1. Lausanne À Table
Lausanne À Table is an organization funded by the City Of Lausanne, and that has been putting the spotlight on locally sourced food products. From visits to local fisheries to gourmet burgers, there are events to satisfy everyone’s curiosity… and stomach. Some events are free, some can get quite expensive, but in the end, it’s all about how much you care about your stomach. Events take place from March to October. All-time favorites are the Brunch-Yoga (yes, both together), and the “Balades du Goûts”. Their schedule is available in English on their website, https://www.lausanneatable.ch/.
2. CERN Museum
If you have an interest in science, you might have heard of the CERN and its Large Hadron Collider that’s been on and off the scientific community’s radar for some years now. Turns out, they also run a museum, in hopes of spreading knowledge to the masses, and they’ve decided to do away with an entry fee. So if antimatter and atomic science tickle your fancy, you might want to give it a whirl. Several exhibitions, events and tours are available, year round. Check it out on https://visit.cern/.
3. Route de l’Absinthe
The Route de l’Absinthe is pedestrian path stretching on over 30 miles, crossing the French border. This path in the Green Fairy’s country is sprinkled with museum, distilleries, clear sources, and historical landmarks relevant to the infamous spirit and its fabrication. The hike is of course free, although tastings and museums will only be included if you agree to open up your wallet. If absinth isn’t your cup of tea, this road is still in the “Arc Jurassien”, a beautiful region that hasn’t let urbanism take over… yet. More information at http://www.routedelabsinthe.com/.
4. Slow Up
Slow up is a Swiss nonprofit that promotes gentle mobility and renewable energies. During the warmer months of the year, everywhere in Switzerland, thousands of people get together to hike, bike, roller-skate, jog… on a predetermined track, most often around a lake. Participation is free, and unless you want to rent a bike for the day, you’ll only need to spend money on a pic-nick and on public transportation. Slow up “races” are a great way to discover the Swiss vistas while participating in climate change awareness. More information on http://www.slowup.ch/
5. Goesgen Nuclear Plant
Whether you are for or against nuclear power, one has to admit that learning about one of the most prominent energy sources in the world is a good thing. Goesgen is a very small nuclear plant in the Swiss backcountry, but it also acts as a museum. Exhibits are available for free all year, and visits of the actual plant can be reserved online, also for free. So come to Goesgen, learn about our energy consumption, how a nuclear plant works and how radioactive waste is dealt with. Visits are possible every day, although you need to book it beforehand. Information at https://www.kkg.ch.
6. Estivale de Lausanne
A city-wide summer festival in the beautiful city of Lausanne, Estivale offers kids’ shows, fairy tale readings, concerts, hikes, theatre, cultural visits and movies throughout the city. Kicking off on the first day of summer, the city offers cultural enlightenment right along with some real fun during the whole season. Each events taking place in different parts of the city make Estivale a great way to discover the city, and the canton Vaud in general. Complete schedule at http://www.lausanne.ch/lausanneestivale.
Drallo is a free app available on both the App Store and Google Play. No subscription needed, just install the app and give it access to your location, and Drallo will offer up a variety of themed hikes, whether you’re in the city and want to learn more about Einstein’s time in Switzerland, or if you’re in the backcountry and want to see the views. Unfortunately, the app hasn’t been fully translated to English yet, but with the help of pictures and maps, most hardened traveller will figure it out. Information at http://www.drallo.ch/.
Electrobroc is a power plant responsible for the exploitation of electric dams in the canton of Fribourg. Acting as a sort of interactive museum, informing the public of the inner workings of electricity production in Switzerland, Electrobroc is great for kids, or even adults with thirst for knowledge. Although visits are free, they are only accessible two Saturdays per month, and you have to make a reservation beforehand. Check it out on http://www.electrobroc.ch/.
Also, if you’re feeling hungry after the visit, pop next door, at the Cailler Chocolate factory. Entry fees are 12 CHF for adults, and free for children under the age of 16. More information at https://www.cailler.ch.
9. The Spycher Farm
Ever wonder how wool is made? Then The Spycher-Farm is for you. All kinds of wooly animals, from camels to sheep are present, for the joy of younglings and those few adults who retained their innocent hearts. Demonstration of wool treatment can be organized for larger groups, but if you’re travelling solo, you can still come by, pet the animals, enjoy and perhaps even spend a night in one of the farm’s yurts (for a price of course). All in all, the Spycher farm is a good excuse for spending a day in rural Bern and to learn a thing or two about the clothing industry. On Sundays, a guided tour named “The Way of the Wool” is offered for free and without reservation. The farm is opened every day, and they even have a bistro there. Information at https://www.spycher-handwerk.ch.
10. Tour De Plage Carouge
Since 2008, the social workers of the city of Carouge (Geneva’s suburb) have been animating the Fontaines Des Tours with games, free dance classes, arts and crafts, concerts… All of that to make local people feel like they’re on vacation at home. From July to August, Friday to Sunday, you can go and have a swim in the fountains, receive a massage and relax on deck chairs, all of that for free. The association also promotes cultural exchange in one of the more cosmopolitan area of Switzerland. Every day of July and August. Information at https://tshmcarouge.ch/tour-de-plage/.
Updated: June 28, 2017