It’s probably safe to say that many of us who were used to shops open on Sunday were shocked to find “nothing is open on Sunday in Switzerland”. But now that I know so much more, I can prove that it is not true. Almost all shops and supermarkets are closed but there are a lot of things that one can do as a family. So many in fact that I spent 3 days compiling them into this post! We just have to adopt some Swiss-ness, by enjoying outdoor more. After all, we are living in such a beautiful country! But worry not, I included options for those rainy windy Sundays you’d rather be indoor.

OUTDOOR

Vallee de la Jeunesse

Vallee de la Jeunesse is a huge playground for all ages. There is a massive green area for picnic and running around. There are all kinds of slides, climbing and balancing structures, a skate park, and a huge water fountain among other things. The hilly landscape is popular for skateboarders.

The children’s science museum Espace des inventions is located here and open on Sundays. We are fans of this museum.

Ouchy

We all know Ouchy is strong magnet for locals as well as tourists. Beside the view and the abundance of restaurants, there are many green spots and playgrounds for families to relax and do a picnic. Our favorite spot is the grassy area close to the Thai Pagoda.

The playground and Thai pagoda in Ouchy

The park of the Olympic Museum is great to stroll with children. All area are accessible for strollers and wheelchairs. Mine could never resist to race on the 100m athletic track. They often have free temporary exhibition and their TOM’s café Sunday brunch is very popular.

Park of Olympic Museum

The Bellerive beach and pool are not to be missed on a hot summer Sunday! (more about them below). But if you only had limited time and it was just for the little ones, the fountain pool on Place de Navigation is always accessible.

Place de la Navigation – Ouchy

Vidy

Vidy offers many similar perks as Ouchy, minus the touristy stuff.

Petit Train – Vidy

For the little ones, from around mid-March to October, there is a mini train that circulate in the park. Next to it, there is a playground (freshly renovated in 2016). For older children, the skate park Bowl de Vidy/Le Fievre may be of interest.

Vidy beach is also nice and close to the UNIL sport center, which can be accessed by those of you affiliated with UNIL or EPFL.

Biking in Vidy

Vidy can be crowded on a sunny weekend but it’s possible to bike around it if you don’t mind biking slowly at times. There are also pedal boats that you can rent.

Finally Vidy is the place where the locals picnic and barbecue. Note that you can’t use disposable barbecue grills there. You can use the ones provided by the city (that are most likely be taken already if you didn’t come early) or bring your own grill.

Sauvabelin

Lake Sauvabelin

Sauvabelin is especially nice to visit on a warm day. The higher altitude than Lausanne center, the trees and the artificial lake provide the fresh air, not far from the city center. The tower offers a breathtaking 360° view, while the Swiss native animals and the playground always delight little children. In summer you can rent a rowing boat. Read my 2014 post about Sauvabelin here.

Lausanne Parks

Lausanne has many parks that are large and beautiful (more here). Parc Mon Repos is one that attracts little children as there are playgrounds, a bird cage with many exotic birds, a fish pond, and for the parents: La Folie Voltaire, a charming café that opens in warmer month.

Exotic birds – Mon Repos Park

Parc de Valency is another favorite of ours, and especially in summer (May-Aug) as there is a free pool complex to cool down.

I believe it’s safe to say that all parks in Lausanne has at least one playground. Just remember to bring drinks and snacks!

Swimming pools and thermal baths

There are several swimming pools in Lausanne, indoor and the outdoor for the warmer months. These pools are not heated, so the water (27-28°C) may feel cold for the ones who don’t really swim. We are also a fan of the Pully swimming pool, and they often open a few weeks longer in summer season compared to Bellerive pool.

Copyright : Yverdon-les-Bains Centre Thermal

Thermal baths are always fun all year round. It’s my favorite escape when winter becomes too long. We don’t have one inside Lausanne, but there are a few around an hour drive that accept children. We like the one in Yverdon-les-Bains (closest to Lausanne), as well as Bernaqua in Bern. Bains de Saillon and Vitam (in , near Geneva) are also popular for families.

