Majestic Chillon Castle on Lake Geneva, Switzerland Majestic Chillon Castle on Lake Geneva, Switzerland

The Château de Chillon in Switzerland: Indulge Your Senses and Bathe in Luxury

Featured in Lord Byron’s poem The Prisoner of Chillon and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s novel Julie, or the New Heloise, the Château de Chillon in Switzerland is a dashingly handsome fortress you must see…!!

If you also get fascinated with castles and fortresses like me; this destination is definitely for you. You can unlock the secrets of the past in this castle that stands atop a rock in good condition since the 11th century.

Try visiting this castle when the crowds die out to experience history, luxury, and some stunning views that can inspire you towards the rhapsody and the esoteric…!! And to get yourself prepared to make a trip, pin your eyeballs into this post to know all that awaits beyond you.

So, here we open the doors of the Château de Chillon… You must check the map below to get the exact location-

The Chillon Castle has hundreds of visitors landing annually. So, it is best to reach the castle early in the morning. Also, this is the time you can get some pretty good Chillon Castle photos without people sticking to them. It usually gets crowded in the afternoon or mid-day.

Book your slot for autumn or spring if you wish to enjoy the castle with mild weather conditions. On the other hand, summer offers some excellent evening tours and stunning photographs of the sunsets reflecting on the lake.

Additionally, the castle is open over the closing time for you to explore and enjoy! You can also get numerous vantage points inside and outside the castle of the beautiful scenery that covers the horizon. Also, avoid weekends and the peak summer season.

This dream-like castle looks as if it was resurrected abruptly from Lake Geneva (Lac Leman). There are tonnes of things both inside and outside the Château de Chillon to entertain your eyes for a day!

You’ll be impressed by everything there, from courtyards, halls, dungeons, towers, massive banquet rooms, open fireplaces, artwork, furniture, and numerous armaments to the breathtaking views of Lake Geneva looking out from the lead latticed windows. So, ensure to leave plenty of time to look around and obtain some mind-blowing castle experience in Switzerland.

Ultimately, the best part of the castle is not its construction but rather its locale. Its strategic position that offers a grand view of the Alps makes it a top attraction over the stone or its walls. However, you can find a garden just beside the castle outside that offers gorgeous views of castle towers and the walls. Nevertheless, you can find a tiny restaurant here to grab some drinks and snacks while enjoying the view. 

Let’s Delve into Luxury Living, with the Touch of the Past

Okay, now let’s put our senses back in time and escape reality to know when was Chillon Castle built and the real history involved…!!

I’ll share this secret here- You will never get such a simplified version anywhere, so keep your eyes open as we drain it straight from the castle to your devices (hehe!).

Archaeological excavations show that the Château de Chillon was occupied since the Bronze Age. But the written records have been sourced since the 11th century, precisely from 1150. The structure you see today was built in the 13th century by Pierre II of Savoy, and it became a summer parlour from a fortress to the ruling Savoy family.  In detail, the Château de Chillon’s history can be classified into three distinct bygone eras:

  1. The Savoy Period (12th century to 1536)
  2. The Bernese Period (1536 to 1798)
  3. The Vaudois Period (1798 to today)

Now you can peep into each era right here…!!

1. The Savoy Period

Suckers! They used this strategically built fortress to profit themselves from the north-to-south Via Francigena route that crossed the front end of the fort. As travelers, merchants, and pilgrims headed to Rome through the Great Saint Bernard Alpine Pass, they generously filled the coffers of the Counts of Savoy.

Later in the 13th century, the castle became a summer residence for Peter II of Savoy. Its subterranean vaults were converted into jails. François Bonivard, a nobleman, historian, and libertine, was this castle’s renowned prisoner. He languished in the dungeon’s dark depths for six years in the 16th century. 

Ask me, why? Because he preached about reformation and spoke out contrary to the corruption of the ‘Old Faith’. However, he became a kind of hero and was immortalized later in the poem The Prisoner of Chillon by Lord Byron.

The Prisoner of Chillon by Lord Byron

Byron was impressed by the architectural feat of the dungeons created from cut rocks in the castle’s base. That’s why he etched his name on one of the gothic pillars of the castle, which you can find there even today (some say it’s a fake signature, though, so go and check it yourself)!

