This Friday, 22 November, marks the opening day of one of my favorite local festivals of the holiday season: Montreux Noël. One of hundreds of Christmas markets throughout Europe, Montreux Noël is a large market located in the lakeside town of Montreux. Its short distance away from Geneva makes it an easy day trip or weekend destination, and there’s plenty to do and see for people of all ages.
Two years ago, shortly after we moved to Geneva, my husband and I spent a weekend in Montreux and our visit coincided with the first weekend of the market. I had my first mug of vin chaud (hot mulled wine) and my first saucisse de veau (veal sausage), and watching the sun set over Lake Geneva surrounded by such a festive atmosphere is one of my favorite memories from our first months in Switzerland.
More than 150 exhibitors will set up stalls next to the lake. From carvings to candies, glass blowing to crafts, vin chaud to roasted nuts, there will be lots of tempting treats and gift ideas for anyone on your list.
Done with your shopping? A giant ferris wheel lets you take in a birds-eye view of the market. Plus, this year’s market will also feature the La Redoute Wish House, and you can submit a wish online.
The activities in the Montreux area aren’t limited to the Christmas market. At Rochers de Naye, a peak overlooking Lake Geneva, children and adults can visit Santa’s House, ride a Santa Claus train, and more. On Thursdays only, to commemorate the 10th year of Santa’s House, admission is only CHF 10 (normal admission is CHF 32/adults, CHF 19/children).
The town of Caux will host a Christmas Village, and Château de Chillon will feature Medieval Enchantment during Montreux Noël. Adjacent to the main Christmas market, the Lumberjack Village will have a new look for 2013 and will offer wood-fired pizza, Lumberjack tea, fondue, pretzels, and other treats.
Getting there: Montreux is an easy one hour drive or train ride from Geneva. The Montreux train station is located a short walk away from the lakeshore and festival site, and SBB is offering a 30% discount on train fares during the festival. For more information about how to get to Montreux by train or car, plus information about carsharing, click here.
Hours and Availability: The festival lasts November 22 through to Christmas Eve, December 24. Opening hours vary by day.
- Monday through Thursday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. + 2 hour (food and beverage)
- Friday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. + 1 hour (food and beverage)
- Saturday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. + 1 hour (food and beverage)
- Sunday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. + 2 hour (food and beverage)
For more information, visit the homepage of Montreux Noël by clicking here.
Click here to read our previous post about Christmas markets, Marchés de Noël, and Christkindlmarkts throughout Europe.
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