The beaches along Lake Léman

There are 2 beaches in Lausanne, Bellerive and Vidy. One part of the beach in Bellerive can be accessed for free but I believe there is no shower available (please correct me if I was wrong). The other part can be accessed through the pool (paid entry, but cheap).

Vidy Beach – Lake Léman

As mentioned above, Vidy beach is also nice and close to the UNIL sport center, which can be accessed by those of you affiliated with UNIL or EPFL.

If you don’t mind going a bit further around Lake Léman, there are many more beaches here. If you go swimming in the lake just remember to shower yourself thoroughly after, to rid of the “duck fleas”.

Chalet-à-Gobet

In the warmer months, this forest is mostly used for sports (running, biking, etc) as well as walking. More info here.

When there is a new dump of snow, this is the place to go for sledging! Dress warmly and bring hot drink and snack. More info here.

Hiking and Family Walk

Hiking is Swiss national favorite pastime. It has been said that there is no other country that is more prepared for hikers, walkers, and wanderers. You can start here, or google for endless tips.

Adventure parks

Parc Aventure in Signal de Bougy is super fun. Then there is Labyrinthe de Maïs in Bottens. They are around 30 minutes drive from Lausanne (different directions though).

Sport events, festivals, and exhibitions

One festival after another are popping up throughout the year. Diabolo in Morges and  Ludimania’K in Estavayer-le-lac are super fun for the younger kids.

And in the last few years we’ve seen many new sport event and races for families. You’ll find every kinds – from SlowUp biking/inline skating, to running, to triathlon.

1020 Run in Renens – 2016

There are many running races that accept registration up to the last hour before the event (extra fee may be charged). Note that larger ones like 20km de Lausanne or Lausanne Marathon require registration well in advance. Most of the running races in the area now cater for very young runners too, with or without an adult co-runner. Close to Lausanne there are Course des Castors in Crissier (April), Urban Trail des Singes in Lutry (May), 1020Run in Renens (September), and A Travers Prilly (November).

Color Run (August) is also very popular, and can be done together as a family as it is not a race.

And if you have some French under your belt, these events always need volunteers. This may interest older children too. I have seen children as young as 8y helping at an event.

Beaulieu Lausanne hosts many exhibitions that are family-friendly. One in particular that we really like is Comptoir Suisse, though it tends to be very crowded on Sundays.

Don’t forget to check the event page for current events in the area!

Servion Zoo and Tropiquarium

The Servion Zoo and Tropiquarium is around 30 minutes by car or bus (from La Sallaz). You can easily spend a half day in each, or a whole day in both. Read more about it in my post here.

INDOOR

Family Brunch

Family Brunch is very popular in Lausanne. Prices range widely. For recommendations (in French) here

Museums

Lausanne has many museums that are interesting to discover as a family. The Zoology Museum, Espace des inventions and Musée de la main are very family-friendly. As a bonus, the Cantonal museums are free, and many others are free the first Saturday of the month. Read the thread of museums we visited in Switzerland here.

Espace des inventions

They also offer many workshops especially designed for the little ones, but you may need to reserve well in advance.

Cinemas

Children’s films in the cinemas are usually dubbed in French. You can find the list of all films playing in Lausanne cinemas here. For 3D projections, Pathé in Flon is the one to go to. Take note of the age limit for each film, and bring your children’s IDs if they look younger than they are.

Cinéma CityClub Pully shows a family film every other Sunday. More info here.

Theatres

Adapted for the younger public, we like these two theatres:

Classical Concerts

OCL play Les Dominical concerts once a month on Sunday morning, and they offer reduced price for family tickets (chf 9/person). If your child is too young for the concert, you can leave him/her at Le Children’s Corner (chf 5/child, 4-9y) while you enjoy the concert.

Circus

There are a few circus that tours the region regularly:

Indoor Sport

Bowling: There is one in Vidy and another in Flon (link). I’m not sure how full they can be on Sundays though.

Climbing: Le Cube in Bussigny-sur-Lausanne and Rocspot in Echandens (VD). Note that if you are new to climbing, you may need to book a course!

Soft Play Park

…..

Ugh, I really have to stop now as the post seems to be never-ending. Which actually is good as it’s a prove that there are many places that are open for families on Sunday!

Please comment if you think there are others to add to the post!