No wonder the annual Montreux Noël festivities are among the most popular in Switzerland. Here’s what’s lined up.
Lakefront Christmas market
Kicking off on 23 November until 24 December 2017, about 160 merchants and craftspeople will be offering countless gifts from their mini chalet-style stalls twinkling with lights and decorations at the Montreux’s Christmas Market.
There will be lots to eat, too – savory and sweet Swiss specialties, including local dishes from Canton Vaud and mulled wine. Plus there will be pizzas, pastas, burgers, sausages and yes, “elf snacks”. There will be 14 restaurants.
Christmas carols and other festive music will be in the air as wandering musicians make merry all through the market. Live music will also be on stage at the Covered Market. The short video below offers a taste.
You can get a bird’s eye view of all the festivities on the big Ferris wheel. Also up in the sky, you’ll see Santa driving Rudolph, Donner, Dasher, Blitzen and the rest of the reindeer over the market on his sleigh every day – video of Santa in the sky.
The Lumberjack Village will be centered around the log cabin constructed by area lumberjacks. Here you’ll find wood-fired pizzas, “lumberjack tea”, mulled wine, fondue and other tasty local specialties. On different days you’ll also find information about local community associations like Ride for the Cause (Nov. 23 – 29), FC Montreux-Sports (Nov. 30 – Dec. 5), Blonay-Chamby Museum Railway (Dec. 6 – 11), Circolo Culturale Realtà Nuova di Montreux (Dec. 12 – 17) and Ensemble Vocal Merlin (Dec. 18 – 24).
Christmas craft market
There’s even going to be a craft market. The Christmas crafts and second-hand market runs from Dec. 6 – 10. There will be 150 exhibitors displaying local and regional craftsmanship at the 2m2c Congress Centre, which includes a flea market.
Wed. 6 Dec: 4 pm – 10 pm
Thu. 7 Dec: 4 pm – 10 pm
Fri. 8 Dec: 2 pm – 10 pm
Sat. 9 Dec: 11 am – 10 pm
Sun. 10 Dec: 11 am – 7 pm
If you feel like a tipple, there is a bar, Bar des Étoiles, on the mezzanine of the covered market: Weekdays: 17h – 24h, Weekends: 11h – 24h.
Santa’s in the house!
During the Montreux Noël festivities, Father Christmas will be everywhere, as only he can.
Santa Claus House, nestled in a grotto atop Rochers-de-Naye above Montreux, will be open to children of all ages, who’ll enjoy fairytale characters, a surprise gift and of course, the jolly old man himself.
Wed. – Sun., Nov. 23 – Dec. 24.
How to get there? Santa’s sleigh will definitely be in Montreux during that time, but will be otherwise occupied (see below), so the only way to get there is on the Santa Claus Train, which leaves from the main station in Montreux Wed. – Sun. every hour from 9:15h – 15:15h. The two minute video below offers a glimpse of Santa’s high-altitude abode.
Tickets: Train + admission: CHF 39 for adults, CHF 19 for kids from 6 to 15. Thursday discount: CHF 23 for adults, CHF 13 for kids.
Reservations are recommended. Click here for more information.
Yes, it’s true, again this year Santa will be flying high in his sleigh along the lakeshore. You better not cry, but you can shout out your gift wishes.
Mon. – Fri. 17h, 18h, 19h
Sat. – Sun. 16h, 17h, 18h, 19h
Fri. 8 Dec. 16h, 17h, 18h, 19h
Down by the lake, Santa’s helpers will also be working their magic at The Elves Village, with gifts for sale, surprises for the children, plus workshops including chocolate-making and candle-making.
Wed. – Thurs. 14h – 19h
Fri. 14h – 20h
Sat. 10h – 20h
Sun. 10h – 19h
Guest of honour
Montreux Noël is opening its arms this year to Portugal as its guest of honour. Near the Ferris Wheel will be a chalé (that’s Portuguese for “chalet”), where you’ll get to experience Portuguese music and dancing, crafts and delicious fresh-made regional specialties.
The gardeners of Montreux are also adding to the magic with giant specially designed holiday sculptures.
New this year at Montreux Noël will be a spectacular 3-D light show projected onto the the front of the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace hotel. Nightly 17h – 21h
Just a little way out of town along the lake, Switzerland’s most-visited castle, the Château de Chillon, will be transformed into a medieval Christmas land with costumed singing storytellers, musicians, dancers, crafts, candle-making, calligraphy and steaming meaty dishes like those once served to knights, ladies and lords.
Click here to view a video.
When: Sat. and Sun. Dec. 2 – 3, 9 – 10, 16 – 17. 10h – 17h (last admission 16h)
Getting There: Best to go by train and bus.
Cost: Adults and children: CHF 15, Families: CHF 35, Groups of 20 people or more: CHF 12 per adult, CHF 6 per child
Dates and hours for everything can be viewed here.
By Bill Harby