International Schools in Vaud
Below, you'll find a list of international schools and kindergartens in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland. We list everything you need to know about each school, including fees, extra-curricular activities and contact information.
The Canton of Vaud – Destination Guide
Southwestern Switzerland is the home of the Canton Vaud. The capital is Lausanne, and French is the official language. The French pronunciation is roughly “voh.” The area around Lake Lausanne has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Later on, Helvetii, a Celtic people, moved into the area. In 58 BC, Caesar’s troops defeated the Celts and Romans settled there. Both Lausanne and Vevey are towns that were established by the Romans.
The French-speaking Canton of Vaud in the south-west of the country stretches from Lake Neuchâtel in the north, to Lake Geneva in the south. The landscape is a wonder to behold, given it spans the Swiss Alps, the Central Plateau, and the Jura Mountain range. Vaud is known for its wine production, with most of its vineyards located on the steep shores overlooking the lake. Combine lakeside living with fairytale châteaux, beaches, and an Olympic history, and you can understand its attraction as a getaway favourite.
Visit the elegant city of Lausanne, and its surrounding villages, if you have the time. Explore the Cathédrale de Notre Dame, in the town’s medieval centre, before dedicating an hour or two to the fascinating Musee Olympique.
Enjoy a stroll along the Chemin Fieuri, a waterfront path lined with colourful flowers that winds itself round to the Château de Chillon, a 13th fortress housing a maze of towers, courtyards, and hallways full of period relics.
Visit the wine region surrounding Nyon, where you can sample the wines of La Côte, and other regional specialities, before dining on meals of fresh lake-caught fish, complemented with perfectly-paired tipples.
For more pampering, head to La Centre Thermal in Yverdon les Bains, where just a few minutes walk from the train station, you’ll find a peaceful oasis of saunas, steam rooms, and a fantastic outdoor pool.
While visiting, you must try Taillé aux greubons, a salted bakery specialty of the region consisting of crackling encased in puff pastry.
For the kids…
Families just love Nestle’s headquarters, Alimentarium, in Vevey, which celebrates all things edible. Enjoy a family tour, or a gardening or cooking workshop – suitable for adults and children alike. Another fun option is the Swiss Museum of Games, housed inside a spectacular 13th century castle on the shores of Lake Geneva. The museum is home to games from around the world – some of which you can try for yourself.
Combine cooling off with having the time of your life at Switzerland’s best waterpark – Aquaparc. Open all year round, there is a kiddie pool for the little ones, and big kids can enjoy the wave machine, waterslides, and the lazy river. Cash in on the park’s free babysitting service, which gifts parents 90-minutes of free time to relax in their whirlpools, fitness suites, saunas, and steam rooms.
Lausanne is perfectly geared to those happy to while away their summer afternoons lounging in the sunshine. Parc de Milan, Lac de Sauvebelin, and Ouchy Port, all have fantastically-designed playgrounds, as does Signal de Bouchy, which also boasts mini-golf, an adventure park, and a child friendly restaurant. Head to Parc Aventure to test your nerves on their ropewalk adventure track.
If your little ones love wildlife, you have two options: The Vivarium de Lausanne, which houses one of Europe’s largest reptile collections, and La Garenne Zoo, in Le Vaud, where you’ll find wolves, lynx, foxes, reptiles and a large number of European birds of prey.
For winter family fun, the Tobogganing Park in Leysin is a must. You’ll enjoy ramps, ski trails, a snow park, and an ice skating rink. Another child-friendly ski spot is Les Mosses, with its area dedicated to mini jumps, where kids under nine ski free.
Rest your head…
Recently-renovated, Swiss Wine Hotel and Bar, is located in Lausanne’s Old Town. Enjoy their well-stocked wine cellar, fitness centre, and breakfast, served in their panoramic bar overlooking the town’s cathedral. Rooms start at 134CHF per night.
Each of Lausanne Palace and Spa’s www.lausanne-palace.com 58 suites epitomises luxury. Their CBE Concept Spa is unmissable, especially for those who enjoy Ayurvedic treatments. Rooms start from 318CHF per night.
Located on the banks of Lake Geneva is the Fairmont Montreux Palace, one of the Swiss Riviera’s most prestigious hotels. Unwind in their Willow Steam Spa, before sampling their range of on-site bars, and restaurants. Rooms start from 281CHF.
