11 Marvelous Things to Do in Montreux in Winter

I remember my first visit to Montreux like it was yesterday.

It was one of my first stops on my Switzerland itinerary, having come straight from Geneva, I took the train to this town along the glittering Swiss Riviera just in time for their annual Montreux Jazz Festival.

I remember it all so clearly: seemingly never-ending days bathed in sunlight, balmy nights, lush vineyards cascading down terraced hills in the distance, all with a lively town and boats bobbing on the water with the Alps at their back.

But Montreux in winter offers entirely different delights, no less wonderful but categorically different, like a whole new town (yet still one of Switzerland’s prettiest, of course).

⌛ Planning your wintery Montreux trip in a hurry? Here are my quick picks.

❄️ Best Montreux Tours & Experiences
1. 2-Hour Montreux Riviera Cruise by Steamer Boat
2. Glacier 3000 Day Trip from Montreux
3. Chateau Chillon Entrance Ticket
4. Chaplin’s World Entrance Ticket

🛏️ Best Montreux Hotels
1. Fairmont Le Montreux Palace (5* luxury in a literal palace!)
2. Le Coucou Hotel (mid-range, slightly outside of town, good views)
3. B&B Guesthouse Du Lac (best budget choice in Montreux)

🚂 Planning to travel around Switzerland by train? Save big by buying a Swiss Travel Pass for all your train travel, including many scenic and panoramic trains!
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A ferris wheel completes the festive atmosphere in the lakeside town of Montreux in the winter months with Christmas market stalls all around it, not quite lit up yet since it is still daytime

The same lake that sparkled under the summer sun now mirrors the snow-kissed peaks of the Alps and the festive lights that blink on in the early-setting winter sun.

The once-green vineyards and surrounding hills now don a blanket of snow, but the town maintains its lively nature, especially at its enchanting Montreux Christmas Market, where over 160 small chalets line the promenade selling artisan wares.

A majestic Ferris wheel adds to the winter magic, allowing a bird’s-eye view of the twinkling market and the whirlwind of visitors passing through.

11 Best Things to Do in Montreux in Winter

Enjoy the Montreux Christmas Market.

People walking through an LED-lit archway, with a lit up red and white Christmas present also made of LED lights, in the setting sun in Montreux near the Christmas market

Right on the icy shores of Lake Geneva, the Montreux Christmas Market is a true winter paradise, perhaps the best Christmas market in the Lake Geneva region (yes, even better than the winter markets in Geneva itself!).

Imagine over 160 enchanting temporary wooden chalets draped in soft, sparkling lights — that’s Montreux in winter for you!

Each stall proudly showcases its array of artisanal crafts, Swiss winter snacks and beverages, and festive keepsakes.

Adding to this magical setting, a grand Ferris wheel invites you to take in the views from on high, admiring the festive market, the Christmas lights shimmering in the lake, and the majestic Alps looming in the horizon.

For those visiting with little ones, the Elves’ Village promises to be a delightful highlight!

Visit a snow-coated Chillon Castle.

Chateau Chillon in winter along Lake Geneva's shoreline, with a light dusting of snow on the old chateau or castle in Switzerland in winter

Visiting Château de Chillon in Montreux in winter is a real treat!

As the snow blankets the surrounding landscapes, the historic castle emerges as a captivating sight against the crisp teal-blue backdrop of Lake Geneva, which almost never ices over.

Built in bits and pieces over the centuries, Chateau Chillon is a testament to medieval architecture, and its stone walls and turrets echo with its centuries of history.

Inside, you can explore it rooms filled with period furnishings, historic artifacts, and intriguing passageways.

Between November and February, the castle’s winter hours are from 10 AM to 5 PM, with the last admission granted at 4 PM.

Note that Chateau Chillon is closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Admission for adults is priced at 13.50 CHF (around $15 USD), while children can enter for 7 CHF.

You can pre-book your admission tickets here!

Take a steamer boat cruise along the Montreux Riviera.

View of the snow-covered Alps in the distance, with the choppy waters of Lake Geneva, as seen while doing a winter boat cruise in Montreux Riviera area

Taking a winter Montreux Riviera cruise grants you a unique perspective of the stunning Lake Geneva shoreline.

Set sail from the pier in Montreux on a historic paddle steamer to embark on a 2-hour journey along the Montreux Riviera, where the tranquil turquoise waters juxtapose beautifully against the white-capped Swiss and French Alps.

As you cruise by, you’ll pass by several sights like Chillon Castle, the picturesque villages of of Villeneuve, Le Bouveret, and St Gingolph.

You’ll also pass by the stunning vineyard-strewn town of Vevey, home to famed Lavaux vineyards, the terraces of which are beautiful even in winter when they’re covered in snow.

To enhance your cruise experience, make sure to download the tour app, since this complimentary audioguide has a wealth of information on the landmarks you’ll pass by on the steamer cruise.

Check availability here!

