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The following is a guest post and part of our “Reader Stories” series from our friend Kassandra Dasent. Kassandra is a self-employed wife and step-mom striving to live life beyond what money can buy. She writes about a variety of topics and personal experiences that all intersect with money. You can communicate directly with Kassandra at More Than Just Money.
When traveling to Switzerland, you may immediately call to mind cities such as Geneva, Zurich, Bern and Basel. Undoubtedly these cities are ones you would not want to miss as each have their unique allure. The Montreux Riviera, however, is a gem all by itself.
Nestled on a bay in the Lake Geneva Region, Montreux lays claim to the backdrop of the majestically snow-covered Swiss Alps. Montreux enjoys a very mild climate and averages a comfortable 75 degrees Fahrenheit in July and August, the warmest months of the year.
Upon landing at the Geneva Cointrin International Airport, instead of renting a car, you can travel to Montreux in under an hour by direct railway service connected to the airport. Montreux is a predominantly French-speaking city, but the local merchants are able to serve visitors in English for the most part. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with some key French words and phrases.
From its vista, you may envision that the Montreux Riviera is a quietly picturesque township, yet it is a vibrant city and home to a number of attractions and events that are world-renowned.
Lavaux – Vineyard Terraces
If you can appreciate a glass or more of the finest wines available in Switzerland, then a trip to the neighboring Vineyard Terraces in Lavaux is in order. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site since 2007, the Vineyard Terraces contain a multitude of wineries for you to visit. Due to the different soils and microclimates of the vineyards, the result is an incredible variation of flavors of wines to be sampled and purchased. With high quality wines available such as the Chardonne, Epesses, Dézaley and the St. Saphorin, you will find it difficult not to buy them all. Take a day to explore this wine region and discover which cellars are open in the area.
The Rochers-de-Naye is a mountain of the Swiss Alps towering 2042 meters above Montreux. To witness the incredible view over Lake Geneva and its surrounding areas, take the Montreux-Rochers-de-Naye cog railway and in less than one hour you will reach the summit station. From there, you will have a short walk in order to reach the summit of the mountain. Embedded in the rock face is a panorama restaurant called Plein-Roc. Other attractions include botanical gardens, a marmot park and a climbing garden.
Montreux Jazz Festival
The inaugural edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival was held in 1967 and since then it annually welcomes the greatest names in jazz, blues, rock, soul, world music and more. Held in late June through mid-July, the festival receives approximately 150,000 visitors and is the second largest annual jazz festival in the world. Besides enjoying live performances, fans can mingle with artists and take in jam sessions at the Montreux Jazz Café. In conjunction with the Café, Montreux Sounds features the largest collection of audio and visual recordings of musical performances in the world.
On a day when you would rather enjoy the city itself, take a stroll on the lakefront promenade. During the months of May to December, you will discover exotic flowers and trees, an artistic array of vegetal sculptures along with the breathtaking view of the Alps. The promenade extends along the shoreline for nearly 7 kilometers from Montreux to Vevey.
Archaeological excavations record that the site of the Chillon Castle was occupied since the Bronze Age. The inhabitants of the Castle during the 12th to 16th century collected tolls and controlled the trading route of Lake Geneva and the roadway of the St. Bernard Pass. Chillon Castle also served as a fortress and prison for over 260 years when the Bernese conquered the region and took possession of the castle in 1536. It now serves as a city landmark, popular tourist destination and a local space to host events and exhibitions.