Dominating Lake Geneva from a natural rocky promontory, the fairy-tale Château de Chillon is one of the most iconic medieval castles in Switzerland. Entirely surrounded by water and reachable via the reconstructed remains of an ancient drawbridge, this monument encompasses 1,000 years of Savoyard history and chronicles the power shifts between France and Switzerland.
With each detail intrinsically part of the castle's tumultuous history, Chillon features everything a medieval fortresses should have: rounded turrets; murky vaulted dungeons (famously immortalized by Lord Byron); an intricate network of passageways; great banqueting halls; and impressive ramparts. In addition, vino aficionados will be pleased to learn that the wine-making tradition of Chillon is still alive and well to this day, with wines bottled and aged right in the chateau's historic cellars.
An essential part of any excursion around the pristine Lake Geneva, Chillon Castle is often included in tours to Lausanne and Montreux from Geneva, while those visiting in winter can embark on an atmospheric Christmas market-themed visit to Chillon and Montreux. In January and February, the snow-capped Swiss Alps serve as a stunning backdrop on a drive along Lake Geneva to Lausanne, Montreux and Chillon.
Château de Chillon is located in Veytaux, a suburb of Lausanne along Lake Geneva. Just 2.5 miles (4 km) outside the city, the site is accessible by car and has free parking. From Montreux, head southeast along route 9 following Lake Geneva. Local trains departing from Montreux station stop at Veytaux-Chillon, just north of the castle, while bus #201 travels between Vevey and Montreux, with stops in front of the castle every 10 to 20 minutes. Chillon is open from 9am to 7pm between April and September; from 9:30am to 6pm in October and March; and from 10am to 5pm between November and March. Admission costs CHF 12.50 per adult and CHF 6 per child aged 6 to 15.