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Why you must visit the historic town of Gruyères in Switzerland?

The medieval town of Gruyeres in Switzerland

Gruyères is a beautiful little medieval town in the Canton of Fribourg in Switzerland. Located atop a hill and overlooking the Saane valley, the historic town is very popular with tourists. The entire village is a part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites and as you wander around the village you will understand the reason. Not only does the village enjoy stunning views of the Swiss Prealps but also has been beautifully preserved with a number of heritage sites of national significance located in the village. Strolling through the narrow, traffic-free streets of the medieval town it is hard not to fall in love with it.

The medieval town of Gruyeres in Switzerland

The medieval town of Gruyeres in Switzerland

The medieval town of Gruyeres in Switzerland

The medieval town of Gruyeres in Switzerland

The medieval town of Gruyeres in Switzerland

The medieval town of Gruyeres in Switzerland

Read on to discover why you must visit Gruyères.

Château de Gruyères (Gruyères Castle)


Sitting atop a hill in Gruyères is the Gruyères Castle which is a heritage site of national significance. It is one of the most popular castles in Switzerland and was built sometime between 1270 and 1282. It has been home to Counts, bailiffs, prefects and then used as a family home before being bought by the Canton of Fribourg in the 1930s. It was then converted to a museum and opened to the public.

Visitors to the castle can travel back through the ages as they explore the various collections (suits of armor, tapestries, paintings etc.) displayed in the castle. The castle also offers fabulous views of the area. Definitely, a must visit while visiting Gruyères.

Gruyères Castle

Gruyères Castle

Gruyères Castle

Gruyères Castle

Gruyères Castle

Gruyères Castle

Gruyères Castle

For information on entry fees and opening hours, visit www.chateau-gruyeres.ch

St. Thèodule Church


Located near the base of Château de Gruyères, near the winding path that leads to the castle is this beautiful medieval church. Dedicated to St. Thèodule, the church was built sometime during the 13th century. It was destroyed by fire 2 times and rebuilt & renovated both the times. Today it is still actively used for worship.

St. Theodule Church

HR Giger Museum


If you are an alien lover, this museum is for you. The museum houses a number of key works of Hans Ruedi Giger who was a part of the special effects team that won an Academy Award for the film Alien. In addition to film designs and work, the museum also has a large display of HR Giger's private art collection. It is a different kind of museum which delves into the aesthetics of the 'Aliens' and into the mind of HR Giger.

HR Giger Museum

HR Giger Museum

Cheese Heaven


The region of Gruyère has been known for its cheese production from as early as the 12th century. And it continues even today, following the same age-old, traditional recipe which has been passed down from generation to generation. Gruyère cheese is one of the most popular of Swiss cheeses and if you are cheese fan, then you must book yourself in for a visit to a cheese dairy where you can enjoy an interactive experience learning about all the stages of cheese production.

La Maison du Gruyère, which is located at the foot of Gruyères Castle, offers an educational tour where you can learn about the secrets of the Gruyère AOP making.

We travelled a little further afield to Buvette des Inveuettes (in nearby Charmey) where the Biland family own an Alpine Cheese Dairy. Here we watched the production of cheese using the milk from the farmer's dairy herd. We learnt how the cows which produce the milk for the Gruyère cheese are fed only natural forage, how the vat is curdled & the curd is cut and mixed, how the grainy curd is then pumped into molds and finally how it goes into the salt bath and finally into the cellars for maturation. We also learnt how the maturity time affects the taste of the cheese. It was an interesting experience. This was followed by a cheese tasting session.

Alpine Cheese Dairy

Alpine Cheese Dairy

Alpine Cheese Dairy

Alpine Cheese Dairy

Cailler Chocolate Factory


A visit to Gruyères would be incomplete without a visit to the Cailler chocolate factory. Founded by François-Louis Cailler who was born in Vevey (in 1976), Cailler is Switzerland’s oldest chocolate brand still in existence. Even though it is the oldest chocolate brand in Switzerland, Cailler is not exported widely and hence you may not have seen it on the shelves of your local superstore. Having visited the factory and after sampling a number of their chocolate creations, I can safely say that Cailler makes an amazing variety of fine chocolates.

