A visit to Gruyères in Switzerland
Gruyères is a beautiful medieval town located on top of a hill in the Fribourg region of Switzerland. It is part of the Grand Tour of Switzerland of must see places, famous for its cheese making and locally known for its ‘double crème de Gruyère’, a thick cream that one eats on meringues. Gruyères is a popular escape for a day trip, but the surroundings have more to offer than just for one day. Check out all we like to do when we visit Gruyères.
Gruyères is a small, medieval, and car-free town. The main square of the walled town is filled with restaurants serving the local specialties, and shops. The houses are beautifully decorated with flowers, wall paintings and other small details. The castle of Gruyères is one of the famous Swiss castles, but what one would less expect is that Gruyères is also home to the HR Giger Museum. HR Giger is the Swiss artist who created creatures like Alien. The artist liked Gruyères and decided to open his museum here. In front of the museum you will see the Giger Bar with an impressive ceiling and extraordinary chairs.
We like visiting castles, and the medieval castle of Gruyères is definitely a beautiful one. The castle and its collection gives you a very good impression of what life in the middle ages must have been like in Gruyères. There is the knights room, the historic kitchen, beautiful gardens, and views on the surrounding mountains from every angle. The castle also has a small chapel on the outside.
One surprising item on display in the castle is the ‘chopped off hand’. People had been wondering about this hand for years and stories went from the hand of a thief, to something brought back from fights, but recent discoveries showed it is actually the hand of an Egyptian mummy bought by the wealthy family who lived in Gruyères castle.
To see other Castles to visit in Switzerland, check out our article on Swiss castles:
Gruyère cheese must be the most famous Swiss cheese. Before reaching the town of Gruyères, you will pass by the ‘Maison de la Gruyère’ cheese factory where you can learn about cheese making, and buy cheese directly in the big shop. Since tourist buses also stop here, it can sometimes be a bit busy.
Website of Maison de la Gruyère : https://www.lamaisondugruyere.ch/homepage-en/
Even though you could also buy chocolate in the ‘Maison de la Gruyère’ a visit to a chocolate factory is much more fun. Near Gruyères, you can visit Maison Cailler in Broc. You can make this experience even more fun by following a chocolate workshop or by doing the Cailler escape game.
Website of the Cailler chocolate factory: https://cailler.ch/en/maison-cailler
What to eat in Gruyères?
Gruyères has plenty of restaurants to choose from and most of them serve typical local dishes, often containing cheese. Cheese crusts (croute au fromage), fondue and raclette are on almost every restaurants menu as is the famous dessert. No visit to the town of Gruyères is complete without a ‘Meringue à la double crème’ in one of the towns restaurants!
Hiking and fun near Gruyères
If you are finished visiting Gruyères, exploring the beautiful surroundings for a hike, or for some summer fun can be a good idea. We usually head to Moléson-sur-Gruyères. This is a fantastic place for the entire family and offers a view on Lake Gruyères from above.
Moléson combines nature and fun! You have two choices, either to take the small funicular up, or walk up. On top, several hikes can be done, or you can also just go down again for some more family fun! At Moléson there are bouncy castles for kids in summer, a summer coaster, minigolf, and other activities. We usually eat at the Fromagerie d’Alpage (https://www.moleson.ch/en/cheese-dairy-1100-m/).
The Bains de la Gruyère, or Bains de Charmey are modern thermal baths at a short driving distance. A really nice place with an outdoor and indoor area and beautiful views on the surrounding mountains.
Their website: http://www.bainsdelagruyere.ch/
Hotel near Gruyères
Right in front of the thermal baths is a nice hotel in typical Swiss style which has their own access tunnel to the baths. Check out this hotel recommendation here.
How to get to Gruyères
By car: travelling by car is the easiest since it will then get you from Gruyères to the cheese factory and onwards to Moléson or to Charmey. From Geneva to Gruyères will take you approximately an hour and a half.
To Gruyères by public transport: You can get to Gruyères by Public transport by taking a train and then a bus. More information on public transport to Gruyères can be found on the website of the Swiss railway: https://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html
Other beautiful places to visit near Gruyères:
About 45 minutes by car from Gruyères is the famous resort town Gstaad Saanen. If you would like to hike and enjoy a cheese fondue in a big fondue pot in the outdoors, then check out our blog post on Gstaad. Typical Swiss experience guaranteed!