No wonder the annual Montreux Noël festivities have been among the most popular in Switzerland for a quarter of a century. Here’s a run down of what’s on offer in 2019.
Lakefront Christmas market
Kicking off on 21 November until 24 December 2019, 172 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 – savoury and sweet Swiss specialties, including local dishes from Canton Vaud and mulled wine. You will have the choice between various fondue versions, raclette and other cheese dishes as well as pizzas, burgers, sausages and much more at 12 restaurants, 3 bars and numerous stalls.
Christmas carols and other festive music will be in the air. Live Russian folklore music and dances 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 centreed 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. This area will once again be the local associations’ hang out and a must-go meeting place for anyone visiting Montreux Noel.
If you feel like a tipple, there is a bar, Bar des Étoiles, on the mezzanine of the covered market.
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 fairy tale characters, a surprise gift and of course, the jolly old man himself.
Santa will be there every day except Mondays and Tuesdays from 21 November to 24 December 2019. Exceptionally he’ll be there on Monday 23 and Tuesday, December 24, 2019.
This year Santa Claus will welcome his Russian cousin, Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost), on Saturday 21 December.
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 9:17h – 15:17h. 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 25 for adults, CHF 15 for kids.
Booking required. Click here for more information.
If the line is closed because of weather conditions (storm, snow etc.), tickets will be reimbursed free of charge.
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.
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.
Guest of honour – Russia
Every year the event hosts a guest of honour. This year, Montreux Noël is opening its arms to Russia as its guest of honour. Near the Gourmet Area there will be a recreation of Red Square where you’ll get to experience Russian music and dancing, crafts and delicious fresh-made regional specialties.
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: open on the weekends of 30 November-2 December, 7-8,14-15 December 2019 from 10 am until 5 pm (last entry at 4 pm)
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