Our first stop is Gstaad. This charming Swiss mountain village is mostly known as a ski resort, but there’s plenty to do during the summer months. Sit on a terrace and enjoy the excentric passers-by, including many Porches, Ferraris and Bentleys. You don’t like hiking or skiing? No problem, Gstaad has many nice shops. However, do not forget your credit card.
Staying in Gstaad
You have to stay in Gstaad in style and where better than the iconic Gstaad Palace. The hotel sits high above the town. On the outside it looks like a castle from long ago, but inside you are in a chic Swiss villa. Beautiful wooden ceilings and paneling, rich fabrics, and unmatched charm. No wonder Gstaad Palace is one of The Leading Hotels of the World.
Are you looking for other luxury places to stay? Check these Gstaad Luxury chalets.
The charming mountain village of Champéry was the final destination of our trip because we were invited to attend a baptism and wedding party.
Champéry is at the foot of the Dents du Midi and belongs to the ski resort Les Crosets, part of Portes du Soleil. The region offers 580 km of slopes. From the village you can enjoy spectacular vistas of the surrounding mountains.
Staying in Champéry
Wij stayed at Hotel Le Nord. On the outside it does not suggest so much, but the recently renovated rooms are beautiful. Decorated in a contemporary way, they still retain the Swiss charm. The beds are top quality, the bathroom is beautiful, and there’s even a giant jacuzzi in the family room.
Downstairs in the restaurant they serve delicious local cuisine, and on the terrace you can enjoy fantastic views of les Dents du Midi.
Activities in Champéry
- Of course, this region offers fantastic skiing opportunities
- In summer you can take beautiful mountain walks here. The Defago Galeries takes you along a path cut out in the rocky wall. Not for wimps.
- Mountainbikers will love it over here.
- Champéry Aventure Team Parc offers sporting activities for the whole family. There are several trails through the forest and the mountains. Swipe with a zipline through the tree tops or feel like Tarzan when you swing from tree to tree.
After a great celebration in Champéry, we set direction towards Belgium. However, there was still time to stop in Montreux at Lake Geneva. The lake is largely Swiss, but the south bank is French. The French call it Lac Léman.
If you want to read more about Montreux, check out Arzo Travel.
Staying in Montreux
We stsadyed at Royal Plaza Montreux & Spa. . The hotel is beautifully situated on the banks of the lake. The presidential suite (which we could book at a price) covers the entire eighth floor. From the terrace you have a splendid view of Lake Geneva. Everything is beautifully maintained, but the decor dates back to the 70's. The renovation of the rooms is in full swing. If you book a stay, ask for a room on the second floor. These have already been refurbished.
Whenever I return to Montreux, I will book a room at Montreux Palace.
Things to do in Montreux?
- You can enjoy a stroll along Lake Geneva. There are plenty of restaurants and terraces and you can enjoy a magnificent view everywhere.
- Montreux has a vibrant nightlife and you can visit the oldest Casino in Switzerland.
The casino burned down in 1971 when a firecracker was shot in the ceiling during a concert by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Deep Purple's Ian Gillan saw the smoke from his hotel room and got inspired to write his successfull song 'Smoke on the water'.
I never understood the lyrics, but now I know this story, I do.
- In the center of the city, on the Place du Marché, is a market hall dating from 1890.
- Behind the market hall stands a statue of Freddy Mercury from Queen. Montreux was his second home and the group even had their own recording studio (which you can also visit).
- Montreux is famous for its music festivals. Keep an eye on the calendar and try to visit the city during one of these festivals.
- Take a boat trip across the lake. The boats themselves are over 100 years old and very charming.. They stop at all major places along the lake, so it's the perfect way to explore other towns around the lake.
- .Make the two city walks (with or without guide). One walk takes you past the old town and the other brings you back to the Belle Epoque. Both walks take about 1.5 hours.
- Château Chillon is set on a rock on the banks of the lake. It is, with more than 350,000 visitors a year, the most visited historical building in Switzerland. From the 12th to 16th century it was inhabited by the Count of Savoy and it was a very profitable toll station. You have the most beautiful view of the castle from the water. All boat trips pass by the castle.
- Go hiking
If you are into hiking, consider the 'Rochers de Naye Hike from Montreux'. This 13 km trip (one-way) starts in Montreux at 396 meter and brings you to 2042 meter. It's one of the best hikes in Switzerland.
ISo in Montreux there is a lot to do. Although it’s a distinguished city, I think it lost lots of its glory over the years. Have you been to Montreux or one of the other cities around Geneva? Let us know below what you think of it.
If you are looking for more amazing destinations in Swiss, I can highly recommend Interlaken. Here you can read all about some great things to do in Interlaken.
In case you love the Swiss lakes, Lucern might be your next destination.
By the way, it was my first visit to Switzerland during summer. It was never on my list (Switzerland and Austria only make me think of mountains, snow and skiing), but I have to admit it was a nice trip. Only driving in the mountains is horrific. I feel a bit nauseous all the time. Tips to prevent car sickness are more then welcome.