WHAT TO DO IN MONTREUX – PLACES TO VISIT AND THINGS TO DO
If you are planning your Montreux itinerary, you are probably wondering about the best things to do in Montreux. If so, then this post is for you. Here is where to go, what to see, and many more travel tips (incl. where to stay, how to get around, and more) for your Montreux trip.
Oh, you absolutely must consider adding Montreux to your Swiss itinerary! I mean, it’s breathtakingly gorgeous and boasts one of the most scenic promenades in the entire country. Trust me, after exploring Switzerland for over a decade, Montreux has stolen my heart time and again with its picturesque Lake Geneva views and mesmerizing Alpine backdrops.
Let me share some fabulous tips for things to do in Montreux to help you create an unforgettable experience!
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Have you visited Montreux? If so, you’re likely swept away by its enchanting allure just like I was! The moment I stepped into this quaint little town, I was head over heels in love within minutes. Trust me, the magic of Montreux is simply irresistible!
SWISS TRAVEL PASS
If you use public transportation, I recommend getting a Swiss Travel Pass. I visit Switzerland often, and most of the time I get one – even if it’s a road trip. It is only for non-Swiss residents though.
- It allows you to use trains and buses without any extra costs.
- You can also do boat cruises on Lake Geneva and many other lakes in Switzerland without additional costs.
- It also gives you a 50% discount on most mountain rides (you can get up via cable car/funicular for half of the price, and if you follow my tips, you will need it twice).
- Also, you can visit Chateau de Chillon without any extra costs.
The initial prices for a Swiss Travel Pass are quite high – but it pays for itself if you get around via public transportation and are active in Switzerland for more than three or four days. So, check out prices for boats and trains and then calculate if it is a good option for you.
For me, it usually makes sense as I am very active and use public transportation/mountain rides often (even if I road trip Switzerland). I also love boat rides – which means many, many boat cruises for me whenever I have a Swiss Travel Pass.
Check out prices for a Swiss Travel Pass here.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN MONTREUX IN 2023 – SWITZERLAND
Okay, let’s get started with the best activities in Montreux.
1 – Montreux Promenade
Montreux is a magical place where you’ll find a vibrant blend of flowers, making up around 50% of the area, and a lively promenade, taking up roughly 40%. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten the stunning Lake Geneva!
Though my numbers might be a bit playful, it’s no exaggeration that Montreux’s promenade turns into a blooming paradise during certain times of the year. Come experience the floral wonderland for yourself!
Imagine taking a lovely stroll along a breathtaking promenade filled with vibrant, colorful flowers of all shapes and sizes. Pair that with the crystal-clear water of Lake Geneva and the awe-inspiring mountains embracing it, and you’ve got the perfect Montreux experience.
Start your day with this delightful walk, but don’t forget to save some time for an enchanting evening wander, too!
- Free to visit
- Open 24/7, all year round
- ➡️ Check out this guided tour with a local – who will show you the most Instagrammable places in Montreux
2 – Lake Geneva
Discover the inviting Montreux region, where taking a refreshing dip in Lake Geneva is a breeze, thanks to numerous welcoming spots. Make the most of your visit by lounging on comfy, complimentary recliners, as you soak in the stunning atmosphere with a delightful swim and some well-deserved relaxation.
- Free to visit
- Open 24/7, all year round
3 – Freddie Mercury Statue & Walking Tour
Strolling down Montreux’s scenic promenade, you’re bound to discover some captivating sights. Keep an eye out for the iconic Freddie Mercury statue gracing the waterfront – it’s an unmissable gem in this charming location!
Ever wondered about the connection between Freddie Mercury, Switzerland, and Montreux? Well, it’s quite an intriguing story! You see, Freddie, the iconic British lead singer of the rock band Queen, was captivated by Montreux’s tranquil ambiance and decided to make it his home.
Not only that, he bought a recording studio where he created six albums – including Queen’s final masterpiece, “Made in Heaven.” No wonder Montreux is considered a pilgrimage site for Freddie’s fans!
Every year, Montreux celebrates Freddie Mercury in a special way – on the singer’s birthday! The free event is held around September 5th and is an amazing opportunity to honor legendary music legend.
Even after all this time, Freddie Mercury’s steadfast admirers continue to commemorate him, evident by the fresh flowers I spotted near his statue from 1996! For those wanting to walk his path, there are fantastic guided tours available for just 30 CHF!
- Free to visit
- Open 24/7, all year round
- ➡️ Check out guided tours here
As you meander down the promenade, don’t forget to feast your eyes on the fascinating sculptures gracing both sides of your path. Happy exploring!
