The castle of Gruyères towers high above the Swiss town with the same name and is one of the main touristic attractions in the area. The castle was built between 1272 and 1280 and is nowadays a well-visited tourist destination. Remarkable is that despite the age of the castle, both exterior and interior are well maintained, making a tour through the castle a fun and educational experience.
Since the Gruyères castle was built, it was owned by several noble individual and families throughout the centuries. Since 1993 however, the castle is preserved by a foundation . This foundation primarily markets the castle as a place where visitors can enjoy both medieval architecture as well as a wealth of invaluable art.
Castle of Gruyères visit
During your visit in the castle, you walk through a number of lavishly decorated rooms with numerous purposes. You can discover the hunting room ballrooms, dining rooms, sleeping chambers and much more. All of these rooms are furnished with beautiful maintained antique furniture. Another striking characteristic of this castle are the stained glass windows, many of which decorated with the Gruyère coat of arms, a white crane on a red background.
There was one aspect of my visit to the Gruyère castle that was less appealing to me personally. Not only does the foundation preserve the vast antique art collection, they also mix it with contemporary art. I found the decision to put modern paintings in medieval castle chambers was not that great.
When you are done roaming through the different chambers of the castle and enjoying the magnificent views of the Swiss (pre-)Alps through the stained glass windows, you can also have a walk through the castle gardens. Just like the castle itself, the garden looks out on the mountains of Canton Fribourg. This makes it a really nice place to take a break and enjoy views.
The castle gardens and an educational film presentation about the castle are accessible for people with reduced mobility. A visit to the castle itself however does including climbing stairs and elevators are not available.
Combine with other attractions
Expect to spend approximately an hour discovering the chambers of the castle and the adjacent castle gardens. When purchasing tickets to the castle in the reception, it is possible to buy discounted combination tickets granting access to other attractions in and around Gruyères. Some of these attractions are the Giger museum and the Gruyère cheese museum, La Maison du Gruyère.
Additionally, the Cailler chocolate museum in Broc is only a 20 minute drive away from Gruyères.
Due to the castle of Gruyère being located in the middle of the village and so close to other tourist destinations, it is perfect to combine different activities on the same day. The museum is open daily from 9 AM until 6 PM.
How to get there
It is possible to visit the town of Gruyéres by car. You can find parking spaces at the foot of the hill of the medieval town. From there, you walk up the hill to the actual town centre. During weekdays and holiday periods, it can be difficult to find a parking spot due to the number of visitors.
If you prefer taking the train, the train station of Gruyères is also located at the foot of the hill, next to the Gruyères cheese museum. From the train station, you walk to the castle of Gruyères in about 15 to 20 minutes. To plan your own journey, use the website of the Swiss Railways.
Gruyères castle landscape picture on top is copyright of the Castle of Gruyére organisation. All other photos are copyright of TheSwisspath.com