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Located in the foots of the mesmerising Alps, resting on the shores of Lake Geneva, Montreux has been attracting many impressive visitors throughout history. It comes as no surprise that this is the place where Charlie Chaplin decided to spend 25 years of his life, Queen created a few of their best selling albums, and Lord Byron created a poem about. Here is a list of the top things to do in Montreux, as well as a few tips when travelling here.
If you’re already eager to visit, but don’t know when the right time would be, bear in mind that the the climate in Montreux is quite mild. This makes it a good destination for pretty much any season. I visited Montreux in the end of February, and the temperatures were around 10°C – perfectly fine for those long hours of sightseeing. However, spring seems like the most beautiful season to be there, because everything becomes covered in flowers, and let’s be honest – everything is better when there are flowers around.
The Best Things To Do In Montreux, Switzerland
1. Visit Chillon Castle
The Chillon Castle is one of the most visited places in Switzerland. I am putting it as the number one place to see when in Montreux as it turned out to be the highlight of our Switzerland trip. The fortress dates back to the 13th century and was built on a small rocky island in the lake, offering both natural protection and a strategic position.
Even though the castle is beautiful from the outside, I strongly recommend going inside as well. It took me around 1,5 hours to be able to go through all of the rooms, take pictures in all the pretty spots (which are so many), and stop for a few moments to admire the view. Make sure you don’t miss the very last stop which is the highest tower of the castle. The panorama from there is breathtaking!
How to get there?
It’s super easy! Take bus 201 from Montreux and get off at “Chillon” bus station. You arrive right at the castle in less than 15 minutes. You can also reach the fortress by foot, which would take you anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on where in Montreux you’re starting your walk from. The way there reveals some breathtaking views, which you can’t really enjoy when taking the bus.
Adult ticket – CHF 12.50
Children ticket (6-15 y/o) – CHF 6.-
Reduced rate – CHF 10.50/ Families CHF 29.-
Audioguide CHF 6.-/ App CHF 3.-
Montreux Riviera Card holders – Adult CHF 6.25/ Children CHF 3.-
2. Queen – The Studio Experience
When talking about places to visit in Montreux, we cannot not mention the Queen Mountain Studios. The legendary band Queen fell in love with the peacefulness and beauty of Montreux so much that they bought a studio here. Seven of their albums, including the last one “Made in Heaven” were recorded in this exact studio, which is currently located inside a casino. Nowadays, the studio offers its visitors a true “Queen” experience free of charge, operating only on a tipping basis. You can see some Freddie Mercury’s stage costumes, handwritten lyrics, old tapes and so much more. The control room has been left almost unchanged from from back in the days, and it has been turned into an interactive experience for every visitor to try.
How to get there?
The Studio is located less than a minute away from Montreux Casino bus stop of buses 201, 204, 205, 206, 291.
3. See the Statue of Freddie Mercury
An impressive statue of Freddie Mercury has been standing at the waterfront since 1996, serving as memory of the singer’s presence in Montreux. He fell in love with this place and he often spent time here. It’s fascinating that fans still come and place flowers in front of the monument every single day.
How to get there?
Take bus number 201 or 291 to Montreux, Marché bus stop. From there walk towards the lake – you can’t miss the statue.
4. Take a stroll along the Montreux lakeside
One thing you’ll read about on all Montreux guides online is the gorgeous shoreline. The lake’s thirteen kilometer promenade in Montreux is an absolute paradise for evening walks, morning jogs, or whatever your heart desires. With a gorgeous mountainous views, beautiful flower arrangements and interesting sculptures, I dare to say this is one of the best promenades you’ll ever experience.
An ideal route:
Start your walk from the centre of Montreux to Villeneuve, which should take around 1 hour and 15 minutes. Along the way you’ll get to enjoy the Chillon Castle and the Dents du Midi mountain range. At the end of your walk you can go for a swim at the beach in Villeneuve or continue exploring this little town.
5. Walk around the Old Town
The Old Town, also known as Vieille-Ville, seems difficult to be reached since it is situated on the steep slopes of Montreux, but it’s only a short walk away from the shoreline. Almost every corner reveals a gorgeous view of lush forests, high mountains, the blue lake and many old buildings. There are a few restaurants around to satisfy your appetite as well.
6. Hike the Gorges du Chauderon
A wild hiking track, starting only a few minutes away from the Old Town, leads you to Glion – a village overlooking Montreux. The path offers an incredibly scenic experience and takes around 2 hours to reach Glion. The Gorges du Chauderon is considered an easy hike in the warmer months, but don’t try it during winter as it may be quite dangerous.
7. Take a peek at the Montreux Palace
Located close to the shoreline, the Montreux Palace overlooks the lake Geneva and the beautiful Alps. This building is one of the most prestigious hotels in all of Switzerland which comes as no surprise. This 5-star hotel hosted many famous guests, amongst which Freddie Mercury, Richard Strauss, Michael Jackson and others.
8. Climb the beautiful Rochers-de-Naye
A cog railway journey takes you from the shoreline of Montreux to the summit of Rochers-de-Naye in less than an hour. With an altitude of 2,042m this place offers a gorgeous view of lake Geneva, the Alps and everything else around. Rochers-de-Naye is a perfect must-visit place all year around as it offers numerous different activities. Enjoy over 1000 colourful alpine flowers in the La Rambertia garden during the summer, or hit the slopes in your ski or snowboard in the winter. A Father Christmas House can be found at the summit from the end of November to the end of December.