In fact, Did you know? Bonivard was not the only prisoner in the dungeons. During the 1348 devastating plague, the Jewish townsfolk from Villeneuve were imprisoned and tortured in the dungeons. 

They were accused of causing the Black Death to destroy Christianity by poisoning food and the wells. You can never comprehend the horror of their captivity, but it’s best that we don’t think about the ignorance and cruelty within the walls here!

2. The Bernese Period

Chillon Castle and its military history

Thinking if the Château de Chillon was attacked in history? Well, during this time, the Savoy became careless and neglected the castle in favor of other castles. That paved the way for the Bernese to invade it in 1563 after conquering the Pays de Vaud. Now, it became an enduring residence for bailiffs who used it as a stronghold, prison, arsenal, and storage.

However, the bailiffs vacated the castle and inched up sticks for more contemporary, comfortable digs.

3. The Vaudois Period

 Since the Vaud Revolution in 1798, the castle was seized from the Bernese bailiffs by patriots of Vevey and Montreux. The surprise here is that the bailiffs left the castle to the invaders after the fight in just two days. 

From here onwards, the canton of Vaud owned the castle to store ammunition and weapons and made it a state prison. And this was the time when Bonivard was released. Later, in the 19th century, restoration of the castle began, which paved the way to make it a popular attraction in Switzerland.

Occasionally, this place hosts events like musical concerts. Did you know? You might think that the locale of the Château de Chillon in Switzerland was peaceful. But it does have a horrifying history! Guess what?

It was a hotbed for witch-hunting. Over 2,000 deaths were attributed to the killing of witches, and this castle was not an exception. And in 1613, 27 witches were burned as a group in the castle’s courtyard. Can you believe this?

Here is this fun fact for you. Wondering what the castle toilets might look like? Well, you can find the picture right here…

You will be astonished to know that it was just two holes during the Middle Ages!

The Icy Whiz team talked to Michael Sawyer, Operations Director at Ultimate Kilimanjaro, about Chateau de Chillon’s historical significance and natural beauty. Here is what he said:

Michael Sawyer
Michael Sawyer

“The Swiss Chateau de Chillon is a cultural icon. This Swiss monument, on Lake Geneva in Montreux, is a medieval fortification with a 1,000-year history.

The Chateau de Chillon’s antique treasures, well-preserved structure, and Middle Ages stories fascinate history buffs. Visitors can easily learn about the castle’s lengthy history as a wealthy family home and strategic Swiss fortress through its twisting passageways, rooms, and dungeons.

Chateau de Chillon is more than a museum. It attracts international tourists. Its stunning location between Lake Geneva and the Alps makes it a must-see for Swiss Riviera visitors.

Climbing and mountaineering are also available near Chateau de Chillon. The neighboring Alps offer many trails and routes with wonderful views of the lake and surroundings for hikers. There are easy lakeside hiking and difficult mountain hikes.

Not alone is the Chateau de Chillon interesting because of its history. Tourists frequent it and start Swiss Alps hikes there.

Visitors to the Chateau de Chillon can experience Switzerland’s rich history and magnificent surroundings by walking through its medieval halls and trekking in the Alps.”

Escape Reality and Live for a Day in the Chillon Castle

Wow! It is time to wake up from visiting the past in a modern-day setting. Here, we sojourn through different modes of transport for you to experience history come alive at the castle…Don’t worry; taking a day trip to the Château de Chillon in Switzerland is pretty easy and effortless.

You can walk or take public transport like a bus, train or boat. So, continue reading as we unfurl these pathways to get you to the castle!

1. By Train

This is the No. 1 most accessible way to get to the Château de Chillon. All you need to do is to board the local Swiss train from Montreux or Villeneuve. From Montreux, the travel takes just 3 or 4 minutes, and after that, you need to take a 5-minute walk to the Château de Chillon. In between your journey, you get a chance to get some stunning views of a beautiful lake From Veytaux to Château de Chillon, there are regional trains available. 

Check the schedules before you board!

