Visit Montreux, Switzerland
Belle Époque style, terraced vineyards, a 13th-century castle and a historic jazz festival in Montreaux on Lake Geneva
This quietly cosmopolitan locale on Lake Geneva’s eastern shore boasts music legends and storied castles, as well as an intersection of beachfront lifestyle and sub-Alpine majesty. Nestled between the water and the foothills of the Alps, Montreux enjoys a Mediterranean microclimate that’s made it a resort destination since the 19th century.
Known as the hub of the Montreux Riviera, the town’s laid-back sophistication draws many luminaries. The town hosts a world-renowned jazz festival every July, and has hosted musicians, writers and artists like Igor Stravinsky, Vladimir Nabokov and Freddie Mercury, whose statue is prominent on the flower-strewn waterfront.
Vineyards dominate the steep terraces above the town, and we can arrange for you to taste the reds and whites that the area produces, along with the region’s signature cheese fondue and dried meats.
On the town’s southern edge sits the 13th-century Chillon Castle, a strategic site that’s been continuously occupied for close to a millennium.
Montreux, on the far eastern banks of Lake Geneva, brings together 13th-century medieval architecture and 19th-century excess, Riviera life and American jazz culture. Its mild lakefront climate, winemaking and strong connections to the music industry make it a sophisticated summer playground.
Lake Geneva, one of the largest lakes in Western Europe, sits along the border between Switzerland and France, and French-speaking Montreux partakes of the sun-drenched, flower-decked feel of the French countryside. Nestled at the base of the Swiss Alps, the town is part of a collection of villages along the balmy shore that calls itself the Montreux Riviera.
The waterfront itself offers a mix of old and new architecture along a garden-like promenade aptly called the Quai de Fleurs. It’s also the location of the town’s most decadent hotels and casinos, including the Montreux Palace Hotel, a grande dame built for the rich and famous in 1906.
Freddie Mercury made his home in Montreux, and we can arrange a waterfront walk that ends at his prominent statue. Statues of Quincy Jones, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin and B.B. King also adorn the lawn of the Palace, in remembrance of the music greats who have played the Montreux Jazz Festival since its founding in 1967.
Up the steep cobblestone streets from the lake, the old town drips with Belle Époque style, its 19th-century painted buildings fitted with working window shutters and filigreed wrought-iron balconies. The streets near the top of the town are worth the climb for the views down to the lake and forests below.
Further up the slopes, you can see the terraced Lavaux vineyards. Our tour with a small local wine producer includes lunch, where you can taste traditional cheese fondue or local cheeses and dried meats.
Best time to visit Montreux
The weather is best for visiting June through early September, when it’s warm and sunny without being muggy. The average temperature stays around 25 C (76 F). The winters don’t get very cold but can drop below freezing at times and see a lot of rain.
The jazz festival makes parts of July a busy time to visit, and August is also crowded with locals visiting during the school holidays.
Suggested itineraries featuring Montreux
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Montreux, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Montreux
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Montreux
- Lake Geneva 19 miles away
- Geneva 41 miles away
- Bern 44 miles away
- Bernese Oberland 47 miles away
- Interlaken 49 miles away
- Zermatt 50 miles away
- Wengen 50 miles away
- Grindelwald 56 miles away
- Lucerne 79 miles away
- The Swiss Alps 80 miles away
- Zürich 101 miles away
- Lugano 103 miles away
- St. Moritz 140 miles away
Photos of Montreux
Accommodation choices for Montreux
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Montreux. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
The Villa Toscane is an intimate, historic Art Nouveau hotel tucked away from the main action in Montreux. It offers simple rooms, but shares amenities with the Royal Plaza Hotel across the street, including restaurants, spa facilities and staff.
You’ll find Belle Époque grandeur and airy modern style at the Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic, located in the heart of the Montreux Riviera. Across from both the lake and the train station, it offers peaceful rooms, fine dining and panoramic views in a convenient location.
Ideas for experiencing Montreux
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Montreux, and which use the best local guides.
This day trip takes you from lakeside vineyards to high Alpine peaks, where you can hike a glacier, walk suspended between mountains and visit the quiet playground of Hollywood’s elite. A panoramic train takes you back to Montreux through the Swiss countryside.
You can enjoy a visit to Switzerland’s sunny Lavaux wine country, where red and white wines are created to be enjoyed almost entirely within Switzerland. Terraced lakeside vineyards, wine tastings and lunch with a local wine producer round out your day.