The Magic of Montreux and the Swiss Riviera
The Swiss Riviera is undeniably one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Whether you stay in the five-star Beau-Rivage Palace or shack up for a more reasonable price at a UNESCO World Heritage Site winery (like this one), the landscape alone will soothe your soul and inspire your mind. One particular gem along the glistening string of Lake Geneva towns is Montreux.
You may have heard of Montreux in relation Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms (it served as a safe-haven for Catherine Barkley and Lt. Frederic Henry) or the Montreux Jazz Festival, an annual event curated by Claude Nobs which has featured nearly every great artist of the last 44 years (that's how long it's been running), from Aretha Franklin to Prince, from Miles Davis to the Black Eyed Peas. Though no longer focused specifically on jazz, but more on popular music of the times, the festival has become one of the most prestigious in Europe -- this year, they are operating with a 22 million Swiss Franc budget (about $20,992,356) -- and you can be sure the performers don't mind spending time on Lake Geneva (above).
Even a stroll down the boardwalk (pictured above) in Montreux feels like a luxury experience, as it is lined with beautiful flowers and adorned with statues, as well as shops and extravagant hotels like The Grand Hotel Suisse. Lake Geneva is an unforgettable sight; its glassy surface reflecting the clouds above as clearly as a mirror; surrounded by vineyards, green fields and, perhaps most notably, the enormity of the French Alps, which look so close you could touch them. Montreux mixes old with new; chic cafes and classical restaurants have their place here (and of course you'll find traditional Swiss fondue), and the nightlife is favorably dictated by a public proud of their status as a musical destination. Notable residents include and have included Bill Gates, Vladimir Nabokov, Shania Twain and Igor Stravinsky.
To get to Montreux, simply fly into Geneva (just 56 miles away), a major European hub which is easy to reach via a number of major airlines. While you're in Montreux, be sure to head by car or bike at least as far as Lavaux to experience the incredible scenery of vineyards on the lake, kept pristinely in the old-world ways. Other highlights of the Swiss Riviera region include Lausanne, on the water, and Caux, up in the mountains, with unbearably stunning vistas. Click through the gallery below and start planning your next trip.
Gallery: The Beauty of the Swiss Riviera