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Montreux is a charming town on the northeastern shores of Lake Geneva in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland. Besides its spa facilities, Montreux is famous for its mild climate, awesome views, and the Montreux Jazz Festival. A stretch of eight kilometers runs from Clarens, through Chillon Castle, and up to Villeneuve. Together with Vevey-Montreux, it has an estimated population of 85,000.
This town’s center is called Riviera (or Riviera vaudoise). This famous and highly frequented resort is the mildest on the north side of the Alps. Thanks to its mild climate, you can expect to see plants that you won’t normally find anywhere else.
Montreux has a relaxed, touristy feel. There is a picturesque promenade flanked by opulent hotels, such as Fairmont Le Montreux Palace and Hotel Eden Palace au Lac. Across the promenade, you can see Dents du Midi mountain.
Here you will find information about Montreux, its history, as well as things to see and do in the region.
Whether you’re looking for a 1-day itinerary or a list of things to do in Montreux, this article is for you. Here are a few ideas for how you can spend one day in Montreux, Switzerland.
Montreux One Day Itinerary: What can you do?
1. Start Your Day With a Cozy Breakfast
In case your hotel doesn’t offer a breakfast option, you can walk around Montreux to find a cafe. There are a number of cafes and restaurants that serve up hot coffee with delicious pastries. Some options are the following:
- Café Central (Av. des Alpes 42, Montreux) – We’ve had the opportunity to try out this café in Montreux, and we can confidently vouch for its remarkable assortment of pastries and food. Moreover, the staff is extremely friendly, and the café’s location in Montreux is quite convenient.
- Tea Room de la Baye (Rue du Pont 23) – A great little café or tea room in Montreux’s Old Town. You get fantastic views, friendly service, and a tasty breakfast.
- Tea-room des Alpes (Av. des Alpes 62, Montreux) – A nice little coffee shop that serves a small breakfast with hot drinks and bread for a good price.
After breakfast, you can ride a bus to Chillon Castle, which is 15 minutes away.
2. Head Over to Nearby Chillon Castle
There is a romantic, island castle about 2.5 kilometers from Montreux called Chillon Castle. Chillon means rocky platform in an ancient language.
The castle was built by the house of Savoy and is listed in the Swiss Inventory of National and Regional Significance. A castle sits on a lake.
Because of its strategic positioning, it was able to control the road from Great St. Bernard to Italy. This structure dates back to the 9th to 10th century and was expanded well into the 13th century. In 1801, the castle was turned over to the Canton Vaud after the Savoy families and Bernese bailiffs had used it. It served as a prison for the state.
Novelists such as Victor Hugo, William Turner, and Alexandre Dumas have written about it. The castle is indeed beautiful. It is one of Switzerland’s most beautiful castles.
If you would like to read more about Chillon Castle, check out Discover Beautiful Chillon Castle Inside And Why You Should Visit.
You can get food at the café or snack bar in case you are hungry. And when you’re done with your visit, bus back to Montreux. You can also wait for the boat back to Montreux.
3. Enjoy the Views at Rochers-de-Naye (Or Glion)
Once you reach Montreux train station, simply transfer to the cog railway that will lead you to Rochers-de-Naye. The total travel time is around 49 minutes.
Montreux is followed by Glion, Caux, and finally the fantastic viewpoint of Rochers-de-Naye. It takes 10 minutes to reach the peak from the train station. From here you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views of the Jura and Savoy Alps, as well as Lake Geneva (Lac Leman). Afterward, you can visit La Rambertia, an alpine garden.
I took the above picture from inside the cog railway train when it headed to Rochers-de-Naye.
Restaurant Rocher de Naye is also a good option for lunch if you haven’t had one at Chillon Castle yet. After you’ve seen Rochers-de-Naye, head back to Montreux and explore its sights.
Alternatively, you could go to Territet if you don’t have enough time. Take the 8-minute city funicular from Territet to Glion and enjoy the views.
4. Visit Montreux’s Most Interesting and Historical Sites
There are lots to see in Montreux and nearby Châtelard and Clarens. Here are some of the places to visit in and around Montreux:
- Queen – The Studio Experience: The world-famous rock band Queen recorded six of their albums here between 1978 and 1995. It’s been converted into an exhibition space dedicated to Queen since 2013.
- Freddie Mercury’s Statue: The statue of Freddie Mercury can be found along the promenade. Tourists and fans alike love taking pictures of the bronze statue of Freddie Mercury, and they even leave flowers in front of it as a tribute. Music was recorded here during the 80s by the band.
