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patiricia Mar 16th, 2010 01:33 PM

Planning Switzerland -- Geneva, Montreux or Lausanne or other?
I am planning my Switzerland trip in mid-July. We want to spend 2 nights in the Lake Geneva area and am deciding between Montreux (it will be during the Jazz Festival), Lausanne or Geneva or somewhere else? We are starting in Zurich, Luzern, then Wengen or Murren, then to Geneva, then on to France. Any and all advice appreciated!

suze Mar 16th, 2010 03:26 PM

You didn't mention it but I would pick *Vevey* that's my favorite along Lac Leman. It is between Montreux and Lausanne, easily reached by train or bus. Only ~1 hour train ride from Geneva (city and airport). It's easy enough to get over to Montreux if you want, but I would NOT recommend actually staying there during the festival dates (if you could even find a place to stay). Too crazy.

patiricia Mar 16th, 2010 04:52 PM

Thanks -- I had seen Vevey come up in my research. "Too crazy" in Montreux for the festival? Just too crowded or what?

suze Mar 16th, 2010 04:56 PM

I have a friend who lives there (Montreux), I have never been there at that time myself. It's her description I'm passing on to you.

It's expensive and hard to get hotel reservations for one thing, and yes much more crowded and busy. I wouldn't necessarily try to talk you out of it, just realize you won't be seeing the town as it is for all the rest of the year.

Also I simply like Vevey better, generally speaking. It's more "Swiss" feeling to me. Montreux has a bit more of an "international" flair.

I've been to this area 5 times in the past decade, staying 3 times in Vevey, twice in Montreux.

violetduck Mar 16th, 2010 06:15 PM

Beautiful lakeside Annecy, France is worth checking out.

HuisClos Mar 16th, 2010 06:31 PM

My favorite area! I personally try to go to the Montreux Jazz festival, but I like music festivals and don't mind crowds. People relaxing in the parks along the lakes, making music; the street food and crafts kiosks all play an integral part of the scene.

Vevey is wonderful, as is Lausanne or Nyon, but my personal quiet time favorite, not known to many, is Morges, a little town on the lake quite close to Montreux, so you could drive or take public transport from one to the other.

enzian Mar 16th, 2010 08:17 PM

I was hoping suze would answer, as she knows Vevey so well.

We found Montruex a bit too much "city" when we visited the Chateau de Chillon. Last time we stayed in Morges on our last night before flying out of Geneve. I liked the eastern end of the lake better.

I would look at why you want to stay on Lac Leman (during the jazz festival) and what you want to do, and decide from there. My own thought is "small is good"and maybe Vevey is a good choice.

swandav2000 Mar 16th, 2010 10:27 PM

Hi patricia,

The great thing is that you cannot go wrong with either decision!

Yes, Montreux is pretty international feeling; it is a true resort town. But that's something I really enjoy -- sitting on a bench along the lakeside and watching the world stroll by, fashionistas from Italy, families from Australia, back-packers from the USA. businessmen from the Middle East, punk rockers from eastern Europe, et al. And among them will be the stately Swiss matron draped in Chanel, walking her little pug.

But yes during the Fest, it will just be madness. Likely the promenade will be so crowded, it won't be fun at all!

Vevey is more residential, to be sure. The old town is right at the lake, with its warren of little streets of bookshops, antique stores, restaurants, and boutiques. There is a dairy there that sells "creme double" from Gruyeres -- be sure to grab some in the morning (usually they're sold out by noon) and pair it with some fresh meringues. I've always wanted to stay at the Hostellerie Bon Rivage in La Tour-de-Peilz (next to Vevey), so I would send you in that direction.

Your hotel will give you a Riviera Card, which gives you free use of the busses. The #1 bus runs all the way from Vevey to and through Montreux, to and past Chillon, all the way to Villeneuve on the other side of Chillon. It's a great deal, and a wonderful way to get around.

Have fun!


suze Mar 17th, 2010 07:25 AM

Don't get me wrong... I would definitely GO to the jazz festival, it's just I wouldn't want to stay right in Montreux while it's going on as it really takes over everything. I'd stay in one of the other nearby towns (Vevey, La Tour-de-Peilz, Morges, Villeneuve, Glion, Lausanne, etc. all good choices).

TimG Mar 17th, 2010 08:40 AM

Hi Pat,

If you are arriving by car then I would suggest putting a tent and bike in the back.

We camped at Villeneuve last year. The site was probably one of the best we ever stayed at, clean and well placed for the cycle path that hugs the side of the lake to Chilon and beyond. I would assume that whilst easy to cycle or catch public transport to Montreaux, it is probably just far enough away to provide a peaceful retreat from the chaos further up the lake at the festival.


patiricia Mar 17th, 2010 02:36 PM

Well we are thinking about driving, but TomG I am definitely not the tent and cycle sort! I am thinking the Hotel des Trois Couronnes in Vevey is more my style... My hubby says we should do this trip with a car. Lots of advice here seems to recommend trains. We do like the freedom of a car and my knees are not up to a LOT of walking. Better a car or train?

suze Mar 17th, 2010 03:27 PM

Yes yes yes (stay at Hotel des Trois Couronees in Vevey if that's in your price range... it is absolutely LOVELY).

I think a car is OK. Though I've only traveled by train & bus myself, my friend living there owns a car and it was fun to drive around (like up to the castle at Gruyeres, for example).

swandav2000 Mar 17th, 2010 09:44 PM

Hi again,

I'm in the opposite camp -- use the trains and ferries and busses. It's much more fun to do a round-trip using all the different transport options, go one way by train and return by ferry, etc. And if you want to see Gruyeres, it is easy as pie to either do it on your own, or use the Chocolate Train excursion from the MOB.

If your knees can handle a bike, that is really the best way to see this area, imo. You can take the bikes on the ferries, say to Morges, then cycle on the lake path to Lausanne. That sort of thing!

In mid-July, you'll see some of the smog hanging over the lake (that's one reason why I've stopped going in the height of the summer). So, you may want to help keep that air cleaner by avoiding using the car!

You won't have to walk far, as the busses I mention above are very convenient, with stops every couple of blocks. They run about every 10 minutes.

Anyway, have fun!


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