Tips for visiting Montreux:
- Getting to Montreux: get to the train station and go to the SBB CFF FFS info and ticket center. When it’s your turn to talk with the attendant , ask about the special bundle for the train ride to Montreux, the Chillon Castle and the bus. It’s apparently cheaper to get the package than to just get them separately. The train ride is very pretty no matter what side you sit on: you’ll get Lake Geneva and mountain views on one and vineyards and countryside scenery on the other. The ride is about an hour.
- The great thing about Montreux is that you can walk the whole city. No need for a car. It’s very small.
- The main street of Montreux has cute shops and restaurants.
- Check out the Freddie Mercury statue, on the Montreux lakefront. My colleagues went to the Queen Studio Experience Museum and said it wasn’t that great. Fun fact: Did you know that Freddie Mercury moved to Montreux and recorded his famous song ‘Made in Heaven’ there?
- Walk along the lake to the Chillon Castle: it’s a flat, paved, 45 minute leisurely stroll. It’s a stunning walk with so many places to stop and sit, dip your feet in the water and admire the scenery. The water is simply incredible. I’ve never seen a lake with water this clear and blue. You will walk right in front of Freddie Mercury’s home, a white brick building with yellow awnings. Stop for some lunch at Le Contretemps or bring some cash and stop at the outdoor café called Snack Café for some delicious looking food and an incredible view of the Castle. There were also a bunch of cool living pieces of art along the walk which made it entertaining and even more pleasurable *(see Simpson picture below).
- The Chillon Castle is the best preserved castle I have ever visited. The first mentions of this castle appear in 1150 when the Savoie family already controlled the fortress. You could spend hours there, taking it all in. You can get an audioguide or just follow the pamphlet they give you when you check in. This is a MUST see. Lord Byron spent time in the prison and wrote about it in 1816 in his poem The Prisoner of Chillon.
- If you want to treat yourself, stop at the Montreux Jazz Café. I devoured a delicious salad, in an upscale decor with a great vibe. I enjoyed a Swiss rosé called Dôle Blanches from the Gerard Clavien winery. They have a few tables outside, which were sadly all taken when I walked in. It’s attached to the Fairmount and overlooks a pretty garden with multiple statues.
- Next time I’m in Montreux I’d like to take the tram (CC3357) up to Rocher de naye. The view from up there is apparently spectacular and it’s only a 50 minute tram and a 8 minute walk to the top. I’ve also been told there are great wineries and wine tasting to be done in the area.
Impressions of Montreux:
I’m happy I took the train to explore this sleepy town. I spent about 4 hours here and for me that was enough but if you take your time and are there with a friend I could see how you’d spend a full day just walking around slowly and taking it all in.
The walk along the lake to the castle was so relaxing and beautiful. I stopped every few minutes to take pictures and soak it in. The day I went wasn’t the clearest, it seemed like there was a haze above the water which seemed to make it even more mystical.