Nestled amid gigantic Alpine peaks on the eastern shore of Lake Geneva, Switzerland’s charming French-speaking city of Montreux is an impeccable resort town that has earned its title as the jewel of the ‘Swiss Riviera’.
With majestic views and an upscale vibe, Montreux shouldn’t be missed when you visit Switzerland for it holds many charms that are beyond compare.
Montreux’s location at the foot of the picturesque Lavaux vineyards and just an hour from the bustling, cosmopolitan city of Geneva, makes it a great base to spend a few days.
However, even if you can only spend one day in Montreux, you won’t be disappointed. There are numerous interesting things to see in Montreux in just a few hours.
For our guide to the best things to do on your visit, read on and plan your own exciting itinerary to Montreux, Switzerland!
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Montreux: Things to Do
Montreux Lakeside Promenade
Start your Montreux sightseeing by taking a walk along the lakeside promenade, a path that runs the entire length of Montreux. It begins in Vevey, the town next door, and continues for 13 kilometres, through Montreux and right on to the Château de Chillon (Chillon Castle) at Villeneuve.
Often referred to as the Chemin Fleuri or ‘Flower Path,’ you’ll see blooming flowers, fascinating works of art, and even palms surrounding the glistening lake with the snowy mountains behind it.
Of course you don’t have to walk the entire distance. The Montreux Tourism office is a good place to start. It’s located right beside the lake and the jetty, just a short walk from the train station. Stop in here and pick up a map of Montreux before you start exploring.
You can also board the Petit Train for a 25 minute tour along the lakeshore.
Statue of Freddie Mercury
For fans of the British rock band, Queen, Montreux is a special place. The band’s front-man Freddie Mercury adored Montreux with such passion that he became a resident.
You can visit his statue on the promenade in front of the old covered market, just a short stroll from the Tourist Office. You may recognize the statue from the cover art of Queen’s last studio album, Made in Heaven, recorded in 1995.
The statue is one of the most-loved Montreux attractions and is therefore very popular. If you want a photo of the bronze version of Freddie without other tourists, you’ll need to be patient.
Montreux Casino and Queen: The Studio Experience
Address: Rue de Theatre 9, 1820 Montreux
Continue walking and you’ll come to the Queen studio, Montreux. Out of Queen’s 15 albums, seven of them were recorded at Mountain Studios (it’s official name) which is part of Casino Barrière de Montreux.
The studio – the spiritual home of Queen in Montreux – has been left largely untouched since the last recording in the mid-1990s and provides a chance to discover treasured memorabilia from the band.
Entry to The Studio Experience is free, as is the casino which is upscale and one of the perfect Montreux things to do if you enjoy a flutter.
Open: Barrière Casino de Montreux is located right on the lakeside promenade and is open every day. The Studio Experience is also open daily from 10.30am until 10pm.
Address: Avenue de Chillon 21, 1820 Veytaux
Complete your stroll along the Flower Path to the most-visited historical monument in all of Switzerland, Château de Chillon Montreux. Without a doubt, this is one of the most popular places to visit in Montreux.
Like a vision from a fairytale, this stunning fortified castle features a maze of hallways, courtyards, towers, and even prison cells that date back to the 12th century.
Glance across the lake to France for views that have inspired paintings by Turner and writings by Lord Byron, whose name is carved into the Castle’s dungeon walls, and you’ll see why this is one of the most popular Montreux tourist attractions.
Entry to Chillon Castle Montreux costs CHF 12.50 per adult and CHF 6 per child (entry free for holders of the Swiss Travel Pass). Grab an audio guide for an additional CHF 2 to learn more about the history of this fascinating castle.
A number of rooms are open to visitors with informative display boards providing interesting facts.
Just beside the entrance, you’ll see a small wooden jetty. This is a fantastic spot to take a photo of sparkling Lake Geneva with the castle, Montreux’s pride and joy, in the foreground.
Open: Chillon Castle is open every day of the year except 1 January and 25 December. April to September 9am to 6pm; October and March 9.30am to 5pm; November to February 10am to 4pm.
