If you are looking for something fun to do while visiting Montreux Switzerland, then take a tour of the Château de Chillon.  Located on the eastern tip of Lake Geneva just a mile east of Montreux, this castle is rich with history and full of fascinating architecture and details.  The medieval castle has been preserved though the years and it is great condition, which gives visitors a truly authentic look back through history.  The Savoy family, whose seal still adorns the castle’s towers (a thin red cross), expanded the castle in the 13th century to its current size.  The castle served as both a fortress and a residence for the family.  However, in 1536 the Bernese invaded and conquered the castle in two days making it the residence of the new governor. 

Then in 1798, the people living in the French-speaking community around Lake Geneva successfully threw out the Bernese and took the castle.  It has been used as a hospital, warehouse, prison and armory throughout the years since that time until it was transformed into a tourist attraction.  The castle attracts thousands of tourists each year.  Such notable visitors include Lord Byron and Victor Hugo as well as Hemingway and Dickens.  The castle inspired Lord Byron to write The Prisoner of Chillon and you can still see his name scratched on a column near the entrance.

Free brochures guide guests through beautiful and fascinating rooms giving the history of the castle, information about the architecture and information about the various rooms.  There are four large halls (signifying how prestigious the castle was when constructed) and overly large windows facing the lake.  View 700-year old toilets and period furniture in several rooms.  Do not miss touring Bonivard’s Prison to see where he was lashed to a column and tortured for five years.  For those who must see each room, the top room (Room 32) is located at the top of a 130-step climb.  Some people prefer to skip this room, as there is nothing particularly fascinating that cannot be viewed from other rooms in the castle.

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