What city is more beautiful than the one nestled in nature? Switzerland is home to many such cities, with Montreux being a prime example. This city is situated between the Swiss Alps and Lake Geneva in western Switzerland.
Just an hour away from Geneva, the country’s second largest city, Montreux is easy and convenient to visit. But why should you visit Montreux? What could be your motivations for exploring this city?
I will detail some of Montreux’s events and attractions. These could be compelling reasons for you to plan a trip to Montreux.
This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a tiny commission at no additional cost to you.
Use the table of contents to skip to topics.
Is Montreux Worth Visiting
Montreux, nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva, is a lovely little city with plenty of attractions that make it great for a day trip. You can enjoy a peaceful cruise on Lake Geneva or visit the enchanting Chillon Castle. Get the chance to taste some excellent wines from the scenic UNESCO Lavaux Vineyard. And if you’re there in the summer, you won’t want to miss the city’s world-renowned jazz festival, one of the biggest of its kind.
Have a quick virtual tour of Montreux below to see how beautiful Montreux is.
Below are the different experiences offered in Montreux. From them you can get an idea how you can spend a day or two in Montreux.
10 Best Reasons to Visit Montreux
Before you plan your trip to Montreux, you might want to look into other places in Switzerland that are a lot like Montreux. For example, Thun and Lucerne are cities that are also close to the Alps, just like Montreux.
If you ask me, both are beautiful and well worth a visit. However, each city is unique in its own way. Montreux, for instance, has several distinctive characteristics. These are included in the list of reasons why you should consider visiting Montreux, as detailed in this section.
By the way, if you want to stay in Montreux, here’s where you can find the best hotel deals in Montreux.
#1 Chillon Castle
Chillon Castle is a top attraction in Switzerland, and it’s easy to see why. This castle sits on a small island in Lake Geneva, offering stunning views. From the north, it appears as if the castle is floating on the lake against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains.
Fans of medieval fantasy movies will find Chillon Castle captivating. The breathtaking view alone transports you back in time. History buffs will also find the castle intriguing. It dates back to the 12th century and has seen three different ruling periods: the Savoy, Bernese, and Vaudois eras.
Inside the castle, there’s a wealth of historical items to discover. From furniture and weapons to murals and architectural features, there’s plenty to see. The castle also hosts temporary exhibits.
While Chillon Castle isn’t technically in Montreux, it’s easy and enjoyable to visit from there. So, how can you visit Chillon Castle? Below are the ways you can see Chillon Castle:
If you’re touring Europe with a focus on castles, consider some alternatives to Chillon Castle. One option is Neuschwanstein Castle, nestled in the hills of the Bavarian Alps. Another great choice is Lichtenstein Castle, also located in Southern Germany. It’s recognized as one of the country’s most stunning spots by various publications.
One of the best things about Montreux is its location. With a lake to the west and a mountain to the east, it’s a place that’s sure to offer plenty of fun activities. And in Montreux, this is definitely the case.
From the Montreux city center, you can easily reach a scenic peak known as Rochers-de-Naye. This 2,042-meter (or 6,699 ft) mountain can be reached by train or funicular. At the top, you’ll be greeted by the stunning Swiss and French Alps, along with the sparkling Lake Geneva. It’s a breathtaking view, especially on a clear, sunny day!
But the journey to Rochers-de-Naye is just as beautiful. The train from the city center passes by the shores of Lake Geneva and ascends through picturesque fields and villages. So, make sure your camera has plenty of storage – you’ll want to capture every moment!
Once you reach the summit, the fun doesn’t stop. You can explore the Grottoes de Naye, stroll through the La Rambertia Alpine garden, and more. From Rochers de Naye, you can even spot the French Alps.
The French Alps, like Montreux and the Swiss Alps, are a great spot for those who love nature. Why not consider a trip?
In this region, you’ll find Chamonix, a town nestled near Mont Blanc, the tallest peak in the Alps. If you’re planning to explore western Switzerland and eastern France, Chamonix is a must-see.
