Are you visiting Gruyere, Switzerland for the first time? My favorite insider tips and recommendations for visitors to Gruyere, Switzerland in the canton (district) of Fribourg.
If you love Swiss cheese, you’ll want to visit the “Maison du Gruyere” cheese dairy at the foothill of the medieval village of Gruyeres. There you can discover the secrets of the famous Gruyere AOC cheese and see how it is made. Did I mention that they give samples?
Besides the gorgeous scenery, Gruyere offers wonderful cuisine. A typical lunch at Restaurant Le Chalet includes salad and “moitie-moite” cheese fondue (half Gruyere cheese and half Vacherin Fribourgeois cheese.) If you have paced yourself, try the Macaroni de chalet.
Saving the best for last, try the fresh raspberries with double cream, a regional specialty.
Gruyere is not crowded, by any means, but if you want to escape the area, drive to Moleson mountain. There you can walk to the summit, about a two hour walk with good shoes, or you can take the funicular and cable car. The panorama takes in Lake Geneva, the Alps and the Jura. Of course you have worked up an appetite for fondue at the summit restaurant. If you take the kids, you will discover a fun park and an alp cheese factory, only open in the summer.
If you come to Gruyere, get your picture taken in the medieval village of Gruyeres. Only 100 people live in the traffic-free village. Look around and you will notice the crane (“grue in French.”) Take your picture in front of the Jester’s House.
Photo opportunities in Gruyere include the Gruyeres Castle, just follow the main street (the only one!) to the top of the small hill. While you are there, be sure to take in the multimedia show, taking you through eight centuries of history and legends. (This is a very well done 18 minute production worth your time.)
Controversy in Gruyere
Gruyere’s best museum, or should I say, most controversial with the local citizens, is the HR Giger Museum in the Chateau St.-Germain. Get your picture taken in the bar where the furniture from Alien-inspired movie sets come to life.
If you happen to be in Gruyere in June, the Midsummer Day at the Castle comes to life with a medieval festival in mid-June.
Another fun event is National day on the 1st of August with Alphorn music and Swiss folk music.
Gruyere in the winter means “Once upon a time there was…Christmas.” During the entire month of December the small village is decorated with a holiday theme.
Gruyere by car or train
Just 10 minutes by car, outside of Gruyere, you can visit Broc. Maison Cailler is the only milk chocolate factory of Cailler-Nestle in the world. You can see how the good quality of the milk from the La Gruyere region is used in the chocolate. Did I mention that the tour, with plenty of chocolate tasting, is free? The factory is open for tours from April to the end of October. As a confessed-chocoholic, this was my FAVORITE part of the trip.
Where are your favorite places to visit in Gruyere, Switzerland?
Thank you to Laura Braissant of La Gruyere Tourism for assistance with this post.
Photos and YouTube video by Nancy D. Brown