Take on the 10 Chillon challenges

The best way to (re)discover the most visited monument in Switzerland

Chillon Castle is a jewel of Swiss – and global – heritage. As the country’s flagship cultural and tourist destination, in 2022 we welcomed over 304,000 visitors. To make the most of your trip while (re)discovering the monument, we’ve set you a (non-exhaustive) list of 10 fun challenges to complete at the castle.

Translation by Amy Reid

1. Travel back in time

Cross the drawbridge and let the adventure begin! Take a moment to marvel at the castle’s unique architecture and the idyllic backdrop to our cultural site. Gaze curiously at the linear patterns and the artistic ironwork on the doors to each room, the ornate trefoil-shaped windows, the stained glass, and the reflection of the water on the walls of the prison. Perhaps you’ve been here before, maybe when you were younger? In which case, your trip should bring back some fond memories.

Your challenge: find all the dragons in the fortress.

Chillon is very popular for school trips. © FCC, Ronny Perraudin


2. Go on a graffiti hunt

Like to solve mysteries? There are some very famous names etched on the walls of the castle, including some Romantic English poets, such as Lord Byron and Percy Shelley. They sit alongside some slightly more unknown names – sometimes the last remaining testimony to the people who roamed these rooms over the course of history. This graffiti tells countless unique, moving and sometimes funny stories. Once a visitor was surprised to discover their own name written on the walls of the castle! So, keep your eyes peeled. There are many hidden tales behind the graffiti!

Your challenge: find the graffiti of the Savoyard knight

The Savoyard knight can be found in the drawing room, in the oldest chimney in the castle. It dates back to the 14th century.

You’ll find the music score, sketched in charcoal between the 11th and 12th centuries, on the wall of the chapel. It gives us some interesting insights into how musical notes were written at the time. © FCC Chloé Chaudet

3. Climb to the top of the keep and get a whole new perspective

Take on the tallest tower! The sentry walks offer a whole host of different viewpoints. But, if you fancy a challenge, why not climb the 145 steps up to the top of the keep? You might even bump into the castle team as they do their daily workout. It’s totally worth it – looking out from the top of the steps, you can see Villeneuve, Montreux, France and Lake Geneva. Perfectly Instagrammable! Who knows… you might even be able to see your house from up there? Challenge accepted? 

Your challenge: climb the 145 steps to the top of the keep

In the Middle Ages, the keep was a symbol of the power held by the counts and countesses of Savoy. It boasts an amazing view of the surrounding landscape. You might even bump into the castle team… © FCC 

4. Enjoy a delicious meal at Café Byron!

Head to Café Byron to sample local and seasonal cuisine, lovingly served by our team! Tuck into a delightful meal as you take in the unobstructed view of the fortress, followed by a sweet treat to tickle your taste buds! There’s something to suit all tastes!

Your challenge: try a coffee and chocolate pot – chocoholics, you have been warned!

Feeling peckish? Sample the castle restaurant’s delicious set dishes and desserts! Our Café Manager, Frédéric, will be happy to help you with any dietary requirements.© Anna Lee, FCC

5. Experience everyday life in the Middle Ages with our collection of ancient items

Did you know that, during the Middle Ages, chests doubled up as both somewhere to sit and a wardrobe? That the nobility slept sitting up in the bed in the Bernese chamber? And that the crossbow on display in the keep is one of the best-preserved models of its era? William Tell would be on it like a shot! You’ll find around 300 items in the Chillon collection at the Cantonal Museum of Archaeology and History in Lausanne.

Your challenge: spot the mysterious scratches on the bed in the Bernese chamber

All of the items on display – except for the furniture, armour and weaponry – were discovered during archaeological excavations carried out in 1896 and 1903. © FCC

6. Find unique gifts for your loved ones

Fancy a spot of shopping? Our Castle Shop team will be there to welcome you with a smile and help you find exactly what you’re looking for. We have a whole host of quality products on offer – 80% of which are Swiss or European. The other 20% come from further afield and are eco-friendly, made using 100% recycled plastic. You’ll also find original and personalised gifts such as a bottle of our Clos de Chillon for your wine-loving uncle, a wooden sword for your warrior princess cousin, or even a model castle to build with your DIY-loving brother.

Your challenge: bag dream gifts for the whole family

Natsuka and Christiane will be pleased to show you around the shop, where you’ll find a wide range of products to suit all ages and tastes. © FCC Lise Leyvraz-Dorier, FCC Chloé Chaudet

7. Visit the castle crypt for goosebumps guaranteed!

Have you heard about the darkly mysterious, mystical room dedicated to Saint Tryphon? There used to be a chapel above it, but it has long since disappeared. This space was abandoned when the Savoy counts built a new place of worship in the 12th century. You can still see traces of the chapel foundations in the castle’s first courtyard, marked by the grey paving stones. Do you dare venture inside?

Your challenge: track down the ivory reliquary on display in the crypt

Over 100 years ago, archaeologists discovered fragments of an ivory reliquary in the castle crypt. © FCC Chloé Chaudet

8. Wander along the lakeside and take in the surrounding landscape

The English Garden is the perfect spot for a wander, admiring the sublime landscape that has inspired myriad painters and writers over the course of the centuries. Pause for a romantic moment on a bench with your better half or catch your breath while you take in the breath-taking view. Continue walking towards Montreux until you reach the fortress’s historic vineyard, which was established under Peter II of Savoy. We’d also recommend you stop by the castle beach – maybe go for a paddle in the shadow of the ancient monument?

Your challenge: take a quick dip at the foot of the fortress

You can’t help but relax on a Chillon walk. © FCC

9. Travel back in time with our costumed guides

You’ve binge-watched Game of Thrones, now get the real medieval experience! A character straight out of the Middle Ages will reveal Chillon’s best-kept secrets. Head to the castle with family or friends and explore the great halls that once played host to the legendary Savoy family banquets. You might even learn a thing or two about the castle’s hidden details.

Your challenge: find Saint Maurice’s ring – emblem of the House of Savoy

You can hire our great halls for your private events. © Marie Contreras, Ronny Perraudin

10. Participate in the life of the castle

Are you interested in nighttime exploration, cooking workshops or Christmas tales? The ancestral fortress is full of exciting events throughout the year. Discover the history of the castle in a fun and original way. On the program: shows, dancing, workshops, drawing, storytelling, and many other activities that will appeal to young and old.
Your challenge: during the Scary Night, come to the castle in costume.

Numerous activities await young and old at the castle  ©Les Pieds Gauches, Simon Contreras, Sarah Jaquemet

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