Montreux is a quaint town snuggled between Lake Geneva’s shores and the snow-covered Swiss Alps. Famous for its brilliant Jazz Festival, it attracts over 200,000 visitors in the first two weeks of July alone. For the rest of the year, it’s much less crowded, but there’s still plenty to do on a 24-hour trip.
Morning: Cereal, Coffee and Charming Castles
To make the most of your trip, you’ll need plenty of energy. To start your day right, enjoy a traditional Swiss breakfast of fresh bread with butter and marmalade or crunchy cereal and yoghurt. There is an array of cafés on the waterfront promenade that serve brunch and let you enjoy a cup of steaming hot chocolate (or coffee and tea) while taking in the amazing panoramic views of the mountains and vineyards.
When you’re ready to tackle the day, take a short boat trip across Lake Geneva to the Castle of Chillon. This rocky island castle has an intricate history that will fascinate any culture lover. While the fortress originally served as a Roman outpost and controlled the passage between northern and southern Europe, it later served as the residence of the Count of Savoy in the 1200s. Between the sixteenth and eighteenth century, the castle was held by the Bernese and used as a prison. Beginning in 1803, the castle underwent a mass restoration, and is now open to the public. Take a stroll through its grand courtyards, great halls and Bernese chambers before visiting the impressive weapons room, the chapel with its fourteenth-century wall paintings and its underground rooms, which are reminiscent of Gothic chapels.
Afternoon: Trains, Hiking and Exceptional Views
In the afternoon, take the one-of-a-kind cog railway from Montreux to the summit of Rochers de Naye. From the train, you’ll get a small taste of what awaits you at the top: gorgeous sights of the Swiss and French Alps with a stunning view of Lake Geneva’s calm, blue waters. On the summit, you can spend a few hours hiking through the snow and trees. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a marmot or two.
If you can’t get enough of the spectacular panorama, or just want to experience it under a blanket of stars, you can spend the night in one of the five Mongolian yurts. It’s an amazing and unique experience to share with your partner. You can even book the two-person ‘love yurt’ for a cosy and romantic night.
The next morning, take the train back to Montreux and top off your visit with a tasty lunch. There are quite a few restaurants in the area, but I have two favourites.
Montreux Jazz Cafe
Combining his passion for music and food, this Café was founded by Claude Nobs, the genius behind the Montreux Jazz Festival. His vision for the little bistro was to serve travellers a tasty array of contemporary dishes while they listen to soundtracks of past Jazz Festivals. Why not listen to a live recording of Nina Simone while savouring the Coquelet façon, or to Quincy Jones as you try the cheesecake?
Terrasse du Petit Palais
If you’re in the mood for something a little more low-key, this restaurant is located on the beautiful Swiss Riviera and has a serene and calming atmosphere. It uses seasonal ingredients to create its Mediterranean menu. For dessert, make sure you try the selection of ice creams. The Swiss chocolate one is particularly tasty!
Where to Stay
If the love yurt didn’t take your fancy, here are a few other placesto spend the night in Montreux.
Golf Hotel René Capt: This hotel is set in a truly beautiful location: right on the lake’s shores. From your nicely decorated room, you’ll have a wondrous view of the Alps and the Castle of Chillon. It is a quiet hotel, with spacious halls and a fine-dining restaurant, perfect for a relaxing trip.
Hotel Eden Palace au Lac: Built towards the end of the nineteenth century, this luxurious hotel is positioned right on the lakefront. It has a charming garden and swimming pool, as well as a delicious restaurant and a lounge area. As an added perk, guests get a free public transport pass for Montreux and unlimited access to the twin hotel’s fitness centre.
Tralala Hotel Montreux: This music-themed hotel will satisfy the culture buff within you. Each room not only has a lakeside view, but is dedicated to a different iconic artist who contributed to Montreux’s reputation as the city of jazz. There is also free Wi-Fi and a charming bar that serves local wines from Vaud and Valais.
How to Get to Montreux
The most convenient way of getting to Montreux from the UK is to fly to Geneva Airport (GVA). Most major airlines, including British Airways, Swiss Air and easyJet, offer direct 90-minute flights from London. To finish the journey in style, book a private airport transfer with Shuttle Direct. A friendly driver will meet you outside the airport and take you to Montreux via a picturesque route in less than 60 minutes.
About Shuttle Direct
Offering an efficient service, Shuttle Direct has become Europe and North Africa’s leading airport transport provider. This popular service offers private, shared or group transfers to suit your budget. You can even make all of your travel arrangements in advance via the easy-to-use website.