Hardly anything’s mentioned about Glion, Switzerland, and I get why. It’s a tiny village. But truth be told, it’s well-known for its breathtaking views of Lake Geneva and the mountains around it, plus top-notch hotels and restaurants. Glion’s this charming spot with loads to offer—ideal for folks wanting a serene break from city chaos. Whether you crave adventure, chill time, or a mix of both, Glion nails it as the perfect getaway. In this article, we will discuss the best things to do in Glion, Switzerland.
8 Best Things to Do in Glion, Switzerland
Glion, nestled in the heart of the Swiss Riviera near Montreux, captivates tourists with its picturesque setting offering stunning vistas of Lake Geneva and the encompassing mountains. Beyond its natural allure, Glion invites visitors to discover its beauty with outdoor activities away from the hustle and bustle of life. Here are some of the best things to do in Glion, Switzerland:
1. Explore the Narcissus Path
The Narcissus Path (Sentier des Narcisses in French) presents diverse scenery culminating in a breathtaking view of Lake Geneva. The name says it all: narcissus! These are plants that bloom with colorful flowers and belong to the Amaryllidaceae family.
You might know these plants as daffodils. They usually have bright petals with a trumpet-shaped middle part, coming in shades of yellow, white, and orange. These beauties pop up in early spring, signaling fresh starts and new beginnings.
This trail extends to the Montreux river route, La Baye, and concludes in the historic area of Les Planches. With available parking near the station and village, this scenic route spans approximately 3.65 km, taking about 1 hour and 29 minutes. The trail begins and ends at the Glion Funicular. Nearby Les Avants is also another area known for its daffodils in spring.
You can read more about the Narcissus Path here: https://www.montreuxriviera.com/en/V178/the-narcissus-path-glion.
2. Discover Les Gorges du Chauderon
Les Gorges du Chauderon, recently reopened after safety enhancements, promises an adventurous and shaded trek through stunning gorges, providing a unique escapade just a stone’s throw from Glion. This exotic hike offers a glimpse into wild, picturesque landscapes, making it an enticing destination for nature enthusiasts.
Combined with the Narcissus Path, this excursion spans approximately 6.4 km, lasting around 2 hours and 15 minutes. It features a challenging route with a positive and negative height difference of 430 meters and 431 meters, respectively. You can commence at either Montreux or Glion.
You can read more about Les Gorges du Chauderon here: https://www.montreuxriviera.com/en/V541/les-gorges-du-chauderon.
3. Head up to Rochers-de-Naye
To reach Rochers-de-Naye from Glion, hop on the cog railway from Platform 8 for an enchanting 38-minute journey through picturesque landscapes. There are several stops in this cogwheel ride along the way, such as in Glion-Collège, Le Tremblex, and Caux.
After the train stops at Rochers-de-Naye, there is a brief ten-minute walk from the station to the summit, boasting incredible panoramas of Montreux, Lac Leman, the Jura mountains, and the Savoy Alps. Additionally, the site hosts La Rambertia Garden, merely 400 meters from the train stop, showcasing alpine plants from Switzerland, the Pyrenees, the Carpathians, and the Caucasus. Open from mid-June to late September, admission to the garden is free.
4. Ride the Funicular Down to Montreux
Montreux lures visitors with its spa facilities, pleasant climate, and the renowned Montreux Jazz Festival. The town’s eight-kilometer stretch from Clarens to Villeneuve, alongside Vevey-Montreux, houses approximately 85,000 residents. Known as the Riviera Vaudoise, this resort boasts a mild climate conducive to the growth of unique plant species not found elsewhere.
The town exudes a relaxed, tourist-friendly vibe, with a picturesque lakeside promenade graced by opulent hotels like Fairmont Le Montreux Palace and Hotel Eden Palace au Lac. Montreux’s appeal extends beyond its ambiance, offering a diverse array of historical and scenic sites. From exploring the iconic Chillon Castle, a romantic island fortress, to discovering numerous attractions like the Queen – The Studio Experience, Freddie Mercury’s Statue, and the charming Old Town, Montreux captivates with its rich heritage and natural splendor.
5. Step into the Past at Chillon Castle
Chillon Castle, sitting by Lake Geneva in Switzerland, has been around since the 1100s. It is only three kilometers away from Glion. The castle has stood since the 12th century; it is a well-preserved marvel of medieval architecture. Initially a military stronghold, strategically positioned along vital trade routes between Italy and Northern Europe, the castle’s purpose was evident in a manuscript from 1150, outlining its role in controlling commerce and defending the region.
