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The Top 10 Things To See And Do in Montreux, Switzerland
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The Top 10 Things To See And Do in Montreux, Switzerland

Picture of Pratyusha Prakash
Updated: 9 February 2017
Set against the stunning backdrop of the Swiss Alps and nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva, Montreux has attracted an impressive list of past visitors. The likes of the Shelleys, Lord Byron, and Chaplin chose to frequent the beautiful lakeside resort, and it’s no surprise as the town has cultural attractions as well as sporting activities to offer. Read our guide to the 10 best things to see and do in this lakeside town.
Château de Chillon ©ALwinDigital/Flickr
Château de Chillon | ©ALwinDigital/Flickr

Château de Chillon

The 13th century fortress is Switzerland’s most visited historical building and finds its way into several postcards and books about the country’s sights. Originally owned by the House of Savoy, the Castle houses several medieval frescoes and Gothic dungeons, the latter of which were the subject of a poem penned by Lord Byron: ‘The Prisoner of Chillon‘. The poet directly references the château in the line, “There are seven pillars of Gothic mould/In Chillon’s dungeons deep and old…” Explore the haunting interiors for yourself as you soak up the atmosphere of this medieval castle.

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Montreux Jazz Festival

The Montreux Jazz festival has a world famous reputation for its diverse and renowned musical performances. Although it was initially a jazz only festival, it has since broadened its musical horizons. It is perhaps most famously immortalized in Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”. The Casino where the Jazz Festival was housed burnt down during Zappa’s 1971 performance, sending smoke across Lake Geneva and providing the inspiration for the song. Over the years, it has featured the likes of Miles Davis, Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald; post-1970s it has also featured non-jazz artists such as Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, BB King, Oscar Peterson, and many more.

Fondation du Festival de Jazz de Montreux, Avenue Claude Nobs 5, Montreux, Switzerland

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Promenade

The 3.5 kilometer stretch between Clarens and the Château de Chillon flaunts a variety of lovely blossoms. The promenade is most beautiful during springtime, and highly recommended for a relaxed walk alongside the Lake Geneva shoreline whilst enjoying the view of the Chillon’s postcard-perfect mirroring in Lake Geneva.

Along the lake front, Montreux, Switzerland

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Queen: The Studio Experience

The exhibition of Queen: The Studio Experience is aimed at aficionados as well as up and coming fans of the rock band Queen. It is held at the Montreux Mountain Studios, where the band created large portions of their most acclaimed albums. There is plenty of Queen memorabilia, such as signatures, photographs, and the original handwritten copies of lyrics. The exhibition’s centerpiece is the original sound studio, where Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury recorded his last songs.

Casino Barrière de Montreux Rue du Théâtre 9, Montreux, Switzerland

Gorges du Chauderon ©cimddvc/Flickr
Gorges du Chauderon | ©cimddvc/Flickr
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Gorges du Chauderon

Whilst wandering through Montreux’s quaint Old Town, be sure to stop at the Gorges du Chauderon. The river of La Baye de Montreux flows from this starkly chiseled gorge down to Lake Geneva. There are clearly marked trails indicating paths to and from Montreux, as well as trails for further exploring the woodsy enclave.

Old Town, Montreux, Switzerland

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Lantern Trail Of Les Pléiades

The lantern trail of Les Pléiades is an unusual choice for a visitor to Montreux, but a must try in the winter. To get the most of this experience, take a train from Montreux to the Les Pléiades train station, and follow the trail lit by lanterns. Wear snowshoes on the trail and explore the hushed and magical wintry landscape by the light of the lanterns. To finish off, be sure to sample traditional fondue before heading back to Montreux.

Les Pléiades, Montreux, Switzerland

Montreux Marché de Noël © Michael/Flickr
Montreux Marché de Noël | © Michael/Flickr

Montreux Noël

Winter in Montreux means one thing: Montreux Noël. Montreux completely transforms itself in preparation for the event. For a whole month, the city is decked and decorated to celebrate the festival in style. There are medieval markets, a Father Christmas, and the Château hosts a fairytale festival. Nearby Caux also transforms itself into an authentic and mesmerizing portrayal of a Christmas village.

Le Lavaux ©Airflore/Flickr
Le Lavaux | ©Airflore/Flickr
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Lavaux Vineyards

The Lavaux vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage site, stretch an impressive 830 hectares between Lausanne and Montreux. Although the majority of visitors choose to visit with the Lavaux Express or the Lavaux Panoramic, there are well-trodden trails to explore the vineyards on foot. Wander through the beautiful vineyards and enjoy the magnificent views, with occasional stops at the wine cellars to taste the best of the Lavaux wine. Lavaux sells mostly Chasselas wines, which are fruity and dry.

Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, Puidoux, Switzerland

Narcissus ©jbdodane/Flickr
Narcissus | ©jbdodane/Flickr

Narcissus Trails

The mountains surrounding Montreux have beautiful narcissus trails to enjoy in the springtime. Use the Narcissi Forecaster to plan your route and set off for a day to enjoy the narcissus trails in the Alps. Spring in the Alps means beautiful, unusual Alpine floral varieties in every nook and cranny: a photographer’s ( and hiker’s) delight.

Sailboat in Lake Geneva ©agmcat/Flickr
Sailboat in Lake Geneva | ©agmcat/Flickr
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Water Sports At Lake Geneva

There are several alternative sports to hiking, and Lake Geneva offers plenty of enjoyable options. While swimming is a wonderful experience, surrounded by gorgeous views and stunningly clear water, other options include canoeing, waterskiing, sailing and more. There’s something for everyone of all abilities, and lessons are easily arranged.

Lake Geneva, Montreux, Switzerland