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Chillon Castle, located in Veytaux-Montreux, is an incredibly popular tourist destination that attracts visitors from all over the world. Set against the scenic backdrop of Lake Geneva, this renowned castle enchants visitors with its beauty and captivating history. Many people wonder if it is worth going inside the castle, and the answer is a resounding yes. In this article, you’ll see and learn why Chillon Castle is worth a visit inside.
Visitors who enter Chillon Castle will be transported back in time to the medieval ages. Well-preserved and enchanting, the Chillon Castle offers a glimpse into the past when it used to be held by the Savoy dynasty. Inside, visitors can explore the castle’s many rooms and corridors, including the Great Hall, the Chapel, and the Dungeon. Each room has its own, unique purpose and may contain historical artifacts and exhibits, helping to bring the castle’s rich history to life.
A trip to Chillon Castle is recommended for anyone interested in history, architecture, or simply enjoying the beauty of Switzerland. Here’s a look inside Chillon Castle.
History of Chillon Castle
Chillon Castle, located on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, is a medieval fortress that dates back to the 12th century. The good thing about Chillon Castle is that it was built in the past but has been well-preserved over the years through continuous restoration efforts.
Chillon is believed to have been inhabited since the bronze age according to excavations conducted by the archaeologist Albert Naef.
Chillon Castle’s history can be divided into three concrete time periods:
- The Savoy Period – 12th century to 1536
- The Bernese Period – 1536 to 1798
- The Vaudois Period – 1798 to today
Construction and Purpose
Chillon Castle was constructed on a rocky island that was strategically located on the main route between Italy and Northern Europe. Initially, the castle served as a military post for controlling trade routes and defending the region. Information on this purpose can be found in a manuscript dating back to 1150.
The castle was expanded and renovated several times over the centuries, and it became a residence for the Counts of Savoy. Its architecture is a mix of Gothic and Renaissance styles, and its towers, courtyards, and halls are impressive.
Chillon Castle played an important role in the history of Switzerland. For more than 260 years, the castle served as a fortress, arsenal, and prison. As such, it was the setting for a famous poem by Lord Byron, “The Prisoner of Chillon.” François Bonivard is the subject of the poem, a Genevan nobleman and patriot. He was imprisoned in the castle by Charles III, the Duke of Savoy. The Bernese released him in 1536 after he had spent years in prison.
During the 19th century, the castle became a popular tourist attraction, and it was visited by many famous writers and artists. Today, the castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Switzerland, and it attracts visitors from all over the world who come to see its historic architecture and learn about its fascinating history.
Architecture and Design
Perched gracefully on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, Chillon Castle stands as an exquisite medieval stronghold. The journey to the castle involves crossing a charming 18th-century bridge, which can be raised for added security. Embraced by the lake on three sides, its strategic positioning served as a robust line of defense
Chillon Castle’s exterior reveals a captivating story of architectural evolution. From its earliest foundations in the 12th century to the subsequent growth over the years, the castle’s façade proudly presents a harmonious mix of architectural styles, merging elements from various periods of construction and expansion.
The castle’s interior is just as impressive as its exterior. Visitors can explore 46 different rooms, including sleeping quarters, halls, and the Chapel. The castle’s interior features include a mix of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, with vaulted ceilings, stone walls, and ornate woodwork. A number is assigned to each room so you will be able to identify it on the guide.
One of the castle’s most interesting features is its underground dungeons, which were used to imprison political prisoners during the Middle Ages. Visitors can explore these dungeons and see the graffiti left behind by the prisoners.
Art and Decorations
Art and decorations can also be found at Chillon Castle. The walls of the castle are adorned with coats of arms and paintings. Beautiful frescoes decorate the chapel’s ceiling. Also on display is furniture that was used in the Middle Ages.
Inside the Castle: What’s Worth Visiting
Visitors who venture inside Chillon Castle will discover a treasure trove of history. The castle has several rooms that are well worth exploring, each with its own unique story to tell. The rooms are labeled from 1 to 46 and are relatively easy to find.
What really fascinated me during my visit was the prison in the castle. The dimly lit chambers echoed the stories of prisoners, giving me a real sense of the castle’s intriguing past. It was quite an experience.
One of the most impressive rooms in the castle is the Coat of Arms Hall, which was once used for welcoming visitors and hosting important events. The hall is adorned with the coat of arms of the Bernese Patricians who ruled over Chillon from 1536 to 1733.