Over time, the Chillon Castle evolved into a residence for the Counts of Savoy, boasting a blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles across its towers, courtyards, and halls. With a rich history spanning distinct periods – from Savoy to Bernese and then Vaudois – the castle witnessed pivotal moments in Switzerland’s past.
Notably, Chillon Castle served as a fortress, arsenal, and prison, immortalized in Lord Byron’s poem, “The Prisoner of Chillon.” Today, it beckons travelers worldwide, offering a glimpse into its storied past through 46 meticulously maintained rooms, including the haunting dungeons adorned with prisoners’ graffiti, the majestic Coat of Arms Hall, the revered George’s Chapel, and a historic castle shop.
If you would like to learn more about Montreux and Chillon Castle, you can check out the following articles below:
6. Savor Culinary Delights at Hotel Victoria Glion
At Hotel Victoria in Glion, dining feels like stepping back in time to a special era called the Belle Epoque. The hotel sits up high in Montreux, overlooking Lake Geneva and snowy mountains. Inside, the rooms are big and bright, with balconies giving amazing views of the lake. The food is light and delicious, matching the fresh mountain air. Decorated with old-style furniture, paintings, and fancy things, the rooms make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time.
This hotel has been around since 1869 and has a fancy restaurant that lots of people love. The restaurant boasts a prestigious 14-point Gault & Millau rating, adding to the allure of this historic establishment. The owner, Toni Mittermair, has made it a special place, keeping the old charm alive. It’s not just a place to eat—it’s a chance to experience history and enjoy a fantastic meal in a beautiful setting overlooking the lake.
7. Cruise Lake Geneva on a Paddle Steamer Boat
Enjoy the beautiful views of Lake Geneva, the surrounding mountains, and Chillon Castle on a 2-hour paddle steamer boat cruise. The cruise is a fantastic opportunity to explore the breathtaking scenery of the region. From Montreux, you will sail along Lake Geneva towards Villeneuve, Le Bouveret, and St Gingolph before reaching Vevey.
On the way, you will enjoy the UNESCO World Heritage site Lauvaux Vineyards, as well as the spectacular scenery of the French and Swiss Alps, before returning to Montreux.
8. Visit Empress Sissi’s Statue
The statue of Empress Elizabeth of Austria (Statue de Sissi, Elisabeth d’Autriche in French), affectionately known as Sissi, stands as a tribute to her time spent in the Lake Geneva Region near Glion. Empress Sissi, immortalized through a famous film series, sought refuge from the rigidity of the Austrian court by traveling. Between 1893 and 1898, she frequented the serene landscapes surrounding Lake Geneva, including Montreux.
Crafted in luminous marble, the statue captures Sissi in a reflective pose, elegantly robed with her head gently resting on her hand, while her other hand holds an open book. Despite her serene portrayal, her life was marked by sorrow and persistent health issues. Tragically, her life met a shocking end in 1898 when she was assassinated by an anarchist in Geneva. The statue serves as a quiet homage to her affinity for this picturesque region and stands as a reminder of her poignant and tumultuous life.
This place is perfect for a relaxing stroll, available 24/7, and there’s a nearby playground for younger kids to enjoy.
Address: Sent. de Chantemerle 1820, 1820 Montreux
How to Get to Glion
Glion is easily accessible by train or car. The nearest airport is Geneva International Airport, which is approximately 1 hour away by car or train. Visitors can take a train from Geneva to Montreux.
To reach Glion, hop on a train from Montreux or take the funicular from Territet. You can also choose to walk up from Montreux or Territet if you prefer.
Final Thoughts: Best Things to Do in Glion, Switzerland
In the serene village of Glion, despite not being directly on the main train line from Geneva like Montreux, a trove of activities awaits amid its breathtaking views of Lake Geneva and the mountains. The village may lack easy access to Lake Geneva’s main sights, but its elevated location offers unparalleled vistas. An ideal retreat from city chaos, Glion charms with its tranquility. For a stay, Hotel Victoria stands out, offering an exquisite taste of the Belle Epoque era with spacious rooms and a prestigious 14-point Gault & Millau-rated restaurant.
You can enjoy nature along the Narcissus Path, where colorful flowers and views of Lake Geneva await, or explore Les Gorges du Chauderon for a refreshing walk through beautiful gorges. Take a scenic train ride up Rochers-de-Naye to see Montreux and Lac Leman from high up, or visit the historic Chillon Castle. Treat yourself to delicious food at Hotel Victoria, a place full of old-fashioned charm. And don’t miss the peaceful paddle steamer cruise on Lake Geneva to soak in the stunning scenery.
Glion may be small, but it’s renowned for its natural beauty and top-notch hospitality. It’s a great option if you prefer a quieter place than Montreux.
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.