Annecy, another gem in the French Alps, is also worth a visit. It could be a great alternative to Montreux. With its own castle, lake, and beautiful views, Annecy has plenty to offer. So, why not add it to your travel list?
#3 Lavaux Vineyard
Another reason to visit Montreux is the nearby Lavaux Vineyard. This vineyard, set on terraced slopes facing Lake Geneva and the snow-capped mountains beyond, offers delightful views.
Lavaux Vineyard is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a history spanning over 600 years. It’s also Switzerland’s largest vineyard, covering about 800 hectares of land.
A visit to Lavaux Vineyard is not just about the views. It’s also a chance to learn about the history of wine and vineyards. If you’re planning a romantic outing, this could be the perfect spot. You can explore the terraces, taste the wine, and create memorable moments with your partner.
Even if you’re not a wine enthusiast, you’ll appreciate the scenic views of Lake Geneva from Lavaux Vineyard. So, how can you explore the Lavaux Region? Find out below.
Before you head to Montreux to visit the Lavaux Vineyard, remember that there are other places not too far away that offer similar experiences. These places are in eastern France and include cities like Reims, Colmar, and Strasbourg.
Reims is known for its beautiful cathedral and the UNESCO-listed Champagne region. It’s where the French kings were crowned. Colmar and Strasbourg, on the other hand, are located on the Alsace Wine Route. So, you can expect to find some excellent wines there as well.
#4 Montreux’s Wine
Given the abundance of vineyards, it’s no surprise that Montreux is known for its excellent wines. This is just one more reason to visit. Lavaux Vineyards alone offers over 300 wines for you to savor.
The selection includes robust reds, specialty whites, and delightful dessert wines. The tradition of winemaking in Montreux and the surrounding towns dates back to the 11th century when Cistercian monks began cultivating terraced vineyards.
With this long-standing tradition and centuries of experience, wine lovers can expect an exceptional tasting experience. It’s truly a haven for wine enthusiasts.
It’s worth noting that Lavaux wines are not exported and are not available for purchase elsewhere. So, if you want to try these wines, you’ll have to visit in person.
There are many wine-growing regions in Europe that could serve as alternatives to Montreux. For instance, in Italy, you’ll find Verona, a city known for its romantic ambiance and the setting for the story of Romeo and Juliet.
Over in Germany, the Franconia region is renowned for its winemaking. You might want to consider a visit to Wurzburg. Another interesting place is Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a charming town that seems frozen in the medieval era. It even hosts its own wine festival.
Heading south to France, the impressive medieval town of Carcassonne, surrounded by vineyards, is another great destination. So, while Montreux is unique, there are plenty of other places to explore if you’re a wine lover.
#5 Montreux Jazz Festival
Montreux is more than just a place with beautiful views and rich history. It’s an experience. Sure, tasting wine is a big part of it, but there’s also the Montreux Jazz Festival. This event draws many people to Montreux every summer. Music can be a powerful motivator, a source of joy, and an energy booster.
The Montreux Jazz Festival is something you shouldn’t miss when you’re planning your trip to Switzerland. Quincy Jones once said about the festival, “You can’t describe it; words don’t do it justice. You just have to come and experience it.” This statement made me really excited to join the festival.
The festival happens every summer in Switzerland and lasts for two weeks. It’s two weeks filled with legendary performances and an incredible musical experience. The Jazz Festival began in 1967, started by Claude Nobs. Today, it’s the second-largest annual Jazz festival in the world, next only to Canada’s Montreal International Jazz Festival.
The creators of the festival said, “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.”
So, the Montreux Jazz Festival is indeed a compelling reason to visit Montreux. Just remember, it’s a special event that doesn’t happen every day.
While we’re on the topic of festivals, did you know Avignon is home to the oldest ongoing festival in France? This festival is a three-week-long celebration that takes place in July. It’s just one of the many reasons why a visit to Avignon is worth visiting.
#6 Queen Band (Freddie Mercury)
Even when the Montreux Jazz Festival isn’t happening, Montreux still offers a taste of the pre-2000s music scene, thanks to Queen. In Montreux, you’ll find the Queen: The Studio Experience, a museum dedicated to the iconic British rock band, especially their frontman, Freddie Mercury.
