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24 July 2019, 14:16 | Updated: 24 July 2019, 14:31
The one-year countdown to the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo is officially on, but you don’t have to go to Japan to get into the spirit.
The scenic city of Lausanne in Switzerland is the world’s ‘Olympic Capital’ and it makes for an ideal family holiday destination. Thanks to its shorefront location and the surrounding mountains it’s also got fun activities year-round.
Compete against Usain Bolt at the Olympic Museum
Think you can out-run the fastest human in the world? Here’s your chance! … sort of. The Olympic Museum - the only one of its kind – has an outdoor track on which people can race against Usain’s record time! We got winded just walking up the 97 steps from the lake to the museum entrance.
It’s Lausanne’s main attraction and families get a reduced entry price. Kids will love the training area where they can test their skills and reflexes, while sports-fans can marvel at all the Olympic memorabilia, including all the torches!
Pop up to the TOM Café terrace after for brunch with a view of Lake Geneva and the Alps.
Hitch a ride through Swiss wine-country
There are several routes to choose from, each with stunning views of the vineyards and Lake Geneva.
We recently revealed why Switzerland - who only exports 1 per cent of its plonk - is the ultimate break for wine lovers.
Take in the Lausanne Jardins exhibition
Every five years, Lausanne hosts a one-of-a-kind landscape art festival made up of temporary installations dotted throughout the city. Luckily for us, the sixth Lausanne Jardinsis taking place now until October.
This year’s theme is ‘Open Ground’ and there are 31 displays. The itinerary follows east to west across Lausanne, which makes it a great way to explore the city on foot.
For kids, there are fun interactive elements along the way, like a slide in which they can see life as an earthworm. We liked the ‘Water and You’ project, number 15 on the route.
It’s a fountain that sprouts a jet of water in the middle of traffic… don’t worry; the traffic gets stopped when it happens!
The 18-meter-high mistletoe installation at stop number 24 is another highlight. It’s said lovers should kiss underneath it for ‘Eternal Love’.
Sail on Lake Geneva
No trip to Lausanne is complete without a boat tour on Lac Léman AKA Lake Geneva.
The public Swiss company CGN operates a variety of vessels – including steamboats – that cross the lake to the French shore and also do gourmet cruises.
If you want a closer view of the lake, rent a paddleboat from one of the many vendors at the Quai d'Ouchy.
Some come with a slide if you’re up for a swim!