European cities are undeniably beautiful. They are so filled with culture. From marvelously architectured buildings to entertainers on the streets…
European cities will just fascinate you wherever you go, whatever you see.
As I plan to go to Switzerland soon and visit the Swiss Alps, I wonder what city should I include in my itinerary.
Based on the article from US News Travel, I must include Montreux – the city ranking #1 in their list of best places to visit in Switzerland.
As someone who just heard about the city for the first time in his life, I immediately got curious about the things to do Montreux.
Of course, US News Travel has included a description of Montreux in their list, but I needed a profound answer.
In my head, I was thinking, is Montreux really worth visiting? What is Montreux known for? What makes Montreux Special?
So I researched about Montreux. After reading reviews from Google Maps and Trip Advisor, I came up with 10 compelling reasons why Montreux is worth a visit.
So here I go, I’ll answer the question:
Is Montreux Worth Visiting?
Montreux has almost everything that a traveler could look for in Europe. The things to do in Montreux range from visiting historical buildings to seeing stunning views and tasting the best drinks in the world! Therefore, Montreux is really worth a visit. See below the exact 10 reasons why:
Reason #1: Chillon Castle is just on the outskirts of Montreux
Chillon Castle is one of the most visited historic buildings in Switzerland, and there should be a reason behind that.
In Google Maps alone, it is evident that millions of tourists come to Chillon and see the place. There are just an epic 11,000 review comments posted on its coordinates.
The castle is perched on a small rocky island in Lake Geneva, situated in an incredibly scenic location.
If you look at it from the north, it will seem that the castle is floating in the lake in front of the spectacular snow-capped mountains.
The people who love watching medieval fantasy movies will surely love visiting Chillon Castle. The view alone will make them feel that they are in a totally whole new world, back in history.
Speaking of history, history lovers will as well love visiting Chillon Castle. It was built as early as the 12th century, encompassing three ruling eras: Savoy, Bernese, and Vaudois.
There are numerous artifacts, paintings, and other historical items that will surely entice enthusiasts. Inside, the things to see range from furniture to weapons, murals, architectural features, and other temporary exhibits.
Though Chillon Castle is not really located in Montreux, visiting the castle was just a quick ride from the city. The easy access to Chillon Castle from Montreux made Montreux a place to visit and stay at.
You can buy tickets, book a tour or see news about the castle from the official website of Chillon Castle.
Reason #2: Rochers-de-Naye is just a train ride from Montreux
One great thing about Montreux is its location: a lake on the west, a mountain on the east – a reason why you should visit Montreux.
Lakes and mountains beside a city mean there will be fun activities that you can do in that city. Guess what, in the case of Montreux, it is unquestionably true.
From Montreux’s city center, you can quickly go to a scenic peak called Rochers-de-Naye. It is a 2,042-meter tall (6699 ft) mountain climbable by train/funicular.
At the peak, you will see the panoramic view of the staggering Swiss and French Alps, together with glittering Lake Geneva. It’s going to be an epic view, especially on a clear sunny day.
You don’t have to wait to get on top of the Rochers-de-Naye just to get stunning views. The train that will be coming from the city center will pass the shores of Lake Geneva before it rises to the mountains.
The train to Rochers-de-Naye will also pass by the picturesque fields and villages. You must prepare your camera’s storage before going to the top of Rochers-de-Naye as it will be filled with photographs, I am sure!
The fun does not stop after you reach the summit and you finished picture taking. Other activities await you there: exploring the Grottoes de Naye (caves) and strolling in the La Rambertia (Alpine garden).
Reason #3: The Picturesque Lavaux Vineyard Terraces
Lavaux Vineyard is another beautiful place you can visit from Montreux – another proof that Montreux is worth visiting.
The vineyard is growing in a terraced landscape, facing Lake Geneva and the snow-capped mountains at the other side of the lake. Expect to have a very delightful view when you come!
Lavaux Vineyard is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, existing for more than 600 hundred years now. It is also Switzerland’s largest vineyard area covering around 800 hectares of land.
