A Travel Price Comparison for Switzerland Zurich vs. Lausanne for Old Town, Attractions, Food, and Nightlife

Should you visit Zurich or Lausanne?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Zurich and Lausanne. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Zurich

Zurich is a historic, liberal, and beautiful city. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include museums, nightlife, and live music.

Lausanne

Lausanne is a cultural, international, and diverse city. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and shopping.

Zurich and Lausanne: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular old town
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Zurich or Lausanne?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Zurich than Lausanne, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Zurich is more touristy than Lausanne and is known for its beautiful setting on Lake Zurich as well as its cafes, restaurants, and high prices. It is also home to The Grossmünster. Lausanne is popular for being the home of the International Olympic Committee headquarters.

How is Zurich different from Lausanne?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Lausanne and Zurich. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Zurich or Lausanne?

Zurich
Lausanne

Plenty of people visit the great sights and museums in both Zurich and Lausanne.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Zurich. Make sure you check out the Museum of Fine Arts, the Fraumünster, as well as the Swiss National Museum.

Lausanne offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. You'll find many great museums around town that cover a range of topics. The Olympic Museum is very interesting. You should also check out the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, and the Hermitage Foundation.


Is the Food Better in Zurich or Lausanne? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Zurich
Lausanne

Both Zurich and Lausanne offer a number of great restaurants to choose from.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Zurich. Many restaurants have a strong German influence, but you'll also find traditional Swiss dishes such as cheese and chocolate fondue. There are also several Michelin star restaurants in town.

Lausanne has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. The city is filled with delicious chocolate, cheese, and wine. Fondue is a favorite, but you'll also find cured meats on most menus. While food can be expensive, it's also high quality and usually locally produced.

Is Zurich or Lausanne Better for Nightlife?

Zurich
Lausanne

Zurich is well known for its evening party scene. Also, Lausanne is still popular, but not quite as popular for nightlife.

Zurich is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. The city has some of the best nightlife in Switzerland. There are a high concentration of bars and clubs around town, or you could check out one of the badis, which are pools that also act as bars during the summer months. They're usually located by the lake.

If you're looking for night time activities Lausanne has a few options to choose from. There are a surprising number of clubs around town and it's not hard to find somewhere to party. The large student population and the international vibe make this a fascinating place for nightlife.

Is Zurich or Lausanne Better for Music?

Zurich
Lausanne

Zurich is well known for its music scene. However, Lausanne is not a live music destination.

Music is a popular form of entertainment in Zurich. There are many nightclubs that offer a variety of music types including electronic music, rock, and even reggae.

Lausanne is not a live music destination.


Is Zurich or Lausanne Better for its Old Town?

Zurich
Lausanne

Zurich is a world-class destination for its historic old town charm. Also, Lausanne is still popular, but not quite as popular for its historic old town.

The historic old town of Zurich is revered around the world. The city has an old town that is split into two parts on each side of the Limmat River. The historic districts are filled with churches, squares, and charming areas that are fun to explore. Walking tours are the best way to explore the old town.

Lausanne is a good destination for visiting its old town. There's a relatively large historic section that has a Gothic cathedral and many quaint shops.

Is the Shopping Better in Zurich or Lausanne?

Zurich
Lausanne

Zurich is a world-class destination for its shopping areas. Also, Lausanne is still popular, but not quite as popular for shopping.

Zurich is a world class destination for shoppers. Visitors often buy chocolate, watches, and jewelry in this city. You'll find brand names and luxury items that are of high quality. Each neighborhood has its own character with stores ranging from traditional to international.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Lausanne. You'll find luxury Swiss watch brands, jewelry, chocolate, and many other interesting things to buy. Prices can be high, but so is the quality. It's fun to look, even if you're not planning to purchase.

Is Zurich or Lausanne Better for Families?

Zurich
Lausanne

Zurich is well known for its family-friendly activities. Also, Lausanne is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

Zurich is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. It's a surprisingly mellow city with a relaxing vibe that makes it easy to explore with kids. Popular family-friendly activities include swimming in the Limmat River, sailing on Lake Zurich, and visiting Josefwiese park, which has a large playground.

