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Montreux: Day Trips and Tours from Geneva

Montreux gets its claim to fame through the numerous musical and artistic icons that have passed through or even settled in the town over the years.

Widely regarded as one of the most iconic faces in rock of the 20th century, the legendary Freddie Mercury became enthralled by the serenity of Montreux. He lived in the town for the later years of his life and there are several landmarks dedicated to the singer.

Queen fan or not, a Montreux day trip from Geneva should make it onto your itinerary with its breathtaking views and medieval castle.

How to get to Montreux from Geneva?

Montreux is located on the eastern shores of Lake Geneva, just over 70 kilometers away from the city of the same name.

From Geneva to Montreux by car

The journey to Montreux takes just over an hour by car and follows an especially scenic drive around the lake.

You'll head north out of the city and follow the A1 around the lake as far as junction 17, where you'll keep right to continue towards Bern and Lausanne-Crissier. At junction 19, you'll follow the right lanes to continue along the E62 towards Montreux. You'll take exit 15 which brings you into the town.

From Geneva to Montreux by public transport

If you're relying on public transport, there are two simple ways to make the jaunt to Montreux. Firstly, you can take a direct bus from the Geneva bus station which takes just over an hour to reach the lakeside town.

Alternatively, you can take a train from the city that also lasts a little over an hour and costs between $30 and $60 per ticket.

Buses and trains both run regularly throughout the day.

Guided tour to Montreux from Geneva

Guided Montreux day tours last anywhere between seven and 12 hours, however, the most common duration is around 10 hours. It's customary to meet at the Geneva bus station to commence your day trip between 8 AM and 9 AM.

What is the typical itinerary of a day tour to Montreux from Geneva?

Generally, Montreux day tours will start in the center of Geneva. You'll board a bus or minivan, depending on whether your excursion is private or not before setting off in the direction of the lakeside town.

On the way, you'll make various stops at other destinations. These may include the village of Corsier-sur-Vevey – known as the home of Charlie Chaplin or the city of Lausanne which has important ties to the Olympic games.

Later on in the tour, as you approach Montreux, you'll stop at Chillon Castle which shows signs of occupation since the Bronze Age. In Montreux, you'll typically have free time to learn about the famous people who lived in the town or enjoy a peaceful moment sitting by the lake.

What kinds of tours are available to go to Montreux?

There are several different types of tours available for visiting Montreux, depending on which other sites or towns you wish to see on your trip.

Day trip to Montreux from Geneva

This Montreux day tour starts in the center of Geneva and travels past the verdant rolling hills and towering mountains that make up the Swiss countryside. First, you'll visit the village that houses the famous "Chaplin's World" — a museum dedicated to the life of the famous Hollywood face, Charlie Chaplin.

Heading into Montreux, you'll make a stop at the Chateau de Chillon, which is a picturesque castle, set against a photogenic backdrop of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps.

Finally, you'll reach the destination of Montreux where you'll have free time. You can discover its links to the rich and famous, or simply admire the views of the lake.

Swiss Riviera private day tour to Montreux plus Lausanne from Geneva

This private tour takes you to two towns in the Swiss Riviera — Lausanne and Montreux. In Lausanne, you'll take a trip to the Olympic Museum, as the town is known for its association with the games.

You may also choose to visit Montreux ornate cathedral or fine art museums. You'll stop at a wine terrace before continuing to the popular tourist attraction — Chillon Castle, and Montreux.

Day trip to Montreux plus Glacier 3000 from Geneva

For those who want to view Switzerland from above, a day trip from Geneva to Glacier 3000 and Montreux is just the ticket. You'll ride a cable car up to the scenic viewing point, where you'll ride on a snow bus and taste local goods.

You'll participate in the "Peak Walk" which is a suspension bridge connecting the Scex Rouge and View Point peaks, and let loose on the highest toboggan run in Europe. Once you've had your fill of high altitudes, you'll discover the town of Montreux, where you can walk in the footsteps of Freddie Mercury himself.