Coming will not only about the view but learning the history of wines and vineyards as well. It could also be Romantic if you plan to bring your special someone with you.
Lavaux Vineyard will let you explore the terraces and taste the wine they gather from the vineyards. You can come here with your partner and drink together and create a memorable moment with each other!
Reason #4: Wine is fantastic in Montreux
With the vast vineyards out there, it is expected that Montreux has the best wines to taste – a reason why visit Montreux.
In Lavaux Vineyards alone, they present more than 300 wines that your taste buds will enjoy savoring. The wines range from “powerful” reds to specialty whites and dessert wines.
Winemaking has been practiced in Montreux and nearby towns since the 11th century when Cistercian monks started building the terraced vineyards.
With the tradition and centuries-old experience in winemaking, wine lovers could expect the best sensations their taste buds could ever have. It is a paradise for wine lovers, indeed.
According to Culturetrip, wines from Lavaux are not exported, and they cannot be purchased anywhere. So if you really want to taste it, you have to come here!
Reason #5: Montreux Jazz Festival
Montreux is really a special place! It’s not only the view and history but also the experience. Tasting wine is a deal, but wait until you learn about the Montreux Jazz Festival.
Perhaps, it would be the reason why I will really come to Montreux. Music has been my motivator, ecstasy, and energizer.
With everything I’ve learned about Montreux Jazz Festival, sure thing I’m not gonna skip that in my Switzerland itinerary.
Quincy Jones even said, “You can’t describe it, words don’t do it justice. You just have to come and experience it.” – This made me so eager to come and join Montreux Jazz Festival.
The festival takes place every year, every summer in Switzerland. It lasts for 2 weeks – two weeks of legendary performances and incredible musical experience.
The Jazz started in 1967, initiated by Claude Nobs. Today, it is the second-largest annual Jazz festival, next to Canada’s Montreal International Jazz Festival.
As said by the creators of the festival:
“In Montreux, the artists are up close and personal with their fans, which encourages deeply memorable, and even legendary, moments. Here, music is experienced in a truly unique fashion, further enhanced by exceptional comfort and acoustics.”
Montreux Jazz Festival is really a compelling reason why visit this Montreux. It’s just it doesn’t happen every day.
Reason #6: Montreux is the home of the Legendary Queen Band (Freddie Mercury)
Even if Montreux Jazz Festival does not occur all year, Montreux still has Queen to give visitors a glimpse of what the music industry is or was like before the 2000s.
In Montreux, we can find the Queen: The Studio Experience, a museum dedicated to the British rock group Queen, especially Freddie Mercury.
The museum is the actual studio where the rock group made their recordings. Inside, visitors can see the many memorabilia from the band.
The collection includes promotional materials, singles, costumes worn during performances, and even handwritten song lyrics.
The original musical instruments played by the band are still there too! Music lover-travelers must not miss seeing Roger Taylor’s drum set, John Deacon’s bass guitar.
The Studio Experience is inside the Casino Barrière Montreux. It is only a small museum, and you do not need to pay an entrance fee to enter.
Reason #7: Montreux and the Jewel of Belle Époque architecture
In Montreux, though most of the buildings are modern, we can find one worth seeing. It is a reason to visit Montreux, especially if you are an enthusiast of architecture.
One of the beautiful structures in Montreux is the Montreux Palace. It sits near the lakeshore, and it overlooks the lake Geneva.
Montreux Palace is a 5-start hotel that is also a cultural property of national importance in Switzerland. It is regarded as a jewel of Belle Époque architecture.
Montreux Palace hosted many famous guests in the past. A few of them are Richard Strauss, Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson, and many others.
You may book a room if you want, but expect really high prices! However, you can just sightsee the palace by walking in the lakeside promenade – another reason why you visit Montreux.
Reason #8: Montreux has a lovely lakeside promenade
What’s great about visiting Montreux is, again, it has an excellent location. Montreux sits between a lake and a mountain.
