The charming village of Gruyères is a medieval hilltop town and was crowned “the most beautiful village in western of Switzerland in 2014”.
And of course, it is part of the superb “Grand Tour of Switzerland”, the route designed by Suisse Tourisme and runs across 1600 kilometres throughout the country (I’ll write more about it soon).
Gruyères is located in the Fribourg canton of Switzerland, just over 41 kilometres from the famous city of Montreux.
The village is on an 82 metre-high hill that overlooks the Saane valley and the Lake of Gruyère.
It is a top-rated day-trip destination from the Lac Léman region, Alpine ski resorts, and Bern and it’s appreciated for the production of the Gruyére cheese.
The historic old town has its original medieval town walls, castle, defensive towers and gates intact.
And because cars are not allowed inside the old town, the pedestrian can have a lovely stroll around the cobblestones roads, charming architecture and its beautiful fountains.
It is a shame that the day we were there, it was foggy and raining a little bit. And to make things worsened, my camera was faulty. Thus the pictures don’t do justice to the village. Sorry!
What to see?
Château de Gruyères: the 13th-century is a hilltop fortress with a multimedia history show and ornate rooms. More info here.
Inside the small St. Germain Castle, the Oscar-winning artist H.R. Giger Museum and Bar show some artwork relating to the film “Alien”. Alien is a science fiction horror movie and its accompanying artefacts were designed by the Swiss artist H. R. Giger.
Église Saint-Théodule is a church which was built in 1254 and is is dedicated to St. Théodule.
The Tibet Museum displays Buddhist sculptures and ritual articles of the Himalayas.
The Houses from 15th to 17th century at Rue du Bourg, especially the houses 39 and 47, are listed as a Swiss heritage site of national significance.
Just outside the town, you can also visit:
Mansion Cailler: the chocolate factory is one of the oldest and most important chocolate factories. It has a museum tour telling the history of chocolate, from Aztec cocoa ceremonies to today’s innovations. You can see a small scale chocolate production line. More info here.
La Maison du Gruyère is located in Pringy and presents the delicious Gruyère AOP cheese. Visitors are welcome to observe the cheese-making process live with tasting at the end of the visit.
Founded in 1307 and closed in 1848, La Part-Dieu charterhouse is now private property with few guided tours, courses, concerts, and exhibitions.
The are several traditional restaurants that serves the delicious specialities of La Gruyère like fondues (“Moitié-moitié”), röstis, Cuchaule (bread), Benichon Mustard (like a jam), Meringues (made with Gruyère double cream) and Macaroni de Chalet.
La Chocolaterie de Gruyères is a small family business highlights its artisanal chocolate creations.
Where to stay?
There are several elegant hotels in and out of the old town.
My friends and I stayed at the cute Hôtel de Gruyères, which is 2 minutes from the main road Rue du Bourg.
How to get there?
As we were staying at my friends in Locarno, we drove to Gruyère. That took us around 3.5 hours.
Cars are not allowed inside the old town. Though there is a couple of car parking outside, you should verify which one you can park overnight.
The nearest airport is Geneva-Cointrin (118 km), Basel-Mulhouse (166 km) or Zurich-Kloten (189 km).
The regional airport of Bern-Belp is about 70 km from Gruyères.
Check this website to see your options: https://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html
A bus connects Gruyères Ville (the historic old town) with Gruyères Gare in about three minutes – alternatively, it is an enjoyable ten-minute walk.
And for more information about the village check their website here.
In my opinion, Switzerland is the most beautiful country that I’ve visited, and I can’t get enough of it. I try to go there as much as I can!
And how about you? Which is your favourite country?