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Things to do in Montreux. 2 Day Montreux Itinerary

Beautiful Montreux, a highlight of the Swiss Riviera should be on everyone’s Swiss itinerary.

The start or finishing city for Switzerland’s famous Golden Pass Train Route, and only three hours by train from Zurich, Montreux is a destination in its own right.

How Long to Spend in Montreux

There are so many interesting things to do in Montreux; we recommend allowing at least two days. With this two day Montreux itinerary, you can choose the best sights in Montreux for your interests to make the most of your time in the beautiful Swiss Riviera.

If taking the Golden Pass Line between Montreux and Lucerne, read our 2 Days in Lucerne Itinerary to make the most of your time in one of Switzerland’s other beautiful cities. 

Bright yellow, pink and green flowers along the edge of lake Geneva Montreux

Getting Around Montreux and the Swiss Riviera

If you have a Swiss Rail Pass, all of the travel and activities listed below are included in your Swiss Rail Pass at no extra cost. The only exceptions are the Charlie Chaplin Museum and cog railway to Rochers de Naye.

You can take the cog railway as far as Haut de Caux which is about halfway to Rochers de Nayer and still has outstanding views. You will get a 50% discount on the ticket from here to the summit.

If you do not have a Swiss Rail Pass, your hotel will issue you with a Riviera Montreux Card which will give you free public transport in Montreux and discounts on many of the attractions.

You can read more about the Swiss Rail Pass and Swiss Half Fare Card here in our 2 Days in Switzerland itinerary

Modern train at Lucerne station

Best Things to Do in Montreux 2 Day Itinerary

DAY 1

Breakfast

If breakfast isn’t included at your hotel, head to the lakefront for a typical Swiss-French breakfast. There are some lovely hotel and cafes with stunning views of the Swiss Alps across Lake Geneva.   

Planning Tip

After breakfast, head to the Montreux Tourist Information Center on the main street (Grande Rue) in the middle of town. Check the timetables for boats leaving from Chateau Chillon to go to Vevey for later in the morning, between about 10.30 am and 12.30 pm. In winter, there are only three services on a Sunday. 

Walk the Lakefront Promenade

From the Tourist Information Bureau, take a walk along the scenic lakefront boulevard towards Chillon Castle. Keep an eye out for the palm trees along the boardwalk.

Quite an unusual sight in Switzerland but the trees are one of the reasons the area is called The Swiss Riviera.

Jetty out into the lake and clouds over the mountains and lake, Montreux

The views of Lake Geneva and the snow-capped Alps from any stretch of the boardwalk are breathtaking. Along the boardwalk, you will also find art installations and garden sculptures.

Look out for a fascinating sculpture that resembles a red British telephone box. The sculpture “Allô Claude” is the work of Swiss artist Pascal Bettex.

A tribute to Claude Nobs, founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival, it is a curious mechanical contraption that works on kinetic energy reminiscent of a curio found at an old fairground attraction. You won’t miss it as it is near the famous Freddie Mercury statue. 

Freddie Mercury Statue

One of the most prominent statues on the lakeside boardwalk is the famous Freddie Mercury statue.

Freddie was so taken with the serenity of Montreux he not only settled there in the last years of his life but also bought the Mountain Studio recording studio where he recorded his last album “Made in Heaven”. Fans still make the pilgrimage to leave flowers under the statue. 

Freddie Mercury Statue, Montreux.

Montreux Casino & The Queen Recording Studio

If you are a fan of Freddie Mercury, keep walking towards the Castle, and you will come to the Casino- ‘Casino Barrière de Montreux.’ Inside is the ‘Queen Mountain Studio’ where Queen recorded seven of their albums.

It has plenty of memorabilia from Freddy’s costumes to pages of handwritten lyrics. It’s a self-guided tour and admission is free—a must for any Queen fan.

Chillon Castle

How to Get to Chillon Castle

From Casino Barrière de Montreux, Chillon Castle is about a 30-minute walk along the lakefront. Or, you can take the No 201 bus from the main street Grand Rue. 

Chillon Castle is the most visited historic monument in Switzerland.  Located on a small island on the banks of the lakefront; for a medieval castle, it is very easily accessed.

The castle dates back to the 12th Century when the Counts of Savoy used the castle as a toll station, residence, and prison for four centuries. You can learn about Lord Byron’s connection and the Prisoner of Savoy.

In the 25 buildings, three courtyards, and two circular walls there is a lot to explore – gothic vaulted chapels, medieval dungeons, sentries’ walk, bastions, the keep, and extensive banqueting halls.

Chillon castle on the lake

Lake Geneva Boat Cruise

From Chillon Castle, take a one and a half hour Lake Geneva Classical Circular Cruise to the other side of the lake near the Swiss-French border.

Enjoy quintessential Swiss Alp vista as you pass quaint Swiss-French villages on the banks of the crystal clear waters of Lake Geneva.