In 2010 Maison Cailler – La Chocolaterie Suisse was opened - a place where visitors could experience the secrets surrounding the origins and the manufacturing of chocolate. The interactive experience leads visitors through the history of cocoa, beginning with Aztec cocoa ceremonies, the high-quality ingredients used, to the latest production process and finally leading to a chocolate tasting session that is sure to excite your taste buds. Who wouldn't enjoy an assortment of delicious chocolates? It is a 'taste as much as you can' session and I am sure that no one will leave the factory complaining of not enough chocolate.

As you head out after the informative (audio guide) tour, there is a large gift shop selling all of Cailler's creations. And the prices are really good.

Cailler chocolate factory

Cailler chocolate factory

Cailler chocolate factory

Cailler chocolate factory

For information on the opening hours, ticket prices and directions to the factory (it is around 15 minutes from Château de Gruyères), visit www.cailler.ch

Where to stay


While there are a few charming hotels within the town of Gruyères (La Fleur de Lys, a 350-year-old building, a very short distance from the castle & the Giger Museum is a popular option), I stayed at Hotel Cailler in Charmey. Around 15 minutes from the center of Gruyères, this charming hotel has beautifully appointed rooms, two restaurants and a spa that is directly connected by a tunnel from the hotel. The service, the quality and the professionalism of the staff at the hotel - everything was excellent. The dining experience was also fabulous. The hotel would make a good base to explore the region of Gruyeres.

Hotel Cailler

Hotel Cailler

For special offers or to book a room, visit www.hotel-cailler.ch

My short visit to Gruyères had me enamoured by the beauty of the region. The Gruyères region and the Canton of Fribourg as a whole has a lot to offer to its visitors - stunning landscapes, historical and cultural treasures and gastronomical adventures. It is a beautiful part of Switzerland and if you plan to explore Switzerland, this is one Canton you should not miss.

For more information on the Gruyères region, accommodation options, excursions and guided tours, visit www.la-gruyere.ch and for information on the Fribourg region, visit  www.fribourgregion.ch

The medieval town of Gruyeres
My visit to the Vaud region was courtesy the Switzerland Tourism Board. As always, all opinions are solely my own.

8 comments:

  1. Looks like your trip was about a lot more than cheese (I just had to try to get a Gruyere joke in there). My knowledge of Switzerland is astoundingly lacking so this was an informative and beautiful read. Thanks!

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  2. Aww the cow with the hat! Switzerland is one of the few countries in Europe that is really high on my must see list because of it's natural beauty. Just look at the mountains in the background.

    I did not know about cheese heaven though! I love cheese!

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  3. Don't mind me...just over here drooling over these photos. Between the views, chocolate, cheese, and (for my husband) the churches, it looks like a place we would love to go. It also looks like it's out of a fairytale but I guess that's why I like it! :)

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    1. The medieval town has been preserved well, so you do get a feeling of travelling back in time. A lovely little town to visit!

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  4. I would love to visit this historic town. Visiting the Alpine Cheese Dairy looks like a great way to spend the day and learn about the production of cheese. Even better that it is followed by a cheese tasting session :)

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  5. I've had heard of Gruyères before, but never knew it was such a nice, medieval town with some amazing views. I love your photos, which give a great image of Gruyères! St. Thèodule Church has some great architecture and I'm really curious about the inside as well, so that's definitely a sight I'd love to visit during my time in town. I'd love to visit the chocolate factory as well, since I'm a huge chocolate lover! :-)

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    1. Gruyeres is very beautiful. I would happily go back anytime. The chocolate factory visit was interesting and the chocolate tasting at the end of the tour was fab!

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  6. What a beautiful town to spend some time in. Your photos make me want to pack my bags and come visit Gruyeres. Especially with all that delicious looking food!

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