Lausanne offers lots of family activities. There are kid-friendly museums, petting zoos, and other fun activities in town. You can also take a boat ride or let the kids run around one of the parks in town.


Is Zurich or Lausanne Better for Couples?

Zurich
Lausanne

Zurich is well known for couples. Also, Lausanne is still popular, but not quite as popular for romance.

Couples visit Zurich frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. One of the most romantic experiences you can have in town is visiting the Zurich Thermal Baths and Spa. There's an outdoor rooftop thermal pool as well as many ways that you can pamper yourselves.

Lausanne is a nice destination for couples. The medieval old city is fun to explore. The lakefront setting also offers fun activities like boating. There are also a number of museums in town to explore.

Is Zurich or Lausanne Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Zurich
Lausanne

Zurich is a nice place to visit for backpackers. However, Lausanne is not particularly known for backpackers and budget travelers.

It's common for backpackers to visit Zurich. The city has a number of hostels to choose from, but, like most of Switzerland, the city is expensive in general.

Lausanne is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. It's not the most popular town for backpackers but there are some affordable hotels. It's also more reasonably priced than many Swiss cities.

Is Zurich or Lausanne Better for Students?

Zurich
Lausanne

Zurich is a world-class destination for students. Also, Lausanne is still popular, but not quite as popular for its student-friendly activities.

Zurich is a great destination for students. The city offers a number of unique experiences for international students. The academics are good and the university campuses are nice.

Students come from all over to stay in Lausanne. There are 11 institutes for higher learning in town, so students make up a significant percentage of the population. The city is also full of culture, making it a very livable city.


Is Zurich or Lausanne Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Zurich
Lausanne

Zurich is well known for its public transit. Also, Lausanne is still popular, but not quite as popular for times when you don't have a car.

The public transit in Zurich can get you to most places easily. The system is made up of streetcars and buses.

While Lausanne offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There is a comprehensive network of transportation options available in town including buses and boats.

Is Zurich or Lausanne a more walkable city?

Zurich
Lausanne

Zurich is well known for its ease of walking around. Also, Lausanne is still popular, but not quite as popular for its walkability.

Zurich is a very walkable destination. There are paths that lead along the rivers and the lake connecting the old town areas to other parts of the city.

Lausanne is somewhat walkable. Many parts of the city, including the historic sections, and relatively easy to explore on foot.

For even more information, also check out Is Zurich Worth Visiting? and Is Lausanne Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Lausanne or Zurich?

How long in Zurich or Lausanne?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Zurich or Lausanne to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Zurich than Lausanne because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 2-5 days is a good amount of time for Zurich, and 1-2 days is enough time in Lausanne.

Families should spend more time in Zurich than Lausanne. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Zurich, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Zurich than Lausanne. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Zurich that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Zurich than Lausanne if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Zurich.


  • How many days in Zurich or Lausanne? Ideal Length of Stay
    Zurich 2-5 
    Lausanne 1-2

One day in Zurich or Lausanne?

The beautiful city of Zurich offers museums and nightlife. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Lausanne. One day is often enough time to do most activities.


A weekend in Zurich or Lausanne?

Zurich is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Zurich, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Lausanne is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Zurich or Lausanne?

Zurich is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. It's no surprise that shopping is why people visit. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Zurich, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Lausanne. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Zurich or Lausanne?

Zurich is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that shopping is why people visit. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the international destination of Lausanne. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Sightseeing Tours in Switzerland, The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Switzerland, The Best Luxury Tours to Switzerland, and The Best Tours for Seniors to Switzerland.