If you’d rather not walk to (or from) the chateau – allow around 45 minutes for the four kilometre walk from Montreux Tourist Office – Chillon Castle can be reached by boat (disembark at the Chateau de Chillon stop), train (Veytaux-Chillon stop) or bus #201 (Chillon stop).
Cruises on Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva, with the Alps as the predominant backdrop, is a truly spectacular sight to behold.
Onboard a paddle steamer, you can appreciate the beauty of the surrounding scenery and the lakeside towns from the tranquil water. The historic boats connect 40 ports on Swiss and French portions of the lake, a most relaxing form of public transport.
For an unforgettable experience, why not enjoy a gourmet cruise aboard one of these beautiful Belle Époque steamers?
Lake cruises depart from the jetty in Montreux, right by the Tourist Office, and are available year round (Sundays only in winter). You can also commence your cruise in Vevey. Click here to check cruise details and prices.
Montreux Christmas Market
If you are planning your trip to Switzerland to coincide with a visit to a Christmas market, Montreux is the perfect destination.
From mid-November to the day before Christmas, Montreux Noël, or Festival Montreux, is a magical Christmas event with a market that features around 160 wooden huts selling original gifts, a spectacle of lights, and a genuine festive ambience by the lake.
A unique feature of the Christmas market in Montreux is the chance to see Santa Claus in his sleigh flying through the sky above the lake.
Montreux Nöel runs from around 21 November to 24 December each year. Check this year’s dates here.
Things to Do in Vevey
As well as the sites and activities in Montreux that are mentioned above, you’ll also find an array of other fascinating sites in Vevey, making them perfect to add to your itinerary.
Vevey Old Town
If you keep walking north from Montreux along the Flower Path, you’ll wind up in Vevey. It’s a charming town just a few kilometres away with a central lakeside square known as the Grande Place.
Pedestrian streets with coffee shops, bakeries, artist workshops, boutiques, and other delights await exploration. It’s a great place for a self-guided food tour, too, so come hungry!
Right on the lakeside you’ll find a statue of Charlie Chaplin, one of Vevey’s most famous visitors, looking out over the lake.
A great way to learn more about the Old Town of Vevey is to join a two hour guided walk organised by the Tourist Office. Tours operate from Monday to Wednesday (April to September – except 18 July to 11 August) at 10am from outside the Tourist Office in Place du Marche. Cost CHF 15 per adult, children 50% off.
Address: Route de Fenil 2, 1804 Corsier-sur-Vevey
With a statue and an exhibition in his honour, it’s obvious that silent movie star Charlie Chaplin endeared himself to Vevey. When the locals connect their town to famous people Vevey = Charlie Chaplin, Montreux = Freddie Mercury.
Chaplin’s World is devoted to the life of the famed mime, who spent 25 years of his life living in his 14-hectare estate where this unique exhibition is now housed.
Featuring multimedia installations, interactive displays and a huge film studio, visitors can learn more about Chaplin and the famous people who helped shape his career and his life.
Chaplin’s World is 2.5 kilometres from Vevey train station (a 30 minute walk) or it can be reached by bus #212 (disembark at the Chaplin stop). Buses operate every 30 minutes.
Open: Chaplin’s World is open year round except on 1 January and 25 December. Entry costs CHF 27 per adult and CHF 20 per child (6 to 15 years). Click here to buy your tickets online.
Läderach ChocoAtelier Vevey
Address: Rue de Theatre 8, 1800 Vevey
When in Switzerland, one of the best things to do is sample Swiss chocolate.
Läderach has been a landmark since the early 1960s and at their chocolate atelier in Vevey you have the chance to taste exquisite chocolates, watch chocolate being made or even join a workshop to make your own. There are even workshops especially for children.
Don’t finish your visit without stopping by the chocolate boutique, a place of sheer delight. Here you’ll find a mouth watering range of chocolates, pralines and truffles that you’ll find hard to resist.
To reach Läderach, it’s just 400 metres (a 4 minute walk) from Vevey station.
Open: Läderach ChocoAtelier Vevey is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm; Saturday from 9am to 5pm (Closed daily for lunch from 1.30pm to 2.30pm).