4 – Chateau de Chillon
After a leisurely stroll and some relaxation at the promenade, why not explore the enchanting Chateau de Chillon? This captivating gem, nestled just a stone’s throw away from Montreux, is a must-see for any visitor.
Embark on a delightful adventure from Montreux´s village center – either by boat or an enjoyable stroll. I’d personally suggest walking, as the 3km path is filled with cozy seating spots and picture-perfect moments that might extend your journey to over an hour! Just take a stroll down Montreux promenade, and keep an eye out for the numerous signs guiding you there!
During my visit to the renowned chateau, it was bustling with people thanks to the gorgeous weather. A heads up for fellow pet lovers- pups need to stay outdoors, so my furry friend and I enjoyed the surroundings from outside. To truly appreciate the castle, I’d recommend setting aside an hour for your tour!
Just a stone’s throw away from the regal castle, you’ll find a charming pier where boats will whisk you back to the delightful Montreux. Alternatively, you can hop on a bus, catch a train or simply stroll back while enjoying the picturesque scenery.
- Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
- Prices: Ticket prices are 13.50 CHF, free with a Swiss Travel Pass – Audio Guide 6 CHF
- ➡️ You can also buy your Chillon Castle Entrance Ticket in Montreux here.
5 – Lake Geneva Boat Tour
Discover the breathtaking beauty of Lake Geneva, Switzerland’s crowning jewel! Its impressive size ranks it among Central Europe’s largest lakes, and its mesmerizing colors will leave you in awe.
Imagine kicking off your journey to Vevey with a leisurely morning boat ride, letting the fresh breeze greet you as you admire the scenic vineyards along the way! The boats start their voyage at around 9 or 10 in the morning, giving you an exciting and refreshing experience before exploring the charming Vevey.
- With a Swiss Travel Pass, you can do the boat tours without any additional charges. You can even do a boat tour to Geneva or Lausanne.
- ➡️ Check out prices for a Swiss Travel Pass here.
6 – Vineyards – Lavaux UNESCO
Take a leisurely drive along the iconic route between Lausanne and Chateau de Chillon, embracing incredible views of Lake Geneva and lush vineyards from 10,000 terraces.
Not just that – Lavaux is listed as a UNESCO cultural heritage site since 2007! Soak in stunning vistas (from a boat, train, car, or while hiking in the area) at every turn while touring through this wine-producing region for an experience like no other.
If you’re short on time but want to experience the vineyards, I’ve got the perfect plan for you! Take a scenic boat ride to Vevey (or hop on a train or bus) and then a short stroll to the train station. Catch a train to Chexbres and prepare for an unforgettable visit! Trust me, it’s worth the effort, and you’re sure to enjoy every moment!
If you’re looking for a fantastic way to take in the stunning views around Chexbres, why not try walking from the train station? Just follow your heart and those signs (even when they may be a tad confusing) – it should only take about 20-30 minutes. You’ll join some other adventurers as you explore this great path together towards Dezaley – trust me, it’s worth it!
Discover the picturesque views while relaxing on the ample seating options available, and don’t forget to stay hydrated with free access to fresh drinking water fountains. Fancy some wine tasting? Pop over to Montreux or Vevey’s tourist offices to inquire about it. Just a heads up – the Chexbres office may be closed in the afternoons.
- Free to visit
- Open 24/7, all year round but the vineyards
7 – Vevey
From the vineyards in Chexbres, head back to Vevey by train. You could also walk down from Chexbres, which should take about 1.5 hours.
Let’s shine a light on the charming village of Vevey by Lake Geneva! This picturesque spot is perfect for unwinding, taking a quick dip, or simply relishing in its beauty. After exploring the lovely vineyards, continue your Montreux adventure by gracing Vevey with your presence.
This delightful little town has a handful of lovely restaurants and cafes perfect for a lunch break. The best part is, you can easily explore Vevey on foot, making it an ideal half-day getaway. Don’t forget to enjoy some relaxing downtime while taking in the charming sights!
Searching for a delightful family destination that combines fun in the sun and charming history? Vevey’s got you covered! The little ones can splash around in free pools, while you’ll adore the pristine lake nearby. Plus, don’t miss the chance to explore this vibrant town with a rich past and other interesting surprises!
Let’s dive into a dash of politics, shall we? I tend to steer clear of Nestle products for various reasons, and it just so happens that their headquarters are situated here, a popular spot for visitors.
But let’s not dwell on that, and instead, let’s explore the brighter side of Switzerland. Don’t miss the iconic Fork of Vevey—a true marvel in this charming town!