Which place is cheaper, Lausanne or Zurich?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Zurich is $271, while the average daily cost in Lausanne is $230. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Zurich and Lausanne in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Zurich $171
    Lausanne $137
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Zurich $342
    Lausanne $274
Compare Hotels in Zurich and Lausanne

Looking for a hotel in Zurich or Lausanne? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Zurich


Hotels in Lausanne


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Zurich Hotel Prices and Lausanne Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Zurich $36
    Lausanne $41
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Zurich

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Zurich:


  • City Pass (2)
    $29

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Zurich

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Zurich:

  • Airport Zurich Transfer Mercedes S Class 3pax: $181
  • Airport Zurich Transfer Mercedes V-Class 6pax: $170
  • Arrival Transfer: Zurich Airport ZRH to Zurich in Luxury Van: $93
  • Arrival Transfer from Zurich Airport ZRH to Zurich City in Private Car/Van: $97
  • Davos: Private Transfer to/from Zurich Airport: $605
  • Departure Private Transfer from Zurich to Zurich Airport ZRH by Luxury Van: $140
  • Departure Transfer from Zurich City to Zurich Airport ZRH in Private Car/Van: $97
  • Departure Transfer: Zurich to Zurich Airport ZRH in Luxury Van: $93
  • EnglishPrivate One Way Transfer Zurich Airport To Davos: $380
  • From Zurich Airport: 1-Way Private Transfer To Zurich Hotel: $79
  • From Zurich Airport: Private Transfer to Lucerne: $316
  • From Canyoning in Interlaken w/ Return Transfer: $259

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lausanne

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Lausanne:

  • Lausanne accommodation to Geneva Airport (GVA) - Departure Private Transfer: $54
  • Private Transfer from Geneva Airport to Évian-les-Bains: $163
  • Taxi, Airport Transfer and Limousine Service in Switzerland: $236

Is it cheaper to fly into Zurich or Lausanne?

Prices for flights to both Lausanne and Zurich change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Zurich $62
    Lausanne $62
Typical Food Prices in Zurich

Some typical examples of dining costs in Zurich are as follows:


  • Breakfast for 2
    $13

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Zurich

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Zurich.

  • Zürich Food Tour: $99

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Zurich $36
    Lausanne $38

Tours and Activities in Zurich

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Zurich are as follows:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.26
  • Zurich in the Mirror of the Past: Self-Guided Reading Tour: $5.50
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $6.47
  • Albert Einstein Quest Experience: $6.51
  • Zurich Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and Tour: $6.52
  • Escape Game and Tour: $6.52
  • Zurich in the Mirror of the Past: Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.70
  • Best of Zürich: A Self-Guided Audio Tour in English: $8.14
  • Einstein in Walk in Time Quest Experience: $8.31
  • Fun adventure tour of Outdoor Escape Game: $8.69
  • Discover Zürich's Legacy: In-App Audio Tour: $11
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11

Tours and Activities in Lausanne

Here are a few actual costs in Lausanne for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.26
  • Modern Medeival A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $4.99
  • Medieval A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.20
  • Lausanne Highlights Self Guided Scavenger Hunt & Tour: $5.44
  • Escape Game and Tour: $6.52
  • Lausanne Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $6.65
  • Exploration Game and City Tour on your Phone: $7.60
  • Scavenger Hunt and Self-Guided City Walking Tour: $15
  • Lausanne (Ouchy District) City Sights Self-Guided Tour: $15
  • Lausanne Ouchy District City Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Lausanne (City Center) Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • The Olympic Museum Entry Ticket: $22

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Zurich $30
    Lausanne $27

Sample the Local Flavors in Zurich

Also in Zurich, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Pub Crawl Nightlife Tour with Shots and Snacks: $33
  • Informative wine tasting with Italian appetizers in the secure wine cellar: $157

Sample the Local Flavors in Lausanne

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Lausanne:

  • Swiss cheese and charcuterie wine tasting: $51


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Zurich and Lausanne, we can see that Zurich is more expensive. And not only is Lausanne much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Lausanne would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Lausanne and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Zurich would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Zurich than you might in Lausanne.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Zurich Expensive? and Is Lausanne Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Zurich or Lausanne?

Zurich has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Lausanne. When comparing the sizes of Zurich and Lausanne, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.