Discovering Chillon Castle of Switzerland – How to Make Lasting Memories?
Discovering Chillon Castle would be a dream come true for many people. But, even though it is a real-life castle with a fascinating history and an unbelievable beauty that captures the imagination of everyone who sees it, there are some things you need to know about before taking your family on a visit this Summer.
Chillon Castle is located in Veytaux, Switzerland, and dates back to the 12th century. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction as well as a venue for plays, concerts, and other public events. It is part of the Swiss heritage site that was named a UNESCO World Heritage Centre in 1983.
The Castle has been famous for centuries because of its never-ending stories and legends.
Overview of Chillon Castle – A Dream Come True
- Location – on Lake Geneva, South of Veytaux
- Weather – Hottest 39C | Lowest -11C
- History About Chillon Castle
The history of the castle runs back to the 11th century when it was built on the southern tip of Lake Geneva by the Counts of Savoy. For centuries, Chillon has been reckoned as one of the cantons ‘most romantic castles’.
The castle is made up of 100 independent buildings that are connected with high towers and moats. It served as a fortress for the rulers of Savoy for a long time.
In 1359, it was captured by the Lord of Fouquet and remained under their control until 1418. During this period, the lords modernized Chillon as per the latest military architecture standards.
Discovering Inside the Chillon Castle – Real-life Mermaid Castle in Switzerland
Overview About Chillon Castle
The castle was built in the form of an ‘irregular octagon’ between 1202 and 1210. The walls are up to 4 meters thick at some points.
The main purpose of the castle was to protect the region from incursions by its hostile neighbors, especially the Counts of Savoy who managed to control both sides of Lake Geneva at different times.
The fairytale castle gained its fame in history books when François Bonivard, a local aristocrat and politician, was imprisoned in the dungeon of Chillon in June 1530. Bonivard had opposed the policies of the Counts of Savoy towards Geneva which resulted in his imprisonment. But he managed to escape six months later thanks to help from the chaplain in the nearby St. Cergue monastery.
This is the castle where Bonivard inspired German poet Lord Byron’s 1816 masterpiece ‘The prisoner of Chillon.’ The poem is about an aristocrat named Geoffrey who was imprisoned by a tyrant during the Dark Ages.
Highlights Inside Chillon Castle
- Underground Rooms
The architecture belonging to the 13th century, the rooms are in the dungeon part of the castle. One can visit these rooms only by taking a tour.
The walls here are painted in a black and white checkered pattern which used to provide a good grip for the prisoners when they were trying to escape through the underground tunnels that run under the castle.
The castle has four courtyards. The lower courtyard is served by a drawbridge. In front of it is an outdoor labyrinth that was built in 1891 to provide a unique experience for visitors when they walk in it during tours.
The second courtyard includes a dining hall with high windows, a kitchen, and an oven room. The third courtyard has residential rooms for soldiers, guestrooms, and access to an inner courtyard garden.
The other courtyards are located on higher levels and have a view of Lake Geneva.
- The Great Halls
The three formal great halls in the castle were in the 15th century with large squarish pillars that support the roof. The walls are full of frescos and huge tapestries depicting different mythological characters.
Chillon Castle in Poetry and Movies
Chillon has inspired many poets, writers, and film directors over the years. Some of them are below.
- Chillon was first described by Lord Byron in his 1816 poem ‘The Prisoner of Chillon.’
- The castle is also popular in French poet Lamartine’s 1820 epic ‘Meditations’
- American writer Washington Irving used Chillon as the backdrop for his 1836 novel ‘Castle of Mormon.’
- The castle is also in films like Prisoner of Zenda (1894), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), Ladyhawke (1985)
Architecture of the Castle
The exterior of the Chillon castle is a mix of Gothic and Romanesque styles. The main attractions here are the 24 square watchtowers that rise from the walls to a height of about 30 meters in some cases.
The chateau has four corner towers, two gates, a drawbridge, and walkways. The fortress was built using rough-hewn stone which adds an appearance of being solid and rigid.
The Guillaume Tower is the highest in Chillon Castle. It was between 1190 to 1200 AD during the rule of the Dukes of Savoy.
This is a six-story building with turrets on each floor at its corners. The top floor is open to visitors who can enjoy a panoramic view of the castle’s surroundings. The tower’s name was after William IX, Duke of Savoy.
Ideal Time to Visit the Chillon Castle
Camping Time in Chillon Castle
The best season for camping in the Chillon Castle is from April to October. The average temperature in summer ranges between 14°C and 20°C while in winter it’s 2°C to 8°C. The castle provides free admission for children under 16 years old when accompanied by an adult.
