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I recently spent 4 days in Switzerland exploring the Fribourg and Vaud regions of the Country to experience the outdoor Summer activities that Switzerland has to offer. Throughout the 4 days we stayed pretty close to Lake Geneva in Switzerland sailing along it, driving along it, seeing it from a mountain above and seeing it from e-bikes. Part of the trip was spent travelling from the Cities of Montreux to Lausanne before flying back to the UK from Geneva Airport.
I really loved this part of Switzerland and the Vaud which the 2 Cities are in. Not just because of the grand lake that is Lake Geneva, or because of the relaxed Cities and the surrounding Mountains and Vineyards, but because it’s easily accessible via public transport and well-connected to Geneva Airport making it a great area for a Swiss weekend break or trip.
If you’re visiting Switzerland or you are thinking about visiting Switzerland, this is how I suggest you spend your trip there and how to travel from Montreux to Lausanne or Lausanne to Montreux (you can pick which way you travel). As well as things to do in Montreux to Lausanne for 1-2 days and places to visit along the way.
Train from Geneva Airport to Montreux
I flew from Heathrow to Geneva Airport with Swiss Air who were really great to fly with. We left on time, arrived on time and the plane was really new and comfy.
Flying into Geneva Airport is the best option because Geneva Airport is well located and well-connected to parts of Lake Geneva and getting from Geneva Airport to Montreux is no exception. Seen as Montreux is the furthest away I would recommend starting your trip in Montreux and head towards Lausanne, although you can do it the other way round.
It’s worth noting that Lake Geneva falls within different regions of Switzerland, and Geneva City is a different region to Montreux and Lausanne.
There is a direct train from Geneva Airport to Montreux which takes just over 1 hour, this will be your first taste of how well-connected Switzerland is, how prompt the Swiss are and how beautiful the train journeys in Switzerland are.
I recommend purchasing your train ticket from Geneva Airport to Montreux in advance, you can purchase this on The Train Line EU.
Still need to book your flight? Have a look at flights to Lake Geneva on SkyScanner here.
Where to Stay in Montreux
I stayed at the Eurotel Montreux Hotel, right on the shore of Lake Geneva and in my opinion this must be one of the best hotels in Montreux. The Eurotel Hotel is in a fantastic location, not only right on the lake but also right in the heart of the City and very close to the Train Station. All of the bedrooms provide views of Lake Geneva and have a private balcony which is total heaven. I loved waking up to a view of the lake and city in the morning.
My bedroom was comfy, cosy and pretty luxurious. The view of the lake whilst having breakfast wasn’t bad either! I would really recommend the Eurotel Montreux Hotel for when you stay in Montreux, you can check rates and availability here.
Alternatively you can search for more accommodation options in Montreux here.
Something to also note and a real positive to Montreux is that when you stay in a hotel in the city you will be provided with a transport pass which means that transport within the area is free of charge. This is also the case in other cities and areas of Switzerland including Basel which I visited at Christmas and loved!
Things to do in Montreux
Montreux is a city perfectly located right on the shore of Lake Geneva and at the foot of the Alps. It’s also known as the ‘Swiss Riviera’. Although it’s a peaceful city to visit there are also plenty of things to do in and around the city:
- Chillon Castle or Chateau de Chillon as it’s known in French is a popular place to visit from Montreux as it’s just 4km away. Chateau de Chillon can be accessed via foot or train making it a good day trip from Montreux.
- Make the most of Montreux being right on the Lake by taking a walk along the shore of Lake Geneva, when I went it was pretty grey but that just made it even more atmospheric and on a blue sky day I bet it’s incredible. There are lots of cafes along the edge of the lake so you can enjoy some good Swiss food and wine on your walk.
- Experience part of the famous Golden Pass Train Line by taking the train from Montreux to Les Haut de Caux in 20 minutes up the mountain. When you get to the top, head to Le Coucou Restaurant which is a chalet nestled at an altitude of 1150m on the hilltop overlooking the city and lake. This was a real highlight of my time in Montreux and Switzerland so I would really recommend doing this. You could go to Le Coucou for a drink, lunch or dinner and the last train back is at 10:45pm. What’s even better is that this train is included in your transport pass when you stay in a hotel in Montreux, so getting a train to Caux is basically a free thing to do in Montreux!
