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Lausanne is the capital city of the Swiss canton of Waadt/Vaud, in the western part of the country. It is located along the shores of Lake Geneva and Geneva itself is just a mere 50 kilometres to the west. With the Jura Mountains and The Alps nearby and located within a wine region, it's a great base from where to explore the region. It is also the unofficial 'Olympic Capital', with the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee located here. The city has about 135,000 inhabitants, making it the fifth largest city in the country.
For more information, also visit the Lausanne Tourism website.
Summers in Lausanne are from June to early September when daytime temperatures are mostly between 20 and 25 °C and nights are around 10-12 °C. Winters last from December to early March when it's around 3 or 4 °C during the day and few degrees below zero at night. Precipitation is fairly common throughout most of the year, although spring and summer are just slightly drier. Average monthly rain/snowfall is around 60-70mm.
Although Lausanne has a small airport, mainly used by small planes, there are no international connections.
Instead, the Geneva Cointrin International Airport (GVA) is the main gateway, just about 50km away near Geneva. From here, dozens of airlines serve cities in Europe and further away. Lowcost airline Easyjet has many flights to/from Ajaccio, Alicante, Amsterdam, Asturias, Barcelona, Bastia, Belfast, Berlin, Birmingham, Bordeaux, Bournemouth, Bristol, Brussels, Budapest, Cagliari, Copenhagen, Dubrovnik, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Ibiza, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Lisbon, Liverpool, London, Madrid, Málaga, Manchester, Marrakech, Nantes, Naples, Newcastle, Nice, Olbia, Palma de Mallorca, Paris, Porto, Rome, Sharm el Sheikh, Split, Stockholm and Toulouse. Some of them are seasonal only. Many other airlines mainly serve European destinations (as far away as Moscow and Reykjavik.
Cities further away include Montreal, Toronto, Algiers, Mauritius, New York, Tel Aviv, Cairo, Kuwait, Tehran, Beirut, Amman, Riyadh, several places in Tunisia and Morocco, and Tashkent.
The Swiss Federal Railways has about three to four trains an hour to/from Geneva (35 to 50 minutes) and its airport (45 to 60 minutes). One or two hourly trains travel to/from Bern (60 to 70 minutes). Up to four trains an hour run to Yverdon-les-Bains (20 to 45 minutes). There are at least one or two trains an hour to places like Zürich and Bern as well.
French SNCF has four daily trains to/from Paris and the Cisalpino has 8 daily trains to/from Milan. There are a few more trains with the Italian Railways, with connections to Rome and Venice.
CGN has boats from Ouchy to destinations around Lake Geneva. From late May to late September there are frequent departures to most major tourist areas, including the French side. There are no car ferries though.
Up to 14 boats daily shuttle to and from Evian-les-Bains (France) in July and August (40 minutes), and to seven to nine boats during the rest of the year. There are less-frequent boats to places like Montreux (1½ hours) and Geneva (3½ hours).
The Lausanne Metro System provides fast and efficient transport in the city and immediate surroundings.
The medieval city centre and its direct surroundings are easily explored on foot.
Lausanne Roule provides free bikes, though a deposit is required.
|Hotel Bellerive||Avenue de Cour 99, cp 34||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Regina Garni||Grand-Saint-jean 18 CH-1003||Hotel||-|
|Lausanne Guesthouse & Backpacker||Chemin des Epinettes 4||Hostel||85|
|Minotel Crystal||Chaucrau 5||Hotel||-|
|Youthhostel Lausanne||Ch. du Bois-du-Vaux 36||Hostel||78|
|Hotel La Chotte||Chemin du Village 19||Hotel||-|
Switzerland has a high rate of people with their own internet connection and computers, so internet cafes are not as common compared to other countries and compared to the past. But still you will be able to find a computer in the main cities and tourist areas, also at libraries, video rental shops, train stations or tourist information places. Wifi is widely available, though sometimes at a cost. A growing number of hotels, restaurants, coffee bars and fastfood joints now offer free wifi.
See also: International Telephone Calls
Switzerland's country code is 41 and the emergency phone numbers are 117 (police), 118 (fire department) and 144 (emergency rescue service/ambulance). Swiss phone numbers consist of the area code and a local phone number. The area code has three digits and starts with a zero, such as 022 for Geneva. The local phone number has usually 7 digits, but there are numbers with only 5 or 6 digits.
If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands - they usually cost around 10-40 CHF and are obtainable in the shops of the mobile service providers Swisscom, Orange or Sunrise in most cities. Mobile network coverage is close to 100% by area, even in the mountainous, non-populated areas. There are also a lot of cheap prepaid cards for local calls from other providers. The prepaid cards of the big supermarket chains Migros and Coop for example cost around 20 CHF and include already 15 CHF airtime. The cheapest prepaid card for calls within Switzerland is Aldi Mobile. The cheapest prepaid card for international communication is Yallo. The prepaid cards can be bought online (30 CHF with 30 CHF airtime inclusive), in most post offices (29 CHF with 20 CHF airtime inclusive) or Sunrise shops (20 CHF with 20 CHF airtime inclusive).
Swiss Post is the national postal service of Switzerland and has fast and reliable services. For more information about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally, they have a very useful Price Calculator. Domestically, there is priority mail (arriving the following day) and economy mail which takes 2-3 days to be send within Switzerland. Stamps can be bought at the post offices or from shops and kiosks that also sell postcards. In general, post offices are open from 8:00am to noon and 2:00pm to 5:00 or 6:00pm, with a lunchbreak in between. Opening times on Saturdays are usually only during mornings. Larger cities and central post offices might keep longer hours and skp the lunchbreak. If you want to send packages internationally, you might also consider international courier companies like TNT, DHL or UPS.
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