Tourist’s guide to Gruyeres – cheese, city and castle in Switzerland

There are enough places on the world map that seem to have come down from photographs, and the small town of Gruyeres (Switzerland) is undoubtedly one of them. The picturesque medieval city, which is located on the hillsides at the foot of the Alps, is home to the famous Gruyere cheese. Thousands of tourists come here every year to stroll along the old streets, climb to the top of the hill by funicular and just feel the atmosphere of the Middle Ages.

Gruyeres, Switzerland

PHOTO: Gruyeres, Switzerland.

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general information

Coat of arms of the city of Gruyeres, Switzerland

Gruyeres is a tiny town in the Republic of Switzerland , where everything is saturated with the spirit of the Middle Ages. Previously, it belonged to the Counts of Gruyeres. The family emblem depicts a crane, which has become an integral symbol of the city. In honor of the bird the city was named, because in translation from French Grue means – crane.

Gruyere Castle, which is another symbol of the town and Switzerland, was built in the 11th century in the southern part of the Friborg canton (the distance from diplomatic Geneva is 116 km, and 68 km from the capital of the country, Bern ). On an area of ​​about 28.5 square meters. km lives a little more than 2 thousand people.

The legend of the appearance of the town of Gruyeres

The founder of the settlement is Gruerius – the leader of the Vandals. He was looking for fertile lands where he could found a city. Rising the banks of the Sarina River, he saw a beautiful place surrounded by mountains and generously lit by the sun. The land was uninhabited, however, Gruerius decided to lay the walls of the castle here.

According to legend, when the construction was completed, a snow-white crane fell from the sky. The leader saw this as a good omen, and from that day on, the coat of arms of Gruerius and the modern city of Gruyere adorned the crane.

Interesting fact! Historians believe that the leader of the vandals settled on a hill in about 436, however, the first mention of the settlement dates back only to the 11th century, at which time the construction of the castle began and ended only in the 13th century. It is not known for certain whether the Counts of Gruyeres are descendants of Gruerius. Probably, the leader is a fictional character, and the region got the name from the word “gruyere” – forester.

Grazing cows

Landscapes descended from the pictures of Gruyeres in Switzerland are fascinating and pacifying. The mountain lake is considered one of the most beautiful in the country, Friborg cows are grazed on its shores, which provide fragrant milk for the production of cheese and desserts.

Good to know! Residents and city authorities are doing their best to preserve the aura of the Middle Ages, which is why the settlement is closed to vehicles.

In addition to interesting sights that span eight centuries, the city has a rather eventful life – guests are invited to restaurants serving fondue, raclette and, of course, desserts with heavy cream.

Gruyere is a gastronomic region of Switzerland. Here you can see how cheese is made. Sweet tooth can enjoy a tour of the Cailler Chocolate Factory, located in nearby Brock.

See also: What to try in Sweden – a selection of dishes of national cuisine .

What to do in the summer
Bike Tour Gruyeres

Mountain landscapes attract hikers, lovers of cycling routes. There are many tourist routes laid out, walking along which you can hear fascinating local legends. There is a trail on which sculptures carved from stone by a chainsaw are preserved.

In the summer in the city of Gruyeres (Switzerland), tourists are offered many active attractions:

  • bobsleigh slopes;
  • riding a scooter;
  • mini golf.
What to do in winter
Ski resort Moleson

Near the town of Gruyeres is the largest ski area Moleson, the height of the slopes reaches 2003 meters. There are 8 ski lifts and 35 km of ski slopes of various difficulty levels, including family vacations. At the top of the mountain is an observatory.

Vacationers climb the lift to Sharmay, a resort area where, in addition to skiing, you can enjoy relaxing in the hot thermal springs.

On a note! The oldest ski resort in Switzerland is St. Moritz. Find out more about active leisure in the town on this page .

Gruyere Cheese and Cheese Museum

Sightseeing is a must-see destination for the city of Gruyeres. The cheese factory is just minutes from the train station.

Good to know! The tour is included in the Swiss Travel Pass. The full ticket costs 7 francs. This price includes an audio guide and a small package of three types of cheese.

