on July 27, 2010
If you visit Switzerland and stay anywhere along the shores of Lake Geneva, you would be well advised to take the time to visit the Chateau de Chillon, just outside the Swiss riviera town of Montreux. You may not be interested in history, and you don't need to be, to appreciate the beauty of this castle's location, jutting out of the lakeshore, as well as the preservation of this historic site. There are several ways of getting to the Chateau. You can arrive by car, by boat or by bus. Various boats will take you across the shores of Lake Geneva and give you a wonderful approach to the castle. If you are coming from Geneva, like we were, you can get the train to Montreux station and take either a trolley bus to the castle, or better still, walk along the beautiful lakeshore path from Montreux to the castle, taking 45 minutes, and worth every minute, as you are rewarded with a beautifully kept path called the Quai des fleurs, due to the range of flowers on display, as well as beautiful views of the lake, and ideal photo opportunities of the castle as you approach it. The castle is open all year through, bar New Year's Day and Christmas Day. Opening times are extended in the summer months, with visiting hours being from 9a.m. to 7p.m. in this peak season. Do be warned however, that a visit during the summer season, should be done early, as it is a popular destination of tours, and it can get very very busy. An adult ticket costs a reasonable 12 CHF (approx £8) although there are reductions for students, pensioners and military. We felt this was very reasonable price given the cost of most things in Switzerland. There are also reductions for families and group rates. Should you wish to have your own personal guide, you will pay extra for this, but it really isn't necessary, since you are given a leaflet with details of every area of the castle allowing you to conduct your own self guided tour, with plenty of information. In total, there are 46 areas of the castle to visit with explanations in the leaflet that you are given. It is extremely easy to tour the castle, as each of the areas to visit are clearly numbered, with coincide with the numbers of the leaflet. There is no need to walk to the other side of the castle the find the next number, as it follows a distinct path around, with one room leading to another, all in a seamlessly easy route to follow. You really couldn't get lost, or miss an area, unless you ignored numbers or your leaflet. We were very impressed with how it was organised. The tour takes you from the museum shop at the very beginning, to the crypt, the ancient walls, bernese bedroom, camera domini, chapel, courtyards, bastion, watchtower, treasury building and a keep. As I said, you don't need to be a history buff to enjoy this castle, as it is so wonderfully preserved and so full of history. Those who do like history will be in their element, as it is teeming with history. We simply enjoyed looking around the rooms, relaxing in the beautiful courtywards, walking around the immaculately kept gardens, and looking out at the spectacular views through some of the large windows. This is a terrific place to explore if you are staying at Lake Geneva, or Lake Leman as it is known.
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