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It is one of the most photogenic and uniquely designed castles in Europe.
Chillon Chateau theatrically sits on a tiny rock islet connected to the Lake Geneva shore by a short wooden bridge. A small portion of the snowcapped Alps can be seen in the distance.
What to see
at Chillon Chateau
Visitor favorites: Exterior view (best from a boat) Main halls View from top of the keep Battlements Chapel Courtyards Bernese chamber Camera domini.
Don't expect wall-to-wall decorative trappings you see in some touristed castles. Chillon Chateau is lightly furnished. The structure itself is the draw.
16th century patriot Francois Bonivard was shackled to a dungeon pillar for five years. Almost three centuries later, Lord Byron wrote the well-known poem "The Prisoner of Chillon", which made Bonivard posthumously famous.
History in brief
Chillon Chateau's location was strategically on a major trade route linking Italy with northwestern Europe. It was built mainly to collect and enforce taxes on goods shipped through it.
Records prove a tax-collecting stronghold existed in the 11th century, but no one knows for sure when it was originally constructed. Most of what we see today is the renovated 13th century version, which was somewhat modified during a restoration done around the turn of the 20th century.
When to come
To avoid the tight-space squeeze of summer tour bus crowds, v isit Chillon Chateau early or late in the day.
Location in Switzerland
Top 5 Switzerland Wonders