example of Gothic architecture, and it ranks among the most magnificent Gothic cathedrals in Europe. Dating back to the 12th century, this cathedral draws in hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
- Old Town – If you wish to explore the old town of the city and perhaps indulge in a little shopping, then be sure to check out the bustling streets of Rue de Bourg, St-François, Flon, and the lively square of Place de la Palud.
- Market – Every Wednesday and Saturday morning from 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM, there is a local farmer’s market around Rue de Bourg to Place de la Riponne.
- Ouchy – The relaxing, lakeside Ouchy can be a destination for walks and in summer can be combined with a swim in Bellerive.
- Bellerive Plage – the swimming pool in Bellerive near the lake has 3 large swimming pools including an Olympic-sized pool. It also has a supervised lake beach, beach volleyball courts, basketball courts, tennis tables, and an aquatic park on the lake.
- Olympic Museum Lausanne – the Olympic Museum guides visitors through the history of the Olympics, the sports equipment of various athletes, interactive multimedia and games, and more. The TOM café is also perfect for hanging out as it gives a magnificent view of the lake and the Alps from its terrace.
- MCBA Art Museum – the MCBA showcases thousands of works of art. It covers visual arts and works such as those by Degas, Cézanne, Denis, Rodin, Giovanni Giacometti, and many more.
- Aquatis Lausanne – Aquatis is not just an aquarium. It also features a Komodo dragon, a poisonous snake, and other terrestrial animals.
Things To Do in Vevey
- Alimentarium – Visitors of all ages can explore the cultural, social, and scientific aspects of food in this museum. Supported by the Nestlé Foundation, you will learn more about machines used in the food industry, the human body, how food affects your health and the human diet.
- Chaplin’s World – A museum in Corsier-sur-Vevey that honors the legendary silent film actor Charlie Chaplin who lived here until the end of his life. He left a wealth of works and his life behind in his manor, which is preserved for visitors to see.
- Mont Pèlerin – On the way up to Mont Pélerin, you will get a glimpse of this UNESCO World Heritage Site via Chardonne. These are the Lavaux, Vineyard Terraces. Up in Mont-Pèlerin, the view of the Savoy Alps and Lac Leman is excellent. You will see Moléson, Rochers de Naye, and Diablerets, among others.
- Musée Jenisch – The museum showcases a diverse collection of fine arts and prints.
- Vevey Photography Museum – At the heart of Vevey, this Swiss Camera museum is dedicated to the art of photography featuring inspiring exhibitions featuring cameras and movie projectors.
- Swiss Museum of Games – Located in La Tour-de-Peilz between Vevey and Montreux, this museum features board games from ancient times to modern ones. You can try out a number of games yourself if you wish.
- Vevey History Museum – The historical museum features interesting exhibitions about life in the region as well as the famous winegrowers’ festival Fête des Vignerons.
- Place du Marché – The marketplace is a huge open space in front of Lake Geneva with more than 10,000 m2. It is one of the largest open spaces in Europe. Although it houses a car park, the space does allow various events such as markets, circus, Saint-Martin fair, and other one-off events.
- Fête des Vignerons – You are unlikely to catch it because it only takes place 4 times per century but this traditional festival of winegrowers is a huge festival. The performances take place in Place du Marché. Since 2016, Fête des Vignerons has been included in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage.
- Vevey’s Churches – Among the churches in Vevey are the Eastern Orthodox Church, Swiss Reformed Church of Saint-Martin
- Saint-Jean Tower and Fountain – An ancient clock tower whose roots can be traced to the medieval era. It was named after St. John the Baptist (Saint Jean Baptiste). At its foot, you can see a fountain built in the 18th century.
Hotels: Lausanne or Vevey
While Lausanne has a greater variety of hotel options, Vevey also offers a variety of hotels with stunning lake views, suitable for a variety of budgets. Check out our Lausanne and Vevey hotel recommendations below.
Recommended Hotels in Lausanne
- Beau-Rivage Palace (5-star) – The Beau-Rivage Palace is a luxury hotel located in Switzerland and one of the best hotels in Europe. Since 1861, it has been a popular address for celebrities and politicians, such as Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel, and Nelson Mandela. This beautiful hotel features not only gorgeous architecture and antiques, but also excellent service, two swimming pools, a spa, and a fitness center.
