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Getting ready for your life in Lausanne, Switzerland

We have put together a short guide to the most frequently asked questions by our new students.

Welcome to Lausanne, Switzerland!

As a newcomer, you might have many practical questions when it comes to life in Lausanne. We've put together a short guide to the most frequently asked questions by our new students.

What is the weather like?

The weather in Switzerland offers a little bit of everything, we have all four seasons.

In the winter, especially on top of Lausanne where our campus is located, we see temperatures vary from a cool 13-17 degrees Celsius (°C), all the way down to freezing with icy rain and snow.

Spring (April and May) and fall (October and November) has a variety of rain and wind mixed with warm sunny moments - with temperatures changing drastically from 5-20° in a day.

Summer is lovely in Switzerland with nice sunny days usually around 20-28°C, but it can get hot for a few days at a time with temperatures rising to the mid- thirties.

Tips from Students

  • In the mountains and on the lakes, temperatures change rapidly. Always bring a warm sweatshirt or additional clothing if you go hiking in higher elevations or boating.
  • Pack clothing you can wear in layers so that you can put on or remove things when the temperature changes.
  • Check the weather report every morning, you may need an umbrella if rain is forecast.

What is the city of Lausanne like?

The city of Lausanne offers a wide variety of activities and experiences, here are some resources to help you get to know the city:

Tips from Students

  • Be careful crossing the street. Cars should yield at marked crosswalks, but sometimes don’t.
  • Ask the Student Center for the full list of places where student discounts apply.
  • Check the guide websites weekly for small events where entry is free.
  • Don’t visit the city on Sundays, everything is closed.

What are the best restaurants in Lausanne?

These are some student favorites where the food is good and servers speak English.  

  • Holy Cow
    Fast-food style burgers and fries. Offers EHL student discount.
  • The Great Escape
    Burgers and draft beers. No drinking under the age of 21 rule.
  • Inglewood
    Burgers and American food.
  • Burrito Brothers
    Mexican food with a California vibe.
  • Café Grancy
    Breakfast, brunch, or coffee with great eggs benedict.
  • Blackbird
    Trendy brunch spot in Lausanne and usually has a small wait for a table.
  • Etoile Blanche
    Brunch, lunch and dinner. Outdoor area is outstanding in the summer.

Restaurants or bars run by EHL alumni in Lausanne

Tips from Students

  • Bakeries and restaurants are often closed one day per week, often Mondays.
  • In many table-service restaurants, lunch is not served after 14:00 and dinner doesn’t start till 18:30 or 19:00 so don’t be late (or early).
  • Restaurants charge a service fee, so tipping staff is not required in Switzerland.

Of course, this is just a small selection. The list goes on and on...

What hotel should I or my family stay at?

Lausanne has many good hotels to choose from, but here are a few reliable options listed by location, from closest to campus to farthest away, with time to campus in parenthesis.

  • Aquatis
    A new hotel with an aquarium inside (5 minutes from the EHL campus)
    $$- Approx. 130 CHF a night
  • Lausanne Palace
    5-star luxury and excellent restaurants (10 minutes from the EHL campus)
    $$$ - Approx. 290 CHF a night
  • Hotel des Voyageurs
    Modern hotel in center of old town (10 minutes from the EHL campus)
    $$ - Approx. 170 CHF a night
  • Beau Rivage Palace
    5-star luxury, located in Ouchy, by the lake and Olympic Museum (15 minutes from the EHL campus)
    $$$$ - Approx. 450 CHF a night
  • Novotel Lausanne Bussigny
    Outside of town, easy access from highway (10 minutes from the EHL campus)
    $ - Approx. 100 CHF a night

What about Lausanne's night Life?

Lausanne has one of the best selections of bars and clubs in Switzerland. Here’s a little overview of the favorites of EHL students:

  • MAD
    The MAD club is located in Flon and has been a big name of Lausanne’s nightlife since 1985, it stretches out over five floors with multiple bars and dance floors.
  • D!Club
    It is one of the biggest clubs of Lausanne and offers specific types of music depending on the night.
  • Le Comptior Cocktail Bar
    It has excellent reviews for special drinks and service in a cozy atmosphere.
  • Buzz Bar
    It is an EHL favorite and you will find many of your fellow students there.
  • Jaggers
    It is close to BUZZ and also often attracts the EHL students with sounds from the 80’s.

What Apps should I download?

Here are some useful apps that you can download on your phone.

  • Forex
    Exchange rates between different currencies.
  • City Guide apps
    Official Swiss apps for attractions and site-seeing in Swiss cities.
  • Whatsapp
    a messaging app, most popular in Switzerland for free texts and calls.
  • Twint
    Switzerland’s digital cash app. Links to phone number and bank account or pre-pay.
  • Eat.ch
    Order food to be picked up from local restaurants and delivered to you.
  • Thefork
    Make reservations at restaurants.

Etiquette

As you begin exploring Switzerland, you will make friends from the country and join social and formal occasions. The Swiss apply a set of rather easy to follow rules:

  • Always greet every individual if you are joining a crowd of people for a meeting, a game etc.
  • Don’t worry if people don’t seem to get in line to wait for service in shops and public places, the Swiss understand a general order of first-come, first-serve.
  • Remember to say please and thank you, and you’re welcome (or the French, German or Italian equivalent).
  • At the table: keep your hands above, and no elbows on the table, no talking with the mouth full, no telephone. If someone hands you a plate of food or a bottle of wine, always serve others first.
  • Always look each person in the eyes when saying a toast, in French they say “santé”.