Gruyere cheese production stage

You can observe the production at certain hours:

  • from 9-00 to 11-00;
  • from 12-30 to 14-30.

Many tourists recommend planning an excursion in the morning – until 9-00 in order to catch the process of preparing the product. The museum has interactive video stands, but the impressions, of course, are not as bright as those from visiting the factory.

In the first room you can feel the aromas of mountain grass, cows eat it. An audio guide will tell you that an animal eats up to 100 kg of grass daily and gives up to 25 liters of milk.

Interesting fact! Throughout the tour, an audio guide communicates with tourists on behalf of a cow named Cherry.

Four vats with a total capacity of 4,800 liters of milk are installed in the showroom. 12 heads of cheese are made from one tank, each weighs 35 kg. Before pouring milk into the container, experts must take a sample.

Milk is mixed in vats

In the vats, milk of morning and evening milk is mixed, heated, yeast, a special enzyme are added to start the curdling process, which lasts about 50 minutes. The formed clot is cut with the help of knives located in tanks, and again warms up at a temperature of 60 degrees for 45 minutes.

Then the mass is placed in special forms, for this use a blue hose. Under the form, a container is installed, where the serum flows, it is fed to piglets.

Interesting fact! Despite the fact that the cooking process is regulated, the specialist independently decides when to complete one stage and move on to the next. Thus, the preparation of Gruyere cheese is a creative process. To prepare 1 kg of product, 12 liters of milk are needed.

The rooms are maintained impeccable cleanliness, each vat is thoroughly washed as soon as the cheese mass is removed from it. All cheese heads are identified, they are stamped with the date of production and the number of the cheese factory. After that, they are closed in forms and sent under the press for 15-16 hours. The mass of the press is 300 kg, but gradually it increases to 900 kg. The process does not end there – after the product is soaked in saline for 20 hours.

Gruyere cheese ripening stage

The final stage is maturation in a special chamber where a certain temperature regime is maintained. A characteristic crust appears three months later, after which the cheese is moved to a room where the temperature is maintained no higher than 15 degrees. Here it is kept until sale.

The museum is located at: Gruyères, Place de la Gare, 3. You can visit it daily from 9-00 to 18-30.

The museum has a restaurant

There is a restaurant in the museum; it takes visitors several hours longer. Souvenirs can be purchased at the store.

Ticket price:

  • full – 7 francs;
  • children (up to 12 years old) – 6 francs;
  • family (2 full, 2 children) – 12 CHF.

Gruyere Castle

Gruyere Castle in Switzerland is considered the second most visited in the country. The first is the Chillon Palace near Montreux . The castle in the city of Gruyeres is built on the slopes of a hill, with a beautiful view of the Alps.

Gruyere Castle

Many legends are associated with this place, however, historians still have not figured out the origin of the castle and the county. It is believed that the count’s family settled here in the 11th century, however, the paintings presented in one of the halls of the castle of Gruyeres tell about the events of 400 years.

Interesting fact! The name of the castle is interpreted differently. There are two common versions, according to one of them the name of the castle is connected with the crane, and on the other – with the French word “gruyere”, which means “hunting area”.

In the territory of the castle of Gruyeres

The Counts of Gruyeres lived in the castle only until the 16th century, when the family became impoverished, the building became the residence of officials. During this period, the external and internal decoration changes – there are elements characteristic of the Baroque.

In the 19th century, the castle of Gruyere was almost destroyed and they wanted to demolish it, but it was bought by a wealthy local resident – Mr. Bovi. He connected his friends and together they restored the historical relic. The area adjacent to the castle was also restored.

At the beginning of the last century, the castle of Gruyeres again became the property of the canton in Switzerland and turned into a museum. Guests are offered an audio guide. In addition, the castle holds exhibitions of modern painting.

Different rooms have been preserved in the palace:

Count's Hall of Gruyere Castle
Count’s Hall
  • Count’s Hall;
  • kitchen;
  • chapel;
  • bedroom;
  • music room;
  • hunting room;
  • Earl’s favorite room.