Learn about Charlie Chaplin at Chaplin’s World.

The red building that is part of the complex that makes up Chaplin World, a famous attraction in the Montreux and Vevey area of Switzerland all year round

Visiting the epic Chaplin’s World in Vevey, just outside of Montreux, is a great way to spend a winter day!

This museum offers a unique journey through the life and career of one of the 20th century’s most iconic figures, Charlie Chaplin.

There are several buildings which make up Chaplin’s World, one of which is The Manoir, which showcases Chaplin’s personal life, with rooms recreated with original furniture and belongings.

Here, you’re granted an intimate glimpse into his family life and the reasons behind his move to this part of Switzerland.

The adventure continues in The Studio, a sprawling space designed to transport visitors straight to old Hollywood!

This cinematic exhibition area presents Chaplin’s life against the vast canvas of 20th-century history, beginning with a poignant montage of his life’s work.

After, you can visit several recreated sets reminiscent of his films, such as the iconic Easy Street.

Surrounding both these structures is a magnificent 10-acre park that presents breathtaking vistas of Lake Geneva and the majestic Alps.

You can book your tickets here!

Go on a day trip to a glacier.

A view of a Swiss glacier and a suspension bridge crossing between two mountain peaks in a snow-covered landscape with a Swiss flag visible in the distance at the other edge of the bridge

A visit to a genuine Swiss glacier is an essential experience for anyone exploring Switzerland!

Conveniently, Glacier 3000 is just a stone’s throw away from Montreux, making it a perfect winter day trip (you can check inclusions and itinerary here).

This excursion offers a seamless journey to Montreux’s closest glacier, commencing with a scenic bus ride to Col du Pillon.

As you near your destination, the quaint alpine village of Les Diablerets greets you, with its classic chalets set against a stunning mountainous backdrop.

At the heart of this adventure is the awe-inspiring Glacier 3000, soaring to an impressive altitude of 3,000 meters (hence the name!).

There’s a lot to do once you arrive! A favorite amongst many is the Peak Walk, an exhilarating suspension bridge spanning 108 meters, which links two mountain peaks.

Woman wearing sunglasses and wearing a mask and black and boots with a hat and winter clothing, holding up her arms, welcoming the winter landscape

From this unique vantage point, you can marvel at panoramic vistas encompassing over 24 magnificent peaks above 4,000 meters!

For those with an adventurous spirit, sleds are available for an exciting descent down the slopes.

If you want a more laid-back experience, the village of Diablerets provides a peaceful retreat. Stroll alongside its tranquil river, taking in the quiet splendor of the snowy landscape.

Book your day trip here!

Have a delicious fondue meal.

Cheese fondue enjoyed in Switzerland in winter with a metal rod dunking some bread into a pot of melted cheese

Eating fondue in Montreux is a must-due! Pardon the pun, I’m always cheesy.

But getting real — nothing brings encapsulates the warmth of Swiss tradition like having a pot of melted cheese in a charming lakeside town.

As the cold sets in, the sun sets, and the lights twinkle on, there’s nothing more comforting than indulging in a bubbling pot of rich, melted cheese, accompanied by chunks of crusty bread…

… Better yet, enjoy it with a glass of Swiss wine (tip: locals often choose a chilled, crisp white wine, to cut through the richness) to bring out all the lovely complex notes in the cheese!

Especially in traditional Swiss restaurants with their rustic wooden interiors, ending the night with a pot of fondue in Montreux is a no-brainer.

Here are a few suggestions for where to sample fondue in town:

  • La Rouvenaz: A cozy eatery overlooking Lake Geneva, offering a variety of fondues
  • Caveau des Vignerons: Combining local cheeses and an excellent selection of wines, this is an elegant choice for fondue night
  • Restaurant Le Pont de Brent: A bit upscale, this restaurant is a more fine dining approach to fondue

Visit Lausanne for the Festival of Lights.

Lights on in the winter in the charming lakeside town of Lausanne also on the Montreux Riviera area, which has a bright light festival in the winter. Here you see the cathedral lit up in white and blue.

Lausanne, situated to the west of Montreux also along its northern shore, is just a quick 25-minute train ride away.

While Lausanne has a ton to offer year-round, from its Olympic Museum to its cathedral and more, in the winter it has one unique draw: its annual Festival of Lights, known locally as Lausanne Lumières.

From around mid-November to the close of December, the city comes alive with lights.

I recommend visiting a few spots around Lausanne during the day, then watching the sunset, and then marveling at the light festival turning on around you!

Take the cogwheel train to Rochers-de-Naye.

Rochers de Naye, part of the Swiss Alps near Montreux, with a cogwheel train track and a small building and visible snow areas

Embarking on the cogwheel train journey to Rochers-de-Naye from Montreux in winter is an enchanting experience!

Departing from the picturesque town of Montreux, the train begins its ascent, with vistas that get more spectacular the higher you climb.

