Lausanne or Montreux: Which one is better?

Are you confused about deciding whether to choose Lausanne or Montreux for your next trip to Switzerland? Trust us; both are charming destinations on Lake Geneva. Both have a charming town or city, fantastic views, and the lake on their doorstep.

Both are beautiful in their terms. So which place is better to visit if you had to choose one: Lausanne or Montreux?

No matter which city you choose to travel both Montreux and Lausanne are very convenient and scenic. The choice would depend on your preferences. Montreux is better for those who want a quiet and relaxing space to enjoy the scenery. Lausanne is better for those who seek a variety of activities, hang out with young people, and visit historical buildings in the city.

Both cities give you all the reasons to plan a getaway at your convenience.

The Highlights: Lausanne or Montreux

Lausanne Highlights

Lausanne is a university town with an attractive old town and cathedral, the Olympic Museum, and some nightlife. It also has a rich history. Back in the olden days, the Celts and Romans ruled it.

Lausanne hosts one of the largest universities in Europe and has a significant student population along with restaurants, bars, and hotels around the center. As such, this city built on three hills has a young, international, and busy vibe owing to its young residents.

It also has lots of interesting, historic buildings, an aquarium, and access to the lake.

Montreux Highlights

Image by Tesa Robbins from Pixabay

Montreux is the most popular spa town on Lake Geneva with a relaxed, touristy feeling. Its mild climate and riviera make it seem like miniature Cannes. It has a picturesque promenade along the lake dotted by Belle Époque hotels like Fairmont Le Montreux Palace and Hotel Eden Palace au Lac.

Another huge plus is the fantastic view of the Dents du Midi of Valais. Montreux was made popular by the novel Julie ou La Nouvelle Héloïse by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Other prominent visitors include Lord Byron, Mary Shelly, Igor Strawinsky, Edgar Wallace, and Vladimir Nabokov.

Montreux has an eight-kilometer-long riviera, proximity to the beautiful Chillon Castle, and a scenic train to the Rochers de Naye summit.

Montreux is home to one of the biggest jazz festivals in the world – the Montreux Jazz Festival. The festival has attracted famous musicians such as Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Carlos Santana, Deep Purple, Etta James, Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Radiohead, Roberta Flack, Van Morrison, and many more. This is a busy time for music lovers, locals, and businesses alike.

Things To Do: Lausanne or Montreux

Things To Do in Lausanne

Image by Christiane M. from Pixabay

Lausanne, with its charming old town and fantastic views of Lake Geneva, also has a lot of historical buildings and museums to visit. Here are some of the options in this city:

  • Gothic Cathedral – one of Europe’s most magnificent Gothic Cathedrals. This 12-century cathedral attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors per year
  • Old Town – to visit the old town and possibly do a bit of shopping, go to Rue de Bourg, St-François, Flon and Place de la Palud
  • Market – Every Wednesday and Saturday morning from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm, there is a local farmer’s market around Rue de Bourg to Place de la Riponne
  • Ouchy – the relaxing, lakeside Ouchy can be a destination for walks and in summer can be combined with a swim in Bellerive
  • Bellerive Plage – the swimming pool in Bellerive near the lake has 3 large swimming pools including an olympic-sized pool. It also has a supervised lake beach, beach volleyball courts, basketball courts, tennis tables, and an aquatic park on the lake.
  • Olympic Museum Lausanne – the Olympic Museum guides visitors through the history of the olympics, sports equipment of various athletes, interactive multimedia and games, and more. The TOM café is also perfect for hanging out as it gives a magnificent view of the lake and the Alps from its terrace.
  • MCBA Art Museum – the MCBA showcases thousands of works of art. It covers visual arts and works such as those by Degas, Cézanne, Denis, Rodin, Giovanni Giacometti, and many more.
  • Aquatis Lausanne – Aquatis is not just an aquarium. It also features a komodo dragon, a poisonous snake, and other terrestrial animals.

Have you seen the video of MySwitzerland on Lausanne? It summarizes in under one minute the different facets of this exciting, vibrant city. Check it out below.

Video credits: MySwitzerland

Things To Do in Montreux

Image by 박 기호 from Pixabay

Montreux prides itself as a spa town with mild climate, blooming flowers, an eight-kilometer long riviera. Here are some ideas on what you can visit in Montreux aside from the lakeside promenade and marina:

  • Old Town of Montreux – ten minutes from the lakeside, the old town is a beautiful place for walks and is the start of the Chauderon Gorges path.
  • Maison Visinand House – a beautiful house in Rue du Pont 32. Built back in 1592, the house is currently a cultural center with exhibits.
  • Montreux Museum – housed in a 17th century building in Rue de la Gare 40, the museum presents the history of Montreux
  • St. Vincent Church
  • Nice open-air markets
  • Chillon Castle – the Chillon Castle is a romantic castle 2.5 kilometers away from Montreux. It was built by the house of Savoy and included in the  Swiss Inventory of Cultural Property of National and Regional Significance.
  • Freddie Mercury’s Statue – along the promenade, the bronze statue is a popular photo subject for tourists. The band recorded music in this town during the 80s.

Hotels: Lausanne or Montreux

Lausanne has more hotels to choose from as it is the larger city between the two.

Montreux does not have as many hotels as Lausanne. But it still has good ones. And some are located a bit away from the city or in Glion – a stop on the way to Rochers de Naye.

  • The best luxury hotel in Montreux is Fairmont Montreux. This Belle Époque hotel from 1906 has fantastic views of the lake and mountains. It also has a spa, fitness center, and various restaurants to choose from.
  • Another Belle Époque hotel is from Marriott – the Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic. It also has well-appointed rooms and fantastic lake and mountain views.

Summary: Lausanne or Montreux

No matter which city you choose to travel both Montreux and Lausanne are very convenient and scenic. However, it depends on you – which city appeals to you more?

Both the cities give you all the reasons to plan a gateway at your convenience.

My personal preference is Lausanne. I think that it is the perfect place. It combines both old and new, lake and hilltop panoramic views, a busy city, and relaxed lakeside.