Switzerland Part 4: Exploring Montreux during the Jazz Festival

Switzerland trip report so far: Back from Europe! First Impressions and Takeaways, How We Accidentally Saw the Tour de France Live, Switzerland Part 1: Murren, Schilthorn, Allmendhubel and Paragliding, Wengen, our car-free Swiss Alps home base, and Switzerland Part 2: Jungraujoch, Top of Europe, Switzerland Part 3: Mannlichen Hike, Interlaken and Schynige Platte

I’m enjoying re-living my Switzerland trip through this trip report!

After our time with our group of 6 people in the Bernese Oberland area of Switzerland, my daughter and I extended our time in Switzerland as our other family members traveled back to the U.S. We took a series of trains to get to Montreux, which is in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. My main motivation to visit Montreux was to ride the Chocolate Train, which I will cover in the next post.

Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic

Since I was a bit nervous traveling around Europe with just my daughter, I decided to make our trip extension very easy. I picked the Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic because it’s right across the street from the Montreux train station and it’s on the edge of Lake Geneva. It is a Marriott property, but I didn’t use points (I don’t own a ton of Marriott points). Instead, I paid a cash rate of ~$300 a night for a room with a lake view. If my entire family had gone on this leg of the trip, we would have definitely rented an apartment instead.

This hotel felt so luxurious and splurgy. We loved it!

Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic
Terrace restauarant
Different windows on every floor

Our room had two twin beds, which were very comfortable and plush.

The best part of our room was our small terrace with views of Lake Geneva:

Sunset views

We didn’t eat at the hotel, as the restaurant was a bit pricey. Plus, we had a fantastic view from our room, so we didn’t need to eat at the terrace restaurant just for the view. There are a few nearby bakeries and stores that we used for breakfast that were much cheaper.

Exploring Montreux

To get to Lake Geneva promenade area, we just had to exit our hotel and walk down some stairs.

The flowers along the lake are beautiful.

The late Freddie Mercury of the band Queen lived in Montreux, and he has his own statue near the water.

We arrived in the middle of the Montreux Jazz Festival. The waterfront had music-themed decorations.

The jazz festival had food and shopping stalls set up for long stretches along the water front. This area wasn’t crowded during the day, but on a Saturday night we could barely walk through the crowds of people.

We rode this tiny train to see more of the area.

Chillon Castle

Our Swiss Travel Passes covered these Lake Geneva boats as well as the admission to nearby Chillon Castle.

It’s hard to tell, but the castle is actually on its own little island on the lake.

Chillon Castle has a lot of nooks and crannies to explore.

Overall Thoughts on Montreux

Montreux is a cute little city with gorgeous lake views. Out of all the areas in France and Switzerland we visited, this was the LEAST touristy place (yes, despite the jazz festival going on). We were actually looking for a gift shop, but after walking many blocks we couldn’t find even one shop. And that’s weird, considering we were right at the main train station and hotel. We didn’t hear hardly any English spoken in this area, and the attractions and restaurants only had French signs. It appeared to be mostly Swiss people attending the jazz festival.

I wish we had a few more days in Montreux. I would have loved to take the lake ferry around to the different towns along Lake Geneva.

Next up: The Chocolate Train and Barryland

How does my family travel so much? We use miles and points from credit card bonuses. See my Travel Hacking 101 post as well as current credit card offers here.

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