2. By Bus

Bus services are readily available from Montreux, Villeneuve or Vevey. Take bus number 201 to reach the Chillon stop. From there, you have to walk up to 3 minutes to reach Château de Chillon. Buses stop just before the castle every 10-20 minutes.

3. By Boat

 This is one of the loveliest experiences you can get on your way to the Château de Chillon. If you are going to the castle in summer, try it if the budget permits. 

Trips are starting from Montreux, Villeneuve, and Lausanne to Chillon Castle by boat, and you just need to walk for 2 or 3 minutes from the boat dock to the Chillon Castle entrance. But if you take a day trip in winter, it’s best to avoid this option as the climate is chilly and the water loses its charm. 

Exploring the Château de Chillon in Switzerland

Here, we jump in to explore what to adhere to at the Château de Chillon.

Ideally, the gates are open daily for tourists from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. However, opening hours are subject to change depending on the number of visitors;

  • January, February, November and December- 10 am to 4 pm.
  • March and October- 9.30 am to 5 pm.
  • From April to September- 9 am to 6 pm.

Your prime tour will be indoors in the castle, which requires up to a day, depending on the time you allocate for the trip. If you are short of time, you can complete it in 2 or 3 hours. While exploring, you can choose to rent an audio guide or brochure with you as you tag along to learn more about the story behind the scenes of the Château de Chillon.

Address: Avenue de Chillon 21, 1820 Veytaux, Switzerland.

And yes, don’t worry about the price, as the tickets are pretty reasonable, especially for students and children. However, they might fluctuate depending on the crowds, special events or themed days.

So, you need to book in advance online on the official website…!! Here’s the price list that is ideally followed;

  • Senior: 11.5 CHF
  • Adult – 12 CHF
  • Child (6-16 years) – 6 CHF
  • Students – 10 CHF

Family tickets are also available. It is CHF35, which includes two adults and five children. Opting for a guided tour is available. But you must reserve it before the requested date (up to two working days). Trust me, you will NEVER get bored walking through the castle, and it’s a BIG FAT YES that the Château de Chillon is a worthwhile place!

Did you know? The Chillon Castle produces its own wine from the region’s white Chasselas grape. These vineyards spread over 12,500 sq m close to the castle on the slopes. Also, they are a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Lavaux.  If you want, try out a bottle at their museum shop…!!

We interviewed Aseem Jha, Founder and Head of Customer Delivery at Legal Consulting Pro, and asked him about Chateau’s significance for future generations. Here is what he had to say:

Aseem Jha - Featured
Aseem Jha

“The Château de Chillon in Switzerland is undeniably both a valuable historic site and a popular tourist attraction. Its stunning lakeside location, rich history dating back to the 12th century, and association with figures like Lord Byron make it a must-visit destination.

My personal experience visiting Chillon was transformative; walking through its ancient halls and imagining the lives of past inhabitants left a lasting impression.

However, balancing preservation with visitor experience is crucial. Steps should be taken to maintain the historical integrity of the site while enhancing accessibility and interpretation for visitors.

Collaborating with local communities to ensure sustainable tourism practices and engaging educational programs can further enrich the experience while preserving the Château’s significance for future generations.”

Chateaux de Chillon Switzerland -Montreux

Chillon Castle is a beautiful must-visit place for every tourist stepping on the shores of Switzerland. This is an easily accessible place, and there are many routes you can choose to reach it. Ultimately, if you wish to unloose from the 21st century and traverse the medieval ages to glimpse castles, Château de Chillon is THE place to go…!!

Guest Author: Saket Kumar

Last Updated on May 11, 2024 by Pragya


  1. Unlock the secrets of the past at Switzerland’s Château de Chillon, a medieval marvel atop a rock since the 11th century. Featured in literary works by Lord Byron and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, this fortress near Montreux offers history, luxury, and stunning views. Plan a visit when crowds wane to soak in the rhapsody and esoteric ambiance. Explore courtyards, halls, dungeons, and banquet rooms adorned with artwork and furniture. Don’t miss the breathtaking views of Lake Geneva through lead-latticed windows. Prepare to immerse yourself in a day of enchantment at this dream-like castle.

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