Montreux Switzerland in December

Exploring Chillon Castle, Christmas markets in Montreux (19 December 2014)
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Montreux is located just 10-15 mins by car from Vevey, so after a short eventful sightseeing and a quick lunch break in Vevey, we decided to drive to Chateau De Chillon (Chillon Castle) first, to check out this famous scenic castle, located by Lake Geneva just after the town of Montreux.

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View of one of the suspended highways near Chateau de Chillon.

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Chillon Castle framed by the bare winter trees.

The Chillon Castle was first occupied in 1150 by the Savoy family, and the castle consists of 100 independent buildings that were gradually connected over time to become the large compound that it is now. A tip is to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to climb up and down lots of stairs. This castle is like one huge labyrinth, with a lot of passageways to navigate through.

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Inside the Chillon Castle crypt.

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Mucking around one of the many balconies.

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Peering through one of the many army defence windows into the Lake.

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One of the vantage views of the lake from the top of the castle.

After spending around an hour to tour the castle, we had to take a photo moment outside the grounds including walking to the jetty that extended out to the lake. It gets really crowded at this spot for photo taking, so plan your walk around the castle well.

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Majestic Chillon Castle.

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Love this gorgeous view of Lake Geneva from the jetty at the foot of Chillon Castle.

Montreux is well known for their Christmas markets which starts from the end of November to 24 December. During this period, the annual Montreux Christmas Market features 150 decorated and illuminated chalets along the promenade of Lake Geneva. Given Christmas is my favourite time of the year, I definitely had to check the it out.

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Zipping through the town of Montreux.

Walking around the Christmas markets in winter with a cup of gluhwein (hot mulled wine) is a must, and there was plenty of it being sold in the market. We also spotted a gourmet store selling foie gras and rillettes which of course, we couldn’t resist and bought them. Overall, the quality of the Montreux Christmas markets in terms of offerings seemed more interesting and the overall vibe felt more quaint and ‘closer to Santa’ (if this makes any sense to you) as compared to Paris and Frankfurt’s markets, which seems more touristy.

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Christmas market located near the Swiss Federal Railway Station.

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Fun convivial atmosphere in the sheltered Christmas market.

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Delicious rillettes and foie gras canard in bottles.

If you can spare the time, the scenery itself is worth the trip up to the town of Caux (accessible via train or car), just above Montreux. R drove us up, which was rather scary as the roads were so windy and by the cliff. Perched on top of this town is the Christmas Village, which appeals more to children, we found it pretty boring to be honest. The highlight for me was seeing the cute Alpacas and other than that were more play areas catered for children.

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At the entrance of the Christmas Village.

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I wish I could bring you home! Spotting some cute Alpacas at the Christmas Village.

The views here from the top of Caux was pretty breathtaking, and we were able to take lots of pictures before and after sunset.

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Caux station.

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The skies before sunset.

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The skies and Lake Geneva just after sunset.

Despite being slightly jet lagged, we still managed to drag ourselves to dinner at Le Pont De Brent (Route de Blonay 4, 1817 Brent, Tel: 964 52 30), a 2 Michelin star restaurant serving modern French food. We had the 6 course degustation menu, and I enjoyed the seabass with white wine sauce and the assorted cheese trolley and the chocolate dessert at the end best. The service here was also rather impeccable, although we wished they could have served us slightly faster given R’s state of jet lag especially.

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Our one night’s rest was well spent in the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace Hotel, especially after having travelled for almost 24 hours in plane and car before we checked in here. It has one of the best views overlooking Lake Geneva, and I could have sat in that balcony forever just admiring the views. I would highly recommend this hotel when you are stopping by Montreux, and if you are a healthy fitness bear like me, you will definitely enjoy the heated pool and gym facilities in the premises.

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Night view of Fairmont Montreux Palace Hotel exterior.

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Night view from the balcony of our room.

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Finally in our room after a day of travelling in both plane and car.

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Morning Montreux!

Montreux in Switzerland is a pretty scenic town to stop by and with popular events like the famous Montreux Jazz Festival in July and the annual Christmas Market in December, it has exciting things to explore both in summer and winter. The flower and tree lined promenade that links charming Vevey, Montreux and Chillon Castle, also makes it a wonderful place to stroll along. Enjoying the views of Lake Geneva with the snow covered alps in the backdrop is something I will miss.

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