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.
Walking along this lovely lakeside promenade is surely one of best things to do in Montreux but 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 one of the very popular Montreux places to visit.
If you want a photo of the bronze version of Freddie without other tourists, you’ll need to be patient.
To learn more about Freddie Mercury and his time in Montreux, why not join a guided “In the Footsteps of Freddie Mercury” tour?
In this one hour tour you’ll discover fascinating stories and see exclusive photos of the legendary singer. > Click here for full details and to book.
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.
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.
Allow between 1.5 and 2 hours for your visit to the castle.
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; November to March 10am to 5pm.
You can reach the chateau on foot – allow around 45 minutes for the four kilometre walk from Montreux Tourist Office.
Alternatively, Chillon Castle can be reached by boat (disembark at the Chateau de Chillon stop), train (Veytaux-Chillon stop) or bus #201 (Chillon stop) from Montreux.
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? It is one of the most popular things to do in Montreux, Switzerland.
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.
Further reading: Scenic lake cruises and boat trips in Switzerland
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 20 November to 24 December each year. Check this year’s dates here.
🇨🇭Learn more about the Montreux Christmas Market in this podcast episode.
Lake Geneva water sports
The shores of Lake Geneva are of course among the must-do Montreux places to visit, but the waters themselves provide the location for many Montreux activities too.
Although the use of jet skis, parasailing and jet boats on Lake Geneva is not allowed, the crystal clear waters of the lake provide the perfect place for a spot of canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing or swimming.
If you want to master a new water sport, plenty of tuition is available.
Montreux Jazz Festival
Taking place over a fortnight in July, the Montreux Jazz Festival is another feather in the town’s musical cap – and it’s not all about jazz.
This esteemed music festival has hosted some of the world’s best-known names in music, including the likes of David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Lady Gaga, Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Prince and Van Morrison, as well as jazz stalwarts such as Nina Simone, Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald.
The festival is also the subject of Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water, following the infamous fire that occurred in 1971 during Frank Zappa’s performance, resulting in clouds of smoke over Lake Geneva.
Do book your tickets and hotel early if you plan to go, as the festival is immensely popular. It’s top of many visitors’ Montreux what to do list, especially for the musically-minded.
Things to Do in Vevey
As well as the sites and Montreux activities 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 on Thursday and Friday (April to October) at 10am from outside the Tourist Office on Grande-Place. Cost from CHF 15 per adult, children 50% off.
Address: Route de Fenil 2, 1804 Corsier-sur-Vevey
With both a statue and a museum 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.
Allow at least two hours for your visit – there is so much to see.
Chaplin’s World is 2.5 kilometres from Vevey train station (a 30 minute walk) or it can be reached by bus #212 from the Vevey Gare stop (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 18 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 9am to 6.30pm; Saturday from 8am to 5pm.
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).
Listen to our podcast episode about visiting Montreux and Vevey
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 and 25 December and 1 January. 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.
You’ll find lots of suggestions below and we have also written a detailed guide where we share our 8 best day trips from Montreux – read it here.
Wine lovers – and lovers of spectacular views – 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.
Numerous attractive villages are dotted amongst the vineyards and one particularly pretty one is St. Saphorin. The village has been recognised as one of the most beautiful villages in Switzerland and it’s not hard to see why.
There are a number of ways to explore the vineyards and sample the local drop, including by 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.
Or discover the terraced vineyards by e-bike on a 3 hour private which includes wine tastings. > 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.
Of course if you’re visiting the Lavaux Vineyards, you really must experience a cellar door visit and some wine tastings.
Another great place to enjoy a wine tasting 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.
One highly recommended cave (cellar) to visit is Domaine Bovy in Chexbres where you can enjoy a glass of wine on the verandah with stunning views of the lake and Alps.
The Domaine is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 12 noon and from 2pm to 6pm (closing at 5pm on Thursday), and from 9am to 12 noon on Saturday.
If you’d like to spend a night or two amongst the vineyards, the Baron Tavernier Hotel in Chexbres is a great choice. > Click here to check current prices.
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! Note: this is a seasonal experience only.
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.
From May to the end of September, you can take the Chocolate Train from Montreux to Gruyères for a different tasting experience.
This specialty train trip include visits to both cheese and chocolate factories and free time in Gruyères, and is a full day excursion.
Alternatively, Montreux is just 90 minutes from Gruyères by regular train (two changes required), or 80 minutes via Montbovon aboard the GoldenPass Line and a regional train.
Holders of a Swiss Travel Pass travel free on the GoldenPass Line and regular trains, and they receive a discounted fare on the Chocolate Train.
Gruyères is 40 minutes by car from Montreux.
If you don’t have your own car but would like to visit both Gruyères and the Maison Cailler factory at Broc, we highly recommend you consider a private tour.
The two towns have no direct public transport links so getting from one to the other by yourself involves a walk of around 30 minutes plus a bus ride, or a bus and a train ride. Travelling with a private driver/guide is much more hassle-free.
Lantern Trail of Les Pléiades
If your visit coincides with winter, then one of the top things to do in Montreux, Switzerland is to take to a very special lantern-lit trail. The first part of this magical journey involves catching the train from Vevey to Les Pléiades station via Blonay.
At Les Pléiades you can don snowshoes before following the snowy trail. The way is marked by a series of lanterns, which gives the entire experience something of an ethereal, magical feel.
If you’re with a loved one, it can be incredibly romantic.
Most folks who take Les Pléiades Lantern Trail also enjoy sampling a Swiss fondue at the restaurant before making their way back to Montreux or Vevey.
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).
Anyone wondering what to see in Montreux and Vevey should know about the local Narcissus trails. If your Swiss holiday is taking place during April or May, then you should be in luck.
Known locally as the ‘May snow’, hordes of wild, white narcissi cover the Alpine meadows during spring each year, and this phenomenon was even immortalised in print thanks to Ernest Hemingway.
Visitors can take a guided tour of the flower-filled meadows, or make their own way by following the marked trails. The treat extends beyond only the visual, as the narcissi emit a glorious scent that pervades the entire landscape.
There are also other delightful Swiss flora to see, smell and capture on camera.
A local attraction since the days of the Belle Epoque, this is without doubt one of the best things to do in Montreux during spring.
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. See closure dates here.
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 March, April, May, June, September and October, November and December. Open daily 1 July to 31 August.
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.
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.
🇨🇭Like more ideas for where to stay in Montreux? Read our guide to the best hotels in Montreux here.
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 exactly what to do in Montreux and Vevey during your limited time in this beautiful part of Switzerland!
Enjoy your visit 🇨🇭
> Click here to read all our Western Switzerland travel guides.
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