At the lakeshore of Montreux, we can find Lungolago, a “popular” walkway/promenade along the shores of Lake Geneva. It may sound like just any walkway, but it’s kinda different.
The first reason is, unlike any most promenade out there, Lungolago has lovely views of beautiful mountains on the other side of the lake.
If I would be there on a sunny day, I think I could spend up hours just hanging out there in Lungolago. Sights of a lake and a mountain are a thing that gives me peace of mind.
Anyway, the second reason is, Lungolago has different outdoor sculptures that are fun to see. Strolling along the promenade could feel like you’re walking into a museum of artworks.
Reason #9: Montreux neighbors towns with fantastic things to do
Montreux is both situated in an excellent geographical location and strategic location for exploring western Switzerland.
Montreux will let you explore more cities to the north or visit the stunning Swiss Alps to the south. Nearby attractions can be easily by public transportation from Montreux.
Here is the list of attractions that you can reach from Montreux in less than an hour:
- Swiss Vapeur Parc – See all landmarks in Switzerland in their miniature version. Travel time from Montreux is about an hour. You will be having 2 train rides to reach the park. See the route to the Swiss Vapeur Parc.
- Chaplin’s World – Visit an interactive museum rated 4.7/5, learn the whole story of Chaplin’s life and work. The minimum travel time to this museum is 28 minutes with 2 train rides and 50 minutes with 1 bus ride. See the route to Chaplin’s World.
- Blonay-Chamby museum railway – Travel back in time by seeing vintage steam and electric locomotives. Travel time is about 30 minutes, 1 train ride away. See the route to Blonay-Chamby museum railway.
- Golden Pass Railway – Go somewhere using a tourist-orientated train route in the Swiss Alps. Here you can have 360 degrees view of the Switzerland countryside. The track starts at the heart of Montreux. See Golden Pass Railway location.
- Regional Park Gruyère Pays-d’Enhaut – See a postcard landscape sceneries, beautiful castle, or even get a hot air balloon ride! It is only an hour, one train ride away from Montreux (Chernex station). See route to Regional Park Gruyère Pays-d’Enhaut.
Reason #10: Montreux is the gateway to the Swiss Alps
Montreux is the nearest city to the Swiss Alps if you are coming from the western side of the country, especially Geneva.
In Montreux, you already have access to some of the activities in the Swiss Alps, like the Glacier 3000. Some travel companies can arrange a trip to Glacier 3000 straight from Montreux.
In Glacier 3000, you will experience walking on the only suspension bridge in the world that connects two peaks together. You can try dog sled rides there too.
The Swiss Alps is such an incredible place. Check them out here in my other article: 15 Villages and Towns in the Swiss Alps.
These towns are also the Swiss Countryside. If you want to have an inspiration to visit them, you can check out the Inspiring Photos of the Swiss Countryside.
Visiting them after traveling to the towns in the Alps will complete your epic Swiss Alps journey or perhaps your whole Switzerland trip.
How to Visit Montreux?
Four cities in Switzerland have international airports. From those cities, you can start your journey to Montreux. See the table below for more information:
|From||Transport (Minimum number of rides)||Approximate Travel Time (minimum)|
|Geneva||1 train||1 hour|
|Bern||2 trains||1 hr 35m|
|Basel||3 trains||2 hr 45m|
|Zurich||2 trains||2 hr 40m|
The data above is gathered using Google Maps Schedule Explorer. The travel time and the number of transport rides are dependent on time, season, and demand.
Remember that these data are only approximated, and you should always double-check the directions for real-time data. Here are the links to each route on Google Maps for your convenience:
When is the Best Time to Visit Montreux?
The best time to visit Montreux is during the dry month of September. During that month, the temperature is comfortable, and the rain is less to happen. You might want to avoid May and June as they are the rainiest months.
If you prefer the warmest climate, visit Montreux during July and August. It is in January, however, that you’ll get the coldest temperature in Montreux. Source: whereandwhen.net
Photos to Inspire You to Visit Montreux
Here are some photos that might interest you in visiting Montreux. May it help you decide if it is Montreux is really worth a visit.
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