How to get there?
By train: CFF train station from Montreux
By foot: 5-hour hike from Montreux (pedestrian map available at the tourism information offices)
Adults ticket – CHF 70.-
Children ticket (6-15 y/o) – 35.-
Swiss Travel Pass (incl. Swiss Travel Pass Flex) – CHF 26.40
- Travel on the the rack railway from Montreux to Rochers-de-Naye and back down
- 7 parks with marmots from 3 continents
- Education Centre
- Alpine Gardens
9. Go on a boat excursion
Cruises across the beautiful Lake Geneva are available all year around. The CGN “Compagnie Generale de Navigation” organises two-hour excursions, showing you the most beautiful spots in the Swiss Riviera.
Adults 2nd class: CHF 36.-
Children (6-16 y/o) 2nd class: CHF 18.-
Adults 1st class: CHF 51.-
Children (6-16 y/o) 1st class: CHF 25.50
Montreux Riviera Card holder Adults 2nd class: CHF 18.-
10. Ride the Chocolate Train
If you’re looking for a relaxing day trip filled with some yummy goodness, this is something for you. The chocolate train runs between Montreux the Cailler-Nestlé chocolate factory at Broc and is one of the best things to do when in Switzerland. This is a first-class excursion, which takes you on a breathtaking train ride in the countryside.
You will get the opportunity to visit the town of Gruyères, experience the cheese factory and visit the famous chocolate factory. You can then witness the local chocolate production, sample the finished product and buy Cailler or Nestle chocolate at factory prices. Owners of the Swiss Pass receive a discount on their tickets.
11. Get your adrenaline pumping at Glacier 3000
A cable car is going to take you up to 3,000 metres in just 15 minutes. The view from the top of the endless mountain chains is more than spectacular. The place is perfect for ski and snowboard lovers, as well as for those who just want to go for a walk and enjoy the gorgeous scenery.
This Alpine Coaster is the highest bobsleigh track in the world and it’s an absolute paradise for adrenaline lovers as it features waves, curves, loops, jumps and more. Glacier 3000 visitors can see the “The Peak Walk by Tissot” free of charge. To this day this is the only suspension bridge in the world connecting two peaks.
12. Enjoy the Montreux Jazz Festival
The Montreux Jazz Festival is the second-largest annual jazz festival in the world after the Montreal International Jazz Festival in Canada. It takes place every year in early July on the shoreline of Lake Geneva. People from all around the world gather in Montreux to enjoy not only jazz, but also many other types of music.
13. Take a day trip to Vevey
Vevey is a nearby town, located only minutes away from Montreux. Whether you choose to take a bus or a train, getting there is extremely easy. While Montreux is seen as a tourist resort, Vevey feels more homely and you’d see more locals. This is where the headquarters of the international chocolate company Nestle is located. Vevey was also where Charlie Chaplin spent many years till his death.
The town lays on the lake Geneva and has a beautiful Old Town which is waiting to be explored. It also provides a few interesting attractions to its visitors, mentioned below.
14. Chaplin’s World Museum
Taking a trip to Chaplin’s museum should definitely be on your Montreux itinerary. Chaplin’s World is located near Vevey, where Chaplin spent the last 24 years of his life living with his family. The museum takes you on a journey back in time by combining film clip, interactive displays, as well as wax figures of Chaplin himself and his close friends and family. Not only is it extremely highly rated by pretty much everyone who visits it, but Chaplin’s World was also nominated for the Best Museum in Europe by the European Museum Academy in 2018.
How to get there?
Take bus 212 to “Chaplin” bus stop – you’ll be there in less than half an hour. You could also get a train to Vevey and take that same bus to the museum. The bus operates every 30 minutes.
Adult ticket – CHF 27.-
Children ticket (6-15 years old) – CHF 20.-
Reduced rate – CHF 25.-/ Families CHF 80.-
Montreux Riviera Card holders – Adult CHF 13.-/ Children 10.-
15. Pay a visit to the Nest Museum
This entertaining and interactive museum provides an insight into the very foundations of Nestle as a company. It features short movie clips and it makes you play along by moving your body, pressing buttons and so on, while helping you learn new information about the place. It is a great opportunity to find out how certain innovations came to life, such as Nescafe and milk chocolate.
Adults: CHF 18.-
Children (6-16 y/o): CHF 10.-
Students: CHF 13.50
Family (min. 1 adult and 1 child): Adult CHF 13.50, child CHF 7.50
Montreux Riviera Card holders: Adults CHF 9.-/ Children CHF 7.50
Important: It closes in September 2019
16. Spend a day in Lausanne
Along the shores of Lake Geneva, right next to Vevey you’ll find another picturesque Swiss city that is also very easily accessible from Montreux. Lausanne is in fact the fourth largest city in Switzerland. The place offers so much to its visitors – from beautiful old cathedrals and interesting museums to an absolutely gorgeous scenery from around every corner. If you want to explore Lausanne, plan at least a full day in order to enjoy it fully.
17. Experience the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces
Last but not least, consider adding the Lavaux Vineyards to your list of things to do in Montreux. Located in the UNESCO region Lavaux, the terraced vineyards take approximately 800 hectares, making them Switzerland’s largest vineyard area. The place is incredibly picturesque, welcoming and beautiful. It’s perfect for a sunset stroll while enjoying some delicious Swiss wines along the way.
I hope this list inspired you and gave you ideas on what to do in Montreux. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments!
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