Sitting pretty on a rocky outcrop of Lake Geneva, Switzerland is the 12th-century castle of Château de Chillon. And since it is located at a very short distance from the town of Montreux, it is perfect for a day trip from Geneva. This historic monument is also one of the most-visited ones in the country. With a long and colourful history, the castle has served as the residence of many rulers and inspired several artists and authors like Lord Byron and Victor Hugo among others. Several rooms and areas of the castle are open to visitors and various types of tours are available to take them around. Among the many fascinating features of the castle are its courtyards, towers, latticed windows, fantastic views of Lake Geneva, towering ceilings, opulent decor, dungeons, centuries-old murals and paintings, weapons display, etc. To make the most of your time here, take a look at our guide to Chateau De Chillon, Switzerland.
Things to do
Spot Lord Byron's name in the dungeons
One of the most memorable parts of the castle is its underground dungeon that has a Gothic cathedral-style architecture due to its high windows, vaulted ceilings, etc. And carved out among the many names in the rough rock-hewn walls of the dungeon is Lord Byron’s name too. Legend has it that the castle inspired him to write his famous poem ‘The Prisoner of Chillon’ that was based on the imprisonment of historian François Bonivard in the castle’s dungeons.
Take in Lake Geneva views from the great halls of the castle
The majestic castle is home to three grand formal halls that were used either to host fabulous banquets or as a place for rendering justice. From the latticed windows of the halls, visitors are treated to sweeping views of Lake Geneva, its shores and the mountains beyond. Other salient features of the great halls are its original 13th-century oak columns, coffered ceiling, black marble work, ancient chimney, etc.
Admire the murals in the Duke of Savoy's bedroom
A must-visit room in the castle is Camera Domini, also known as the Duke of Savoy’s bedroom. This remarkable room contains murals from the 14th century that are replete with symbols from the medieval age. Visitors can admire the remains of murals depicting lush greenery with animals frolicking in them and the ceiling painted with crosses and lilies. Another interesting feature of the bedroom is its direct access to a beautiful private chapel via a spiral staircase.
What to eat
La Taverne du Château de Chillon
Located adjacent to the castle, at a mere two minutes’ walk is the lovely Taverne de Chillon restaurant that serves a variety of cuisines. Geared mainly towards the visitors of the castle, the restaurant offers a cosy environment, familiar dishes and beverages. Try their fondue, pizza, pasta, steak, soups, seafood, salads, Swiss wines, beer while enjoying wonderful views of Montreux, the lake, Alps and the Chateau de Chillon.
Enjoy dining on the sun-drenched terrace of the very-Swiss Pavois situated a two-minutes’ drive away from the castle. It serves a mix of classic French and Italian dishes paired with fabulous wines, beers and spirits. The restaurant is well-known for its breathtaking views of the lake and mountains. The service is excellent too.
Things to buy
Clos de Chillon, vins du château de Chillon™Posted by Château de Chillon on Sunday, 24 February 2019
Chillon Castle model
For museum and history buffs, the castle has a lovely museum gift shop where you can buy an amazing range of souvenirs like books, magnets, toys, t-shirts, caps, etc. But a very unique thing that you must buy here is a model of the Chillon Castle that will make a great addition to your home display. The model is detailed and high-quality and makes for a perfect gift for a collector or a loved one.
The castle also has a centuries-old wine cellar and wine press that produces excellent wines, which can also be purchased at the museum shop or ordered online. A must-buy wine here is the Clos de Chillon Grand Cru wine that is aged and bottled at the castle. Purchase of every wine bottle supports the restoration work of the castle. You can also buy matching Chillon wineglasses.
Since the castle has various levels and stairs, it is not completely adapted for visitors in a wheelchair. But less mobile visitors can peruse the two audiovisual terminals in the cafeteria that are equipped with eight short films about the castle’s history. Visitors can also ask for a wheelchair-accessible WC at the castle.
Restrictions on attire
A strict dress code has to be adhered to while visiting the castle. Visitors clad in bathing suits or those arriving topless (without a shirt or t-shirt), barefoot or dressed in a publicly disruptive manner will not be permitted to enter the castle.
Beware of pickpockets
The castle management advises visitors to be mindful of their belongings and surroundings at all times, especially from pickpockets. Visitors can store their valuables in lockers that are available at the castle.
How to get there
Direct trains are available to Montreux town that is just 4 km (2.5 mi) from the castle or you can even take a local train to Veytaux-Chillon that is just 300 m (984 ft) away. Alternatively, you can take a bus on line number 201 from the towns of Montreux, Villeneuve or Vevey that stop at the ‘Chillon’ stop right in front of the castle. Buses to and from the castle run at regular intervals of 10-20 minutes.
Travelling by boat is also a convenient way to reach the castle. The CGN boat company regularly plies boats between Geneva and the towns of Montreux, Villeneuve, Vevey and Lausanne. You can get off at the boat stop ‘Chillon’ that is just 100 metres (328 feet) away from the castle.
You can drive to the castle in your own car or a rental car via the autoroute A9 and take the Montreux or Villeneuve exit. From there, the castle is a quick drive away.
If you don’t mind a leisurely 20-45 minutes’ stroll from the nearby Villeneuve or Montreux towns, a beautiful flower-lined path along the lake leads to the castle. Another advantage of walking to the castle is that it is peaceful and away from traffic and noise.
A free and large parking lot is located right in front of the castle. But you must get a parking disc from the cashier at the entrance.
There are several ways of exploring the castle, by means of guided tours, unguided tours using brochures, audioguide tours or even by means of third-party websites. For those visiting in a group, the best way to book see the castle is by guided tours that are conducted only by official Chillon guides. You can buy tickets for it from their official ticket link.
Tickets for individual visitors can be bought at the ticket office itself and payments are accepted by cash, cards or REKA travel cheques. You can pay in CHF, EUR or USD currencies, but change will be given only in CHF. They accept most major cards but no other bank or traveller’s cheques are accepted.
Chillon Castle Entrance Ticket in Montreux
Duration: 1 to 2 hours
Chateau De Chillon information
Chateau De Chillon
Address: Avenue de Chillon 21, 1820 Veytaux, Switzerland
Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)
Cost: 13.92 USD
Official Website: Chateau De Chillon
Department of tourism: My Switzerland
Montreux and Château de Chillon from Lausanne
Duration: 8 to 10 hours
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