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Vacation in Switzerland ~ Photos of Montreux, Swiss Alps and Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva & Alps views from Montreux, Switzerland
I was once asked the following question."Where is that one single place that you have traveled to and would like to visit back again and why?"
My answer is simple. I would love to spend more time in Montreux, Switzerland which is one of the most scenic places that I have ever had the occasion in which to spend a brief amount of time in the latter part of May in the year 1997.
It is located on a bay of Lake Geneva and Montreux is surrounded by vineyard clad hills as well as the Swiss Alps.
As if that was not scenic enough, a beautiful lakeside promenade allows one to walk along the waterfront looking back at the shops, hotels and villas built into the hills plus the historic Chillon Castle which is certainly a landmark feature.
Most people's eyes are probably drawn towards the lapping water where boats and ships navigate the waters against a backdrop of the mountains in the distance. Ahh...yes!...I would definitely like to spend more than a short stopover and lunch-time in Montreux!
Ducks along the waterfront in Montreux, Switzerland
Vacation in Switzerland
My friend and I had started a three day bus/train tour of Switzerland leaving from her hometown of Herrenberg, Germany. Everyone on this trip spoke German except for me, so my friend interpreted the running commentary by the tour guide and I jotted down some notes for the photo album that I knew I would assemble after I returned home to Houston, Texas.
Some of the things we were told by the tour guide were the following:
- There are 26 regions ("cantones" or states) in Switzerland. They each exert much democratic power and the central government is located in Bern.
- Men aged 18 are called to service. After a short "stint" they take their arms home with them and are called back now and then to "refresh" until the age of 50. Last year (that would be 1996) women were started to be included, but it is still voluntary.
- 3/4th's of Swiss people live in crowded areas as 60% of the country consists of mountains.
- Alpine passes date back to Roman times.
- Industries include banking; clock making; chemical plants; medicine (Geigy, etc.), and instant food.
- Jesuits were very active...thus, the population is very Catholic.
- French is spoken for the most part.
Horse drawn carriage in Montreux, Switzerland
Montreux, Switzerland scenery
Hopefully most of what we were being told by the tour was accurate. In addition to the alluring sights seen outside of our spacious sized bus windows, it helped pass the time as we traveled.
The Rhine River separates Germany from Switzerland and the bus took us past Basel which is a port city known for its industries.
As we passed by Gruyere we saw an agrarian landscape that included a pretty lake, hills and valleys plus grazing cows...anyone besides me like Gruyere cheese?... and looming mountains.
All in all it was beautiful, but when we had a stopover in Montreux, my eyes nearly popped out of my head because of the sheer awe-inspiring loveliness of the place!
Views of Montreux, Switzerland
Montreux Riviera Switzerland
I have read more about the stunning location of Montreux since returning home. Amazing place!!!
Known as the Swiss Riviera, Montreux provides those vacationing to this part of Switzerland much in the way of entertainment as well as being an attractive place to unwind and relax.
For water enthusiasts, Lake Geneva is at your footsteps. From wading and swimming to boat rides, wind surfing and scuba diving, etc., those who like lakes are sure to appreciate this stunning beauty. There is even a water park which offers fun for young and old alike.
For hiking adventures, vineyard tours, walking the lakeside promenade or simply exploring the town, Montreux can have one on one's feet for hours of fun. Of course the mighty snow-capped Swiss Alps await exploration for those who like something a bit more strenuous either in summer or winter.
From casino gambling to shopping; being pampered at a spa or attending one of Montreux's festivals, there is no lack of things to do while in Montreux.
View of Swiss Alps from Montreux
Chillon Castle - Great Attractions (Switzerland)
This large castle's history goes back centuries. Needless-to-say it would be a site worthy of exploration if one were spending any amount of time in Montreux.
The tour my friend and I were taking only stopped in Montreax long enough for us to locate a place to eat lunch and allowed us a little time to stroll around town.
After dining on some fresh perch fish at a restaurant called Au Parc Montreux, we spent the rest of our time walking along the scenic lakeside promenade where I took the photos that are included in this hub.
Montreux scenery along Lake Geneva
A Cruise on Lake Geneva, Switzerland, from Lausanne to Montreux and back
Also known as Lac Léman in the French dialect, Lake Geneva is the largest lake in all of Switzerland, and a part of it is also in France. The elevation of the lake is at 1,220 feet (372 meters) and the average depth is 507 feet (154.4 meters) with the maximum depth doubling those numbers.
One can see many sizes of boats cruising the waters, from the smaller private craft up to those transporting tourists from one scenic spot on the lake to other locations. The lake also has some islands.
If I were to return, I would definitely like to cruise around the entire lake and disembark at other locations for daytime sightseeing activities. I would also enjoy a romantic sunset dinner cruise among other things.
Rochers de Naye, Switzerland
Example of boats seen on Lake Geneva from Montreux.
Rochers de Naye
This is the tallest mountain that towers over the city of Montreux and there is an electrically powered railway that takes one from Montreux up to the top of Rochers de Naye for spectacular views looking down upon Lake Geneva as well as the surrounding mountain scenery.
For certain, on a clear day, I would wish to experience this trip up and back.
Elevation at that height would be a little over 8,900 feet or 2,400 meters.
Wish to see Montreux from a paraglider perspective? Look here...
This is a large celebrated event each year in the summer and draws internationally famous musicians from all across the world as well as music lovers.
It has expanded into more types of music than just jazz, so it is a sure crowd pleaser!
While Montreux is undoubtedly more crowded for the two weeks which typically are from the end of June into July, if reservations are made well in advance, it would be fun to be part of the excitement. Several venues are utilized as well as some outdoor ones.
I am sure that tourists have a rockin' good time during that annual event!
45th Montreux Jazz Festival 2011
Clothing and other sundries for sale along Montreux's promenade lake area on the day of our visit.
Freddie Mercury statue in Montreux
"Lover of life, singer of songs"
There is a statue of Freddie Mercury prominently featured along the lakeside promenade and the saying above in quotes is what is inscribed on the memorial sculpture.
I must admit to not knowing who he was when I first saw it. My preferred choice of music these days tends towards the classical, semi-classical, and easy listening. I do like other types of music on occasion and certainly heard a wide range of it when growing up.
Freddie Mercury was the lead singer for the rock band known as Queen and he died in 1991.
Mountain Recording Studios which is owned and operated by Queen is located in Montreux and therefore had and still has a strong presence and undoubtedly following as well in this resort town.
There Must be More to Life than This by Freddie Mercury
Walking along the promenade after our enjoyable but purposely hasty lunch, we noticed the wide range of vegetation that grows in this part of the world including palm trees and cypress trees.
I took a photo of a man watering some blooming flowers and got another shot of scenery through the draping branches of a weeping willow tree.
It is a lush mixture of plant life that seems to thrive in this climate along Lake Geneva.
What it would be like to be in Montreux around the Christmas time of year.
Perhaps by now you more fully realize why I would enjoy going back to Montreux, Switzerland.
Just the beauty of what I got to see on that short several hour layover made me yearn for more time to be able to spend in that gorgeous city alongside Lake Geneva someday.
I have just touched upon some of the many activities that could occupy one's time there. I know that I have quite a wish list and my choice of time of year would definitely be a similar time to when my friend and I were there as the weather seemed perfect and we were probably just slightly ahead of the summer crowds.
Does vacationing in Switzerland, particularly the area around Montreux, the Swiss Alps and Lake Geneva look appealing to you?
Boats moored on Lake Geneva at Montreux. Notice the nesting duck?
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© 2012 Peggy Woods