Best things to do in Montreux

upd 12 February 2024

Montreux is considered one of the most beautiful Swiss town. Stunning views of Lake Geneva, jazz festival, Queen recording studio and many other interesting places attract tourists every year. Discovet all the places you should visit, and things to do in the center and nearby.

Must-see places

Montreux Lakeside

The most beautiful place in the city is the promenade along Lake Geneva. It starts in Vevey and goes to the center of Montreux. Along the way there are the best views of the lake and mountains. Montreux became a popular resort destination back in the 19th century. Since 1967, a new point of attraction has appeared in the city – a jazz festival. Towards the end of the boardwalk there is an alley with sculptures of jazz musicians, including Ray Charles. There are also statues of a writer Vladimir Nabokov and a music composer Stravinsky.

Freddie Mercury Statue

The most famous landmark of the city is located at the pier – a monument to Freddie Mercury, captured in his signature pose. The musician spent the last 13 years of his life in Montreux and called it a place of peace of mind. He lived in the villa “The Duck House”. The monument and villa are featured on the cover of Queen’s latest album.

Queen Studio Experience

In Montreux, Freddie Mercury recorded his last albums with Queen – Jazz and Made in Heaven. The music studio where the album was recorded is now a museum. It is located on the second floor of the city’s main casino, so to get to the museum you need to go into the casino and turn left.

It studio you can see recording equipment, personal belongings of the group and records. One of the album’s songs was inspired by the views of Montreux – A Winter’s Tale.

Casino Barrière

Casino Barrière is the largest casino in the city. In 1971 someone from Frank Zappa’s team fired a flare gun into the ceiling of the casino during his tour, which caused a fire. The fire was observed by the band Deep Purple, who were recording an album in Montreux. The smoke flying over the lake inspired the band to create the song Smoke on the water.

Market

Place du Marche holds an annual Christmas market, one of the largest in Switzerland. The rest of the year, you can find farmer products here.

History Museum

The historical building of the 16th century is now a museum of Montreux with archaeological finds, objects of art and household items. The exhibition helps to learn about the history of the city’s development, architecture and art. The first floor is occupied by a restaurant, stylized as a tavern of the 19th century.

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Old Town

The Old town is well preserved and is a very nice area to walk around: beautiful architecture, luxury hotels and mansions, many cafes, shops and restaurants. Start with Avenue du Casino.

To read next: Things to do in Geneva.

Temple de Saint-Vincent

НOn a hill above the city center is the small church of Saint-Vincent built in the 12th century church. The church has a beautiful viewpoint.

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Places nearby

Chillon Castle

The ancient Chillon castle of the 11th century was the setting for Byron’s poem. The plot of the poem is based on real historical events about the imprisonment of Francois Bonivard. The castle was besieged and liberated, and its romanticized image is complemented by its favorable location on the very shore of Lake Leman. The interiors of the castle are perfectly preserved, so it is worth visiting the museum located inside.

Vevey and Charlie Chaplin museum

The neighboring town of Vevey is smaller than Montreux and is best known for its modern sculpture near the shore – this is a large fork in the water. You can also visit a Charlie Chaplin museum. He spent the last twenty-five years of his life in a mansion near Vevey. Now the building houses a museum with the actor’s personal belongings and an interactive exhibition dedicated to silent films. The mansion offers picturesque views of Lake Leman, and there is a park around it.

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Lavaux Vinorama

Closer to Lausanne are the Lavaux vineyards. There is a special tour of the vineyards with tasting of local wines.

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Rochers de Naye

The Rochers-de-Naye mountain, at an altitude of more than 2000 meters above sea level, offers the best panorama of the Alps and the lake. In addition to the observation deck, there are two more interesting places: La Rambertia – a garden with mountain plants and a park with marmots. Please note that they are only open in summer. There is a unique cogwheel railway going up the mountain.

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Things to do

Montreux Jazz Festival

The famous Montreux Jazz Festival has been held every July since 1967. Every year it attracts the best jazz musicians and thousands of tourists from all over the world. Concerts take place at several venues; you can buy a ticket for one day or for the entire festival at once. An interesting feature of the festival is that visitors exchange all their money for a special currency “jazz” – coins with a hole in the middle, and pay only with them.

Flower festival

From April to June another festival is held – Flower festival. You can go on special tours to tulip fields or watch cultural events in the center.

GoldenPass Express

The best way to see panoramic mountain views is from the window of the GoldenPass Express train, going from Montreux to Interlaken. Alpine landscapes from the chalet give way to panoramas of the lake and its surroundings. The railway is part of the Grand Tour of Switzerland, connecting the most picturesque places in the country.

How to get to Montreux

From Geneva

You can get to Montreux from Geneva by train from the airport or Cornavin central station. All the way there will be picturesque views of the lake and mountains, you will pass the cities of Nyon, Lausanne and Vevey. Prices and schedules are on the official website of the Swiss railways www.sbb.ch; you can buy tickets immediately before departure from the machine at the station. The train takes an hour.

From Zurich

You can get from Zurich by train only with a change in Lausanne. It is more convenient to book a car and drive yourself.

From Bern

From Bern to Montreux the train takes about one hour and a half. Current schedule at www.sbb.ch

Where to stay

Best Montreux hotels are located in the city center and offer the best views: Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, Hôtel du Grand Lac Excelsior and Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic.

Those who travel on a budget can book a hostel Montreux Youth Hostel.

Map

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