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Blick auf Montreux und den Genfersee, Bild: Aleh Alisevich / shutterstock

Montreux – Scenic holiday on Lake Geneva

A fantastic view of the picturesque Lake Geneva is promised by the urban shore scenery near Montreux. The Swiss lakeside city is one of the popular tourist destinations on the shores of the water, which is located in the southwest of Switzerland. Located on the largest lake in Switzerland, Montreux is surrounded by the majestic panorama of the Vaud Alps. In addition to the local sights, Montreux is a wonderful place to get to know the surroundings of the fascinating Lake Geneva in more detail. If you are looking for a holiday idyll on the shores of the lake, Montreux offers an excellent scenery with lake and mountain panoramas as well as cultural flair.

The cultural roots of Montreux

Even in prehistoric and ancient Roman times, the region of Lake Geneva and today’s Montreux was considered a lively area – for example, a historic Roman villa was discovered in the region. According to today’s assumptions, the city of Montreux owes its name to the Latin word monasterium, which means monastery and refers to the city’s sacred past – in the Middle Ages, the region was temporarily subordinate to the Abbey of Saint-Maurice. Modern Montreux has its roots in the 19th century, and the fascinating municipality developed early on as a tourist and cultural hotspot on Lake Geneva. For example, today’s urban region of Montreux has long exerted a magnetic aura on great personalities – in the meantime, 18. and 19th century Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Lord Byron. Because the idyll on Lake Geneva is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating places in Europe’s lake landscapes.

The main activities and sights near Montreux

When the wonderful view of the Alps and the lake in Montreux unfolds, many visitors have one thought above all: enjoy the panorama on a relaxing walk. There is hardly a better place in Montreux than the scenic waterfront promenade, which offers a picturesque view of the region. It is one of the highlights within the city that should not be missed. But another thought comes to mind: why not get to know Lake Geneva for yourself? For example, a boat or boat tour along Lake Geneva is a good way for visitors to get to know the region from a central perspective.

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Not far from the shores of Montreux lies the small island of Île de Chillon, which has one of the most fascinating buildings in the region. Chillon Castle is enthroned here, a medieval moated castle whose roots date back to the 12th century. The popular photo motif is not only one of the most impressive historical walls in the region, but against the backdrop of the mighty Alps, the building has already inspired numerous historical paintings. As a counterpoint to Chillon Castle, another historic building is enthroned on the hills near Montreux – the Château du Châtelard, a small castle from the 15th century surrounded by green landscape with vines.

Montreux’s local mountain is the limestone-rich elevation of the Rochers de Naye, which rises up to 2042 metres above the panorama of Lake Geneva and Montreux. One of the popular excursions on site is a ride on the cogwheel train to the mountain landscape of the Rochers de Naye. Here you can enjoy a fantastic view of the mountainous lake region. One last highlight of the city is closely linked to the magnetic aura for stars: the statue of Freddy Mercury. Mercury had a great passion for the city and region, lived here for many years – even at the end of his life – and had a recording studio here with his legendary band Queen, where some of their famous musical works were created. The statue has not only gained cult status among fans of the famous singer of the band Queen. Today, the Freddie Mercury Memorial is considered a central attraction of Montreux.

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Music and stars in Montreux

Statue Freddie Mercury, Montreux
Statue of Freddie Mercury in front of the dreamlike backdrop of Lake Geneva, Image: Emanuela Vigna / shutterstock

Music fans also know the city of Montreux on Lake Geneva for another reason – the Montreux Jazz Festival. Launched by the music and culture manager Claude Nobs, the festivity has been held annually in Montreux in July since 1967. Today, it is one of the most important jazz festivals in the world and has a great musical influence beyond the musical genre. Not only jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock or Pat Metheny performed here, but also world-famous artists and bands such as Deep Purple, Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, James Brown or Simon & Garfunkel did not miss a performance at the festival in Montreux. The Swiss city of Montreux proves that it is so much more than just an idyllic holiday resort on Lake Geneva. Montreux is a cultural and cultural-historical highlight among the cities of Switzerland.

Beautiful excursion destinations in the area

One of the prominent neighbouring towns of Montreux is the settlement of Vevey, which is just under 8 km away. The city is considered the pinnacle of wine culture on Lake Geneva – this is also commemorated by the traditional winegrowers’ festival Fête des Vignerons, which takes place here every 25 years or so. Vevey has a similarly important history as Montreux in terms of stars and starlets. Not only did Dostoyevsky write segments of his story The Idiot here, the British writer Graham Greene spent the last moments of his life here – as did Charlie Chaplin, who lived here in a villa and to whom a Chaplin statue is now dedicated on site. From Montreux to Vevey you can also go on a hike. Basically, Lake Geneva presents ideal conditions for distinctive hikes. Whether culture or scenic nature – Montreux and the surrounding area promise a holiday in fantastic surroundings. The stars also felt at home here.