This museum is located in the actual studio where Queen recorded their music. Inside, you can see a wide array of band memorabilia. The collection includes promotional items, singles, performance costumes, and even handwritten lyrics.
You’ll also find the original instruments used by the band. Music lovers won’t want to miss seeing Roger Taylor’s drum set or John Deacon’s bass guitar.
The Studio Experience is housed within the Casino Barrière Montreux. It’s a small museum and there’s no entrance fee. Below are some special experiences related to Freddie Mercury that you can enjoy in Montreux.
#7 Jewel of Belle Époque architecture
While Montreux is known for its modern buildings, there’s one that stands out, especially if you’re a fan of architecture. This is the Montreux Palace. Located near the lakeshore, it offers stunning views of Lake Geneva.
The Montreux Palace is a five-star hotel and a cultural landmark in Switzerland. It’s a shining example of Belle Époque architecture. Over the years, it has welcomed many famous guests, including Richard Strauss, Freddie Mercury, and Michael Jackson.
You can book a room at the palace, but be prepared for the high prices! Alternatively, you can simply enjoy the view of the palace by taking a stroll along the lakeside promenade. This is just one more reason to visit Montreux.
#8 Montreux’s Lakeside Promenade
One of the best things about Montreux is its fantastic location. Nestled between a lake and a mountain, it offers a unique setting.
Along the lakeshore of Montreux, you’ll find Lungolago. This popular walkway runs along the shores of Lake Geneva. It might seem like just another promenade, but it’s quite special.
Firstly, Lungolago offers stunning views of the beautiful mountains across the lake. On a sunny day, you could easily spend hours just relaxing there. The sight of the lake and the mountain can be incredibly calming.
Secondly, Lungolago is home to various outdoor sculptures. As you stroll along the promenade, it can feel like you’re walking through an open-air art museum. So, why not take a leisurely walk and enjoy the view?
I’ve always been drawn to lakes. There’s a certain tranquility they offer that soothes my soul. If you’re also a fan of lakes, I recommend exploring some of the lakes in Europe. They could serve as great alternatives to Lake Geneva or Montreux.
- First up is Lake Garda. It’s the largest lake in Italy and is surrounded by charming towns, castles, and offers scenic hikes.
- Next is Lake Como, another beautiful lake in northern Italy. What makes it unique are the stunning villas that line its shores.
- Lastly, Berchtesgaden’s Konigssee. This lake in Germany is truly enchanting. It features a chapel set against the backdrop of stunning mountains.
#9 More Things to Do in Montreux
Montreux’s location is ideal for exploring western Switzerland. From here, you can easily head north to discover more cities or south to the breathtaking Swiss Alps. Getting to nearby attractions from Montreux is a breeze thanks to convenient public transportation.
Here’s a list of places you can reach from Montreux in under an hour:
- Swiss Vapeur Parc – See all landmarks in Switzerland in their miniature version.
- Chaplin’s World – Visit an interactive museum and learn the whole story of Chaplin’s life and work.
- Blonay-Chamby museum railway – Travel back in time by seeing vintage steam and electric locomotives.
- Golden Pass Railway (covered by Swiss Travel Pass) – Go somewhere using a tourist-orientated train route in the Swiss Alps. Here you can have 360 degrees view of the Switzerland countryside.
- Regional Park Gruyère Pays-d’Enhaut – See postcard landscape scenery, a beautiful castle, or even a hot air balloon ride!
#10 Gateway to The Swiss Alps
Montreux’s location at the foot of the Swiss Alps is ideal. It’s a gateway to the rest of the Swiss Alps, with most roads and trains from western Switzerland passing through. This means you can easily visit some of the best ski resort towns and mountain attractions without spending too much time traveling.
From Montreux, you can reach some of the top ski resorts and beautiful villages in the Swiss Alps. For example:
- Champery is just 40 minutes away by car, or slightly over an hour by train.
