Chillon Castle was a must-see for me during our recent trip to Gevena and despite the miserable weather I was determined to make it happen.
Situated at the opposite end of Lake Geneva, Chillon Castle is about an hour outside the city of Geneva but is easy to get via public transport. There are a few different routes you can take to get to the castle:
- Take a train from Geneva to Lausanne, then change trains to head to Veytaux-Chillon. From Veytaux-Chillon station it is only a short walk along the lake to the castle
- Take a train from Geneva to Montreux, where you can either walk to Chillon Castle (approximately a 40 minute walk), get a bus which stops right outside the castle, or take a ferry.
Usually I would say the bus from Montreux is the best option as it has the most frequent service, but on the day we visited there was a music festival happening in Montreux which meant there were a lot of road closures. I might have considered walking from Montreux if it wasn’t so wet but we ended up travelling by train to Veytaux-Chillon.
Tip: you can book a combination ticket which includes transport and entry to the castle through the Swiss Federal Railways website. This gives you 20% off your public transport tickets as well as reduced admission to the castle so it works out a lot cheaper than buying your transport and castle tickets separately.
Chillon Castle has a lengthy history with the first written record of the castle dating back to 1150. It was built by the rulers of Savoy on small rocky island which acted as a strategic location, allowing them to control trade and movement between the north and south of Europe.
In 1536, the Bernese conquered the Vaud region and took Chillon Castle by force. For more than 260 years the castle was used as a fortress, arsenal and prison.
The Bernese left Chillon Castle in 1798 during the Vaud revolution. The State of Vaud took ownership of the castle when it was created in 1803. Restoration of the castle began in the 19th century and it has since become the most popular historic monument in Switzerland.
There are almost 50 rooms in the castle which are open to visitors so you need to allow at least 1.5 – 2 hours to see everything. Many of the rooms are fairly bare with only a few works of art or furniture so the main attraction is definitely the location and the castle building itself.
There are also some beautiful views over Lake Geneva from the top of the keep.
I only wish we had some better weather during our visit since Lake Geneva looks incredible when the sun is out. That being said, Chillon Castle still makes for a great place to visit on a rainy day as most parts of the castle are indoors so you don’t get too wet.
Have you visited Chillon Castle? What’s your favourite castle in Europe?