Day trip to Montreux plus Les Diablerets from Geneva

This Montreux day trip first passes through the alpine village of Les Diablerets where you'll stop to admire the blooming meadows and mountain vistas. You'll then travel to the shores of Lake Geneva to the town that captured Freddie Mercury's heart — Montreux.

Many of Hollywood's elite have found themselves in the lakeside resort over the years, including Shania Twain and David Bowie.

How much does a tour to Montreux from Geneva cost?

Montreux day trips cost approximately $150 and include round-trip transportation from the city, a driver guide and admission to both Chillon Castle and Chaplin's World.

Private day tours include hotel pickup and drop-off in Geneva, and the hire of a driver for nine hours. Prices start at $360.

Glacier 3000 excursions that include a stop in Montreux last approximately 10 hours and start at $110. You'll have a knowledgeable guide and transportation included in the ticket price. If you wish to ride the cable car, you'll pay about $190. With tours that include the cable car and alpine coaster in your experience, you'll pay upwards of $260.

Tours that include a stop at Les Diablerets include an English-speaking guide and round-trip transportation from Geneva. You can expect to pay around $120.

What are the highlights of a Montreux day trip from Geneva?

Chillon Castle

Situated on a small island in Lake Geneva, the Chillon Castle has a long and eventful history. Thought to be built in the early part of the 11th century, it was expanded and fortified over the following years.

In the 16th century, it was used as a state prison, and this is where its most famous inmate, François de Bonivard, was held captive.

Today, the castle is open to the public and visitors can explore its many rooms and courtyards, as well as its museums and art galleries. The castle also offers unparalleled views of Lake Geneva and the snow-capped Alps beyond.

Between April and October, visitors can explore the castle between 9 AM and 6 PM. During the winter, the opening times reduce slightly from 10 AM to 5 PM. Adults will pay CHF13.50 (US$13.75) per ticket.

Queen Studio Experience

The Queen Studio Experience in Montreux is a must-see for any fan of the band. Located in the same studio where Queen recorded some of its most successful albums, the experience offers a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process.

Mountain Studios within the Casino Barrière saw a plethora of other famous faces through its doors before it was renovated into a museum. These include David Bowie and The Rolling Stones.

Visitors can see the equipment used by the band, as well as original handwritten lyrics and musical scores. In addition, there are numerous interactive displays, including a mixing console where you can create your own version of "We Will Rock You." You can visit the exhibition for free between 9 AM and 9 PM.

Freddie Mercury Statue

Just a stone's throw from the famed Montreux Casino where the band recorded six albums, is the statue that commemorates the life of Freddie Mercury. Each year, thousands of fans make the pilgrimage to Montreux to pay their respects to Mercury at his statue.

The monument itself is an impressive sight, depicting the singer in all his glory, with his fist held high in the air and a microphone in hand.

Freddie Mercury spent over a decade of his life, including his final days in the tranquil town. This is why the monument has been erected in homage to the iconic late singer.

When is the best time to visit Montreux?

The best time to arrange a day trip to Montreux depends on the type of vacation you are planning. During the springtime, you can see the vibrant tulips and narcissi in bloom, and enjoy several festivals, including the traditional flower festival.

The summer months are the best time to take a dip in Lake Geneva, as the water warms to pleasant temperatures.

Alternatively, if you're planning a cozy winter retreat, visit in December when there's a chance of snow and the Christmas market is in full swing.

Travel tips

  • While in the town, you can swim in Lake Geneva. If you're keen to dip your toes in, remember to bring your swimsuit on your excursion to Montreux.
  • If you're interested in Queen, make sure you check out the "Queen Studio Experience" which is the most authentic exhibition of the band in the world.
  • If you have a little time to spare on your Montreux day tour, consider taking a boat trip on the lake, which lasts one to two hours.
  • If you're visiting Glacier 3000 on your tour, be sure to bring an extra warm layer with you.