Montreux, Switzerland

Montreux Switzerland

Located in Southwestern Switzerland, at the complete opposite end of Lake Geneva and about a one hour drive from the city of Geneva lies the resort town of Montreux, Switzerland.  Known for its mild climate and beautiful scenery – Alps, vineyards and lake shore – it is often referred to as the Vaud Riviera.  Here, you can find such “Mediterranean” nature as fig, bay, almond, mulberry and even palm trees.

Why to go:  Most famous for its Jazz Festival (which actually includes many more styles of music than just jazz), there are lots of other great reasons to visit this town.  Whether you’re looking for history, hiking or just relaxing, Montreux has options for you.

When to go:  The best time for your visit depends on what you’re looking to do here.  If you want to join the Jazz Festival festivities, you’ll need to plan for a summer trip.  This is a two-week event that takes place every July – for 2017 the dates are June 30 to July 15.  It’s the second largest annual jazz festival after Canada’s Montreal International Jazz Festival and if you’re hoping to attend you should look into hotels as early as possible.  Many of the concerts are free however some do require tickets so you might want to do a bit of planning ahead.  If a music festival isn’t your idea of fun, maybe a visit during December when the Christmas Market is set up would be more interesting for you.  Montreux’s Marché de Noël is one of the largest Christmas markets in the country and includes about 150 stalls lined up along the lake promenade.

What to do: Aside from the Jazz Festival and Christmas Market, there are several other popular activities that are not season-specific.  Perhaps you’re up for a hike?  There are plenty to choose from including a more leisurely option that takes you through the Lavaux vineyards which also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage site.  And don’t miss the Château de Chillon, a historic castle that sits on its own little island just a few feet off of Montreux’s shore.  This is the castle that inspired Lord Byron’s poem, The Prisoner of Chillon.  Montreux also has an old town that you can explore and cruises that can take you to other parts of the lake.

What to eat:  Here, in the French part of Switzerland, you’ll find the typical Swiss dishes including fondue and raclette.  The opportunity to dine on these fabulous (and filling!) specialties with the lake and Alps as your backdrop makes the experience so much more memorable!