- Posted September 5, 2013 by
Montreux: Pearl of the Swiss Riviera
Montreux is also home to the most extraordinary and most visited castle in Switzerland, the Château de Chillon, an island castle that dates back to the 12th century made popular by the Lord Byron in his poem “The Prisoner of Chillon” written in 1816. The castle is also one of the settings in Henry James’s novella Daisy Miller written in 1878. Three major periods influenced the history of Chillon, including the Savoy Period, the Bernese Period, and the Vaudois Period.
Montreux has long been an inspiration to artists, writers, and musicians throughout the centuries and until the present. Ernest Hemingway, Lord Byron, and the Shelleys were one-time residents. In 1971, while Frank Zappa was playing in the Montreux casino, the building caught fire and cast a pall of smoke over Lake Geneva, inspiring Deep Purple’s classic rock single, “Smoke on the Water.” Freddie Mercury and Igor Stravinsky are also frequent visitors.
Montreux has a breathtaking landscape composed of palm trees, Lake Geneva, the Alps, vineyards, and a glacier within a short distance. The favorable Mediterranean microclimate and easy access from the Geneva International Airport also makes it a favorite getaway at every time of the year.
Besides the famous Chillon castle, there is also an Alpine garden, an animal park called Marmottes Paradis, and Mongolian yurts for spending the night in. The Christmas market is also a huge event, held a month before Christmas, and features a wide array of culinary tastings, gifts, and chalets. For the best hiking experience, head off to Hauts de Montreux.