- Montreux’s Old Town: Montreux’s beautiful promenade is its highlight, but its old town is also worth exploring. Just a ten-minute walk from the lake, the path ascends a bit to the hill. In the old town, you can see charming houses and cobbled stone streets, as well as the village below. From the old town, you can also take numerous walks, including the Chauderon Gorges Path.
- Montreux’s Promenade: Flowers and sculptures decorate this 7-kilometer promenade along Lake Geneva.
- Casino Barrière Montreux: Try your luck at slot machines, table games, poker, and more at the casino on Lake Geneva’s shoreline. In the past, this site played host to symphony orchestras and conductors, as well as the Montreux Jazz Festival.
- Fort de Chillon: Fort de Chillon is a 2,125m2 fortress with over 20 immersive rooms on several levels, military strategy games and quizzes, and virtual and 3D reality.
- Maison Visinand House: Maison Visinand is a beautiful house in Rue du Pont 32. Originally constructed in 1592, the house is now a cultural center with exhibits.
- Montreux Museum: Located in a 17th-century building in Rue de la Gare 40, the Montreux Museum (Musée de Montreux) exhibits Montreux’s history. You will learn about the beginnings of tourism in the Belle Epoque period here. Opening dates for the museum are April through November.
- St. Vincent’s Church: St. Vincent’s Church is a stunning Gothic structure dating from 1507 with fantastic views of the town. It is possible to hear the Metzler Organ from the inside of the church.
- Crêtes Castle: A castle built in 1864, this castle built by Vincent Dubochet has a magnificent chestnut grove and park and fantastic views of the lake.
- Châtelard Castle: A beautiful castle, Château du Châtelard has its own vineyard set atop a picturesque hill.
- Montreux Palace Hotel: Built by Eugène Jost, Fairmont Le Montreux Palace is a luxury hotel with elegant interiors. Having opened in 1906, this hotel has had distinguished guests from around the world.
- Caux Palace Hotel: A former palace hotel, the Caux Palace Hotel is now used as a summer conference location as well as the seat of the Swiss Hotel Management School.
Hotels in Montreux
Should you need some assistance choosing a hotel in Montreux, here are some suggestions:
- Fairmont Le Montreux Palace (5-star) – Fairmont Le Montreux Palace is located on the shores of Lake Geneva. It offers magnificent views of the lake and the Alps, dining spaces, fitness facilities, swimming pools, and a large garden.
- Montreux Grand Rue – Swiss Hotel Apartments (5-star apartments) – These spacious apartments in the heart of Montreux offer gorgeous rooms, lake views, a terrace, and a fully equipped kitchen.
- JETTY Boutique Hotel (4-star) – A picturesque, newly established beachfront boutique hotel featuring breathtaking lake vistas, a garden, and a fantastic restaurant, tailor-made for those who want rest and relaxation.
- Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic, Autograph Collection (4-star) – With its proximity to Montreux Train Station, this Belle-Époque hotel is ideal for GoldenPass passengers. Hotel amenities include elegant and air-conditioned rooms with a balcony or terrace, restaurant, bar, terrace, winter garden, fitness room, business corner, and laundry services.
- Marché 28 Guesthouse (4-star) – A centrally located gem in Montreux offering spacious suites at an excellent price point. Adorned with tasteful decor, I encourage you to book it fast due to its limited room availability.
Summary: 1 Day in Montreux, Switzerland
Before ending your day in Montreux, you have several choices for a sumptuous dinner. Restaurants like Stéphane Décotterd, Le Bistro by Décotterd, and L’Ermitage are just some of the highly-rated choices for you.
My favorite places in this region are Chillon Castle (one of Switzerland’s most beautiful castles) and Rochers-de-Naye (for the fantastic views).
As you can see, you will not run out of options on what to do in Montreux in one day. In fact, you can stretch the Montreux One Day Itinerary offered here easily to another 1 or 2 more days.
If you’ve already enjoyed your 1 day in Montreux and are interested in discovering more ideas for your next adventure in the Lake Geneva region or beyond, we invite you to browse through our related articles below:
What I would personally recommend after exploring Montreux is also visiting Lausanne, Vevey, or Geneva. I highly recommend spending at least a day, if not a week there. We have been to Montreux several times and we still haven’t seen everything. Enjoy your stay.
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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.