Montreux is located in
Switzerland in the district of Riviera-Pays-d`Enhaut
(in the canton of Vaud) and time zone Europe/Zurich. Places nearby are Le
Châtelard, Blonay and La Tour-de-Peilz. It is situated
on the Lake
Geneva shoreline at the foot of the Alps.
The town has the feel of a large city, but actually Montreux is not that big. The mountains, forests, and of course the lake, are close by. You can start hiking directly from town. Boat trips on the lake start from the boulevard of Montreux.
Geneva Cointrin International Airport is the closest major airport to
Montreux, and serves direct flights from most major European hubs, as well as a
few cities in Canada and the United States, North Africa, and the Middle East.
From Geneva, it`s a little more than an hour by car, and less than an hour by
The railway station in Geneva is connected to Geneva International Airport. From the arrivals hall turn left (inside the building) and you will walk through a shopping mall where the railway platforms are one floor below. The railway station is right in the city making it a fairly easy walk or use public transportation.
Arriving by train offers some spectacular scenery. Montreux is
served by direct rail services from Geneva, Lausanne, and Brig-Glis, and is
easily accessible via rail connection from almost anywhere else in Switzerland.
Visit www.sbb.ch for Swiss rail information.
The famous panorama train, `Golden Pass Line,` from Lucerne via Interlaken, Zweisimmen to Montreux, is probably one of the nicest ways to arrive, as you pass rolling hills, pristine lakes, and cute, little Swiss towns before you come upon the vineyards of the region.
Another beautiful way to arrive in Montreux would be by boat, either via Lausanne, Geneva or Vevey. From Lausanne, it is about 1 hour, or about 3 hours from Geneva. Most boats depart between May and September, with limited service throughout the rest of the year.
Montreux is not a car-free town, so driving there in your own car, or with a rented one, is also a good way to arrive. However, parking is always the trickiest part of driving in Switzerland. If your hotel does not have parking spaces and is located in the `town center,` you might have to pay a small fortune for parking.
Montreux itself is pretty small, so it is easy to just
get around by walking. Also, Montreaux, as it is in most parts of Switzerland,
has excellent public transportation, which makes it easy to get from one place
to another. This includes trains, buses, and boats (you can easily get to
places like Geneva, Lausanne, or Vevey by boat. It might take a while (Lake
Geneva is one of the biggest lakes in Europe) but it is also a great way to see
places from another angle.
Montreux-Oberland-Bernois or MOB, is one of the longest established narrow gauge railways and runs from platforms 5 and 6 of the town`s main line station to Zweissimmen via the resort town of Gstaad. Over recent years the company, which operates 1/3 of the Golden Pass route to Lucerne along with the BLS and the Zentralbahn brought under its sales banner the cog-wheel Montreux - Glion - Rochers-de-Naye Railway and its associated funicular from nearby Territet, the Les Avants - Sonloup funicular and the lines of the former CEV from Vevey into the hills.
The waterfront and the old town are best accessed by foot. If you like to take a little longer walk, the castle is situated about a mile or so southeast from the city center along the shore of Lake Geneva. From the old town you can walk uphill to the waterfall Les Gorges du Chauderon.Can I pay/tip in US dollars?
currency of Switzerland is the Swiss franc, usually indicated as CHF or SFr.
While Switzerland is not part of the European Union and thus is not obliged to
convert to the Euro, many prices are nonetheless indicated in euros so that
visitors may compare prices. Most of the restaurants, bars, cafes and clubs
accept euro, but expect to pay a premium rate.
The Swiss Franc (CHF or SFr) is divided into 100 centimes (known as Rappen in German speaking Switzerland). Bills come in 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 10000SFr and coins are divided into 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimes and 1, 2 and 5SFr.
US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for Swiss Francs upon arrival. Currency exchange desks can be found at the airport, train station and many bank locations throughout the city. ATMs are also widespread throughout the city accepting bank cards and credit cards.
Switzerland has a reputation for being an expensive destination. Those amazing transportation options, meals, hotels and attractions come at a cost. Once you get there, expect your hotel to cost you an average of $200 USD per night and that cheap pizza at a restaurant will cost you around $30 USD.
Several banks (UBS, BCV, Credit Suisse) are present in the city. The usual opening hours are 9:00 am – 12:00 noon and 1:30 pm 4:30 pm from Monday until Friday. Many ATM are available in the city including at the train station, city center and near the lake.What is the weather like in Montreux? When is the best time to visit?