- Before going to Lausanne from Montreux, you really should stop off in the area of Lavaux which is between the 2 Cities and full of small, quaint towns and vineyards. Vevey and Saint-Saphorin are popular towns to visit in Lavaux but if you are relying on trains in Switzerland to get you there, Vevey is the best place to visit on a day trip from Montreux as it has a train station directly in the town. The train from Montreux to Vevey takes less than 10 minutes each way, and you can book a ticket on The Train Line EU from as little as €5.40 each way when you book in advance.
- Montreux is also home to a fair few events and festivals throughout the year including the Jazz Festival in the Spring, Folk Markets in the Summer, the Montreux Comedy Festival and Christmas Markets in the Winter which I heard are really great! There’s always something going on or something unique to discover in Montreux!
If you would like to go on an arranged tour to places around Montreux, the below options would be a good idea!
At a minimum I would recommend spending 1 day and 1 or 2 nights in Montreux, depending on how your flights work out before moving onto Lausanne.
Train from Montreux to Lausanne
The train line that goes from Geneva Airport to Montreux also goes from Montreux to Lausanne and takes just 30 minutes. This is why this region is so easily explored because the trains are quick and easy so it doesn’t take long to get around Lake Geneva by public transport.
I would recommend purchasing a ticket in advance for your train from Montreux to Lausanne and you can purchase a ticket on The Train Line EU.
Where to Stay in Lausanne
I stayed at the Movenpick Hotel Lausanne. The hotel isn’t right in the centre of the city, instead it’s very close to the shores of Lake Geneva and to the Olympic Museum so it’s still in a good location, and it’s a good hotel to stay in in Lausanne. I had an enjoyable stay in my standard double room but I enjoyed their famous breakfast buffet even more as it really had every breakfast option you could ever want! You can check rates and availability at the Movenpick Hotel Lausanne here.
Alternatively you can search for more accommodation options in Lausanne Switzerland here.
Things to do in Lausanne
- Lausanne is the Olympic Capital which I didn’t realise was a thing until I visited. Due to this there is an incredible amount of detail around the Olympics like a count down to the next one, lots of flags and the Olympic Museum and Olympic Park which is huge inside and outside.
- One of the most enjoyable things I did during my 4 days in Switzerland was going out on a sunset cruise around Lake Geneva which left Lausanne-Ouchy deck at 18:45 and arrived back at 21:00. We sailed on the boat from Lausanne to Montreux passing by Lavaux and all its towns and vineyards on the way, got to Montreux just as the sun set into the mountains and then turned around and headed back to Lausanne. The sunset cruise on the Belle Époque Paddle Steam Boat only happens in the summer months so if you can’t take a sunset cruise I would still recommend taking another type of boat trip along Lake Geneva. To see the options on offer from CGN Cruise who run the sunset cruise, visit their website.
- Lausanne Cathedral is pretty impressive, located in the heart of the city, the interior is beautiful and it’s worth climbing the stairs up to the top to see the view over the city.
- Just like Montreux, Lausanne has a long promenade along the shores of Lake Geneva so taking a walk along the lake during the day or in the evening is a nice thing to do. Alternatively you could take a paddle boat out onto the lake too.
For more ideas of things to do in Lausanne, have a look at The Globe Trotter’s blog post of 10 things to do in Lausanne who was also on the trip with me.
Lausanne to Geneva Airport
As you can probably imagine by now, it’s very easy to get back to Geneva Airport from Lausanne. There is a train that takes 45 minutes and can be booked in advance on The Train Line EU.
Spending 2 or 3 days in the Vaud Region along Lake Geneva really is a great way to enjoy a trip in Switzerland and no doubt you’ll leave feeling a lot more relaxed thanks to the fresh mountain air, you will have tasted some very nice food and wine, and you’ll be looking forward to seeing more of this wonderful Country!
If you found this useful, let me know in the comments below or by tweeting me @wandering_quinn!
For more Europe and Switzerland Inspiration see:
To SEE my full trip, have a watch of my YouTube video here:
I visited Switzerland with the Switzerland Tourist Board but all opinions and thoughts are my own. This post contains affiliate links but at no extra cost to you.