- Lausanne Palace (5-star) – Located in Lausanne, this elegant 5-star hotel is a historic landmark. Located near the Montbenon Esplanade, it features views of Le Flon or Lake Geneva. The hotel features an indoor pool, spa, fitness center, and Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant.
- Château d’Ouchy (4-star) – Located in Ouchy, Lausanne, this renovated medieval castle near the lake has an original donjon. In addition to an outdoor pool, there is a restaurant and bar at the hotel.
- Alpha-Palmiers by Fassbind (4-star) – Our favorite hotel in Lausanne, we have stayed here at least three times. It is located near Lausanne’s train station and offers clean rooms at a reasonable price. There is a Thai restaurant, a classic Swiss restaurant, and a bar. The hotel has a tropical garden in the middle.
- Hotel Angleterre & Résidence (4-star) – On the shore of Lake Geneva, the Hotel Angleterre & Résidence is 12 minutes away from the lake. This unique hotel is spread over 6 historical pavilions dating from the 18th, 19th, and 21st centuries. The hotel features a swimming pool, a beachfront, and a fitness center. Here you can enjoy a good breakfast or a fine dining meal at the Italian restaurant.
- Hôtel du Port (3-star) – Located near the lake and harbor in Lausanne, this small hotel is family-run. The hotel offers cozy rooms, fine cuisine, and beautiful views of Lake Geneva and the Alps.
Recommended Hotels in Vevey
Summary: Lausanne or Vevey
Generally speaking, Lausanne and Vevey both have very beautiful scenery and are pleasant to visit. Personally, I don’t think you could go wrong with either choice.
Despite this, I have listed below some of the main advantages of choosing each location. I hope the list will assist you in making your decision.
Advantages of Choosing Lausanne
- Lausanne, being one of the largest cities in French Switzerland, has definitely more hotels, restaurants, and shops to choose from compared to Vevey. There are also more residents in this city. It is better for those who want a more vibrant, lively city.
- Lausanne appeals to a diverse set of visitors due to its cultural scene, numerous events, exhibitions, and tourist attractions.
- Lausanne is more hilly, characterized by slopes and terraces. This means that you do get more beautiful, panoramic views as you move up the city.
- Lausanne is better if you are into history. Its historic area has narrow, winding streets and medieval architecture. The impressive Lausanne Cathedral towers over the city and is worth a visit.
- Compared to Vevey, Lausanne has better train connections with most Swiss cities and towns. The city itself is a major transportation hub, with a well-developed train network. You can easily reach Geneva, Bern, Zurich, and other major cities from Lausanne.
Advantages of Choosing Vevey
- Comparatively, Vevey is slightly less touristy than Lausanne. Their hotels and restaurants are fewer, and they seem to have more local residents. It is better for those who want a more relaxing, scenic place.
- Vevey appeals to those who want a more relaxed experience. It is closer to Montreux, Mont Pèlerin, Chaplin’s World, and Alimentarium. It is also closer to the Lavaux Vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its terraced vineyards and wine production.
- Vevey has a flatter topography, making it easier to explore on foot. Furthermore, the market center and promenade provide scenic views of the lake and nearby mountains.
- Vevey is better if you like wine and culture. Vevey hosts the Vevey International Photography Award and the Fête des Vignerons.
- Vevey also has a historical center, though not as large as Lausanne’s. There are several charming boutiques scattered throughout the village that are worth discovering.
My personal preference is Lausanne. I think that it is the perfect place. It combines both old and new, lake and hilltop panoramic views, a busy city, and relaxed lakeside. There are so many things to do in Lausanne and I am always happy to visit it.
Related Posts: Lausanne
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Related Posts: Vevey
- Geneva To Vevey Train: All You Need To Know
- How to Spend 1 Day in Vevey, Switzerland
- 10 Best Day Trips from Vevey
- Chaplin’s World: The Inspiring Charlie Chaplin Museum In Corsier-sur-Vevey
- 8 Beautiful Towns Near Vevey, Switzerland
- 8 Best Places on Lake Geneva
- Mont-Pèlerin Switzerland: 7 Best Things to Do
Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.