Things to do in Gruyeres

Gruyères is a beautiful, walled medieval town with cobbled streets and it's own castle. Gruyères is located at the base of the Swiss Prealps in the French-speaking canton of Fribourg. In the 13th century, the Count of Gruyeres built his castle at the top of the hill to control the upper Saanen Valley and the town was developed thereafter. The historic town of Gruyères has been unaffected by time and takes pride in their exceptional art and cultural exhibitions. You will be enchanted by the architectural charm of Gruyères and enjoy some of the most breathtaking views in Switzerland. You can plan a visit to Gruyères on one of our Swiss tours.

Château de Gruyères

The castle is one of the most prestigious in Switzerland and towers majestically above the medieval town of Gruyères. The tour of the castle offers a walk through eight centuries of architecture, history, and culture. A visit to the castle is a journey across eight centuries of architecture, history and culture. The castle was the residence of the counts of Gruyères and was constructed in the 13th century. Michel, the last of them, faced financial difficulties and declared bankruptcy in 1554. The creditors - the towns of Fribourg and Berne - shared his land between them. The Castle became the headquarters of the Fribourg bailiffs (1555-1798), then the prefects' residence until 1848. It was put up for sale in 1849 and became the property of the Bovy and Balland families, who stayed there in summer and took care of restoration of the site with their artist friends. In 1938, the State of Fribourg bought the Castle and opened a museum which is a historical gem in the Fribourg region.

Église Saint-Théodule

The Church of Gruyères is dedicated to St. Théodule and was built in 1254. It is situated away fom the bustle of the main street and located next to the Castle of Gruyères. Inside the church, there are three naves: a main nave and two side aisles, that were lateral chapels separated from the church by walls. The side chapels were integrated to the central nave around 1800 and the stained glass windows are by Yoki, an artist from Fribourg. When walking the streets of Gruyères you can often hear the bells ringing on this Roman Catholic Church and it is a beautiful place to visit.

HR Giger Museum

The HR Giger museum is located in the St-Germain castle in the center of Gruyères and contains the largest existing collection of the Swiss artist, HR Giger. Immerse yourself in the world of fantastic art, paintings, sculptures, furnishings, and film sets. HR Giger won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects for his participation in the film “Alien.” Right across from the museum, there is a Giger bar themed for the “Alien” movie with the roof, walls, fittings and chairs all designed by the artist. The museum is definitely geared for adults and Giger fans.

Tibet Museum

At the Tibet Museum you can discover the amazing beauty of Himalayan Art. It is housed in the renovated chapel of St. Joseph and is run by the Alain Bordier Foundation. The Tibet Museum is small but contains an important collection of Buddhist sculptures, paintings and ritual objects. The collection is meaningful and inspires a feeling of zen and meditation. The setting is unique as it blends the religions of Christianity from the stained glass windows in the Catholic Church with the Buddhist and Tibetan art collection.

Le Maison du Gruyères

The cheese factory is located just below the town of Gruyères next to the train station. It is an interesting cheese manufacturing museum where you will receive a headset to take an audio tour (available in 13 languages), and watch modern cheese making at designated times of the day. You can also buy local cheese, clotted cream, meringues, and souvenirs in the market and gift shop. There is also a restaurant onsite where you can choose from a large selection of local specialties.

Cailler Chocolate Factory

You can catch a train from the Gruyères train station to Broc and visit the Cailler chocolate factory, which should take about 25 minutes by train. Cailler is the oldest chocolate manufacturer in Switzerland and is known as one of the world's finest chocolates. Its brands include Frigor and Cailler, which are still made in the company's factory in Broc. Cailler is not widely exported, so it lacks the name recognition of Lindt or Tobler, and you'll have to come to Switzerland to enjoy its many varieties at the source. Upon taking a tour of the factory and learning about the history of chocolate, you can enjoy the chocolate sample room where you can try as much chocolate as you want. There is also a large gift shop selling all varieties of Cailler chocolate so you can be sure to stock up.

Moléson Village  

The Moléson village (officially called Moléson -sur-Gruyères) is just a short bus ride or 10 minute drive above Gruyères. From the village you can catch a funicular and cable car to the top of Moléson Mountain for an excellent mountain view across the Prealps and down to Gruyères. It is an alpine village with many fun family activities, like grass carting and a summer luge. The main draw is the Moléson Mountain above the village where there is a café, an observatory, and dormitory style accommodations at the top.  There is great hiking from the summit and below from the village and even a climbing route (via ferrata) for the brave. 

Alpine Demonstration Dairy in Moléson  

Discover the traditional style of cheese-making in a large wood-fire boiler in a typical mountain chalet dating from 1686. The Moléson's mountain cheese dairy seeks to demonstrate traditions of chalet life and cheese-making. The cheese-making demonstrations takes place at 10:00 a.m. each day and once you reach the chalet you can enjoy fondue or traditional macaroni. It is open only in the summer.

Gruyères Culinary Specialties

Gruyères has many local culinary specialties that you will not want to miss during your visit. Of course Gruyère cheese is the most famous and takes its name from this magnificent region that it comes from. It has been produced since the 12th century and is considered one of the finest cheeses for baking and melting.

Other Local Flavors Include:

  • “Moitié-moitié” Fondue: consists of Gruyère AOP cheese and Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP cheese melted together in a pan and is commonly found in the Fribourg region.
  • Benichon Mustard: is a sort of jam made using candy sugar, spice, cooked wine, and mustard powder. It is eaten with cuchaule bread.
  • Cuchaule: is a plaited bread seasoned with saffron and typically served with sweet-sour Benichon mustard.
  • Meringues: are made with Gruyère double cream and has a crunchy outer shell with a light and fluffy center.
  • Macaroni de Chalet: cooked over a wood fire with onions, and just before serving it, is topped with Gruyère cheese.

Gruyères, Switzerland has so many wonderful things to offer with such a rich history and beautiful architecture. It has been said that if you only have enough time to visit one town in Switzerland, then visit Gruyères. 

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