Alimentarium Food Museum
Address: Quai Perdonnet 25, 1800 Vevey
Find the giant fork sticking out of Lake Geneva and you’ve found Alimentarium Food Museum. Created by Nestle, it is the first museum anywhere in the world all about food.
Visitors to the museum learn about the way different cultures have eaten from past to present, as well as what’s expected in the future. The permanent exhibition, Food – The essence of life, takes visitors on an interactive journey through the world of food.
There are also daily cooking workshops that offer a tasty way to get even more acquainted with both Swiss and international cuisines, as well as scientific demonstrations.
You can also dine on meals prepared by the in-house chefs in the Alimentarium’s restaurant.
Alimentarium Food Museum is a five minute walk from the Vevey Marche jetty, a 10-minute walk from Vevey train station, and a three minute walk from the Hotel de Ville bus stop.
Open: The Museum is open 10am to 5pm from October to March and 10am to 6pm from April to September. Closed Mondays except public holidays. Admission is CHF 13 per adult and CHF 4 per child (6 to 15 years).
More Interesting Museums in Vevey
Historical Museum of Vevey
Address: Le Chateau, Rue du Chateau 2, 1800 Vevey
Housed in what was the 16th century residence of the Bernese bailiffs, the Historical Museum retraces Vevey’s history over several centuries. The exhibits include documents, objects and artefacts, including keys, locks and old caskets, which provide a fascinating insight into Vevey’s past.
Open: The museum is open from 11am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Mondays except public holidays. Admission is CHF 5 per adult, under 18s are free.
Swiss Camera Museum
Address: Grande Place 99, 1800 Vevey
Occupying an historic building on Market Place, Vevey’s Swiss Camera Museum showcases an interesting collection of old photographs and a diverse range of cameras, as well as information about the inventors of the first cameras.
Open: The museum is open from 11am to 5.30pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Mondays except public holidays. Admission is CHF 9 per adult, under 18s are free.
Jenisch Museum Vevey
Address: Avenue de la Gare 2, 1800 Vevey
Named for the benefactor who provided the funds to build the museum, the Jenisch Museum was inaugurated in 1897 and is now home to a priceless collection of prints and drawings from all periods.
Amongst the collection are paintings by Courbet and Giacometti and engravings by Rembrandt, Degas and Picasso.
Open: The museum is open from 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Sunday (open until 8pm on Thursdays). Admission costs CHF 12 per adult, under 18s are free.
Day trips from Montreux
Montreux and Vevey have plenty of wonderful attractions to fill your days but if you’d like to go beyond the lakeside there are some excellent day trips to enjoy.
Wine lovers shouldn’t miss the chance to head to the sunny Lavaux Vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Almost 10,000 terraced vines intertwine along the hillsides above Lake Geneva for a stretch of 30 kilometres, the longest in the country.
The vines themselves are ages old at nearly one thousand years and have been carefully tended by generations of wine making families.
There are numerous ways to explore the vineyards and sample the local drop, including on foot. Guided tours offer the opportunity to hear stories about the past and wine making traditions and secrets.
You can also enjoy a self-guided tour through the vineyards with the assistance of a special app. The 10.4 kilometre walk takes around 4.5 hours and is suitable for prams and bicycles. Find out more about the app here.
If walking is not your thing, you can join a two-hour trolley tour to explore the vines and enjoy the stunning views of the vineyards and lake. Click here to check details and prices.
Or, hop aboard an open-top bus for a four-hour panoramic wine tour. Wander among the terraced grounds of the winery and enjoy a selection of cured meats and cheeses and delicious wine. Click here for more information and prices.
Of course if you’re visiting the Lavaux Vineyards, you really must experience a cellar door visit and some wine tastings. The perfect place to do so is at Lavaux Vinorama. The cosy bar has over 300 Lavaux wines on display and there’s also a discovery centre.
The Lavaux Vinorama is open daily from May until the end of October and Wednesday to Sunday the rest of the year.
For the ultimate Swiss food and wine experience, why not indulge in a Swiss fondue tour? Available for either lunch or dinner, this incredible tour includes a breathtaking ride in a panoramic bus to the Lavaux vineyards with on-board beverages, a meal of traditional Swiss fondue served with local wines and hotel pick up and drop off.
