Spring is the perfect time to go out and explore new places. The weather eases up, temperatures rise and the world looks that much better when colorful flowers are decorating the scenery and trees look green and lush. After living in Switzerland for about two years, it was time to discover more of the French speaking part. As a friend of mine was born in this region, she recommended it with pride and enthusiasm, and she was right to do so! A weekend getaway in Montreux ended up being the perfect trip for this time of the year.
Even though Geneva is probably one of Switzerland’s most famous cities, the Geneva Lake is surrounded by towns that are charming and nature that is enchanting. On the opposite side of the lake, you will find Montreux. The town is probably most famous for hosting the annual Montreux Jazz festival since 1967. Famous artists like Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald have performed amongst many of others.
Montreux is a popular destination due to its location and as soon as you arrive, you will find out why. Besides the fact that the town lies in a quiet and sheltered bay of the lake. It is also surrounded by wineries and looks out over a stunning decor, the Swiss Alps. All the ingredients you need to make a succes of your weekend getaway in Montreux.
When we arrived in the evening we had no clue on what to expect from this city as we didn’t take the time to do a lot of research. But when the morning came and the sun started to shine, we decided to discover the city on foot. An excellent decision, and my first recommendation.
Colors, art and serenity
One of the biggest highlights is the boulevard along the lake. It stretches out along the lake for about 13 kilometers. The breathtaking scenery of the clear blue lake against the mountains, that surround the water, makes it an exceptional place to spend some time. Due to the mild climate, tropical plants easily grow here and turn the promenade into a colorful feast that feels almost enchanting. Flowers and plants are clearly maintained with pride, because everything looks picture perfect. With what I had seen from Switzerland so far, this was a completely different experience.
The second thing that is really makes this town unique is its ongoing connection with music and art. Throughout the town and boulevard you will see references to music and especially jazz through various works of art. A big statue of Freddy Mercury (queen) decorates the promenade. Did you know he used to live in Montreux for a couple of years? He even recorded one of his albums here.
Besides enjoying the waterfront of the town, it is also a lot of fun to discover the town itself, that is build against a hill. Many narrow streets climb up and lead you along cozy and historical houses.
What to do on your weekend getaway in Montreux
Montreux itself has already a lot to offer, but that is not where it all ends. After you are done exploring the town, gambling in the casino or swimming in the lake, there is more to fully enjoy your weekend getaway in Montreux.
Touring through the vineyards
Like I mentioned before, the town is surrounded by vineyards. I have visited quite some wine regions, but this one I found really special. I think the thing that impressed me the most was how beautifully it is located around the Lake.
One of the nicest things to do is to rent a bike and exchange the city for another lovely experience. The big green terraces packed with green grapevines offer calming and relaxing sight, as they fall steeply into the shores of Lake Geneva. The most important grape variety in the region is the Chasselas and there are several places where you can try some of its wines.
In the little town of Chexbres you can find a great spot for lunch, with a marvelous lookout over the green and lush wine fields. The restaurant is called La Deck and is part of the luxury hotel Le Baron Tavernier. If you love a view, this is the place to go and enjoy your lunch!
Lavaux is another nice stop, where you also have to opportunity to visit the Vinorama. Here you can also taste one of the more than 290 wines they have in their collection.
The vineyards stretch out all the way until Lausanne.
Enjoy the view from Rocheres de Naye!
It takes about an hour or so to get up, but the view will be rewarding, I promise! To get up, you can take a ride in the panoramic carriages from Montreux up to Rocheres de Naye. The views from the top (which is about 2000m above sea level) make you look all the way over the lake to Geneva, the Savoie Alps and on a bright day even the Jura hills in the distant horizon.
Visit Chateau de Chillon
If you love the atmosphere and ambiance of old castles as much as I do, this one should be on your list as well! Chateau de Chillon is one of Switzerland’s most popular historical attractions. I think this might be because of its location. You can find the Chateau on a big rock, just off the shores of the lake.
I hope you will enjoy a weekend getaway in Montreux once as its beauty is one you will never forget. What place is still in your memories because of its beauty?