The elegant lakeside town of Montreux is ideal for exploring on foot, and its historic suburb of Territet is a beguiling place to while away a morning. Take time to explore these shores of Lake Geneva and you will be rewarded with peerless views and Belle Époque grandeur.
The best day of the week to visit Montreux may well be Friday market day. Arrive around 10am in the Place du Marché, located towards the south of the main town. The huge covered market
dates from the end of the 19th century and was a gift to the town from Henri Nestlé, the founder of the chocolate empire. Now a Swiss site of historic significance, each Friday morning it houses a vast range of local farmers and producers selling the best local food. You can easily while away half an hour or more sampling the stallholders wares, and you may even like to pick up some bread, cheese, fruit or, fittingly, chocolate, for a picnic later on.
Once youve finished in the market, stroll closer to the waters edge to see the 3-metre-high statue of Freddie Mercury that looks out over the lake. Unveiled in 1996, it commemorates the singers links with the town: he recorded his last-ever tracks at the towns Mountain Studios, and owned an apartment in the southern suburb (once a separate village) of Territet. Its to Territet that our route will take us next.
Join the linked-up quais
(lakeside paths) that run along the banks of Lake Geneva and head south-east along the shore. Lined with flowerbeds, the quais offer spectacular views across the lake, and are particularly stunning in spring and summer.
When you reach the quai Amis Chessex, youll notice neatly-maintained clay tennis courts. This is the Montreux Tennis-Club
, and a key to the history of Territet. The clue is in the distinctly English-sounding name - and indeed this club was founded by the wealthy English tourists for whom Territet was a favoured destination during the 19th century. When the club first opened, in 1890, only those holding a British passport could become members - a rule which has thankfully now been dropped. Territet remains a draw for some of the wealthiest people in the world to this day: Bill Gates owns a home here.
Follow the quai Amis Chessex up to meet the Avenue de Chillon and turn right to see the imposing Hôtel Des Alpes, one of the first and grandest Victorian luxury Swiss hotels. It was also the site of a small but significant technological advance the first telephone in Switzerland was installed here.
Turn back the way you came and walk north for a few minutes until you come to a pretty garden on your right, overlooking the lake. Here youll find a second statue commemorating another famous visitor to the area Empress Elisabeth of Austria, or Sissi
, one of the most beautiful and tragic figures of the 19th century. In her later years, a virtual outcast from the imperial court for her refusal to conform, she sought refuge in the healthy air and stunning views of Territet. Sissi was fatally stabbed in Geneva by an Italian anarchist in 1898, just before boarding a ship back to Montreux.
You can either end your walk here, or finish it quite literally on a high. One of the oldest of its kind in Switzerland, the Territet-Glion funicular railway
was opened in 1883 and carries passengers to the higher suburb of Glion. The Territet station a moment away, and trains run every 15 minutes during the day. Its well worth the trip for the spectacular views and is the ideal way to round off your Montreux morning.