For a unique experience, book a night in a Mongolian yurt. This year-round option, perched at 2,000m at Rochers-de-Naye, sleeps eight people, and is perfect for those hiking through, or more intrepid travellers seeking accommodation to remember.
Time to dine…
Check out the Bubble Deli in Lausanne for morning sustenance. This comfy specialises in homemade treats, and remember – you’re on holiday so freshly-baked cake for breakfast is completely acceptable!For the best homemade pastries and coffee in Montreux, visit Tea Room de la Baye. Enjoy heavenly chocolate croissants as you sip your coffee, and gaze upon the lake.
There’s only one spot for lunch in Lausanne – Holy Cow, a burger joint founded in town that has branched out to Zürich, Geneva, and France. Grab a seat, and see which of the amusingly-named burgers speaks to you.For the best crepes, raclette, and fondue in the Canton, visit La Gourmandine in Villars-sur-Ollon. Their trusty Swiss specialities, cosy surroundings, and attentive staff keep punters flooding in year round.
For something quick and delicious, you can’t go wrong with Lausanne’s Chez Mario, which is reportedly the first pizza joint in Switzerland! It’s a quirky spot, with walls covered in graffiti from past diners expressing their love for the menu. Toppings are generous, and service is speedy.At the exact opposite end of the spectrum we have, Restaurante Denis Martin in Vevey. Head Chef Martin is an expert in molecular gastronomy, and describes himself as a ‘taste adventurer’. See which of his innovative tasting menus catches your eye.
For fresh produce and unusual second-hand delights, visit Lausanne’s twice-weekly market. On Wednesday’s and Saturday’s browse the stalls around the Place de la Palud, or along Rue de Bourg. For the tastiest cheeses, charcuterie and freshly baked bread, make your way to Place de la Riponne, and if that sweet tooth is crying out to be satiated, locate the cake stall on the square and treat yourself to a to-die-for coconut macaroon.
Find the best chocolate in town at family-run Blondel. Passing by without entering is a complete impossibility, such is the heavenly smell emanating from under their door. Compile your own dream box of chocolates, or sample their chocolate ice cream.
For souvenir and watch shopping, Montreux’s Forum Mall is where you’ll find the best variety of boutiques, and designer shops. If you’re in Vevey on a Saturday, their lakeside bazaar is worth a stroll. As well as stalls selling produce and second-hand items, there are many places to stop for beer, food, or to enjoy live folk music.
Paint the town:
Lausanne’s best nightlife is found in Flon, a hip area that once consisted solely of derelict warehouses. Highlights include Friends Café, inside LHotel. Beer aficionados should check out Pi Bar, where you’ll be spoilt for choice with 13 varieties on tap, and a whopping 200 bottled beers. For a late night venue head to N20, or Eat Me both of which serve delicious cocktails, and a range of tasty tapas plates.
Many of Montreux’ best nightspots are located along the water. Barrel Oak Irish Pub is a must for beer-fanatics, or should you be in the market for a boozy afternoon tea, complemented by wonderful views, hit up the Sunset Bar at the Royal Plaza Montreux. Their hot cocktails are a must during winter. Also inside the Royal Plaza, is the wonderful terrace at Sinatra’s Bar, which provides the perfect setting for summer evening drinks on the Swiss Riviera.
A bit of fun…
Diehard fans of Queen will be delighted to learn they recorded numerous albums in Montreux between 1979 and 1993. The Queen Experience takes you on a tour through the studios where the magic happened, via a wealth of band paraphernalia. It wasn’t just Freddie and the Gang that enjoyed this Swiss town; Iggy Pop, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie all passed through too. Remember to swing by the Freddie Mercury statue, down by the water.
The Panoramic Golden Express, is a series of trains passing high above Lake Geneva, rewarding passengers spectacular views across the lake, and surrounding countryside. Short on time? Hop on the Train from Montreux to Broc, to visit Switzerland’s oldest chocolate factory, the Cailler Chocolate Factory, before passing through Gruyere, where it’s considered rude not to sample their most famous export as an ingredient in breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Did you know?
It seems Coco Chanel’s exquisite taste stretched beyond the sartorial – after a lifetime spent in Paris, Chanel relocated to Lausanne following the Second World War. And she wasn’t alone; Charlie Chaplin was also seduced by the Swiss countryside, and called Lausanne home for 25 years.