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ABOVE: A vintage CGN lake steamer calls at Montreux.

Montreux 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 Le Montreux Palace 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

photoNo 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.)

photoIf you have time, ride the Chocolate Train, an all-day trip that includes visits to cheese and chocolate factories. For more "GoldenPass" rail excursions, visit the Web site.


photoThe grande dame of local hotels is Fairmont 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 hotel partner,, offers competitive rates and secure reservations at nearly three dozen properties in Montreux. Listings include photos and reviews by paying guests:

Events and entertainment

photoThe 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.


photoMontreux 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.

Tourist information

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.

Related article:
Castle of Chillon

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden is a professional travel writer, book author, and editor who focuses on European cities and transportation.

After 4-1/2 years of covering European travel topics for, Durant and Cheryl Imboden co-founded Europe for Visitors in 2001. The site has earned "Best of the Web" honors from Forbes and The Washington Post.

For more information, see About Europe for Visitors, press clippings, and reader testimonials.

Photos copyright © ST/, except:
Hotel photo copyright © Raffles Le Montreux Palace.