After our wander through the vineyards, we continued our journey along Lake Geneva through Montreux to the Chillon Castle. When traveling, while nature is always my favorite attraction, I also love visiting historical locations and learning what was there before us many centuries ago. Europe is so rich with history and culture that it was necessary for us to stop at a couple historical attractions along the way.
The scenery of this castle is so picturesque since it’s built on the edge of Lake Geneva, with the mountains in the background, and lush French-inspired cities dotting the shore along the lake.
History of the Castle
While the age of the castle is not definitively dated, there are records of the castle as early as 1005! The castle is an interesting mashup of three main periods of influence— The Savoy, Bernese, and Vaudois periods.
The castle was initially built as a Roman outpost (basically a tollbooth) to guard the road through the Alpine passes, specifically the Burgundy to Great Saint Bernard Pass. The home was the summer home of the Counts of Savoy, but it was largely expanded by Peter II in 1248. The Savoy period (12th century to 1536) continued through the 1700s, and during the period it was turned into a prison.
During the Bernese (1536-1798) period, it housed François de Bonivard, a Genevois monk who was eventually rescued after 6 years of imprionment by the Bernese. Afterwards, the castle was turned into a state prison in 1733.
Finally, the Vaudois (1798-Present) period began when the men of Vaud drove the Bernese out and declared the castle as a weapons depot.
Visiting the Castle
According to their website, the castle is Switzerland’s most visited historic monument. With that said, it’s very affordable for visitors to experience. They have an optional audioguide for a tour (in different languages), which we rented and highly recommend. It helps provide context to what you are viewing and guides you through the castle.
CHÂTEAU DE CHILLON
Avenue de Chillon 21 · CH 1820 Veytaux · Suisse
T +41 21 966 89 10 · firstname.lastname@example.org
Adult: 12.50 CHF
Children: 6.00 CHF
Reduced Entry: 10.50 CHF
Swiss Travel Pass*: free
Audioguide Rental: 6.00 CHF (OPTIONAL, but suggested)
*The Swiss Travel Pass is an option for tourists moving throughout the country of Switzerland. It’s good for the buses/trains/etc. and discounted or free access to museums. We decided not to do this since we were renting a car for our travels, and we weren’t sure how many actual museums or attractions we’d be doing since nature was our primary focus.
Did you know that this castle is popular for being the castle featured in the Little Mermaid?
Know Before You Go
- Photos are allowed throughout the castle. Bring a camera!
- Watch your belongings. They have many signs throughout the parking lot and in the castle itself advising to beware of pit-pockets. We did not experience this, thankfully, but we were cautious during our entire trip.
- Get the audioguide. It’s worth it to know what you’re looking at and the historical significance.
- Leave enough time to visit. The castle took us a while to go through the rooms and to enjoy it. They close the doors 1 hour after the ticket office closes, so be sure to leave extra time if you’re visiting at the end of the day.
- Wear sensible shoes. There are some narrow stairways, cobblestone streets, and uneven footing to navigate which may be difficult if you aren’t wearing the most sensible shoes.