Lausanne city transport and tours
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Although the Old Town is compact, and flying crow distances across the city don’t look too bad, maps can only give half the story: in practice, days on end negotiating Lausanne’s mountainous gradients and cat’s cradle of valleys and bridges can get wearying. It’s likely that you’ll resort to the city’s excellent public transport sooner or later. A short journey of up to three stops costs Fr.1.30, while unlimited journeys across the whole network cost Fr.2.20 (one hour) or Fr.6.50 (24hr). A two-day Lausanne Card costs Fr.15, and gives free city transport as well as many discounts at shops and attractions around town, including twenty percent off museums, the opera and all meals at Manora on Place St-François, plus reduced entry to the huge indoor skate park on Rue Sévelin and free entry to municipal swimming pools.

You’ll mostly be using the buses, many of them electric, which fan out from the centre to cover all corners of the city, routes extending to neighbouring towns such as St-Sulpice in the west and Pully in the east. Most lines skirt the Old Town from St-François to Bel-Air to Riponne – only bus #16 winds through it. There’s also a metro: the steep Métro-Ouchy line (known fondly as la Ficelle, the String) links the Ouchy waterfront with Flon in the city centre, via the train station; the Métro-Gare shuttles continuously to and fro between Flon and the train station; and Métro-Ouest runs from Flon out to the university and Renens. At the time of writing, a tunnel was under construction to link Flon to the suburban train station under Place Chauderon, from where LEB operates commuter trains to Echallens. For details of the commercial boat services on the lake.

The station has bikes for rent as normal (daily 6.40am–7.40pm), but even the locals have to get off and wheel them up and down the city’s hills. Where they score is if you fancy a leisurely day cycling through the lakeshore vineyards either side of Lausanne, dropping your bike off in Nyon or Vevey and getting the train back to the city in the evening; or, conversely, taking it up into the hilly forests above Lausanne and then freewheeling down again. To blend in imperceptibly with the locals, rent some blades or a skateboard from the kiosk at 6 Place de la Navigation in Ouchy (July & Aug daily 1.30–7pm, April–June & Sept–Oct Sat & Sun 1.30–7pm; Fr.8 for the first hour, Fr.4/hr thereafter).

If you have heavy bags and a equally heavy wallet, taxis are a good standby for conquering those hills. Most of Lausanne’s cabs come under the umbrella of the Taxi Services’ central computerized network; call 0800/810 810.


The tourist office sponsors two-hour multilingual walking tours of the Old Town, which start from the Place de la Palud (May–Sept Mon–Sat 10am & 3pm; Fr.10). You can request tours at other times, and during the low season, from 021/321 77 66. During the Entrée libre pour un été season of summer cultural activities, there are a handful of literary and historical walking tours of Lausanne guided in English – check with the tourist office or the municipality information office for dates and details.

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