- Verbier is about an hour’s drive, or 1.5 hours by public transit.
- Saas-Fee can be reached within 2 hours by car or 2.5 hours by train.
You can also take a day trip to Glacier 3000 from Montreux. Here, you’ll have the unique experience of walking on the world’s only suspension bridge that connects two peaks. You can even try dog sledding! So, why not explore more about Glacier 3000?
When it comes to exploring the Swiss Alps from Montreux, you’re not just limited to ski resorts and Glacier 3000. There are other fantastic destinations to consider.
For instance, if you appreciate a mix of medieval charm and stunning alpine views, Gruyeres is a great choice. Food lovers will be delighted by the local cheese and the dishes made from it.
Zermatt, another top destination in Switzerland, is also within reach from Montreux. It’s about a 2 hour and 45 minute journey. Once you’re there, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of the Matterhorn from various viewpoints. You can also discover hidden alpine gems that make Zermatt a must-visit place.
How to Visit Montreux?
Montreux, one of the cities near the Swiss Alps, is easily accessible for travelers. You can reach Montreux with little effort from any major Swiss city that has an airport, even without relying on car. The following table provides a summary of the journey to Montreux from Switzerland’s major cities using public transportation.
|Cities near Montreux
(Number of Transfers)
|Direct Train Ride
|1 Train Transfer
|1 hr 35m
|2 Train Transfers
|2 hr 45m
|1 Train Transfer
|2 hr 40m
If you’re thinking about visiting Geneva, Bern, Basel, and Zurich before heading to Montreux, the articles I’ve linked below can help you get the most out of your trip.
- Geneva — Is Geneva Worth Visiting: A Guide to Its 10 Best Experiences
- Bern — How to Spend 3 Days in Bern Itinerary: 22 Things to Do
- Basel — 7 Most Beautiful Places To Visit In Basel Switzerland
- Zurich — A Complete Guide to Zurich: Discover Why It’s Worth a Visit
When to Visit Montreux
Montreux is a great place to visit from late spring to summer. During these months, the town is in full bloom with flowers lining the streets and gardens. The weather is usually nice, making it a great time to explore outdoor attractions like the Lavaux Vineyard, Rochers de Naye, and boat tours on Lake Geneva.
Remember, this is also the busiest time of the year. Places like Chillon Castle and other popular spots in Montreux see a lot of visitors. So, it’s a good idea to plan your trip and book your visits to these attractions in advance.
If you’re looking for something extra special, consider timing your visit with the Jazz Festival. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss!
How Many Days in Montreux
If you’re planning a trip to Switzerland and have some time, spending two days in Montreux is a great idea.
On the first day, you can explore Lake Geneva’s attractions like Chillon Castle and Lavaux Vineyard. Don’t miss out on the wine tasting! In the evening, take a stroll around the town and visit museums, including the Freddie Mercury exhibitions.
On your second day, consider a trip to Rochers-de-Naye. You can spend half a day or more exploring this unique part of the Swiss Alps. Another option is the Glacier 3000 experience.
If you’re short on time, a day trip to Montreux will still let you see the highlights. You can enjoy a walk along the beautiful promenade, visit Chillon Castle, and explore Lavaux Vineyard. For a hassle-free visit, you could stay in Geneva and take a day trip to Montreux. Plan your trip and enjoy your visit!
Here’s where you can find the best hotel deals in Montreux.
How to Get Around Montreux
Montreux is easy to get around. You can use trains, buses, boats, or even a funicular, which is a type of cable railway. Trains and buses are very frequent, and boats can take you along the beautiful Lake Geneva.
If you want to visit places outside Montreux or prefer driving, you can rent a car. But remember, finding a parking spot in Montreux can be tough and you might need to pay for it.
If you bring a car, here are three places you can park:
- Parking Du Parc Donner: It has lots of space, but it might cost a bit more.
- Parking La Paix: It’s a good option, but it might be a bit far from the city center.
- Montreux Noël: It’s in the city center, but it might be busy during peak hours or events.
Save it on Pinterest.