Travel and Tourist Information
M is the best-known resort on Lac Léman, thanks to a sunny climate, a lovely setting, and a busy schedule of cultural events and conferences throughout the year.
The town has long been popular with celebrity musicians and writers, including Tchaikovski, Stravinski, Byron, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and--more recently--Vladimir Nabokov, who spent the last two decades of his life at the Montreux Palace Hotel after his novel, Lolita, earned international success in the mid-1950s.
Sightseeing and museums
The old town center and the lakefront are the main sightseeing attractions within the city limits.
Start your tour at the Tourist Office (opposite the boat landing), where you can pick up a map/guide to Montreux and Vevey. The leaflet is titled "On the Track of Our Celebrity Guests," and its walking itinerary includes such sights as the Place du Marché (a 19th Century covered market), the Caux-Palace (a Belle Epoque castle turned Jewish refugee camp turned hotel school), and the Musée de Montreux near the railroad station.
While you're at the Tourist Office, inquire about the guided two-hour sightseeing tour of Montreux and Vevey.
Excursions from Montreux
No visit to Montreux is complete without a side trip to the Castle of Chillon. The Château de Chillon, which was immortalized in Lord Byron's poem "The Prisoner of Chillon," is easy to reach by boat, bus, or car. (Better yet, you can walk to the castle via the lakefront path.)
If you have time, ride the GoldenPass Panoramic Train from Montreux to Zweisimmen or the Chocolate Train, an all-day trip that includes visits to cheese and chocolate factories. GoldenPass offers other services such as the cogwheel train to Rochers-de-Naye, where you can visit the Marmots' Paradise or sleep in a Mongolian Yurt. (Some excursions are seasonal, so check schedules before making plans.)
The grande dame of local hotels is Raffles Le Montreux Palace, which was built in 1906. In its early years, the hotel was a magnet for kings, tsars, maharajahs, musicians, and movie stars; it later served as a hospital for wounded Allied soldiers in two World Wars. In more recent years, the hotel has been featured in movies (The Magic Mountain, Kiss of the Dragon) and has been the deluxe hotel of choice for performers at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
Our booking partner, Venere: Montreux, offers competitive (and often discounted) rates at a number of Montreux hotels, including Raffles Le Montreux Palace. Another good source of hotel information and reservations is Montreux Vevey Tourism (see below).
Events and entertainment
The annual Montreux Jazz Festival is world-renowned, with more than 100,000 visitors buying tickets for 16 days of concerts in the month of July. Other longstanding events include the Montreux Choral Festival in April, Musical September, the Volley Masters tournament, and the Montreux Christmas Market.
The Casino Barrière de Montreux offers a different style of entertainment, along with a wine bar, a cocktail lounge, and three restaurants.
Montreux is on the main railway line that runs from Geneva to Lausanne and the Simplon Tunnel. Plan your trip with the Swiss Federal Railways electronic timetable. Another transportation option is the No. 1 bus from Vevey or Villaneuve.
If you're driving, the N9 autoroute will bring you to Montreux; better yet, sell your car and take a CGN lake steamer from Geneva, Lausanne, Vevey, the Lavaux vineyards, and other points on Lac Léman.
To plan your Montreux trip, visit the official Montreux Riviera tourism site. For more information on other cities and attractions in the area, see the linked articles in our right margin and the Lake Geneva Region Tourist Office Web site.
Photos copyright © ST/Swiss-Image.ch, except:
"Best of the Web"
Traveling by train?
Need a car in Europe?
Copyright © 1996-2013 Durant Imboden and Cheryl Imboden. All rights reserved.