You’ll leave the lakeside town of Montreux in the distance, slowly revealing snow-draped forests and pristine alpine meadows blanketed in white.

The train, specially designed to navigate the steep gradient, chugs along steadily, giving passengers ample time to marvel at the winter wonderland outside (the ride is about 55 minutes long).

Upon reaching the summit at Rochers de Naye, you’ll see a stunning panoramic view of the snow-covered Alps above you and the shimmering expanse of Lake Geneva below you!

The peak, standing at more than 2,042 meters above sea level, offers not only breathtaking views but also fun snow sports in the winter season.

Walk along the Montreux Promenade.

Views alongside the Montreux promenade in the winter with a beautiful landscape behind you

Walking the Promenade de Montreux Riviera in winter is a must when visiting this lakeside town!

The promenade stretches for several kilometers along the shores of Lake Geneva. While normally bustling in summer, winter brings a unique serenity to this path, especially with the snow-coated Alps in the background.

Starting from the eastern end, near Chillon Castle, you’ll first encounter this medieval marvel which dates back to the 9th century.

As you stroll westward, you’ll notice the funny juxtaposition between the palm trees along the promenade and the winter scenes around it.

Further along, you’ll come across the Statue of Freddie Mercury, a tribute to the legendary Queen frontman who had a deep affection for Montreux.

Continuing west, the old Montreux Palace stands as a symbol of Belle Époque luxury, its grand architecture speaking of an era when European aristocrats and artists flocked to Montreux for its restorative air and stunning beauty.

The promenade is also dotted with lakeside cafés, art installations, and sculptures that change over time, reflecting Montreux’s vibrant cultural scene.

Concluding your walk at the western edge of the promenade, you’ll find yourself in Clarens, a picturesque village that supposedly inspired Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”!

Shop around the Montreux Covered Market.

The glass-building architecture that makes up the Montreux covered market in front of the waters of Lake Geneva

The famous Marché Couvert de Montreux, or the Covered Market, is a must-visit at any time of year in Montreux!

Marked by the statue of Freddie Mercury in front, this bustling marketplace is a busy thoroughfare in all seasons, with an extra festive flair in winter.

You’ll find freshly baked bread, local cheeses, seafood, and local wines from Lavaux among its wares.

The great thing is that virtually everything is local — this is a place where small producers from the region showcase their handcrafted goods, from organic jams, honey, and syrups to hand-cured meats and specialty chocolates.

Cheese lovers in particular will be in heaven — from the classic Swiss fondue mixtures to aged Gruyère and the creamy Vacherin Mont d’Or, there’s a cheese to satisfy every palate.

Beyond food, the market often features local craftsmen selling unique items like handmade pottery, artisanal soaps, and crafts that make for perfect souvenirs.

Take the Golden Pass train, one of two ways.

An early winter view of Switzerland countryside with snow on the hills from the window of Golden pass line train, heading from Zweisimmen to Montreux in a panoramic train.

Embarking on the Golden Pass train journey from Montreux is a real treat in the winter, with two distinct options year-round: the Golden Pass Panoramic and the Golden Pass Belle Epoque.

The Golden Pass Panoramic is a more contemporary experience, with hourly departures from both Montreux and Zweisimmen. Its large panoramic glass make you feel as if you’re soaring not through a train but just through the scenery.

In contrast, the Golden Pass Belle Epoque is all about evoking that sense of nostalgia. This service operates once or twice daily, going from Montreux and Zweisimmen, offering a journey taken from a bygone era.

These gorgeous Belle Epoque train cars with their vintage charm make you feel like you’re in the early 20th century, taking a train like you’re in an Agatha Christie novel (hopefully minus any murder mystery mishaps…).

The travel between Montreux and Zweisimmen is gorgeous, with quaint wooden chalets, looming Alpine peaks, and lake panoramas.

Whether you opt for the Panoramic or the Belle Epoque, both journeys make up a segment of the renowned Grand Train Tour of Switzerland, cementing this journey as one of Switzerland’s best train rides!

Where to Stay in Montreux

Luxury: Long a favorite getaway of celebrities, it’s not surprising that Montreux offers some great luxury options.

The best balance of luxury to price ration is Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, one of the most gorgeous places in all of town.

Check availability and prices here!

Famous palace hotel in Montreux with marble walls and yellow awnings on every balcony to make it a colorful place to stay in Montreux at any time of year

Mid-Range: For a medium budget, Le Coucou Hotel has great prices for what you get, namely a breathtaking view, and a well-reviewed restaurant.

The only downside? It is a bit far away from Montreux town proper, near a different train station (Haut-de-Caux). 

Check availability and prices here!

Budget: For a more affordable option, the B&B Guesthouse du Lac is on the more affordable end, though of course, still a little pricy since this is Switzerland after all.

It’s located a kilometer away from the rail station, so expect to do some walking, but in exchange you get relatively spacious modern rooms at a good price.

Check availability and prices here!

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