Montreux Switzerland is less than a couple of hours drive from Chamonix. It’s such a beautiful town, sited on the north east shore of Lake Geneva and framed by the Alps.
Montreux is known as the Riviera of Switzerland – it’s an up-market, luxury vacation destination, with high quality shopping, a casino on the lake side, lovely parks, expensive hotels and fine dining restaurants.
Montreux in Switzerland
Rub Shoulders With The Rich And Famous
Large opulent hotels were built in the nineteenth century catering to the rich and the cultured from Europe and America. These stately hotels are now somewhat tired but still in evidence today.
Despite it’s wealthy conservative atmosphere, Montreux rocks. Montreux has a side that’s not immediately evident – it hosts an annual jazz festival; Freddy Mercury and the band, Queen loved Montreux so much for its beauty and peace, they lived here and bought the local recording studio Mountain Studios. Queen recorded some of their biggest hits here.
The band, Deep Purple wrote a song about the fire at the Montreux Casino in 1971. Their famous song “Smoke on the Water” recalls the Frank Zappa fan who burnt down the Casino with a flare gun. The casino was rebuilt in 1975.
Montreux is host to a number of music festivals from April to September.
Montreux: Chateau de Chillon
The very well restored Chillon Castle sits on the edge of the lake. It dates from the era when the Savoys controlled this region and the castle controlled trading traffic in this part of the lake. There’s an excellent collection of medieval furniture at the castle.
If you’re visiting in winter, finding accommodation without pre-booking is a real problem. Most of the hotels are closed during the winter season. We found the most amazing, funky Hotel Tralala in the depths of the town, while driving around desperately trying to find a hotel open for business.
The Hotel Tralala was just fantastic, with sixties bubble chairs, and murals of rockers. It was amazing and we thoroughly recommend it.
Montreux: Getting There
If you’re making an excursion from Chamonix, it’s best to drive – it takes less than 2 hours and it’s beautiful journey, descending through the Alps and traveling along the lovely Rhone Valley in Switzerland.
I travelled by train from Montreux to Chamonix to ski France and made the journey by train - I found this experience to be slightly tortuous with 2 changes in trains at Vallorcine and Martigny; changes of platforms and having to acquire separate ticketing at each change. Depending on the connections, the train journey can take about 2 – 3 hours.
You can get a rental car from the Europcar office, located opposite the train station at Chamonix Mont Blanc.
Montreux is really beautiful. It seems Freddy Mercury told his friends “If you want peace of mind, come to Montreux”. His last album “Made in Heaven” features the view of the Lake in Montreux.
This describes perfectly, Montreux Switzerland.
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