On a rocky outcrop where Lake Geneva meets the Swiss Alps stands this fascinating medieval castle on a small island.
It’s easy to see why Château de Chillon is one of the most visited castles in Europe. For over a thousand years it has dominated the eastern end of Lake Geneva from its small island.
With Lake Geneva at its feet, the Rhône Valley behind it and the peaks of the Alps surrounding it, Château de Chillon has a remarkable setting. View its interiors, which are just as fascinating. For nearly four centuries, Chillon was home to the powerful Dukes of Savoy. From the castle, they controlled the passage of ships on Lake Geneva.
Walk under the vaulted ceilings of the underground rooms. The monk François Bonivard was imprisoned here from 1532 to 1536, an event that was immortalized in Lord Byron’s poem The Prisoner of Chillon.
Explore the chapel, various bedrooms, courtyards and chambers. From its four formal great halls, enjoy gorgeous views across the lake. Check out a fascinating array of medieval armaments in the weapons room. Take note of the exquisite paintings and furniture throughout the castle.
A guided tour is the best way to learn the castle’s history. Select from several different packages, ranging from a basic audio guide to a guided tour and wine tasting. Stop at the gift shop to purchase a souvenir. It has many items that will delight visitors, from medieval costumes to models of castles.
Visit the castle any day of the year except December 25 and January 1. There is an entry fee. Park your car free of charge in the large parking lot or visit by train with stops in nearby Montreux and Veytaux-Chillon. In the peak season, travel by boat from Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux or Villeneuve. There is also a bus stop in front of the castle.
Château de Chillon’s private beach is a must-see. If the weather is warm, take a dip in the clear waters of Lake Geneva. The flower-lined path along the shore offers a serene way to travel on foot. Head south and you’ll reach Villeneuve in 25 minutes or go north and you’ll be in Montreux in 40 minutes.