Hiking Time in Chillon Castle
Hiking is great during spring and fall. The average summer temperature is 30°C which can cause fatigue to many hikers who plan to do it between May and August.
Check-in Time in Chillon Castle
The ideal times to visit and check in to the Chillon Castle would be during weekdays as the weekends are extremely busy with visitors.
Discovering the Seasons in the Chillon Castle
This would be an ideal time for travelers to visit the Chillon Castle as it has mild temperatures, wildflowers, and shepherds guiding their herds of cows. The average temperature during this time is 14°C.
During summer, the castle remains open till late which makes it great for evening tours. Travelers can enjoy brilliant sunsets from here that reflect on the lake’s surface. The average temperature in summer is between 25°C to 27°C, however, it can feel hotter due to high humidity levels.
The fall season starts in September and lasts till November. The weather cools down significantly which makes visiting the castle a great choice during this time. Average temperatures are around 14°C to 20°C.
During winter, the castle is open only till 5 pm which makes it difficult for travelers to reach there later in the day. However, if you decide to visit Chillon Castle during this time, the average temperature will be 2°C to 7°C.
Quick Guide to Visit the Chillon Castle
If you are planning to visit Chillon Castle, you must be aware that there’s a big crowd during weekends and public holidays. It is important to start the day early to avoid the rush. Travelers must also prepare to explore the surroundings of the castle in case it gets too cold.
The Chillon Castle in Switzerland is an absolute must-visit place for travelers who love to spend some interesting time exploring medieval history and architecture. This UNESCO World Heritage Site houses fascinating stories that speak of past wars and historic events that shaped history.
As far as food is concerned, several cafés and restaurants serve local cuisine. You can also bring your food along with water as the castle does not have any dining area.
The Castle is located in a small town near Lake Geneva within the Canton of Vaud in Switzerland. The nearest city from here would be Montreux which offers all the amenities you would need while visiting the castle.
Experience Conquering the Chillon Castle – The Most Beautiful Fairy Tale Castle in Switzerland
For a successful and exciting travel experience to Chillon Castle, you should ideally start early in the morning, carry a bottle of water along with a hat and sunscreen. You must store any expensive items such as cameras, purses, and mobile phones in the safe locker before entering the castle.
This Castle is sure to be an extraordinary experience for everyone who wants to discover the medieval era in its full glory.
FAQs Related to Chillon Castle
What is the Best Time to Visit Chillon Castle?
The weather in this region of Switzerland is mostly mild during late spring and autumn. This makes it an ideal time to explore the surroundings of the castle.
How Early Should I start Visiting Chillon Castle?
Ideally, you should start your journey 1 hour before closing time so that you can explore the castle completely.
Can I Visit Chillon Castle without a Tour Guide?
Yes, you can visit this castle on your own as there are several self-guided tours available at the ticketing counter.
Is There a Museum in Chillon Castle?
Of course, there is a museum within the castle that exhibits artifacts that date back to the 11th century when it was initially built.
What are the Visiting Hours of the Chillon Castle?
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is open to visitors only till 5 pm.
Are There Any Dining Facilities in Chillon Castle?
No, but there are several cafés and restaurants nearby where you can grab a quick bite.
Where Can I Park My Car?
There isn’t any parking area near Chillon Castle. You must get off at one of the designated bus stops and reach there by foot or public transport.
What is the Best Time to Visit Chillon Castle?
During summers, it would be a great idea to start early and carry along with sunscreen and a hat. Visit the castle before 4 pm to avoid the rush and return by 5 pm to catch a train back home.
Is There Any Entry Fee for Visiting Chillon Castle?
There is an entry fee of 10 CHF per person for adults above 18 years of age. Kids below this age are allowed to enter free of cost.
Can I Visit Chillon Castle on My Own?
You can explore the castle on your own by using the self-guided tours available at the ticketing counter.
What is There to See in the Chillon Castle?
Several attractions would take you back in time and let you imagine what living in these medieval castles was like.
What is the Best Way to Get to Chillon Castle?
When planning on discovering Chillon Castle, you can take a train from Montreux station and then board a bus that goes directly to the castle. You can also hire a cab from here if you do not wish to wait for public transport.
Discovering the Chillon Castle is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will intrigue your imagination. Plan a trip to Switzerland during September, October, or November to enjoy visiting this historic site.
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