Another legend is associated with this room – the count fell in love with a simple girl and even settled her in his castle. However, the legend is silent about how the lawful wife of the count reacted to this fact.

Gruyere Castle French Garden

There is a French garden near the castle, but it is better to visit it in the summer. The castle leaves a pleasant, cozy feeling, I want to come back here again.

View from the castle of Gruyeres

Gruyere Castle can be visited every day from 9-00 to 18-00 from April to October and from 10-00 to 17-00 from November to March. For excursions, it is recommended to allocate one hour.

Ticket price:

  • full – 12 CHF;
  • teenage (from 15 years old) and student – 8 CHF;
  • children (from 6 to 15 years old) – 4 CHF;
  • family (2 adults and 3 children) – 25 CHF;
  • Children under 6 years old admission is free.

Giger Museum

The controversial, but undoubtedly noteworthy attraction of Gruyeres in Switzerland is a museum dedicated to the Swiss artist Hans Rudolf Giger, who painted in the style of fantastic realism.

Hans Rudolph Giger.  Erotomechanics

Interesting fact! In the Oscar-winning film “Alien”, Giger’s work was used. Thanks to this, in 1980, the picture received an award for visual effects.

Alien's Head

What his friend said about the work of the Swiss artist, his paintings clearly show where the person comes from and where he leaves. Pictures help revive biological memory, carry away into the very core of a human cell. Pictures show the genetic code and the process of protein synthesis.

In addition to paintings, the museum presents grotesques and sculptures, unusual shapes of furniture, models for science fiction films, including the film “Alien”. In one of the halls there is a special place – a small exposition, separated by a curtain, here are pictures of aliens. Guests over 18 years old are allowed here.

The interior of the bar at the Giger Museum

After visiting the museum, tourists head to the bar, which serves delicious meringue and cappuccino. Fans of alcoholic drinks can order schnapps.

The museum is located at: Château St. Germain. You can visit it:

Giger Museum Building
  • from April to October: from 10-00 to 18-00;
  • from November to March: from Tuesday to Friday – from 11-00 to 17-00, on weekends – from 10-00 to 18-00.

Ticket price:

  • for adults – 12 CHF;
  • for students – 8 CHF.

The bar is open daily from 10-00 to 20-30 (from November to March the bar is closed on Mondays).

Funicular Moleson

Funicular Moleson

The funicular lifts tourists to a height of 2 km, to the peak of Le Moleson. Travel time no more than a quarter of an hour. On the way, you can have a bite to eat – one restaurant works in the middle of the path and the second on the top.

You can climb to the top on foot, but in this case you need comfortable, athletic shoes and warm clothes – it’s cold above. The climb takes a little more than an hour. Tourists note that the road is quite difficult, but comfortable – there are a lot of cafes and toilets.

Good to know! Travel in two directions – 35 CHF.

View from Moleson

From the top there is a picturesque view of the entire French part of Switzerland – from Lake Leman to Mont Blanc.

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How to get to Gruyeres

The two easiest ways to get to the city:

  • by car;
  • on the Chocolate train that leaves from Montreux.
Chocolate Train from Montreux

Other routes are longer and more difficult – you should change in Friborg, and then in the Bull settlement.

The route from Zurich takes 2 hours 30 minutes and involves two transfers:

At the railway station in Zurich
  • first you need to catch the Zurich HB – Friborg train – departs every hour, the journey takes about 1 hour 20 minutes;
  • transfer to the Friborg Gare – Bulle Gare bus; the journey takes a little less than half an hour;
  • Then you should take the Bulle – Gruyères local train, it will take you only 5-6 minutes to go.

The total one-way fare is around 75 francs.

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Gruyeres on the map of Switzerland is distinguished by amazing landscapes and a special medieval atmosphere, which reigns here for seven hundred years. Despite its modest size, Gruyeres (Switzerland) fascinates and captivates the most sophisticated tourists.

In the video, Gruyere looks even more beautiful than in the photo. Take a look and see.

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