What do Montreux and ‘Guitar Hero’ have in common? Only one of the greatest (and most overplayed) songs in classic-rock history – Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water. The infamous Montreux casino fire that sent smoke billowing over Lake Geneva inspired the lyrics.
The Swiss Riviera centrepiece is famous for more than the fire, however. Montreux hosts the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival, which is entirely fitting for a city famous for being home to some of the world’s most celebrated musicians and poets. In fact, it’s not hard to see how picturesque views of the Riviera, the sloping mountains and the scenic train rides through Mont Pelerin or Les Pleiades can flood the mind with poetic inspiration. But if you prefer food for thought, the chocolate and cheese found in Montreux are every bit as ode-worthy.
Montreux's Top 10
10. Le Pont de Brent One of only two Michelin-starred restaurants in the country.
5. Swiss Chocolate Train The only way this train could be better is if it was actually made of chocolate!
9. Corniche Lavaux Vineyards Take a stroll and sample the local produce.
4. Château de Chillon Made famous by Lord Byron, the most aristocratically excessive poet of the Romantics.
8. Casino Barrière Try your luck at this massive casino, with everything from slot machines to pool to waste your gold on.
3. Clinique la Prairie, Clarens-Montreux Everything from rhinoplasty to R&R is on offer at Switzerland’s most famous spa.
7. Marmots’ Paradise The area around Hauts-de-Montreux is speckled with forest trails, isolated villages, caves, grottos and wildlife.
2. Musée de Montreux A complete history of the town and its surroundings, from period furniture to street signs.
6. Freddie Mercury Memorial Pay your respect to Queen’s front man, who spent much of his life in Montreux.
1. Musée National Suisse de l’Audiovisuel The history of TV and radio gives a more classic meaning to the term ‘wireless’.
- Chateau de Chillon - Just a short drive from Montreux, this castle reveals the sometimes-turbulent history of France and Switzerland.
- Corniche Lavaux Vineyards - These historic vineyards were made into a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Vielle-Ville de Montreux - The quaint old streets of this historic area near the city centre preserve the history of the area.
- Cretes Castle - This famous Swiss heritage site is one of the most popular attractions in the area.
- Chatelard Castle - This historical significance of this attraction is largely found in its unique style of architecture.
Montreux Art & Culture
- Golden Pass Line - This train line is one of the best ways to see the culture and scenery around Montreux.
- Freddie Mercury Memorial - This statue commemorates the lead singer of Queen and long-time resident.
- Musee de vieux Montreux - This museum houses famous Roman relics.
- Swiss Chocolate Train - This scenic train ride stops at some of the local cheese and chocolate factories.
- Swiss National Audiovisual Museum - Come see the history of radio and TV at this popular attraction.
- Fust - This is the best place in Montreux to go for all things electrical, including new phones and TVs.
- Hali’s Shop - This unique shop sells mostly items that were imported from all over Asia.
- J.C. Schaller - The amazing watches that Switzerland is known for can be found at this unique shop.
- La Cave Vevay - If you want to taste great wine, this is where you can get it directly from the source.
- Migros - This supermarket is one of the best places to get groceries and local chocolate.
Gay & Lesbian Montreux
- Royal Plaza - This is not only one of the nicest hotels in Montreux, but is gay friendly as well.
- Rivaz Beach - This gay-friendly beach offers a great place to relax and catch some rays.
- Tif Attitude - This gay-owned hairdresser is a great place for a cut or style.
- En Travio - This gay bar caters exclusively to men and draws a young, trendy crowd.
- Mario’s Piercing Experience - If you are looking for a place to get pierced or tattooed, this gay-friendly parlour is a great location.
- Lakeside Promenade Fleuri - These hiking trails offer a great way to see the spectacular outdoor scenery of Montreux.
- Rochers de Naye - The great trails and impressive views make this one of the favourite places for a hike.
- Marmot’s Paradise - This outdoor wildlife park offers a great way to see some of the local wildlife.
- Conches Valley - This is one of the most popular places to do some cross-country skiing.
- Lavey Thermal Baths - These hot springs are a great place to relax.
- Ski and snowboard in Gstaad near Montreux.
- Snowmobile through breathtaking scenery with Adventure Sports Holidays.
- Catch a football match at Stade de Chailly.
- Take a swim in Lake Geneva.
- Go alpine skiing at Col de Jaman.
Without a doubt, the most famous festival is the Montreux Jazz Festival.Running since 1967, this event draws major international acts during June and July.
August’s Festival des Artistes de Rue is jovial on the surface, but a serious competition for the buskers involved.
The biggest party of the year comes courtesy of September’s Freddie Mercury Montreux Memorial Day. Homage is paid in the form of a concert from Queen tribute bands. Expect big hair, big solos and big harmonies.
The famous Comedy Festival rolls into town in December. Local acts as well as international guests make for many nights of chuckles and cringes.
One of Switzerland’s most famous Christmas Markets sets up shop in December. A hundred decorated wooden houses brim with treats for visiting Hansels and Gretels.
When To Go
March brings signs of spring, nice warm weather and fewer tourists.
Battle crowds in the peak months of June and July and be rewarded with clear skies and plenty of sun.
September is the tail end of the summer, and the cool breezes make it a great time for hiking.
There are many nice walks around the city and suburbs. Hiking gives you the best views of the city.
The MOBoperates trains in Montreux. There are regular services stopping in and around town, as well as panoramic trains with huge glass windows and plenty of photo ops.
Taxisabound in the town centre, but can be expensive.
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