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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.
Avenue de Chillon 21, Veytaux / Montreux, Switzerland +41 21 966 89 10
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.