Located along the shore of Lake Geneva, Montreux is a fabulous vacation spot with palm trees, mountain and lake views, many hotels and restaurants, and interesting historical sites and museums. One of the most visited historical sites near Montreux is the gorgeous mediaeval castle, Château de Chillon. We recently spent a long weekend in Montreux, where we visited this castle, took a pleasant stroll along the lake shore and then visited Queen – The Studio Experience, an exhibit entirely dedicated to the band Queen and lead singer Freddy Mercury, at the Barrière casino in Montreux. This was a prefect half-day itinerary and it made for a very fun and relaxing afternoon.Detail Summary
|Where:||Château de Chillon|
Avenue de Chillon 21, Veytaux
Queen – The Studio Experience
Casino Barrière de Montreux
Rue du Théâtre 9, Montreux
Both: Canton Vaud, Switzerland
|Train/Bus:||Zürich HB -> Montreux – 2 hrs 40 mins|
Montreux-> Veytaux-Chillon – 4 min
or 45 min walking along the lake shore
|Car:||Zürich -> Montreux – 2 hrs 21 min|
|Cost 2022:||Château de Chillon|
Adult – 13.50 CHF
Children (6 -15) – 7 CHF
Note: Discount available with Montreux Riviera Card. Guided tours also available.
Queen – The Studio Experience
Self-guided Tour: Free
|Useful Links||Montreux Riviera – Area Tourism Board Site|
Château de Chillon – Official Castle Site
Queen – The Studio Experience – Overview on Montreux Riviera Tourism Board site
Montreux Riviera Card – How to get this discount card and what discounts are available with it
Touring Château de Chillon
Château de Chillon is just one train stop or a beautiful 45 minute lake side stroll away from Montreux. If you take the train, you will get off at the Veytaux-Chillon stop right at the castle. We had beautiful weather, so after we checked into our hotel in Montreux, we decided to walk. When we checked into our hotel, we were given Montreux Riviera Cards. This card entitled us to a fifty percent discount off the entrance fee to Château de Chillon (along with a number of other great local benefits), so it was nice to have when we got to the ticket counter.
After purchasing our tickets for the self-guided tour, we went inside and began exploring the castle’s courtyards, twisty passages, and of course the dungeon. In 1816, the poet, Lord Byron and his friend Percy Shelley, husband of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, visited the castle. The dungeons and the story of François Bonivard‘s imprisonment here, inspired Lord Byron to write the poem “The Prisoner of Chillon.” During his visit, Lord Byron (supposedly, some think it is fake) added to the graffiti by chiseling his own name on one of the dungeon’s pillars.
Out of the dungeon and on the upper levels of the castle are living quarters, a chapel, and some very ornate dining halls. An interesting detail was a top floor toilet (not pictured) that simply dumped the waste three-stories down and into the lake.
Scattered throughout the castle are rooms containing displays of weaponry, furniture, and various other items related to mediaeval castle life.
One of the lovely things about this castle is the spectacular views of the lake and surrounding mountains that you get from the towers.
After leaving the castle, my husband took this picture of me. I love this picture – It feels like I was photoshopped into a postcard!
After leaving the castle, we took a few more photos from the outside and then began the walk back to Montreux.
Walking Back To Montreux
Walking from Château de Chillon to Montreux takes about 45 minutes. All along the way are gorgeous views of the lake and mountains. Even in February some of the flower gardens were sporting fantastic colors.
There are a fair number of sculptures along the way as well, and the fish school sculpture in picture four above was one of my favorites.
Stopping at Queen – The Studio Experience
As we were walking back to our hotel, we passed the Barrière casino where the legendary “Mountain Studio” is located. David Bowie, The Rolling stones, and of course, Queen have all recorded music here. Open to the public is “Queen – The Studio Experience,” an exhibit dedicated to Queen and Freddy Mercury. It isn’t a big display, but there are some of Freddy Mercury’s more memorable stage costumes, as well as hand-written pages of lyrics. There is also a replica of the studio where you can play around with the sound like you are a music producer (we didn’t do the part of the experience, though so can’t really comment on it). This exhibit is free, so it is a very easy add-on to any itinerary.
This itinerary made for a great afternoon in Montreux. For our second day in Montreux, we took the train one stop down to Vevey and visited the Swiss Camera Museum and Alimentarium (Food Museum). I will link to the post about those two museums here as soon as it is available.