Montreux is a city with a microclimate, so it`s slightly warmer here than in
other places in Switzerland. The results of this is a name given to the area -
`The Vaudois Riviera`. You could even see palm trees and Joshua trees. It is
kind of a protected area, at the foot of the Alps and on the shores of Lake
Geneva, so it feels and looks a little bit different than a typical Swiss city.
Spring comes earlier to Montreux than to the towns and cities on the Swiss plateau and is usually well underway by March. Flowers start to bloom by the end of February along the lakefront promenade. Montreux also gets far less fog than the plateau and less snow too. Summer brings hordes of tourists to Montreux, especially around the time of the Montreux Jazz Festival in early July so that it perhaps not the best time to visit unless you are headed for the Festival. Since Swiss weather in general is quite variable it is important, no matter the season of the year that you visit that you have layers of clothes to put on and take off as needed. There is no rainy season in Switzerland and it can and does rain at any time of the year. Sightseeing is most pleasant during the months of April to October around the lake. In winter the humidity of the lake makes one feel the cold more intensely.
Winter visits to Montreux can also be a great time as the city has one of Switzerland`s best Christmas markets (montreuxnoel.com) along its lakefront, and a spectacular train ride up the Rochers-de-Naye reveals a vast panorama of snow-slumped Alps and the child-pleasing House of Santa Claus.
Most of the population
speaks French as their first language, with German being
second most common. In addition to
French and German, however, many locals also speak English.
Most of the employees working for hotels, restaurants, and shops that are aimed at tourists can speak the English language at a competent level. We suggest you get a good English-French guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.
Montreux has been around for centuries, but really got going in the 19th century, when it was favored by the British and Russian nobility for winter retreats. A Mediterranean-like microclimate allows palms and flowers to flourish; a lakefront and alpine views are other attractive aspects. Wonderful Chillon Castle is Switzerland`s most visited attraction and the three-week July Montreux Jazz Festival (montreuxjazz.com) is one of Europe`s best music jamborees. The town's lakefront setting, backed by vineyards and mountains, is gorgeous.What is the food like?
For classics Swiss cuisine we recommend trying the fondue, raclette and rosti, skilleted hash brown potatoes flavored with bacon or cheese.What is the nightlife like in Montreux?
Montreux does not have a lot of after-hours action but there is enough going on to find something to keep you entertained. The major action in the evenings revolves around the Casino de Montreux with about 200 slot machines shake, rattle, and roll, along with a handful of roulette tables. There is also a small disco open nightly till 4am. You`ll also find plenty of other drinking venues down near the waterfront promenade.What is the famous Christmas market in Montreux?
Every Christmas Montreux hosts an excellent Christmas market for several weeks over the holiday period. The main road through the town (Grand` Rue) and the lakeside path are lined with wooden chalets where you can find anything to buy from local wine to chocolates (of course) and local crafts. The atmosphere is magical, your kids can visit Pere Noel (Father Christmas). With all the regular shops also open you could do all your Christmas shopping in one trip.What are the public holidays in Switzerland?
January 1st, New Year`s day
January 2nd, St Basil
Friday before Easter (varies), Good Friday
Monday after Easter (varies), Easter Monday
Thursday 40 days after Easter, Ascension Day
Monday 10 days after Ascension day, Whit day
August 1st, National Holiday
3rd Monday in September, Federal Fast day
December 25th, Christmas Day
December 26th, Boxing day (day after Christmas day)
Montreux plays host to numerous music festivals and events. It is a cultural city in which a lot of well-known musical history was built. The most famous festival is Montreux Jazz festival, a global phenomenon that occurs every July at the Montreux Music and Convention Center. Outside there are parks where they have concerts, and alongside the lake.What is Montreux famous for?
Montreux is famous for its beautiful location on Lake Geneva and for
being one of the most frequented resort towns in the southwestern part of
Switzerland. The town stretches along the shores of a large bay facing south
and rises in tiers to heights covered with woods and vineyards which shelter it
from the north and east winds.
Montreux is one of the liveliest places in Switzerland. It has many interesting events, festivals, workshops, and sightseeing spots - everything you would want to see in a city. Especially if you are a fan of rock music, this is a place you must see.
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Ambulance / Medical Emergency - 144
Fire Department - 118