Mobile Phones

Several Swiss telephone companies will be on campus during the first week to present their services.

When choosing your mobile service provider, keep in mind:

  • Unlimited 4G is useful when travelling around Switzerland and keeping in touch with your family overseas.
  • Contracts usually last a minimum of a year and charge 300 CHF fee to change/cancel early.
  • Possibility to purchase a SIM card separately, so you don’t have to buy a new phone.

Shopping

Groceries & Personal supplies

Department stores

Online stores

Clothing stores

All of these clothing stores are located in the heart of Lausanne between the Place de la Riponne, St. François and the Flon.

Important:  When you order items from outside of Switzerland, you will have to pay the Post (delivery person) for the VAT (a Swiss sales tax) AND the customs duty based on gross weight. This can be quite expensive, so consider using Swiss websites like these for online shopping first.

Tips from Students:

  • Most grocery stores do not give free bags. Bring your own reusable shopping bags.
  • Invest in a sturdy backpack or rolling shopping bag if you are taking the bus and walking.
  • Stock up on essential items when stores are open. Stores in the Canton of Vaud close early (18:00) on weekdays and Saturdays, and most stores are closed on Sundays.
  • Alcohol and tobacco can only be purchased in certain grocery stores.
  • In case of emergencies, the train station has a shop that is open from 5:30 a.m. to midnight.

Transportation

The public transportation system in Switzerland is very reliable, and extensive. You can travel anywhere in Switzerland using the buses, metro and trains.

Buses & Metro

  • EHL reimburses students 30% of their public transportation pass (Mobilis3 zones) for the Transports Lausannois or ’tl’ that operates the buses and underground train system (metro) in and around Lausanne
  • EHL has a bus stop right in front of the school, you can take this bus into the center of Epalinges, or switch to the Metro (M2) to head into Lausanne at the Epalinges Croisettes station.

Trains

  • Lausanne train station is a major hub with trains connecting directly to Milan, Paris and Amsterdam leaving daily.
  • Purchase your tickets at the train station, at the windows of the distribution machines which have instructions in English. Do not board a train without a ticket, there are controls.
  • If you plan to use the train often to travel, consider purchasing a half-fare card so you pay half price on all your tickets.
  • Plan ahead to get good deals on the SBB.ch website such as the Saver Day pass and the Supersaver tickets.

Taxis

  • Taxis are highly regulated and safe in Switzerland, but they are some of the most expensive in the world. Also, they are not readily available in remote areas or at some times of day.

Cars

  • Both staff and students have the opportunity to rent electric and Mobility (car sharing) cars on campus.
  • Six parking spots with quick charge station are available for electric cars.
  • If you plan to drive on the motorway in Switzerland, you must purchase a Swiss “Autoroute Vignette” available at gas stations for 40CHF.
  • Swiss law requires cars to have winter tires during snowy weather, if you get stuck in the snow you are responsible and may receive a ticket with a fine.
  • Switzerland is very strict about the consumption of alcohol and driving (the equivalent of one drink is all that is allowed, less for new drivers and professionals). Know and respect the limits or you may face heavy consequences.

Transport apps

  • Go!: Official Swiss taxis app.
  • SBB: Swiss national train service app with timetables and tickets.
  • TL: Lausanne transportation network app for the buses and metro.
  • Uber or Driven: Ride hailing services that are less expensive than taxis.

Tips from Students

  • To get a sense of the city, try to walk it during the first few weeks.
  • Lausanne is full of hills, so wear comfortable shoes and layered clothing.
  • Always arrive 1-2 minutes early for public transports, the Swiss are always on time.

Travelling around

Switzerland is a country of many different cultures and landscapes. Here are a few ideas for day trips to discover other cities and regions:

One Day Out

  • Visit Bern’s old-town and see the bears, eat in one of the typically Swiss German restaurants.
  • Go to Geneva and shop on the Rue du Rhone and Rue du Marche in luxury stores, or the Paquis neighborhood for retro clothing.
  • Tour the vineyards in Vaud or Valais and do some wine tasting.
  • Chocolate factory in Broc and medieval town of Gruyère (the famous cheese).
  • Thermal baths in Lavey-les-bains.
  • Boat rides to Montreux or to Evian, France.

An Overnight Trip

  • Zurich is a fun city for shopping, eating out and night life.
  • Find a cute little auberge with a restaurant in nearby Alsace, France.
  • Go to Germany for Octoberfest or Europa Park.
  • Go skiing or snowboarding in the Swiss Alps, just 30 minutes by car.
  • Take a train to Milan for shopping and delicious Italian food.

During school mid-term breaks

  • Beach vacation: Greece, Spain, Italy or Croatia.
  • Big city tours: London, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin or Amsterdam.
  • Rent a chalet in the mountains with friends to ski or snowboard every day.

Note: If you come to Switzerland on a student visa, you will need to wait for your B-Permit to be able to leave the country and re-enter.