Montreux, in Canton Vaud on Lake Geneva, is famous for the Montreux Jazz Festival and the setting for Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water". The town is in a beautiful setting, facing South towards France across Lake Geneva and surrounded by the Alps. On the outskirts of the town lies the Château de Chillon, one of the most famous castles in Europe.
A few minutes by train before you get to Montreux from Lausanne or Geneva is the charming town of Vevey. It's another important commercial centre on the Eastern section of Lake Geneva. The two towns, and a number of other villages and hamlets in the area, are termed the Montreux Riviera, a region renowned for its wines and the UNESCO World Heritage Lavaux vineyards - as well as its stunning setting.
For the winter sports enthusiast, however, the main interest in the Montreux Riviera is that it lies at the heart of an efficient road network and a metronomically reliable public transport system. These enable you to easily reach the resorts of French-speaking Vaud and Valais, where you will find some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world.
Both Vevey and Montreux are perfectly located for day trips to resorts such as Verbier, Gstaad, Leysin, Villars-Gryon, Les Diablerets and the resorts of Les Portes du Soleil - all roughly an hour away by rail or road. In addition the small, but respectable, ski area of Caux/Rochers de Naye is served by a funicular railway running out of Montreux itself.
For day outings, Swiss Rail runs the outstanding Snow'n'Rail scheme to many resorts, providing 20% discount on both public transport and lift passes. Local hotels provide guests with a pass that provides free public transport along the Montreux Riviera, and this also can be used to get a 50% discount on trains to Rochers de Naye.