On the first evening I took a walk along the lake promenade from the hotel to the centre of Montreux. The promenade has beautiful views over the lake and the mountains in the distance and is decorated with all sorts of flowers.
In the centre I passed by the “Place de l’Eurovision”, from where the first ever Eurovision broadcast took place, I also saw the Montreux Music and Conference Centre with some instrument sculptures in its garden and of course the famous Fairmont hotel for the rich and famous. I climbed further up the slope to finish up my walk in the narrow streets of “old Montreux” from where I had another fantastic view from the courtyard of the church “Temple de Saint-Vincent”.
The next day I used the trolleybus line connecting the Montreux-Vevey area to my first stop of the day, The Chillon Castle. The Castle has been a strategic point in the defence of the traverse of the Alps mountain range and was used to levy tolls on the strategic route between north and south Europe.
Nowadays it is beautifully restored and a prime example of a romantic lakeside castle. Inside you have a range of different rooms in a mostly original style with clear explanations about their history and purpose. During the time of my visit there was also a special exhibition about the food that was consumed and produced here in the region and the different times the castle was used. I spend most of my morning at the castle and it sure is a must to visit if you are in the region.
After my visit of Chillon I took an S-train to the other side of the region, Vevey. In Vevey I first took the Mont-Pelerin cable car up the mountain for a scenic view over this part of the valley and lake. It took a route in between the Vineyards and got more scenic the higher we got.
The next visit on the agenda as “Nest”, the museum of the history of Nestlé. Nestlé is one of the biggest companies in food production and its headquarters are still in Vevey to this day. The museum consists of several distinct parts. First you start off with an interactive tour through a number of rooms where the history and beginnings of the company are told. In my “group” there was also an older couple that didn’t have the patience to wait for the story to be told in each room, so they took the emergency exit about halfway through, as we say in Belgium “retired people do not have time”.
After you have learned the story of Nestlé you then enter a second area where you have some artifacts from the company’s history on display as well as several items with more in depth details about the history and development of the company. Above the second area is a third area, especially for kids, where they can have a hands on experience how the production works. You end up in a 4th area where you can discover how Nestle thinks about the future, what they want to do in terms of ecological and economic development and of course where they ask your opinion on how the future should look.
I ended my time a in Vevey with small stroll through its historic city centre and along their part of the lake, encountering the statue of Charlie Chaplin on the way. I took the trolleybus back towards Montreux where I made a small visit to the Queen Studio Experience in the Montreux Casino, covering the time Queen spent in Montreux and talking about Freddie Mercury’s final years. A very interesting exhibition if you are interested in Queen.
In a Restaurant Bavaria next door I tried out a “local” delicacy, the Sausage of St. Gallen. It’s a sort of cross between a “bratwurst” and what we in Belgium know as a “Witte Pens”. It was a light and tasty meal. What I liked about the restaurant is that they also set-up table for 1 person, making it not awkward if you are travelling and eating alone.
I had a nice time in Montreux and Vevey, but I would advise to take a bit more time if you visit there as there is much more to see, do and experience than I was able to do in the short time I was there.