Chillon Castle offers a fascinating glimpse into the past to visitors. Those interested in history will enjoy the castle’s variety of rooms, particularly the exhibits that provide an insight into medieval life.
Visitors should take a look at the castle’s prison, which is located in the basement. Prisoners awaiting trial or punishment were housed in the jail, which has several small cells that would have been extremely uncomfortable to live in. I found François Bonivard’s cell to be the most interesting prisoner’s room (Room # 9).
Don’t miss the castle’s chapel, known as George’s Chapel, which held significant importance as the private place of worship for the Dukes of Savoy. However, following the reformation, its function shifted, and it served as a grain storage facility. Later on, it found a new purpose as a powder chamber used by the Bernese
Due to water damage, the chapel has been restored several times. The original paintings that were discovered here are not all visible, but some depict Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, and the Apostles.
Coat of Arms Hall
Among the castle’s many halls, the Coat of Arms Hall steals the spotlight with its beauty. Walking around this large hall, you can see the coats of arms on the walls.
This captivating space witnessed grand ceremonies and events, where the illustrious coats of arms of noble families took center stage. Nowadays, you can still view this hall by yourself.
The castle shop was constructed in this form in the 15th century. In addition to buying a souvenir here, you should also check out the walls with paintings (1898 and 1899) and the wine they sell.
Chillon Castle owns part of the land used to cultivate wine in the Lavaux Wine area, a UNESCO World Heritage site. By purchasing this wine, you can contribute to the maintenance and restoration of Chillon Castle.
Visiting Chillon Castle Today
Chillon Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Switzerland, attracting visitors from all over the world. The castle is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva and boasts stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lake. If you’re planning a trip to Montreux, Geneva, Lausanne, or Vevey, visiting Chillon Castle is definitely worth considering.
Ticket Prices and Hours
Chillon Castle is open every day of the year, except for January 1st and December 25th. Depending on the month of the year, the castle opens between 9:00 am and 10:00 am and closes between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm.
Tickets for adults cost CHF 13.50, while children between the ages of 6 and 16 pay CHF 7. Children under 6 years old can enter for free. If you’re traveling in a group of 20 people or more, you can take advantage of the group rate. Take note that you can get a discount if you hold the Montreux Riviera Card.
Guided tours are available at Chillon Castle and are a great way to learn more about the history and architecture of the castle. The guided tours are available in multiple languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian. There are different kinds of guided tours available for your group.
The cost of guided tours per group starts at CHF 100. There are also free guided tours available on selected dates.
If you prefer to explore the castle at your own pace, self-guided tours are also available. Audio guides are available in 17 languages, including English, French, and German. You will have to pay an additional amount for the audio guide. Alternatively, you can purchase their app on the website.
Activities and Events
Chillon Castle also hosts a variety of activities and events throughout the year, including musicals, theater performances, and exhibitions. These events are a great way to experience the castle in a unique way and learn more about its history and culture.
How to Get to Chillon Castle
The bus is the easiest way to travel to Chillon Castle. Those arriving by car can also find parking lots near the Castle.
Taking the boat is the most scenic way to get here. It is important to note that boats run on a limited schedule, so be sure to check out the schedule on CGN.ch beforehand.
|Address||Château de Chillon|
21, avenue de Chillon
|Bus||Veytaux, Château de Chillon|
|Boat||Château de Chillon|
|Train||Veytaux-Chillon (6-minute walk)|
Final Thoughts: Is Chillon Castle Worth Visiting?
Located on Lake Geneva’s shores, Chillon Castle is one of Switzerland’s most popular tourist destinations. Since the 12th century, the castle has been used as a fortress, a prison, and a residence for nobles.
Although some visitors may find the admission fee a bit steep, many agree that it is worth it to experience the castle’s unique atmosphere and learn about its fascinating history.
Here’s a tip: ask your host or hotel for a Montreux Riviera card so you can get a discount on Chillon Castle admission.
In conclusion, visiting Chillon Castle is definitely worth considering if you’re planning a trip to Switzerland. With its rich heritage and well-preserved rooms, it’s sure to be an unforgettable encounter. Chillon Castle’s stunning location on the shores of Lake Geneva also adds to its charm and makes the castle a must-see for anyone visiting the area.
- Chillon Castle. https://www.chillon.ch/en/.
- Chillon: Site Culturel Suisse. Fondation du Château de Chillon.
- Schloss Chillon: Mitteralterliche Perle am Genfersee. Fensterplatz – Schweizer Magazin für Freizeit und Wohlbefinden, Nr. 1/2023.
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