Trip from Geneva to Gruyères
The Gruyères region of the Canton of Fribourg is the home of Switzerland's most famous cheese. It boasts some of the loveliest scenery in the country, with lush, rolling green hills and stunning views of high mountain peaks.
The town of Gruyères itself is unique: a medieval village consisting of a cobble-stoned main street flanked by ancient but beautifully preserved buildings – a tribute both to the local statesmen's commitment to the rich history of their canton, and to the craftsmen restorers who have kept the village in its pristine condition. The famous 13th century castle, the Château de Gruyères, towers over the town and the valley below. The entire town is car-free, and the cobbled main street is an uphill slope to the château, so remember to wear comfortable walking shoes. Not only is the architecture of the medieval buildings themselves worth seeing, but some exceptional art and cultural exhibitions are housed here. And to top it off, you are surrounded by some of the most breathtaking views in Switzerland.
Castle of Gruyères
The Château de Gruyères itself is a museum containing exhibitions that bring to life the history and everyday life of the last eight centuries. Included in the entrance fee is an excellent multimedia presentation of the town and the region, available in eight languages. The small but beautifully kept château garden provides fabulous views of the surrounding countryside.
The Château de St-Germain
This tiny town has a smaller second castle – the Château de St-Germain – which houses an exhibition of images and sculptures from the Swiss artist H. R. Giger, Oscar-winning designer of the monster in the original film of The Alien (1979). And when you've had your fill of these artistic horrors, you can recover in the bar opposite, which is decorated in the same science-fiction style!
In spite of the town's compact size, there are plenty of bars and restaurants. Together with the castles, another must-see is La Maison du Gruyère and its Fromagerie (dairy), where you can see a demonstration of the art of fine cheese-making. After that, you can visit their restaurant and eat its famous products. Local eateries focus heavily on cheese dishes like fondue and raclette, with desserts that feature the famous double cream from this area. Specially recommended are the meringues with Gruyères double cream.
Hiking and Biking
Fans of mountain hiking will find numerous trails of varying difficulty in the hills around the town as well as further afield. This area is also much prized by mountain-bikers. Whatever you choose to do, lovely scenery will accompany you.
There are 5 hotels in Grueyeres in a same price category - from 100 up to 195 euros for a double room. For those who'd like to stay overnight. Be warned, however, that this is a prime tourist location, and prices for overnight stays are steep. One place you may want to try is the Fleur de Lys. The Fleur de Lys Hotel at Rue du Bourg 14 is steps from the beautiful Gruyères Castle and offers comfortable accommodation with wonderful local specialities in the restaurant.
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Travel from Geneva to Gruyères
The road distance from Geneva is 121km and driving time is about 1 hr 20, depending on traffic conditions. The final 20 kilometres are on secondary roads, mostly with picture-postcard scenery.
Train Geneva to Gruyères
The fastest rail trip from Geneva to Gruyères will get you there in just under two hours, with one change of trains at Palézieux. Trains leave once per hour. A slower variant exists – two and a half hours – with train changes in Montreux and Montbevon. This one gives you a more leisurely look at the superb scenery, with a longer stretch in full view of Lac Léman.
Gruyères Tourist Information
Place de l'Aigle 6
Tel. +41 (0)26 921 85 00