Chillon Castle (Chateau de Chillon), a medieval castle on the banks of Lake Geneva, is one of Switzerland’s most visited attractions. Travelers come to find out more about its fascinating history—it was used as a defensive outpost, a summer home for the dukes of Savoy, and a state-run prison.
The castle, which has watched over Lake Geneva for more than 1,000 years, started out as a Roman outpost guarding a strategic pass through the Alps. The fortified castle with its steep roofs and stone turrets is surrounded by water and is only accessible via a drawbridge walkway.
Tour the state rooms and secret passages, explore the gloomy dungeons, and get a sense of what life would have been like for residents many hundreds of years ago. Panoramic views of the surrounding lake and the Swiss Alps top off the experience on this historic day out. A visit to Chillon Castle can also be combined with a trip to the towns of Montreux or Lausanne as part of a daylong tour. If you’re touring independently, prebook admission so you can skip the line upon arrival.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Swiss Travel Pass or Museum Pass holders receive free entry into the castle.
- Discounted tickets are available for students, seniors, and children.
- Baggage storage lockers can be found on-site.
- There is a snack bar selling food and drinks on-site, plus two restaurants within easy walking distance.
- The castle is not suitable for people with limited mobility, as there are steep steps and uneven floors.
- To see more of Lake Geneva, book a boat cruise that visits the castle along with other lakeside attractions.
How to Get There
Chillon Castle, on the banks of Lake Geneva, is a short distance outside the town of Lausanne. Free car parking is available on-site. Trains run regularly from Montreux to neighboring Veytaux-Chillon, and buses also stop nearby. Guided tours with round-trip transfers are also available.
When to Get There
The castle is open every day, except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Opening hours are 9am–7pm in the summer, with reduced hours in the winter months.
Walk in Poet Lord Byron’s Footsteps
English poet Lord Byron was so inspired by his visit to Chillon Castle that he wrote one of his most famous works about the castle’s dungeon—The Prisoner of Chillon. Keep an eye out for Byron’s name carved into the dungeon wall and the deep groove in the floor caused by the constant pacing of dukes of Savoy enemy François Bonivard, who was imprisoned here for six years.