- Plan for at least half a day to see this cute town.
Why not enjoy a lovely 20-minute boat ride back to Montreux and experience the enchanting evening atmosphere while savoring a delightful dinner? And hey, if you’re a fan of the legendary Charlie Chaplin, don’t miss the opportunity to explore his fascinating museum located in Vevey!
8 – Glacier 3000 – Day Trip
Embark on a breathtaking adventure to the majestic Swiss mountain peaks with a ticket to Glacier 3000 from the enchanting village of Les Diablerets. Feel the thrill as you soar to an astonishing altitude of 9,842 feet (3,000 meters) in a stunning cable car ride.
Upon reaching the summit of Scex Rouge, be prepared to have your breath taken away by the awe-inspiring alpine vistas, which extend all the way to the legendary Jungfrau, the mighty Matterhorn, and the magnificent Mont Blanc.
But that’s not all! Your ticket, packed with excitement, allows you to explore the wonders of the Peak Walk by Tissot – the iconic peak-to-peak suspension bridge. Wander along the captivating Quille du Diable Glacier Walk, glide effortlessly on the Ice Express chairlift, and have a blast at the exhilarating snow park.
Discover the magic of a popular day trip to Glacier 3000 from Montreux – read more about my unforgettable experience or check out ticket prices here. Embrace the call of the mountains and craft memories that will last a lifetime!
9 – Charlie Chaplin Museum – Chaplin’s World by Grévin
Guess what? Freddie Mercury wasn’t the only legend smitten by Montreux – Charlie Chaplin, the brilliant actor and filmmaker, also spent over 25 years of his life in this beautiful region!
If you’re a Chaplin enthusiast, you’ll absolutely love exploring Chaplin’s World, an incredible exhibition dedicated to his life and work. Head on over to their website to discover more about his love affair with Montreux!
Uncover the captivating life of Charlie Chaplin at the whimsical Chaplin’s World by Grévin, nestled within his former family residence, the enchanting Manoir de Ban in Corsier-sur-Vevey.
Step back in time and explore the iconic comedian’s intimate belongings, relive his humble beginnings, and immerse yourself in the breathtaking ten-acre estate’s alluring park. Welcome to a unique experience where laughter and inspiration await!
- Opening hours: Open every day, April to October from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, November until 24th December from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (different opening hours between Christmas and New Year´s Eve).
- Prices are around 30 CHF for adults
- ➡️ Book your ticket in advance
10 – Montreux Biennale
Hey there! Did you know that the charming town of Montreux hosts a spectacular art festival called the Biennale? It all began in 2008 and has been stealing the spotlight every two years, dazzling visitors with incredible artistic displays.
Guess what? I stumbled upon a fantastic art exhibition in the summer of 2021 – talk about serendipity! I’m not typically an art lover, but this one reeled me in. Picture yourself meandering by the breathtaking Lake Geneva, basking in the beauty of one-of-a-kind masterpieces.
Since it is an open-air museum that lasts for 3 whole months, the pieces must be made of materials withstanding the sun, rain, and wind.
- It is free to visit.
- Open 24/7 for three months every second year – The Montreux Biennial 2023 will take place from the beginning of August to the middle of October 2023
11 – Rochers de Naye
Got some extra time on your hands? Why not embark on an adventure to the majestic Rochers de Naye? This renowned hotspot near Montreux boasts breathtaking views of Lake Geneva and reaches a soaring height of 2,042 meters above sea level. Trust me, it’s worth the climb (or ride up).
I was absolutely amazed by the breathtaking scenery on a perfect fall day! From spectacular foliage to stunning views of Lake Geneva, it’s no wonder why so many people love this time of year.
The best part is that, for the lazier ones, Switzerland has ways to get up the mountain without hiking (a.k.a. there is a cogwheel that gets you up).
- It takes about one hour via cogwheel to get to the summit of Rochers de Naye.
- From Montreux to Haut-de-Caux the train ride is included in your Swiss Travel Pass. From Haut-de-Caux to Rochers de Naye, you pay only 50% with the pass.
12 – Montreux Jazz Festival
Okay, this is an extra.
Did you know Montreux is a paradise for jazz lovers? Every year in early July, the charming town on Lake Geneva hosts the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival! This spectacular event is dancing in second place as the largest jazz festival globally, with Canada’s Montreal International Jazz Festival taking the lead. Get ready to witness the magic of music in a breathtakingly beautiful lakeside setting!