Clouds over the snow capped mountains and lake, Montreux

There are several stops along the way, including Villeneuve, Le Bouveret, Saint-Gingolph, and Vevey Marche.

It is possible to have lunch on board although a stop at either Le Bouveret, Saint-Gingolph for lunch at a local cafe is possible. Just be mindful of the boat schedule to Vevey, especially in winter.

Vevey

Disembark at Vevey Marche and walk along the lakefront until you reach the large aluminium fork installation in the lake. 

Nearby is a Charlie Chaplin statue. If you are a Charlie Chaplin fan and have time, take the No 212 bus from Vevey town to the Charlie Chaplin Museum.

Lake with large aluminium fork, Vevey

Cogwheel Train to Rochers de Naye

Take the No 201 bus back along the lakefront route to Montreux station and take the one-hour scenic cogwheel train to Rochers de Naye. 

The train route zig-zags its way up the side of the mountain offering spectacular views of the Swiss countryside and ultimately from the summit.

At the summit, there are several hiking tracks if you want to stretch your legs and enjoy the landscape on foot.

Cog wheel train, Rochers de naye

Dinner

There are many excellent restaurants in Montreux offering both french and typical Swiss cuisine with views over the lake. The Montreux Jazz Cafe and MP’s Bar and Grill are popular places to dine.

If you only want a quick take away type meal after a long day, there is a small shopping centre The Forum Montreux Centre, on the lakefront near the Freddie Mercury statue. It has all the typical fast-food chains and a couple of pleasant restaurants.

Up by the railway station is the Barrel Oak Irish Pub which is also a popular place for a meal and an evening out.

La Palais Oriental restaurant on the lake, Montreux

DAY 2

Planning Tip

Go online to the SBB app or at the station ask for a print out with;-
1. times for trains to Gruyeres (two trains) between 8 am, and 9 am
2. times for trains Gruyeres to Broc Fabrique between 12 noon and 2 pm
3. Times for train from Broc Fabrique to Montreux between 3 pm and 5 pm

Gruyeres Medieval Castle & Cheese Factory

From Montreux Station take a train between 8.00 am, and 9.00 am to Gorgeous Gruyeres (you will need to change trains at Mont Boven). The trip will take about 2 hours. Gruyere is loaded with fascinating sights and attractions. 

At Gruyeres, you will see the castle up on the hill above the station. It will take about 20 minutes to walk to the castle. Or check to see if there is a bus from the station. Gruyere Castle is a must-see. 

Gruyere medieval castle and famous Gruyere Cheese factory.

Interestingly, in Gruyere, there is also a Tibetan Museum, high on the hill alongside the medieval castle.

There is also the H R Giger Museum. H R Giger, the Swiss painter was part of a special effects team that won an Academy Award for design work on the film Alien and well known for his nightmarish science-fiction motifs.

Bronze statue of an alien outside the H R GIGER MUSEUM in Gruyere.

When you’ve seen the castle head back through the medieval village and back down to the station. You may wish to have lunch at one of the small cafes in the village or, the cheese factory. Make sure you try the traditional meringues with fresh berries and La Gruyeres double cream.

Snow capped mountains overlook Gruyeres old town

Behind the station is the cheese factory La Maison du Gruyère. There is an interactive tour that takes you through the production of Gruyeres Cheese. The tour also includes free samples.  There is also an excellent shop and cafe on the premises.

Man surrounded by racks of cheese at cheese factory La Maison du Gruyère

Cailler Chocolate Factory

Take the train and to Broc Fabrique. At the station, you will see the Nestle Outlet shop and a little further down the road, the Cailler Chocolate Factory. The factory offers a great interactive tour and free chocolate tasting. 

Old fashioned chocolate posters adorn the wall at Cailler Chocolate Factory

Final Night in Montreux & Fairmont Le Montreux Palace Hotel Gardens

Return to Montreux and enjoy a final sunset walk along the lakeside promenade and see the sculptures of famous musicians in the garden of the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace Hotel.

Montreux has always attracted famous musicians to the town and is well known for the annual Montreux Jazz Festival every year. In the garden, you will see sculptures of famous musicians who have played the Montreux Jazz Festival over the years. 

Walkway down to the lake at dusk twilight Montreux

If You Have Time, add Lavaux Vineyards.

If visiting on the warmer months stretched over 30-kilometres, the Lavaux terraced vineyards are very popular for hiking, picnicking, and wine tasting.

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About the Author

Maureen Spencer

Maureen, who writes So Many Places! So Little Time! is a New Zealander with a great passion for travel. When she and her husband became ’empty-nested’ in the late 1990s, they sold their business, rented their home, and started travelling in earnest. They hope their website / online travel magazine will provide plenty of inspiration and practical travel information for other passionate travellers.

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