Château de Chillon
Château de Chillon © ST/swiss-image.ch
One of the best-maintained medieval castles in Europe, the 13th-century Château de Chillon is the most visited historical building in Switzerland. With its stunning lakeside location near the chic town of Montreux, jutting out into the water and framed by mountains, it is one of the more frequently photographed castles in Europe. An important fortress in the Middle Ages, it was strategically positioned to control the narrow passage between mountains and lake protecting the major north-south route. It was also the favourite summer residence of the Counts of Savoy; while later, it served as a state prison. Visitors can tour the dungeons where the castle's most famous prisoner was chained for four years, the priest François Bonivard, a supporter of the Reformation. The fortress became famous when Lord Byron wrote about Bonivard's fate in an inspired poem entitled Prisoner of Chillon. Besides the dungeons, visitors can wander round the towers and courtyards, discover narrow secret passages, and see the grand knight's halls, frescoed chapel, luxurious bedchambers and rooms containing medieval weapons, furniture and paintings.
Address: Avenue de Chillon 21
Telephone: (0)21 966 8910
Transport: Lake steamer from Lausanne to Montreux (one hour), or train to Montreux station (30 minutes) and then tram 1 to the castle
Opening times: Open daily from 9am to 7pm (April to September), 9:30am to 6pm (March and October), 10am to 5pm (January, February, November, December). Closed 25 December and 1 January
Admission: Sfr12 (adults), Sfr6 (children 6-16). Concessions available. A guided tour costs Sfr6 extra for adults, no charge for children