When summer arrives in Montreux, so does the excitement and energy, especially during the famous Jazz Festival! Now, if jazz isn’t your cup of tea, you might not be familiar with this event, but trust me, it’s worth experiencing the lively atmosphere and enjoying Montreux at its finest. And hey, maybe you’ll even discover a new-found love for jazz! 🎷
Just keep that in mind when planning your Montreux trip!
- In 2023 the dates are from June 30 to July 15, 2023 (not confirmed yet)
- The average ticket price is around $100
- Some parts of the program are even free.
13 – Christmas Market in Montreux
Embark on a delightful journey to Montreux this December, and let yourself be enchanted by the captivating Christmas Market! Stroll along the promenade, with its bustling stalls, immerse in the rustic charm of the Loggers’ Village, and indulge in a culinary adventure at the Gourmet Space.
Be dazzled by mesmerizing light shows, waltz into the enchanting Medieval Magic at Chillon Castle, and pay a visit to Santa’s cozy abode at Les Rochers-de-Naye. Discover why the Montreux Christmas Markets are hailed as one of Switzerland’s finest.
- It takes place from 23rd November to 24th December 2023
Here are a few travel tips for your Montreux trip!
WHERE TO STAY IN MONTREUX
Unfortunately, as mentioned in the beginning, you cannot expect to get a bargain sleeping in Montreux. I paid about 200€ for 4-star accommodation even though the Montreux Jazz Festival was over.
For jazz fans, the first two weeks of July might be the best time to visit; for anybody else, I would advise skipping these weeks. In 2023, the dates will be most likely (not confirmed yet). Friday, June 30 to Saturday, July 15, 2023
Here are a few good hotels in Montreux:
Luxury – Fairmont Le Montreux Palace:
For one of the most luxurious experiences in Montreux, check out Fairmont Le Montreux Palace. This 5-star hotel has a great location and is best known amongst those who like to indulge. From romantic hotels to design hotels, here are the most luxurious places.
As mentioned above, I stayed at the lovely 4-star hotel Eurotel Montreux – I was more than happy with my choice.
Okay, there are not really budget-friendly hotels in Montreux. Accommodation around Lake Geneva is just pretty expensive.
Montreux Riviera stretches over 25km along the shores of Lake Geneva from Lutry to Villeneuve. Montreux itself is a town on the northeastern shores of Lake Geneva – close to Villeneuve.
WHICH LANGUAGE DO THEY SPEAK IN MONTREUX?
As you might have guessed from the name – Montreux – it is a French-speaking area. While there are 4 official languages in Switzerland and most people speak Swiss German as the main language, the area around Lake Geneva has French as the main language.
Germany is also widely spoken and since it is a tourist hotspot, you can also get around with English.
HOW TO GET TO MONTREUX
- Arriving in Montreux by train: I arrived by train and took the famous panorama train, “Golden Pass Line,“ from Lucerne via Interlaken, Zweisimmen to Montreux. This is probably one of the nicest ways to arrive, as you pass rolling hills, pristine lakes, and cute little Swiss towns before you come upon the vineyards of the region.
- Arrive in Montreux by boat: Another beautiful way to arrive in Montreux would be by boat, either via Lausanne or Vevey. It is no less spectacular, and you´ll see that boat cruising is on the itinerary as well.
- Arrive at Montreux by car: Montreux is not a car-free town, so driving there in your own car, or with a rented one, is also a good way to arrive. However, parking is always the trickiest part of driving in Switzerland. If your hotel does not have parking spaces and is located in the “town center,“ you might have to pay a little fortune for parking. Check out my Switzerland road trip itinerary for more tips.
HOW TO GET AROUND MONTREUX
Montreux itself is pretty small, so it is easy to get around by walking. Also, Montreux – as it is in most parts of Switzerland – has superb public transportation, which makes it easy to get from one place to another.
This includes trains, buses, and boats. You can easily get to places like Geneva, Lausanne, or Vevey by boat. It might take a while (Lake Geneva is one of the biggest lakes in Europe), but it is also a great way to see places from another angle.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST MONTREUX ACTIVITIES
Though Montreux is not the first destination that comes to people’s minds when thinking about Switzerland, it is an absolutely amazing place. I hope you have gotten some travel inspiration for Montreux.
Whether you visit in summer, fall, or winter – Montreux is always a good idea and hopefully, this post has helped you find out about the best things to do in Montreux.
- More beautiful places to visit in Switzerland: 20 most beautiful towns and villages in Switzerland.
- Best things to do in Switzerland: Find out about 25 fun things to do in Switzerland
- Find out about the best places to stay in Switzerland.
- Check out my 10-day Switzerland itinerary