One of our favourite places in the region and a popular choice with visitors, Montreux, which lies on what is often referred to as the ‘Swiss Riviera’, is a truly beautiful escape.
Whether for a day trip or for a couple of nights stay, Montreux is a great destination for those who enjoy a picturesque stroll along the banks of Lake Geneva, dining with a view or, with its infamous Jazz Festival, some live music.
Here’s our guide to the best bits.
Montreux Jazz Festival – 30th June – 15th July 2017
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during the dates of the Jazz festival, which takes over the lake front and indeed most of Montreux for over two weeks every year, you won’t be able to help but get swept up in the incredible atmosphere it has to offer.
Founded in 1967, this event is the second largest jazz festival in the world, welcoming over 250,000 people each year to 3 ticketed venues as well as numerous free open air concerts to enjoy whilst relaxing by the lake.
Although known as the “Jazz Festival”, the event has also expanded in recent years to bring a wide range of artists with Lenny Kravtiz, Emelie Sande, Prince, David Bowie and Ben Howard being just a few of the renowned musicians to grace the stage! The line up each year is eagerly awaited by locals with tickets selling fast, however there are always a few reserved for purchase on the day and trust us, the queue is worth it.
Some of the venues are small and intimate which make for a nice relaxed evening and some are larger for a party-style night out.
If you are visiting with the family, check the schedule for the day time shows, these are often free events in open air venues which means you can enjoy the sunshine at the same time. These shows can be combined with sampling the various food stands and stalls along the shoreline.
For dates and prices this year click here.
For some culture, why not visit the Chateau Chillon, an island castle with a great bit of history. Occupied since the bronze age, Chatueau Chillon is a beautiful place to explore, in a stunning position just on the edge of the lake.
There are many different highlights to this castle and a guided tour is a great way to get the most out of it. For a more relaxed tour, you can enter without a guide between 9:00 and 18:00 (exit at 19:00) during the summer months.
With children, if you are travelling near a birthday, why not book the tailormade scavenger hunt for them and their friends? This way they tour the castle with a costumed guide and enjoy some treats at the end!
It is also possible to take a picnic and have lunch and maybe even a swim in the peaceful Lake Geneva from the rocky shore which sits just by the castle. Away from the bustle of the centre of town, this is the perfect way to cool off on a great summer’s day.
For prices and details on guided tours visit the website here.
With picturesque views from most the restaurants, there an abundance of places to select from and many of the hotels on the road behind the promenade boast wonderful terraces where you can enjoy the sun and soak up the atmosphere.
To top off your Jazz Festival experience, we would recommend lunch at the Montreux Jazz Café, which is part of the Fairmont hotel, and sets the perfect tone for a relaxed lunch.
For something more family friendly, try the Brasserie des Alpes which is located conveniently in the centre of town just a few minutes from the lake shore, and offers some of the best pizza around.
Fun with the kids
The weather in July and August is often sunny and can be very warm. There is a mini “beach” where you can relax and paddle but there is also a small jetty, just by the Freddie Mercury statue which is popular with older children (and adults!) to jump off so don’t forget your swimwear!
There are also some water fountains in the main square to cool off, great for younger kids that like to play a guessing game of when the fountains will start and stop!