How to Spend a Wintry Weekend on the Montreux Riviera

Exploring Montreux, Vevey and the vineyards of Lavaux makes for an unforgettable festive break for food lovers

In partnership withSwiss Tourism Logo

Montreux Riviera is where people go when
they’ve made it in life. Unmistakably swanky, mesmerisingly scenic
and rich with luxurious hotels, restaurants and bars, it’s a
decadent delight of a destination that will brighten up even the
darkest December. In the summer months, the city hosts the
world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival, and draws sunbathing
and wine-sipping sophisticates from around the globe. But wintry
Montreux is equally atmospheric, with vineyard restaurants serving
hearty reds alongside even heartier game stews, and a lively
Christmas market lined with fondue cabins hugging the lakeshore –
all within easy reach of world-class ski resorts like Villars and
Gstaad. Here’s our edit of eight unmissable winter experiences for
food-loving travellers.

Eight ideas for winter activities on the Montreux Riviera

Funky Claude, Montreux, Switzerland
Photo credit: Charly Derouet

Join a cocktail masterclass at Funky Claude’s Bar

Claude Nobs is a true Montreux legend – a local music lover who
founded and ran Montreux Jazz Festival from 1967 until his death in
2013. A music royalty hangout since the 1960s, brimming with
top-drawer memorabilia, this wood-panelled cocktail bar with plush
booths has welcomed such luminaries as Stevie Wonder, Ella
Fitzgerald and Prince over the years. If you time your visit right,
the cocktail masterclasses are a highlight: listen to the talented
bartenders sharing stories about visiting musicians while whipping
up creative concoctions like the award-winning, whisky-based


Avenue Claude Nobs 2, 1820 Montreux

Steam on the Water, Montreux, Switzerland
Photo credit: Charly Derouet

Savour a lakeside sauna at Steam on the Water

During the summer months, La
is one of the coolest restaurants on the Montreux
Riviera, with a low-key lakeside setting, a young female chef and
plant-forward menu. In the less-touristy winter months, the
restaurant is converted into a ravishing yet rustic sauna and
wood-fired hot tub complex where locals and clued-up holidaymakers
can leap into the pristine lake, cosy up in the sauna or hot tub,
and top it all off with tea and baked treats in the clubhouse.


Route de St-Maurice 310, 1814 La Tour-de-Peilz

Vineyards, Lavaux, Switzerland
Photo credit: Charly Derouet

Tour the vineyards of Lavaux

The steep, striking terraces of the Unesco-stamped wine region
of Lavaux are an absolute must-visit for wine lovers and
gastronomes. During the summer, it’s straightforward to reach each
of the wineries by rail and wander, glass in hand, from one
family-run vineyard to the next. But during the quieter (and
arguably more charming) winter months, we suggest enlisting the
help of a fabulous local wine guide, such as Anne Tardent of
Croc’Nature. She’ll rustle up a cosy, wine-fuelled
itinerary that includes a tasting at wine bar and boutique Les 11 Terres
and a hearty lunch at the renowned Auberge de
in the medieval village of St-Saphorin.


Lavaux, Switzerland

Fairmont Montreux Palace, Switzerland
Photo credit: Charly Derouet

Take Sunday brunch at the Fairmont Montreux Palace

Brunch always has the potential to be the most decadent meal of
the day, and it is certainly so at the Fairmont Montreux Palace.
Built in 1906, the hotel is one of the finest examples of Swiss
belle époque architecture and, thanks to the Montreux Jazz
Festival, has in its time welcomed guests including Miles Davis,
Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, Freddie Mercury and Quincy Jones, who
still stays every year. Lingering over Sunday brunch with a jazzy
piano soundtrack and views over Lake Geneva is the perfect way to
savour Montreux’s star appeal.


Avenue Claude Nobs 2, 1820 Montreux

Brew Society, Vevey, Swizerland
Photo credit: Charly Derouet

Get a taste of Swiss coffee culture at Brew Society

The way to the heart of a city is through its coffee shops, and
Brew Society is Vevey’s best-loved new-generation café. With
superfood bowls and plant-based burgers on the menu, as well as
excellent single-origin coffee, Vevey’s freelancers can (and do)
spend entire days here.


Rue du Théâtre 3, 1800 Vevey

Fondue stall, Montreux Christmas Market, Switzerland
Photo credit: Charly Derouet

Sample fondue at Montreux Christmas Market

At what is one of the most picturesque Christmas markets in
Europe, some 170 merchants, craftspeople, chefs and producers line
the lakeshore of Lac Léman in wooden chalets throughout December.
We can’t think of a better way to get into the festive spirit than
by sipping a vin chaud (try a distinctly Swiss white chasselas
mulled wine) and eating fondue in a glowing chalet, before doing
your Christmas shopping in the most picture-perfect and chore-free
manner possible.


Grand Rue 24, 1820 Montreux

Mosaic Room, Montreux, Switzerland
Photo credit: Lisa Roehrich

Sip and sew at Mosaic Room

Sure, the Montreux Riviera has plenty of musical and literary
history, but don’t be fooled: nearby universities, academies and
hospitality schools flood this region with a youthful population,
too. On our visit, we were struck by the new community project
Mosaic Room, a food laboratory, chef’s residency and art space
(complete with a sewing bar) run by Shakyla Hussain. Cookery
classes and workshops are put on by a rotating roster of
international chefs – Eritrean, Afghan, Iranian and Thai – and it’s
a valuable community space for young food lovers, artists and other


Rue du Collège 18, 1800 Vevey

Château de Chillon, Switzerland
Photo credit: Charly Derouet

Step back in time around the Château de Chillon

This medieval island castle is Switzerland’s most-visited
historical monument. By turns a fort, a summer home and a prison,
it has dazzled a long list of venerable tourists through the
centuries, among them Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo and Mary
Shelley. Lord Byron penned The Prisoner Of Chillon in 1816 after
his visit. Across the road is the equally fascinating Fort de Chillon, a 20th-century military fortification
that has only been open to the public since 2020, and one of the
most unlikely and memorable places to have brunch in Montreux. The
sites are walkable from town via a picturesque lakeshore path that
winds through a spectacular display of summer blooms. The
free-to-access Plage du Château de Chillon, open June to September,
is the perfect spot for a dip, too.


Avenue de Chillon 21, 1820 Veytaux

Swiss Tourism Logo

The Lowdown

How to get there

Fly direct from London Heathrow to Geneva Airport with SWISS.
From the airport, Montreux city centre is around an hour by train
with Swiss Federal Railways.

The Swiss Travel System covers more than 29,000km with its
extensive public transport network of trains, buses, cable cars and
boats. Book your tailored Swiss city package and get unlimited
travel on public transport with a Swiss Travel Pass at

Ready to plan your Montreux trip? Visit to get a taste of all the
Swiss city offers

Making gin at La Distillerie Bar Lab

Discover More
Five Unmissable Foodie Experiences in Geneva