Go on – treat yourself! Click here to check details and prices.
The lovely medieval village of Gruyères is home to cobbled streets and is famed for its cheese. It also boasts a 13th century château atop the hill at one end of the town.
A visit to a cheese dairy and the Maison Cailler Chocolate Factory make this a wonderful destination for a day trip from Montreux.
You can arrive from Montreux via the Cheese Train if you’re visiting from January to April and enjoy regional cheeses and wine as you look out on the rolling scenery. From May to October, you can take the Chocolate Train for a different tasting experience. Both specialty train trips include visits to cheese and/or chocolate factories and free time in Gruyères, and are full day excursions.
Alternatively, instead of the Cheese or Chocolate Train, Montreux is just 90 minutes from Gruyères by regular train and 40 minutes by car. You can also join an organised tour – click here for details and prices.
At 2,042 metres above sea level, the rocky balcony of Rochers-de-Naye offers spectacular views over Lake Geneva, the Swiss Alps and the Jura mountains.
Whilst you can hike up to the summit from Montreux (it takes around five hours), the best way to get to Rochers-de-Naye is aboard the cogwheel train. It provides the chance to enjoy the beauty of this natural wonderland on your one hour train ride.
Wildlife, including marmots, and close to 1,000 native species of plants can be seen at the summit. There’s also a panoramic restaurant, and in winter time the whole area offers skiing and the chance to visit Father Christmas’ house in December.
Operates: The Montreux – Les Rochers-de-Naye train line operates every day with hourly services from 8.17am. Return fares cost CHF 70 per adult and CHF 35 per child (6 to 16 years).
Seeking more adventure? Glacier 3000 is the place for those that adore mountain sports. From the cable car that takes you up to the summit in only 15 minutes to the Peak Walk suspension bridge that connects two mountains, that’s only the tip of the iceberg for adventures here.
This is home to the highest bobsleigh track in the world, a place you can go tobogganing, dog sledding, ride the Alpine Coaster, and of course, hit the slopes for cross-country skiing.
The views are also impeccable, should you prefer to just sit and soak in the vistas.
Getting to Glacier 3000 from Montreux is easy. By car, it takes around 45 minutes to reach Col du Pillon where the cable car station is located. Public transport services aren’t as direct – they involve taking a train to Gstaad and then a bus to Col du Pillon. The cableway from Col du Pillon to Glacier 3000 operates every 20 minutes.
You can also join an organised tour from Montreux – click here for details and prices.
Open: The Glacier 3000 cableway operates year round except for a short period in October/November for routine maintenance (next closure dates are 19 October to 6 November, 2020).
Fares: Entry to Glacier 3000, including return cable car fare costs CHF 80 per adult and CHF 40 per child (6 – 15 years). Skip the line and buy your Glacier 3000 tickets in advance – click here for details.
Additional charges apply for the activities at Glacier 3000 including Alpine Coaster, dog sledding, tobogganing, etc.
Château d’Aigle, or Aigle Castle, is surrounded by vineyards. Once the place for nobility and knights, it then became a prison. In 1976, the Castle became the Vine and Wine Museum.
The Castle’s museum boasts seven interactive exhibitions including a display of 1200 wine labels.
Connoisseurs can savour the tastes of local wines whilst relaxing on the terrace of the restaurant just across from the castle. It’s the perfect spot to appreciate the view of the medieval castle surrounded by vines.
There are at least two trains per hour from Montreux to Aigle (journey time 10 minutes). The Castle is a 15 minute walk from Aigle station. The journey by car takes just 20 minutes.
Open: Aigle Castle is open year round. Closed 1 January, 25 December and Mondays in April, May, June, September and October. Admission costs CHF 11 per adult and CHF 5 per child (6 to 16 years).
Probably the most famous town on Lake Geneva is the city that bears the same name, Geneva. Located at the opposite end of the lake to Montreux, Geneva makes a great destination for a day trip.
The impressive fountain, Jet d’Eau, Flower Clock, Reformation Wall and the UNESCO Headquarters, are all worthwhile sites to visit in Geneva.
