The Gruyères region in central Switzerland is world famous primarily because of the cheese with the same name. While this cheese likely will play a role in any visit to the region and town of Gruyères, there is so much more than that to see and discover! In this article you can read about activities in the town of Gruyères you don’t want to miss!
Visiting the quaint town of Gruyères feels like getting teleported back to medieval times. Gruyères is located on top of a hill overlooking the Fribourg lower lands and the pre-alps mountains. The town is ringed off with a medieval protection wall and much of the original architecture
How to get to Gruyères
It is easy 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.
Visiting the Castle of Gruyères
The castle of Gruyères towers high above the Swiss town of the same name and is one of the main touristic attractions in the area. 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 beautifully maintained antique furniture.
From the windows of the castle and the castle gardens, you have amazing panoramic views over either the town of Gruyères or the surrounding mountain ranges.
Eating the Gruyères specialities
When you are in the town of Gruyères, you of course need to indulge in local delicacies! Do a cheese tasting of Gruyère, or have a famous moitié-moitié fondue. In this dish, Gruyère cheese is mixed with Fribourg Vacherin cheese for an amazingly rich and tasty fondue. While traditionally more of a winter dish, cheese fondue can be enjoyed all year round in the town of Gruyères.
Besides cheese, don’t miss your chance to taste the famous meringues of Gruyères. Served with double cream, these sweet delicacies make for a great dessert on the spot or a nice souvenir. You can buy gift boxes with the meringues de la Gruyère in most tourist shops in the town.
Visit the Giger museum & bar
Are you a fan of the Alien movie franchise? If the answer to that question is yes, chances are that you know who Hans Ruedi Giger (better known as H.R. Giger) was. This Swiss visual artist was the founding father of the monsters from the Alien movies. The late H.R. Giger has a museum in Gruyères that is a must-visit for fans of his work!
The art exhibition spans his entire career and especially the Alien movies are well represented with both artwork and movie props. If you are not too sure if you want to visit the museum, you can still get a taste of the world of H.R. Giger by visiting the Giger bar!
This museum bar is located right next to the museum and is decorated in true Giger style.
Combine with the Cailler chocolate museum
A visit to the town of Gruyères can be combined with going to the nearby chocolate museum called Maison Cailler.
Every visit to Maisson Cailler starts with an audiotour telling you about the history of chocolate and Cailler. After this, the truly fun part starts! While learning about chocolate making with modern-day techniques, the tasting starts! Here, you can taste unlimited samples of many Cailler classics ánd new varieties. Make sure to taste them all! Maison Cailler also has a gift shop with, of course, loads of chocolate bars and their other products for sale. There also is a small café onsite.
It is easy to travel between Maison Cailler and the town of Gruyères. From the station in Gruyères, simply to ‘Bulle, gare routière (bus B). From there, you take bus B256 to Broc-fabrique Gare. When getting of the bus, you see the chocolate museum right in front of you. Tickets cost about CHF 6.20 one way and can either be bought on the SBB website or at the station.
Discovering the town center
Apart from the activities described above, be sure to also take some time to simply wander around this medieval town and discover its little shops, alleys, and old buildings. Climb the old castle wall, walk in the fields around the town and visit the little church. There is simply so much to discover in this charming town and its majestic surroundings.
What is your favorite thing to do in Gruyères?