Practical Info

Learn French prior arrival | Visa | Accommodation | Budget | Getting to Lausanne | Transport | Good to know | Important contacts | Emergency Pharmacy | Tourist Information Centre

Learn French prior arrival

If you would like to learn some French prior to your arrival in Lausanne, try the free online platform “Ca joue! “. With the help of situations in daily and academic life, it will give you the opportunity to familiarise yourself with French and get to know Lausanne. The following tools will be invaluable to your successful integration : videos, activities for working on different aspects of French (expressions, pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary) and practical information about life in Lausanne.


Participants are responsible for arranging their own visa to enter Switzerland. Please check this link to see if a visa is requested for citizens of your country and make sure you are aware of all requirements.
If you need a visa, you can download the form here.

How do I get an invitation letter?

Participants are invited to contact the summer schools coordinator to ask for an invitation letter once their application to the summer school has been accepted.


The University of Lausanne does not offer on-campus accommodation but every summer school includes an offer of accommodation in the city. You will be staying in the heart of the city, or close to the lakeside, and always within a 15-minute metro journey from the university. More information on specific accommodation can be found on each course’s webpage.


Switzerland uses the Swiss franc. You can find a currency converter here. It is better to change money before coming to Lausanne. Credit cards (Visa, American Express, Maestro) are accepted almost everywhere for purchases of more than CHF 20.00.

To get an idea of the cost of living in Switzerland, here is a list of some average prices:

  • Coffee: CHF 3-4.00
  • Soft drink in a store: CHF 2.00
  • Soft drink in a restaurant: CHF 5.00
  • Beer: CHF 6.00
  • Big Mac menu: CHF 15.00
  • Lunch at a restaurant: CHF 25.00
  • Dinner at a good restaurant: CHF 100.00

Getting to Lausanne

By train from Geneva airport

Geneva is the closest airport to Lausanne. Go through the baggage claim area and customs, turn left and walk through the hall, towards the railway station. The one-way journey to Lausanne lasts approximately 45 minutes. A second-class one-way ticket costs CHF 27.00. Tickets can be purchased from the ticket machines and paid for with cash or by credit card.

Please see your course’s webpage for information on how to get from the railway station to your hostel.
You can find the train timetable here.

By train from Zurich airport

Once you have gone through customs, follow the signs to the railway station, which is located in the airport’s lower basement, under Terminal B. The one-way journey from Zurich to Lausanne lasts approximately 2.5 hours. A second-class one-way ticket costs CHF 78.00. Tickets can be purchased from the ticket machines and paid for with cash or by credit card.
You can find the train timetable here.
To get to your hotel, please check the information in the accommodation section on your course’s webpage.


Lausanne can be explored on foot, by bike or by public transport. The city enjoys a high-quality transport network, with two metro lines, buses and a large railway station connected to all the main cities in Switzerland. Public transport throughout Lausanne will be free for you during your stay, as your hotel will provide you with a travel card.

Here are a few routes you will probably be travelling, but you can find all the information on the Lausanne Transport webpage:

From the Railway station to UNIL Campus

At the railway station, take the metro M2, direction “Croisettes”, to “Lausanne Flon”, which is the next stop. Then, take the metro M1 (direction “Renens-Gare”) to the university stop that is most convenient for you (UNIL-Dorigny, UNIL-Mouline or UNIL-Sorge).

From UNIL Campus to the City center

Take the metro M1, direction “Lausanne Flon”, and get out at the final stop, namely Lausanne Flon. Once you walk out of the metro station, you will be in the heart of Lausanne city centre.

From the City Center to the Lakeside

Whether you are at Lausanne Flon or near a metro stop in the city, take the metro M2, direction Ouchy-Olympique, to the final stop. This is the port of Ouchy, where you can take a walk along the lakeside.

Good to know

Time zone

Central Europe standard time: GMT+2




Lausanne enjoys a temperate climate, and its weather is directly influenced by its proximity to nearby Lake Geneva. In June, July and August, the temperature fluctuates between 15°C and 25°C (59°F to 77°F) but it can also be as low as 7°C or as high as 36°C (45°F and 97°F). The weather is usually nice but can be rainy and windy. More information on the following website.

Spoken language

The language spoken in Lausanne is French. Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. English is often used as a lingua franca between the country’s different language communities. In tourist areas, there will usually be English speakers.


Opening hours

Banks are usually open from Monday to Friday, from 8.30am to 12.15pm and from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. Banks are closed on weekends.Stores are usually open from Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 6.30pm or 7pm. On Saturdays, they are open from 8am to 6pm, and they are closed on Sundays.


To call Switzerland from another country, the dialling code is 0041.


Power plugs

The voltage in Switzerland, as in most of Europe, is 230V/50 Hz. Switzerland uses type C (2-pin) and Type J (3-pin) plugs (Type C 2-pin plugs also fit J sockets). Don’t forget your adapter!


Switzerland is known to have one of the lowest crime rates of all industrialised countries. However, theft and violence can happen to anybody. Be vigilant as you would be in your own country – generally at night.


Taxi services

Dial 0844 814 814
From the city centre or the hotel, the trip to UNIL by cab costs about CHF 30.00 in cash.

Important contacts

Emergency Phone numbers
Ambulance 114
Police 117
Fire 118
UNIL Campus 115
Summer Schools Coordinator +41 21 692 2046

Emergency Pharmacy

7/7, 8am – 00:00
+41 21 613 1224
Av. de Montchoisi 3,
1006 Lausanne

Tourist Information Centre

Lausanne Tourisme & Bureau des Congrès
Av. de Rhodanie 2, CH – 1000 Lausanne 6
Tel. +41 21 613 73 73 – Fax +41 21 616 86 47
Château de Dorigny - CH-1015 Lausanne
Tel. +41 21 692 20 20