The best way to get to Geneva is by rail. There are trains from Montreux to Geneva at least twice per hour,and the trip takes just over an hour.
Where is Montreux?
Montreux is located on the shores of Lake Geneva in the Canton of Vaud. It is 95 kilometres from Geneva, 90 kilometres from Bern and 210 kilometres from Zurich.
How to get to Montreux
By train: The closest airport to Montreux is Geneva International Airport. To get to Montreux from Geneva Airport by public transport, you can catch a train directly from the airport station to Montreux Gare station. There are at least two trains per hour and the journey takes around 90 minutes.
Vevey is also on the main line from Geneva. You’ll need to disembark at the station before Montreux if you plan to base yourself in Vevey.
There are also regular trains to Montreux from other destinations in Switzerland. A popular journey to take is aboard the GoldenPass Line, a series of three trains that connects Montreux to Lucerne. The panoramic train is particularly popular with passengers who are travelling from Interlaken to Montreux. You can find further details on the GoldenPass Line in this article.
By car: If you plan to rent a car in Switzerland, Montreux can be reached from both Geneva Airport and Bern in one hour and from Zurich in 2 hours and 20 minutes.
By private transfer: If you’d rather let someone else do the navigating, why not book a private transfer from Geneva Airport to Montreux or Vevey? Click here for details and prices.
Where to stay in Montreux
Once in Montreux, there are a variety of accommodations to choose from. When you choose a hotel or holiday apartment, you get a free Montreux Riviera Card. This allows you free travel on public trains and buses in Montreux plus discounts for admission to a variety of the attractions and museums, even those Lake Geneva cruises, too.
Simply ask for one as you check in and you’ll be all set and ready to explore all the things to do in Montreux, Switzerland!
Below you’ll find a guide to some of the most highly-rated places to stay in Montreux.
Hotels in Montreux
With its perfect lakefront position and Belle Epoque charm, Eden Palace is one of the most popular hotels in Montreux, Switzerland. All 100 rooms and suites are beautifully furnished and feature free WiFi, en-suite bathroom, hair dryer, flat-screen television and minibar as well as a desk with telephone. Most rooms have a balcony overlooking either the town or lake.
In addition to its swimming pool and fitness centre, the hotel also has a restaurant, bar and terrace. It is just a five minute walk from the train station.
Hotel Splendid – 3*
Hotel Splendid Montreux is the town’s only 3-star hotel on the lakefront and has been owned by the same family for three generations. The hotel’s spacious rooms feature free WiFi, kettle, flat screen TV and a private bathroom. Some rooms have a balcony or terrace overlooking the lake.
There’s an on-site restaurant and bar, and the hotel is just 300 metres from the Freddie Mercury statue.
Apartments in Montreux
If you would prefer to stay in an apartment or Airbnb, Montreux has a good selection to choose from. > Click here to search for self-catering accommodation in Montreux.
Where to stay in Vevey
A member of the Leading Hotels of the World group, Hotel Des Trois Couronnes and Spa is everything a 5* hotel should be and more! With a superb position on the lakefront, the hotel offers stunning views of the water and the Alps.
Most of the spacious and individually decorated rooms feature balconies, whilst all rooms include free WiFi, a safe and tea/coffee making facilities. As well as an indoor pool, the hotel offers a wellness centre and fitness area, a restaurant and a bar.
Base Vevey – 4*
Just 250 metres from the train station, Base Vevey offers both studio and 1-bedroom apartments. All units feature a fully-equipped kitchen with dishwasher, oven, a coffee machine, microwave and kettle, as well as a 40-inch TV.
The on-site restaurant serves modern, local cuisine, and there’s also a rooftop bar.
As you can see from the information above, when planning your visit to Switzerland, Montreux and Vevey are definitely worth including in your itinerary. With their ideal location on the shores of Lake Geneva and framed by the Alps, a mild climate and a friendly, resort-like vibe, Montreux and neighbouring Vevey make the perfect destination.
Your only dilemma will be deciding what to do in Montreux and Vevey you’ll enjoy during your visit!
Click here to read our full Western Switzerland travel guide.
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